Swinging chandeliers, need I say more?
The proper meets chaos, the energy is here… 2021, roaring twenties are alive
Swinging chandeliers, need I say more?
The proper meets chaos, the energy is here… 2021, roaring twenties are alive
They say that New York never sleeps, and this might as well be totally the case given that every street is lined with at least two artisan over-priced small scale coffee shops, a Starbucks and a Dunkin’. Finding caffeine in the Big Apple is no challenge. In my two months there this summer, I have attempted to try as many independent cafes (although I will never give up my tired and true Starbucks chai) as I could during my commute, lunch breaks and lazy Sunday mornings. There is a whole world out there of coffee ambiances and gourmet creations to explore in the mega city.
Bluestone Lane: An Australian offshoot, Bluestone is located all over the city and specializes in gourmet drinks and “toasties” which are perfect for a quick light lunch. The locations tend to be smaller, making it more of a grab and go type of place. *Over a dozen locations all over the city.
Chacha Matcha: My favorite New York cafe, Chacha Matcha quickly became my go-to beverage pick-me-up everyday on my commute to work. As the name suggests, they specialize in matcha green tea, but create funky takes on the classic matcha latte with matcha chais, turmeric lattes and matcha lemonades. They also have a delicious assortment of matcha flavored pastries and chilled breakfast items. The crowd, along with the decor, is trendy and instagram obsessed. *Locations in Noho, Nomad, and Nolita.
Birch Coffee: Birch coffee has one of the best chais I have ever tasted. A bit of a unique place, they discourage technology by not having wifi or any outlets. Instead, they have a whole wall of books for customers to cozy up to and little conversation starter cards that attempt to create a hospitable and friendly unplugged atmosphere. Ideal for non-electronic studying! *10 locations across the city.
Think Coffee: A classy and spacious cafe, Think Coffee is a place a study. Standard coffee menu with breakfast and sandwiches, the environment at Think is extremely pleasant. They have outlets at every table, plush leather seats and play a calming mix of classical music which makes you even want to study. In a crazy city like New York, Think Coffee offers a reprieve from all the hustle and bustle outside. *About 8 locations across the city.
Joe’s Coffee: Joe’s has been a New York favorite for a while serving up a quality cup of “Joe” to many neighborhoods for years. They are simple coffee counter stores, but simple does the trick. If you need a quick coffee on the go, Joe’s is the place to go. *Over a dozen locations throughout New York.
Gregory’s Coffee: Another favorite, Gregory’s coffee is kind of like a local Starbucks. They have a large menu of drink options, food, and juices in there spacious cafes. What makes Gregory’s great is that they have a lot of vegan and gluten free food and drinks, making it a place for everyone. *23 locations in Manhattan.
Ralph’s Coffee: The Ralph Lauren Corporation, already pioneers in creating a truly immersive shopping experience, recently opened Ralph’s Coffee Shop inside select offshoot stores. I visited one inside the Flatiron Club Monaco and was delighted to get a delicious iced mocha within the stylish green tiled walls of the coffee outpost and the pleasantly light and airy atmosphere of the store. The coffee is all hand crafted, and the store is perfect for pictures. *Located at the Flatiron Club Monaco, Rockefeller Center, and the Upper East Side Ralph Lauren.
Maman: Maman is a favorite of the stylish Instagram crowd and it’s easy to see why. Besides having great coffee, a decadent lavender hot chocolate drink, and cute pastries, the cafe makes you feel as though you have been transported to the South of France with its cute decor and blue and white color scheme. The cups and plates are all super cute and photogenic too! *Locations in Soho, Tribeca, Nomad and Chelsea.
Citizens Of (Gramercy, Chelsea): While more of a popular brunch place, the trendy cafe has a barista bar serving up an array of exceptional drinks. The Australian styled spot has a refreshingly light interior that feels especially cool on a hot summer day. Come for the avocado toast and stay for the dirty chai (it’s seriously one of the best I’ve had). *Locations in Gramercy and Chelsea.
As the fashion capital of America and a worldwide fashion hub, New York City is overflowing with a crazy range of flagship shops, small boutiques and mega department stores. This summer, I have had the opportunity to explore many different shopping areas. Here are some of my favorite neighborhoods and streets ideal for any fashion lover or avid shopper.
Soho is the designated “cool” tourist neighborhood with every imaginable “cool” store you can think of. While it might be busy, the area is vibrant and has some great destination stores such as Reformation, Opening Ceremony, Off-White, etc. There are also a lot of pop-up stores and concept places such as the Glossier Flagship. For window shopping, nearly every major design house has a location around Soho.
The area around the Flatiron building and Madison Square Park has a lot of major flagships found inside cool Gilded Age era Neo-classical style buildings lining the avenues and streets. Many mid-range stores such as Club Monaco, J Crew, Madewell, Anthropology, Intermix, Tory Burch and Brooks Brothers have huge flagships in this area. The crowds are less around this area too which is a huge plus.
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side area around Lincoln Center and along Central Park boasts an array of slightly trendier and more reasonably priced stores than its east side counterpart. European favorites such as Joie and Maje have large flagships here, along with popular American jean companies Paige and AG. The area is also super cute and quiet.
Around the High Line are some of the nicest streets in the city. They are lined with luxury apartment buildings and designer stores. A lot of New York contemporary designers such as Rebecca Taylor, Alice and Olivia and DVF have their flagships in this area, and Chelsea market is full of all sorts of local goodies and artisan crafts. Seek out bargains, window shop and admire the street art in the popular urban revival neighborhood.
The newest and coolest complex of Manhattan, Hudson Yards’ epicenter includes a giant 5 level luxury mall that is unlike any mall I have ever been to. The stores range from high-end designer shops to fast fashion places like Zara and popular places like Aritzia and Lululemon. What’s great is that the ac is blowing and the cool marble interior makes for a fun indoor experience on a hot summer day. The 5th floor holds New York’s first and only Neiman Marcus. They give it their all to give shoppers a modern retail experience.
5th Avenue and Madison Avenue
Throughout Midtown, 5th Avenue to Lex Ave are for the most part very touristy and not very worthwhile in terms of shops. However, the general area that borders central park is home to many of New York’s iconic department stores. Window shop at the massive Bergdorf Goodman, experience the newly reopened accessories and shoe departments at Saks, and take advantage of the many boutique designers being featured at Bloomingdales. Walk further uptown to Barney’s which is truly an experience for any fashion fan and admire the window displays of designer flagships along Madison Ave.
Back for a new post on my New York adventures! This time around, it seems obligatory to dedicate a whole post to Smorgasburg, otherwise known as the ultimate foodie destination. For those of you who do not know, Smorgasburg is a giant food festival that takes place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn every weekend in the summer. Many famous outrageous food creations have come out or started at Smorgasburg and you have certainly seen pictures of some of their craziest frankenfoods on instagram. Foods such as the Ramen Burger, the Spaghetti Donut, the Raindrop Cake and Big Mozz mozzarella sticks were all introduced at Smorgasburg.
With nearly 100 different vendors at Smorgasburg, it might be just a tad hard to figure out what to get. I recommend spending some time walking around and to just soak it all in. It is amazing to see everyone come together and experience a common love for eating and food all in one small outdoor space. Once you gather your bearings, it helps to plan it all out. It also helps to know that you should be splitting everything, or you might explode from overeating! Here is everything I tried… although there was so much more.
Spaghetti Donut (Marinara sauce): This crazy concept is new this year and is getting a ton of attention. Everyone loves pasta and everyone loves donuts, so why not put these too popular carbs together? While it might seem gross, the donut is pretty much just donut shaped slightly dried out pasta that is lightly fried to hold the shape. Personally, I’m not a huge red sauce pasta fan, so I felt like it was underwhelming. Others love it, however, and this unique food combo is definitely worth a try.
Fluffy Pancakes (Blueberry cheesecake): Oh my god, these were heaven. The airy souffléd pancakes were hands down the best pancakes I have ever tasted. While the pancakes alone are a reason to get them, the different flavors which include blueberry cheesecake and creme brulée make the pancakes extra special and a perfect start to your Smorgasburg experience.
Ramen Burger: There was a ton of hype surrounding the Ramen Burger when it first came out a few years ago. While the combo might seem random, the salty flavor-filled ramen pairs amazingly with the taste of the burger, out doing any bun while looking fabulous for that insta-feed.
Chicken and Waffle (Buffalo Chicken Bites): Someone, a genius perhaps, decided that chicken and waffles can easily become chicken in a picturesque waffle cone. Easy to eat and oh-so delicious, the buffalo chicken bites inside the cone with a drizzle of creamy blue cheese dressing were the perfect portable festival food. Coming from a buffalo fanatic, these were very worthwhile!
Prickly Pear Cactus Juice: I have no idea what prickly pear cactus is but I do know that it makes for a vibrantly beautiful pink juice. While the taste isn’t too special, the color of the juice is something to brag about. Maybe not the best juice of all the many juices at the fair, but it’s refreshing and pretty!
Truffle Fries: Sometimes a classic hits the spot. The truffle fries from the gourmet fry station might be a tad basic, but they are simply delicious and make for the perfect side to any of the outrageous entree options at Smogasburg.
Shaved Ice (Matcha): Definitely my favorite food that I tried at the festival, this trendy dessert is the ultimate treat on a warm sunny summer day. Think of it as fancy adult snow cone, but with two layers of flavored coconut cream, rice cereal, and deep natural coloring. The matcha flavor was to die-for and tasted like a refreshingly upgraded Starbucks green-tea frappuccino.
Coxinhas (Cheese and Dulce di Leche): Smorgasburg is all about trying new foods from different places. I decided to try coxinhas which is a kind of fritter from Brazil. The cheese filled coxinhas was similar to a very melted mozzarella stick. They paired extremely well with the aioli sauce that goes with them. The Dulce di Leche was like a bite of caramel heaven. If the line for Big Mozz is too long, these make for a well worth it alternative.
So I might have completely neglected blogging the last couple of months, but being a busy college student doesn’t always lend itself to an abundance of free time. A lot has happened since I last wrote. I managed to somehow survive a brutal finals period, pack up all of my stuff, move out, and work and prepare at home for a summer move to New York City. I am now finally settled in the city after a whirlwind first two weeks. So far, it has been an amazing experience, and I am absolutely loving the thrill and the freedom of living in the middle of a giant metropolis. I could write endlessly about everything that I have done so far, but I’ll leave that up to future blog posts that I’m anxiously waiting to post. Anyways, what am I doing and how am I living in this wild fast-paced city?
I admit that I was a little apprehensive about moving by myself to a large city. This is the first time I have lived in a city and it’s definitely a far cry from the isolated and sheltered rural college that I attend in Upstate New York. Here, I have to fend for myself. No more ordering everything on Amazon and marching myself 5 times a day to the unlimited dining hall. I even have to figure out “cooking” my meals which, although I’m a huge foodie, is definitely not my forte. Trying to prepare meals has probably been my biggest struggle, and I have resorted to a lot of dinners full of energy bars and bananas (I have some work to do). I’m also having to figure out transportation methods which is interesting enough since New York has a ton of options, none of which are completely ideal (rural college=clueless Uber newbie here). I seriously love walking around though, and my daily walks to and from work is actually quite invigorating. New Yorkers are intent on their commutes and they walk with such purpose which I can totally embrace and go along with. It’s fast paced and lively, giving me energy for my busy workday.
Talk about distractions, walking around is the worst for my wallet (and tight budget). There are so many great little cafes and restaurants to grab quicks meals or coffee. They all somehow seem much more appealing than my spinach and avocado “salad” waiting for me at home. Good food is so dangerous, please take caution. Everyday, I see somewhere new and make a mental note to try it out, pushing back my homemade oats further down my meal prep timeline. What might be even more exciting and even more dangerous are the sheer number of amazing stores dotting the whole city. Just on my commuting walk alone, I have probably ventured into 5 different stores and I have started a list in my head of all the shopping districts that I need to visit for my soul and not for my wallet’s sanity. My internship’s in fashion, so it’s all in the name of work, right?
Work itself is amazingly interesting and fun. Even being an intern and doing interning things is still somehow exciting. The environment is so creative and lively and the days go by quick. I feel so professional which sounds cheesy, but I get a rush when I walk into the elevator with all these fashion bigwigs at the beginning of each day. While the city can be overwhelming, it means that there is nonstop excitement, leaving me busy and curious. I could write on and on, but I’ll leave that up to next week. Yesterday, I went the Smorgasburg… so stay tuned!
Recently, I had the chance to travel to New York City for a couple days to tour the design studio of a cousin who works in the fashion industry. That in itself was an amazing opportunity but I got to spend a lot of time touring and exploring the city itself. I’d been to New York on another occasion to see and do all of the touristy stuff that one has to do on their first visit to New York. However, this time I could fully enjoy myself and spend time doing thing that I really liked.
The 48 hours went by fast but I felt really satisfied with everything I managed to do. There is so much going on and you practically have pick and choose everything, but when going to New York, you should choose to do things that you really like. I picked restaurants that had food that I like and I did plenty of research on museums and plays beforehand. That way I could be confident that I’d not regret my time spent in the city. Research is key because the amount of choices in New York is extremely overwhelming.
After a morning of travel and checking into my hotel, I ventured over to the world famous Carnegie Deli for a giant lunch consisting of a pastrami sandwich and cheese blintzes. The line is always long but the experience is well worth it and the food is truly classic. They are known for their deli meats such as pastrami and corn beef which are served as different types of sandwiches. Also, don’t neglect the complimentary homemade pickles as they are completely different in a good way than your typical grocery bought kosher dills.
Lunch at Carnegie Deli is a big ordeal. The line is long and it takes a while to devour the giant sandwiches. After you’re finished, you will feel obligated to walk around. Thankfully, the deli is conveniently located a couple blocks from central park where you can stroll around for hours. I chose to meander my way through the park on my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The park is a great escape from the city. Although there are plenty of tourist, it is still really peaceful and enjoyable. Take your time to explore the different paths and vistas. Surprises await after every turn, keeping visitors curious and engaged.
Eventually, I made myself to the museum where I tried to soak in the cool air. The temperature was brutally hot but thankfully, the trees in the park helped to provide a nice shelter from the sun.
The MET is huge and very overwhelming. Have an idea of what you want to see since there is no way you can do it all. I visited the european painting galleries since I’m more into european art but there is so much more to see such as ancient and contemporary art.
Between the MET and the park, my afternoon was shot but I felt like I’d done a lot since arriving in the morning.
That night, I had dinner at a great restaurant called Gramercy Tavern. It’s an upscale fine dining place but being one of the best restaurants in the city, it was well worth it. The food is contemporary American but there is an old fashion comforting feel about it. I had the duck breast for my entry and the carrot cake for desert. Sounding unassuming, the carrot cake was quite exceptional since it was a amped up version of the traditional American desert. For me, Gramercy Tavern really embodied the finest in American cuisine and it was a perfect meal to have in New York.
I spent the next morning with my cousin at her office in the Garment District. If you ever have the chance to tour the design studios of a clothing line, take advantage of it. It is extremely fascinating for someone who loves fashion and you can learn so much behind the scenes.
After that, it was time to shop. My hotel was conveniently located a couple short blocks from 5th avenue, the heart of New York shops. There are grand department stores such as Saks along with designer flagship shops. Although the prices are pretty hefty, it is really fun just to look around and believe me, you wouldn’t be the only one window shopping. Among the shops are large and more reasonable european brands such as Zara and Topshop. It’s no wonder why these types of stores are taking over the world by storm. They have everything for any kind of style and the prices are great for the quality you get.
By the time evening came, I’d finished my New York fashion fix and it was time to hit the theater. After a great seafood dinner, I walked the bright streets over to Broadway to witness a fantastic rendition of The Phantom of the Opera. Quintessential and classic, the show did not disappoint. Anything on Broadway is going to be fabulous and you can’t go to New York without seeing something. It is a great way to spend the night too!
With the show ending around 10, I exited the theater right near Time Square. Take some time to admire the amazing lights of the world famous square at night. It is truly incredible!
The next morning, I had a leisurely breakfast and finished some more shopping before leaving and completing a short but satisfying trip. Even 48 hours is fabulous in such a big city!
Carnegie Deli: http://carnegiedeli.com
Gramercy Tavern: http://www.gramercytavern.com
The MET: http://www.metmuseum.org