Diaries of a Wannabe New Yorker
It has been quite the week for this Girl in Menswear. Although I have crossed the Atlantic on several occasions, this particular trip to New York city has been one to remember. I spent the last few days sipping on iced coffee as I strolled through the streets of SoHo, eating incredible cuisine in the West Village, playing hipster from a bike in Brooklyn and wondering around Midtown based art gallery, MOMA. NYC offers the traveller more than any sitcom or Frank Sinatra song could ever convey and if anyone is offering up an artist visa any time soon please feel free to send it my way!
In addition to a boyfriend, I was also accompanied by my newly acquired travelling companion, Abbie. Abbie is a bag from UK accessory label Fiorelli‘s Autumn/Winter collection and was very kindly gifted to me as part of the brands #FiorelliHandpicked campaign. She is of course a womenswear handbag but was a perfect partner for my menswear staples such as my WESC fern print shirt and my GAP menswear sweater (both shown below).
The Abbie bag served me well for my trip, she was roomy enough to fit all my travel essentials in, but small enough to not weigh me down as I darted in and out of the airport catching rather tight connecting flights. An outside zipped pocket was ideal for storing my easily accessible iPhone, the internal compartments housed my keys and passport nicely, and there was ample space for all my other travel essentials which I can’t hop on a plane without.
So let’s talk New York shall we? WOW. I know this blog is usually reserved for tales of menswear and sartorial dressing, but if you will let me play travel journo for a bit I would like to share with you what me (and my men’s clothing) got up to in the Big Apple.
I know it’s not very Carrey Bradshaw of me but when in New York abandon your stilettos and get on your bike – literally. The Waterfront Greenway is a dedicated cycling path running for 51km on the waterfront of Manhattan. There are Citi Bikes (like Boris bikes) available to rent but it’s worth grabbing a better quality two-wheeler from a company such as Blazing Saddles and exploring the incredible gardens, sporting areas and infrastructure that has been invested in along the shores of the East and Hudson rivers.
If you’re renting one of these bikes cut in along one of the city cycle paths (not for the faint hearted) and head to Central Park where you can dart around accompanied by skateboarders, rollerbladers and joggers taking in this iconic green space. Plus, the High Line is on route and it’s definitely worth locking up your cycle and embarking on some exploration by foot – a cocktail at The Standard is also a must if you’re in this neck of the woods.
Another bike-based highlight was a cycling tour by Get up and Ride through Brooklyn. Now I am normally quite sceptic of organised tours, but the guys at Get up and Ride have converted me. Abandon all notions of enforced fun and being screamed orders at, this is a hipster tour of street art, breathtaking views, hidden gems and insider knowledge giving insight in to a part of New York normally preserved for the locals. Stand-out moment? The view from the Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm in the old Navy Yard where concrete and compost meet, this is a hidden treasure if ever there was one.
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
When New Yorkers tell you they eat out every night of the week do not assume this is American exaggeration, every restaurant you stumble across is full from 8pm onwards with the better ones boasting queues skirting around the block. We ate A LOT in New York. Brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails and multiple coffee breaks were a daily affair, and we found some incredible eateries that surpass my LDN favourites (sorry, but it’s true!). Now I know I’m not a local, but here were my favourite spots as a LDN menswear lover in the concrete jungle state-side.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day they say, so don’t miss the incredible brunches on offer in the Big Smoke. My favourite spots have to be Five Leaves in Greenpoint, Brooklyn which was originally funded by the late Heath Ledger and is a seriously hip eatery, and Jack’s Wife Freda in SoHo which served me up a mean breakfast of grapefruit, yoghurt, mint and granola.
Cwooooffee: You’ve gotta love the way a New Yorker pronounces this caffeine staple, and the coffee in this city means business. You don’t pop into a cafe, you visit a roastery and witness first hand how they brew your fuel. Blue Bottle Coffee on Berry Street in Brooklyn is a movement not a coffee shop, and the Brooklyn Roasting Company in DUMBO is an ideal spot for sipping on a cup of joe whilst you tap away on your Mac looking all artistic like.
Now I know I ate brunch everyday, but restaurants don’t seem to ever close in New York, which means taking Lunch at 4pm on a daily basis seems totally acceptable. The stand-out day time dining options were both Italian, and I lived in Italy for years so I am PICKY about my pasta, but Rosemary’s in the West Village and Rubirosa on Mulberry Street are on par with anything Mamma ever served up in Rome.
For booze with a view, the perfect spot for cocktails has to be the rooftop on The Standard where I drunk a particularly delicious cucumber concoction and the Wythe Hotel which is on the Williamsburg waterfront and achingly cool. If cocktails aren’t your thing and your more of a wine/beer lass or lad, head to Cafe Select on Lafayette or the tucked away, sub-terrain Rabbit Club (no website I’m afraid) which is a speakeasy style boozery on MacDougal St.
And finally, Dinner time, when New Yorkers truly come into their own. My favourite meal was taken at Freemans a colonial American tavern style restaurant down a small alley off Bowery. In much the same way that pub-crawls work, so does dine-hopping around Eataly on 5th Avenue, where you can hop from antipasto bar, to pasta diner to sit down steak restaurant all under one roof. For something lighter, tuck into some killer ceviche at Pio Pio in Hell’s Kitchen which serves up the best Peruvian food I’ve tasted since I was, well, in Peru.
So as you can see from the pictures my good friend Abbie came in tow with me pretty much everywhere. The long strap harnessed her to me for cycling around the metropolis, and sat comfortably for all day sightseeing, but equally elegantly perched in the fold of my elbow for my evening excursions. Brown and red has the potential to be garish, but Abbie is quite the opposite, she is chic, versatile and highly wearable – she must be good, my slipcase didn’t get a single outing in New York!