THE UPTOWN HOTEL:
Location: Upper East Side
If you’re after a little bit of uptown decadence, The Mark is my preferred choice. Fresh off a recent refurb, the bedrooms are unbelievably large for New York, while modern deco interiors give the whole hotel a ‘quiet luxury’ kind of vibe. Equidistant from Central Park and the Met, I love watching the world go by from the street-side terrace. A new four-story Dr Barbara Sturm salon and Caviar Kaspar only add to the indulgence, as does the hotel car that will ferry you around for shopping trips and suppers. Ladurée macaroons on your pillow come turn-down say it all.
THE DOWNTOWN HOTEL:
For a stylish downtown base, you can’t beat The Bowery – perfectly pitched between trendy SoHo, with its Omakase restaurants, contemporary boutiques and candle-lit bars, and the Lower East Side, where Chinatown meets a slew of historic Jewish delis and bagel shops. If you like the cosy, firelit ambiance of Soho House, you’ll love The Bowery’s gothic, tapestry-laden bar, with its big crittal doors that open onto a terrace which is just as inviting on cold winter nights as warm summer ones. Bedrooms are small but intimate, with epic views straight over to the Empire State Building. Downstairs, foody destination Gemma is the perfect open-all-hours spot.
THE VIBEY SUPPER:
Location: Midtown & Uptown
For good food and good vibes, Avra is a name to know. Sitting somewhere between the sophistication of Milos and the chaos of Lemonia, it’s a buzzing trattoria that attracts the chicest of New Yorkers for big group suppers and date nights, alike. Crispy eggplant and zucchini chips with tzatziki are two must-orders.
THE LOW-KEY PIZZA JOINT:
Rubirosa isn’t exactly under-the-radar, but I couldn’t possibly round up my favourite New York spots without giving it a mention. An unassuming pizza joint in central SoHo, its pies are so oversized they require special platforms that are as wide as their waitlist is long. Book as soon as slots open two weeks in advance – and order the vodka pizza and a cold beer. Thank me later.
THE CHIC SUSHI DESTINATION:
BONDST is a failsafe, always cool Japanese restaurant in SoHo. Eschew bigger, flashier names like Catch in favour of this dark and intimate spot, which is favoured by Taylor Swift and Gigi Hadid for its low-key interiors and impossibly good sushi. Later, head around the corner to The Nines – a years-old piano bar with decadent interiors serving classic martinis.
THE FOODY HOTSPOT:
Location: Seaport, Financial District
Tin Building is the brainchild of top chef Jean-Georges and takes the notion of a food market up a level with a 53,000 sq ft, impossibly glossy edit of coffee bars, seafood stations, bottle shops and bakeries. Walk from South Street Seaport along the river until you reach this slick new hub, and feast on everything from sushi and sake at Shikku to shrimp tacos and churros at Mexican spot Taquito. An emporium that houses everything from a Wonka-esque sweet shop to an ocean-fresh oyster bar, there’s something for everyone under a single stylish roof.
THE ITALIAN FAVOURITE:
Location: SoHo & Upper East Side
Sant Ambroeus is a relatively new discovery for me, but one I intend to revist time and again for its refined atmosphere, delicious salads and general ladies-who-lunch feel. Relaxed and unpretentious, it attracts a fashion crowd – making it perfect for people watching.
THE SWEET STOP-OFF:
Little Cupcake Bakeshop
Little Cupcake Bakeshop makes some of the best baked goods in the world – really. If you’re in the area, wander down at 4pm for a cuppa and a melt-in-the-mouth red velvet, pistachio grape jam or golden vanilla cupcake, a banana chocolate coconut cookie or a slice of caramel pecan cheesecake. I could go on.
THE ROGUE CHOICE:
The Pickle Guys
Location: Lower East Side
Everyone will tell you to try a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli or the matzah ball soup at Second Avenue Deli, but if I’m after some Jewish fare in the city, it’s got to be The Pickle Guys. The no-frills space is filled with dozens of pickling barrels, in which they soak every vegetable you could imagine – from watermelon and pineapples to okra and sprouts. For me, it’s just a classic pickle – but it’s the one I dream about whenever I’ve been away from the city for a while.
THE MUST-VISIT STORE:
The Real Real
During a recent trip, I stopped by The Real Real and ended up going back three days in a row – spoiler alert: the stock does not change! However, it is such a vast treasure-trove of pre-loved designer goodies which just doesn’t compare to the way we sell the same sorts of pieces here. The shopping experience rival that of a high-end department store or a cool boutique – no musty racks of old clothes or disorganised jumbles of shoes. I tried on Gucci silk shirts, chunky Jacquemus knits, embellished Givenchy blazers and velvet Brunello Cuccinelli flares – whether your style is clean and classic or bold and playful, this collection of vintage gems from some of NYC’s best wardrobes can’t be missed.
THE NEW BOUTIQUE:
Location: Lower East Side
I’ve been a Rowing Blazers fan for a while, and its newly anointed store doesn’t disappoint. If you’re into the old money aesthetic, consider this wood-panelled space your new haven, filled to the brim with preppy rugby shirts, vintage lacrosse sweatshirts and pre-loved varsity caps from every Ivy League. Throw in a collab with artist Luke Edward Hall and another with the NBA and you have an unexpected, eclectic mix of streetwear and loungewear that’s hard to replicate.
These days, it’s rare to encounter brands or boutiques in the US that we also find in the UK, but Tombolo is an exception to that modern day rule. On Mott Street (moments from The Bowery) it’s the escapist brand maximalists will love for its colourful bowling shirts, kitsch towelling sets and quirky summer accessories. I walked away with some relaxed navy striped trousers and a black and white silk men’s shirt that had its debut at the new NoMad Cecconi’s a week later.