Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC ( 18th Ninth Avenue, 212-206-6700, www.hotelgansevoort.com)
The Times of London decree it’s the “Sexy in the City”; Forbes say it’s one of New York’s best business hotels and Wallpaper calls it an “Urban Heaven.” Whatever the moniker, whatever does it matter? The Gansevoort is all these things, of course, but there’s much more to its urban grit and chic insouciance. Our advice? Start at the top and work your way down. Sip a Manhattan and catch the sunset over the Hudson at Plunge (their rooftop bar and patio) then take a dip after the cocktails have warmed your cockles: The pool is heated all-year round and has underwater music.
Next, a prime fix for foodies is Carte Blanche, the hotel’s resident street-side café. We swear by the Iced Red Eye (iced-coffee with a shot of espresso) and their mini PB&J sandwiches with Maine lobster. Trust us, they’re that good.
End the night at Provocateur, a fitting name for a nightclub that boasts a huge celeb clientele (rumours swirled that Beyonce was there the night before us) but still considers every guest a VIP. The Provocateur Café has an aesthetic that would warm any woman’s childhood heart. Each of the featured tables and banquettes resembles a room from a European dollhouse and the centre of the room is what’s called the “Garden of Eden” replete with swings. (Somehow we think our Barbie’s might feel a bit too pedestrian here.)
Dive into a Divine Chocolate Kiss -- tanteo chocolate infused tequila, orange, strawberry and chocolate – while you enter the club to get your dance on. Here you’ll find some of the world’s best house music DJs. DeadMau5 and Paul Oakenfold have both played sets there.
DBGB Kitchen and Bar ( 299 Bowery, 212-933-5300, www.danielnyc.com)
Up the ante for your after-work hangout sessions by booking a reservation at Dan Boulud’s latest restaurant offering, DBGB. Located in the Bowery district of lower Manhattan, the vibe is hip and unfettered. An open kitchen concept – that produces over 14 varieties of house-made sausage -- meshes well with the chef’s glass wall confessions (Each wall has hand-written culinary quotes favoured by him.) The menu is where the risks are taken, and guests are happy to reap in the rewards. Chantarelle and Corn Lasagne with parmesan and chicken jus is just as sinful as you imagine it to be, while the “Frenchie” burger with confit pork belly on a peppered brioche bun and cornichon will induce you to eat one whilst ordering another.
Bar Boulud ( 1900 Broadway, 212-595-0303, www.danielnyc.com)
When a restaurant labels itself a French bistro with seasonal fare, one can’t help but think of the cliché narrative in those words. But after our lasting experience at DBGB, we decided that Chef Boulud was a man that didn’t disappoint. Enter Bar Boulud. A skip away from the Lincoln Centre, this chic resto is a hot spot for theatregoers eager for delicious bites and attention to service. Their charcuterie bar is the most inventive seat in the house: Saddle up to the bar and let your taste buds endeavour to select just one plate. Provencal pulled rabbit with herbs, chilled fennel veloute with Maine mussels, or truffled white sausage with roasted apples? Mai oui!
The Griffin ( http://thegriffinny.com)
This cocktail bar has done what its lounge predecessors could never seem to get quite right. It’s upscale without being exclusive; the décor is salacious, yet comfortable and the crowd is a fascinating mix of hipster and high roller. Slink into their velvet banquettes and eschew the bottle service (been there, done that); instead order a French 7500: a punch bowl for 10 filled with Hennessy Richard, Cristal and Lemon. The Griffin’s website says all major credit cards are accepted. We suggest you bring them all.
The Meatpacking district swells with designer goods, so where’s a girl to start? Here, some of our favourite finds:
Charles Nolan ( 30 Gansevoort Street at Hudson St, 212-924-4888, www.charlesnolan.com)
Here you will find the native New Yorker’s (and former Christian Dior apprentice) signature collection of his pouf white blouses, jersey dresses and slick accessories. The boutique is also a great stop for vintage-inspired finds and home décor.
Helmut Lang ( 819 Washington St, 212-242-3240, www.helmutlang.com)
Enough said, right? The store’s ambiance of crisp white walls and stark wooden floors echoes this American designer’s aesthetic perfectly. Scroll through racks of his utilitarian suiting, asymmetrical tunics and seas and seas of black.
Iris ( 827 Washington St, 212-645-0950, http://irisnyc.net)
Traveling with an empty suitcase is a learned skill; one we developed after making a visit to this shoe shop. Iris is the only U.S. retailer to bring together some of the most covetable footwear from some of the most luxury brands under one roof. Their mantra of “every shoe, every season” has shoppers delight over Marc Jacobs, Chloe, John Galliano and Rochas, to name but a few. Try to buy only one pair, we dare you.
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Above image of Hotel Gansevoort Meatpacking (Provocateur nightclub)
New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge (333 Adams St, 718-246-7000, www.marriott.com)
Don’t let the size of a chain hotel like the Marriott discourage you. The service is honourable, rooms spacious and, situated right across the river from Manhattan, it's only steps away from New York’s most-beloved neighbourhood, Brooklyn Heights. Sip a Peartini with fresh pear and Grey Goose at Archives Lounge before you book your tickets to Broadway. Insiders tip: Locals buy discounted tickets at TKTS booths across town, one of which is just a block away from the Marriott.
Williamsburg is to Brooklyn what Ossington is to Toronto: A hipster’s haven full of vintage shops, dive bars and underground music. For a moment forget the scene and enjoy the ride because, if you’re hungry, Diner (85 Broadway, 718-486-3077, www.dinernyc.com) is where it's at. Take the L train to locally-sourced, seasonal and inspired food: Squash soup with tempura battered sage leaves, pheasant legs with quince mustard and, not to be forgotten (ever!) deserts like maple custard with walnut shortbread or apple cake and caramel.
Part of Brooklyn’s magnetism lies in its inhabitants and nowhere is this more apparent then at 99 Café Lafayette (99 South Portland Ave., 718-858-6821, www.99cafelafayette.com) in Fort Greene. The place? Tiny and fuss-free. The owner? Even better. A gritty, tattooed Frenchman who lays the accent on thick while he serves you up nutella and banana crepes with a smooth Pinot Grigio. We eat it up - both his charm and the calories - while we sit on the quaint patio and soak in the street style.
Union Hall (702 Union Street @ 5th Avenue, 718-638-4400, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Converted from an old warehouse this sprawling bar (over 5,000 square feet) in Park Slope ups the cozy factor in a number of original ways. The walls are pilled high with shelves overflowing with what looks like ancient books, logs crackle in firesides and, at the back, patrons can do as the Italians do and play on two bocce ball courts. If you’re looking for more action, grab a pint of the local brew and head downstairs to their music venue to catch bands like Karaoke Killed The Cat and Thrift Store Cowboys.
If you make it all the way across the bridge, you have to go to the infamous Brooklyn Flea Market (www.brooklynflea.com). If you don’t, you might as well have stayed in Manhattan. From furniture to antiques, vintage clothes and, quite possibly, the best selection of quirky accessories, the Market is where Saturday’s go to die (In a good way, of course!)
Beacon’s Closet (92 5th Avenue, 718-230-1630, www.beaconscloset.com)
Pull up your sleeves and prepare to dig. Beacon’s Closet, renowned for being the most respected in Park Slope amongst vintage trollers, is a clothing swap-shop that gives you the opportunity to earn that next designer piece. Bring in gently used clothing and accessories and the staff (upon inspection) will buy it on the spot. No more waiting á la consignment-styles; vintage Marc Jacobs or Missoni could be in your future.
Eva Gentry (389 Atlantic Ave., 718-260-9033, www.evagentry.com)
Eva and Gentry Dayton know where to hit us where it hurts. Their store-cum-gallery is housed with painfully expensive designers we all covet and crave. Our closets yearn to be abused by Ann Demeulemeester, swollen with Balenciaga and rocked by Rick Owens.
For more on shopping, sleep and eats, please visit: www.nycgo.com
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