Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Goodbye, New York

Well I'm finally in the air, bound for L.A. on an American Airlines flight that has wireless! America never ceases to amaze me.

Though I will miss many things about New York, the cold is something I definitely won't (this morning it was -11 Celsius which is a tad too chilly for me), so as I bid farewell to this lovely city I came to call home, I leave you with 15 things I fell in love with during my stay - you might even say, New York's best bits...

1. SoHo in the morning. Before the tourists have arrived, with the sun lit cobble streets, the uberchic New York women on their way to work, the cabs making their way down the empty streets - between 8-10am, SoHo is a beautifully quiet and magical place to just go for a walk.

SoHo's famous lofts

2. Brunch at Brown Cafe. Started by a bunch of Aussies a few years ago, their down-under coffee skills were certainly passed along in this Lower East Side café. Amazing lattes, amazing baked eggs, amazing raisin toast, amazing almond croissants…you get the idea.

3. Escaping to Central Park.

4. Vintage shopping in the Lower East Side. This indie district puts Auckland's K’ Rd to shame – in a five block radius, there are more than 25 breathtaking vintage stores, some harder to find than others, for hours of fun-filled rummaging. My favourites? Fox and Fawn, Marmalade, Daha Vintage, Some Old Rubies and The Dressing Room.

Jean Shrimpton in the Lower East Side

5. Hidden bars. The thrill of discovering yet another hidden gem never fails to excite me; there are hundreds of bars in Manhattan and Brooklyn hidden behind obscure doors, down unexciting stairwells or just in the middle of no-where. Some of the better ones include 151, Chloe 81, Beatrice Inn, Apothéke, Bobo and Larry Lawrence.

6. Delicious, addictive, mouth-watering cupcakes.

7. The quaint boutiques in NoLita. In a time when even luxury brands are considered mainstream (for their ‘oh that's Prada/LV/ Karen Walker!’ obviousness), sometimes it’s nice to own a beautiful dress that no-one else owns/knows where you got it from. Street after tree-lined-street, NoLita is home to the best boutique shopping in New York with young, up and coming designers continuously opening new stores in the charming little area. And if you need a coffee pit stop, try Ruby, an Australian café that knows how to make a proper cup of coffee.

The lovely NoLita

8. 'The Ivy' at Chloe 81. Most Wednesday nights, we would pop down to Nylon magazine’s (thing/event/excuse to drink, or whatever) The Ivy at Chloe 81, conveniently located just across from my apartment. A bit of a scenster event, The Ivy is a great night for some amusing people watching, and the dark underground bar complete with scattered candles and corner leather booths made our blatant staring very possible, much to our delight.

9. Times Square at night. No matter where you are around Midtown, the fantastic bright lights of Times Square are always somehow visible, with the 'woooow' factor never dissipating.

Audrey Hepburn in Times Square - my reaction exactly

10. Rooftops. Nothing beats drinking in New York's skyline from your very own rooftop. Everyone has access to one - some are bare, some have luscious gardens, but it doesn't really matter when they all give you the same result. Sipping a glass of wine in the evening and gazing at a lit-up Empire State Building, sunning yourself complete with brolly, deckchair and lemonade gazing over at the Empire State Building, having snowball fights with your boyfriend, reading a book in the afternoon sun, now looking over Downtown...who needs a back garden when you have skyscrapers?

11. Williamsburg. On a Saturday morning, you'll find all the burg' indie kids dressed in some version of Hunter gumboots and Anoraks walking their mini pooches (not the posh kind, the cute mongrel kind that look like teddy bears), plaid shirt wearing couples going for walks to get the paper and a coffee from Olso, fur coat wearing friends scouring the vintage stores together and skinny jeans wearing kids riding retro bicycles through the streets. It's basically a community where everyone is eternally, effortlessly cool.

12. Brooklyn Bridge. Walking over it, the view from it and the view of it. It's an all-round great bridge.

14. Cafe Habana. Hands down the best breakfast I've ever had - the price ($5.95 for most meals) is just a bonus.

15. Flea Markets. Last but not least, you can't forget New York's incredible flea markets, where you can get hoards of costume jewelery extremely cheap, classic vintage pieces like a 70's Bill Blass dress (for me the one that got away - I'm still not over it), Kenzo pants and Calvin Klein shifts from the 80's and even YSL cashmere for $5 a pop. The best flea market by far is Brooklyn's indoor market in DUMBO (because no-one wants to stand outside in -6 Celsius trying on fur coats, no matter how cheap they are).

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