New York was my home for about two years, in between 2013 and 2015. Once in a while, I travel back to catch up with friends and previous colleagues (and I miss the city dearly).
Sometimes, friends ask for recommendations when they plan a trip to NYC. I've decided to collect my favorite places in a highlight reel below.
It's difficult to find a temporary place to stay which feels like a home, but The Standard is capable of creating exactly that vibe. More even, you wish the interior was your home. With both a hotel in East Village as well as near the High Line, the gorgeous architecture and interior design captures the vibrant lifestyle of the people who call New York their home.
If you're looking to stay in NYC and want to pay attention to your dollars, consider AirBnB (or Hotel Tonight). If you're looking to splurge a little, don't look further and book a room at The Standard.
STANDARD HIGH LINE
Using The Standard app, I snatched a last-minute room in the High Line hotel. Upon arrival, I was upgraded to a Queen Deluxe on the 17th floor. The room is gorgeous, with a contemporarily interior with wooden accents.
You'd pay for the view alone, covering the Hudson, Jersey and downtown Manhattan, with the new One World Trade Center catching your eye. The sunlight coming in through the top-to-bottom windows will awake you slowly in the morning. A luxuriously large bathtub and walk-in shower offer space to relax before you get started with your day.
A cosy bar in The Standard East Village with strong cocktails, it's one of the bars in New York I fell in love with while I lived here. An excellent vibe with friendly staff, ideal to end your day. Whenever I'm showing friends around, this is the bar I'll take them. Hungry? Next door there's Narcissa, a high-end French restaurant which I can recommend as well.
When you need a haircut, get it in style. I originally discovered Harry's through their excellent shaving products (unfortunately unavailable in Europe).
Walk right in and you'll discover not only a beautiful, old-school barber interior with a modern twist, but also a friendly staff ready to help. Beyond the haircut, you can purchase Harry products, as well as a selection of lifestyle/design products. It was my go-to barbershop.
Ace Hotel Lobby
Once you enter the Ace Hotel lobby for the first time, you'd guess that you're in a coworking space. The noise of buzzing people, the sight of numerous backlit Apple logos staring at you in the dark and the sound of clicking keyboards, all fueled by caffeine provided by Stumptown Coffee right next door. The magic sauce? Good coffee, free wifi and 24-hour access.
Stick around for some coffee and/or work in the afternoon, stay for the party and cocktails at night.
The first time I walked into Brooklyn Roasting at the end of Jay Street, which in mean while is nearly three years ago, I immediately fell in love with the industrial yet warm vibe. At any given point it's a busy place with people who come and go, but it never feels too crowded.
The blends used for their espresso-based drinks tend to be on the heavier side and give enough of a kick to fuel a day of working.
Finally, I'm digging their playlist, including classics such as Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode for example. It's one of the few places I don't feel the need to jam in headphones to focus.
It's my favorite coffee shop. Whenever I have the chance to drop by, I do. While I was living in Harlem, I would face an hour of commute on the busy A-train to be here and I always considered it worthwhile.
While working on SoHo sooner or later you'll pick a coffeeshop and become a regular (this translates to: the barista knows your order, offers some small talk and every now and then gets you a free coffee, in exchange, you tip graciously)
Right next to Supreme, this small coffee shop offers nearly no seats but instead offers you the best coffee in SoHo (in my humble opinion). What's new? Draft lattes. Give it a shot.
Still in SoHo, at Crosby Street, you'll find Saturday's Surf. Imagine: Surfing, design, fashion and coffee. In the back? A planted yard, completely finished with wood-decked seats and tables. It's quiet and beautiful. While shopping in SoHo, this is where you take a break and relax before heading back outside to face the busy city.
Another SoHo hotspot. I'll admit, I did snuck out with colleagues to go eat ice cream. More than once. During working hours.
What can you expect? A line, to start, but other than that: a luxurious selection of flavors and toppings. A stylish interior and friendly staff.
Spring St finest. Get the window seats, stick around for the stylish cocktails. You'll fall in love with their names. How about:
- Fingerbang Boomerang
- Sleazy Girl
- My Mom is My Wingman
If you're planning to visit this bar, I can assure you that you'll take an Uber home because drunk-you doesn't enjoy a late-night subway trip. It's mostly known as a casual place to grab drinks, but you can get brunch and dinner as well. I, unfortunately, only have experience with the former.
NYC made me fall in love with Mexican food. In Nolita, Tacombi offers a strong Margarita and excellent tacos. Here's what to order:
- 1x Crispy Fish - Tequila battered cod (Do you dislike fish? this will change your perspective)
- 1x Pollo Quesadilla - Melted cheese on top of roast chicken, yum
- 1x Barbacoa - Roasted black angus beef
- At least 2x Margarita - Because, why not?
Despite my above recommendations, their fresh juices are amazing as well. Although, I recommend going at night. The wait can be gruesome, but the food and atmosphere makes it all so damn worth it.
Jack's Wife Freda at Lafayette
I'll start with a story. Every now and then, I would come to Jack's Wife Freda. Excellent brunch, great atmosphere at night and the food is to kill for.
At one point, I got to know the owner a little bit. With roots from South Africa, he heard me speaking Dutch (South African and Dutch are similar) at one point and struck a conversation. Fast-forward, one night I was showing a Belgian friend around. He was visiting NYC together with his parents. For dinner, I took them to Jack's Wife Freda. As the night was passing by and dinner was served, the owner put a bottle of red wine on our table as a gift. It was such a kind and profound gesture (especially considering how expensive drinks are in NYC) and truly made me appreciate this place even more. It feels as if you're eating at someone's home.
Please, do yourself a favour and drop by. Everything about Jack's Wife Freda is amazing.
Love fashion? More specifically, love high fashion? Visit Opening Ceremony at either Howard Street or at the Ace Hotel.
Opening Ceremony collects different designers within one roof, ranging from Alexander Wang to Raf Simons. Opening Ceremony's own line of clothing is gorgeous as well. Even if you're not planning to purchase anything, the atmosphere is worth a visit alone.
That said, if you're even remotely interested in fashion, Soho has an amazing collection of stores (Acne Studios, APC, Uniqlo, Blue in Green and many more). There's this useful Reddit guide for you to check out if you come to New York, specifically to go on a shopping spree.
A short walk from Opening Ceremony, on Crosby St, Aether is known as a technical clothing brand mostly known for their outerwear.
Originally, I was really intrigued by their logo and fell in love with the interior design of their store. The clothing is not really my cup of tea (I don't live in a cold climate, their clothing isn't the slimmest fit and is priced a bit steeper), but I'd still recommend to go check it out.
Beyond the clothing line-up, the store has a selection of (male) lifestyle items. Think books, pocket knifes and whiskey glasses.
There are many, many more beautiful places to visit in NYC, but this is a good start. Some day, I would love to follow up with an updated guide of some new places.