Oh New York! How I missed you! I still can’t believe that somehow two years went by without getting back to NYC so this past weekend was just the city-fix I’ve been long craving. It was a different trip for sure bringing Rex, but even so, it was just the best. Sure Rex made traveling trickier (hardest age to fly with?!) but there was something extra special about being back in the city I love so much with him. On my one free day without meetings / anything planned I took Rex to my old hood, the West Village, and let him play around on the Bleecker Street playground. It’s the playground I used to watch families playing at daily when walking down Bleecker on my way home and often idealized having kids in New York one day. It’s funny how going back will make you realize I love where I’m at now, and what I once thought I wanted, I’m happy just visiting.
But… back to my love affair with New York. Whenever I’m in the city there are a few places I always hit up / things I do that just give me all of the New York feels. They’re not necessarily the best places to eat or the trendiest hot spots (anymore), but just personal faves that were so much a part of my New York.
1. Stay at The Ludlow Hotel. I now always stay at the Ludlow on the lower east side. The rooms are bigger than most New York hotels and it’s got such a cool and cozy vibe that I just haven’t brought myself to stay anywhere else. I researched around before booking this past time but it just feels so New York-homey to me that I just can’t bring myself to stay anywhere else. Also that block has some great spots that I always make sure to hit up as well: The Fat Radish and Dudley’s for dinner. Russ & Daughters for bagels and an old school NY throwback feel. Coffee at El Rey. Shopping along Ludlow Street.
2. Walk through the West Village (down Bleecker) to my old street, Carmine. From the Ludlow Hotel I walk to the west side. I love walking everywhere and rarely take cabs when I’m back… headphones in and I just go. I swear I instantly start walking faster and with an extra little dose of confidence in my step when I’m back. (You can tell I’m that California girl because I walk with a smile plastered on my face.) It was cold but I just make sure to layer appropriately so I can take it all in. I always go back to my old street for that dose of nostalgia and walk through the West Village to stop into all of my old faves. On Carmine street is: Jack’s Wife Freda, another must on every trip back for me. It’s a spot I went weekly–it’s just easy for any meal of the day or a drink with girlfriends. It’s one of those spots that every city should have. There’s something on the menu for everyone, healthy options, it’s casual but also has that cozy cool vibe. Other faves in the WV off Bleecker: Maje. Anine Bing. Jo Malone London. Rag & Bone. Cynthia Rowley.
3. Buvette. Hands down just the sweetest little gem of a spot. It’s tiny and hard to get into on the weekend but a must if you can sneak in at off-times during the week for a bite with your girlfriend. I’ve seen a number of celebs here at off times and once sat next to my celeb crush: Jake Gyllenhaal. (The only time I’ve ever been star struck! Like couldn’t move star struck… my girlfriend had to hold my hand and help me out).
4. Cafe Gitane and shopping in Nolita–Mott + Elizabeth Streets. Another must to eat / walk around and shop for me. I think everyone goes to Cafe Gitane for the avocado toast but I go for the couscous and low-key vibe. It’s actually not even the best dish in the world but it’s another nostalgic place for me. Of course the avocado toast is a sure bet as well though! It’s good for people watching, grabbing a glass of wine in the evenings and walking around that sweet neighborhood and shopping.
5. Shop: Curve. Curve is one of my all-time favorite boutiques for their amazing edit. Splurge-worthy and oh so inspiring with their mix of up and coming designers and trusty faves like Isabel Marant, IRO, Re/Done denim and their own line: AOTC. I am so sad the SF location recently closed, so of course I made sure to go to the New York location while in town. Also, now around the corner on Bleecker is the new Ulla Johnson store. Another must–it’s gorgeous!