Hello Freck Fam, it's Ian! I’m back with another travel blog on one of my favorite cities- New York! If you read the Copenhagen guide then you know a little bit about me, and if you haven’t check it out here. But to sum myself up quickly, I am a bit of a design nerd, a creative freelance, and here to share with you all some of my favorite shops, restaurants, museums, etc.
I first went to New York when I was 15 and immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and energy of the city. I bounced around various cities constantly looking for what I wanted New York to be until I finally moved to to the Lower East Side last year. After living there for a year I realized that LA is my home, but NY will always hold a spot close to my heart as one of my favorite places to visit. Whether you're visiting or live in The City, here's my NYC travel guide with some of my favorite places to eat, drink & shop.
WHERE TO EAT
You can’t throw a stone without hitting a good restaurant, and on my weekends I would just walk around until I found something that looked intriguing and pop in and sit for a while and escape the cold. I recommend this method because with the high rent prices and an infinite number of competitors in the city, bad restaurants don’t last long. But if you don’t have the time to wander here are some destination restaurants that I frequented.
Images via @ss0522, Will Femia
Five Leaves is my favorite spot in Green Point, I usually ended up walking across the bridge into Williamsburg wandering through the streets until I arrived at Five Leaves which is across the street from the big park on the north side! It’s usually bustling on the weekends, but it's worth the wait and there is a ton of stuff to check out while you do.
Thursday Kitchen is an Asian fusion restaurant in the East Village. To be honest I haven’t ordered anything on the menu that I didn’t like. They have a spicy gnocchi that is incredible and these truffle dumplings that I think about way too often.
Images via @sky.so.young, @veggiekins
For all my vegan friends out there: JAJAJA. This place is ridiculous. Everything is plant-based Mexican food, but it's the most flavorful “carnitas” I have ever had. Definitely worth stopping in.
The Flower Shop is located on the Lower East Side just north of Grand Street. I went here many times as a bar, but the one time I got food here I was really surprised. Cool atmosphere, good food and a nice bar downstairs. The place has a very nice 70s vibe to it that's warm and cozy in the winter months. Definitely recommend it for drinks or drinks + dinner.
Images via @troprouge, @dimestimes, @oatmilkfiend
Dimes is probably the coolest restaurant I frequented. The menu is so healthy, and the design definitely doesn’t suck. It’s in the heart of the Lower East Side and for sure worth a journey from anywhere in the city.
WHAT TO DO
My favorite thing to do in NY is to get lost. I like setting a destination and then getting lost between here and there. I found myself turning 15 minute walks into 3 hours of checking out stores and coffee shops along the way. My NYC travel guide wouldn't be complete without some destination suggestions to get lost around. Here are a couple of places you should make your destination and then get lost somewhere along the way, think of it as a good ending point to a nice journey.
Image via Ian Reid
Yea, I know, I’m a nerd for midcentury design. But guys, The Noguchi Museum is incredible. The way it is curated and the magical room of paper lamps, it’s the kind of place that you never really want to leave. Mainly focused on Noguchi’s sculptural works, I would sit for hours admiring why he worked the way that he did. It is a little out of the way, but while you are over in Queens you can check out MoMA PS1 which is just a quick Uber away.
*Be warned you may spend too much money at the gift shop*
MoMA PS1 is the contemporary division of MoMA is located inside what was an abandoned public school building (Public School 1). I’ve never seen a bad exhibit here, it’s curated beautifully. I ended up spending a lot of my day here, and the food and drinks in the Cafe are better than most museums. The building itself feels like a work of art so I definitely tell everyone to spend a chunk of time here!
Images via Ian Reid | Condé Nast
The MET is another great museum in the city, to be honest, it is like THE museum in the city. I bought myself a membership here for my birthday and I would spend hours on snowy days staring at marble sculpture. There are parts of the museum that are just archived objects and you can walk through rows and rows of glass shelves filled with objects that are thousands of years old.
WHERE TO DRINK
+ DRINK COFFEE
Because of the tiny apartments in NY people spend relatively little time inside their homes, the city buzzes morning, noon and night. Places to go in the morning and at night (and let's be honest, at noon too.) are listed below.
Image via @escapeyourdesk
Little Canal was 2 blocks away from my apartment in the Lower East Side and it’s where I would get coffee every day before I got on the train to the showroom. It’s a great place because they serve wine and beer and are open into the evening, so you can post up with a book and a coffee or go later in the evening and order a glass of wine after work. My version of a watering hole I guess.
Top: Little Canal, Bottom: Three Seat. Image credits via mostlovelythings, @louisthevi, @threeseatespresso, @diannnnneee
Three Seat is a quaint & cute coffee shop across from Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. If you’re caffeine-free, it's even worth a stop for the turmeric latte and to sit in the window and people watch.
Devocion Williamsburg Coffee Roasters is a beautiful location and good coffee, the plant store next door “Sprout Home” is also worth a stop when cruising around Brooklyn!
Also in the East Village, MACE has really cool cocktails and is small and cozy. It's a great place if you want to relax while drinking, noshing and chatting with friends. Probably my favorite bar in the city.
Images via Behind the Scenes NYC, The Infatuation
I stumbled across St. Mazies in Brooklyn with my friend after a show because we heard live music coming from inside and as usual were looking to duck into something cozy. This joint didn’t disappoint: the atmosphere was great, drinks were solid, all while the band was playing lively jazz and swing guitar
Other notable bars + Coffee + Restaurants: Pardon My French, LoverBoy, Lucien, Charlie Bird, Frenchette, Smith and Mills, Rin Tin Tin
WHERE TO SHOP
New York has a ton of neat little shops and like everything else I have said, you will continue to find more of them the more that you walk around. Here are a couple of places that I liked to check out when I was wandering.
Assembly in the Lower East Side is a boutique. concept store with a great selection of vintage, art books, clothing etc. They do an incredible job curating the store and I was sure to find great pieces every time I went in.
Totokaelo is one of the best stores I have ever been to, ever. This store feels like you are walking through a shoppable contemporary museum of fashion. Definitely check it out while in Soho.
Image via The New York Times
Mast Bookstore is an art book store on Ave A in the East Village that has one of the best selections I have ever seen. Tons of natural light, it's a place to hang out for a while and peruse the shelves. A great place grab gifts or to hunt down Cy Twombly's photographic work. They have everything I could ever want and everything you SHOULD ever need.
On the famous walking street St. Marks Pl, Printed Matter is a great gallery and bookstore in the East Village, their exhibits are usually local artists and the curation of books is to die for.
Images via Sixty Hotels Blog
Mociun Williamsburg, worth stopping into every single time. They have so many 1/1 pieces that are curated so well. Another great spot to shop for gifts, or to find that perfect piece to bring home with you. The color palette is perfect and the shapes and textures in there are everything under the sun, while somehow still cohesive.
I HAVE SEEN A LOT OF VINTAGE SHOPS and that said, Stella Dallas is probably my favorite vintage shop in the world. The stuff they have is moderately priced, well organized and rotating constantly. They have a home store and a clothing store right next door to each other in Williamsburg and both are worth checking out.
Sharktooth is one of the best textile/rug stores I have ever been into, very well curated. Perfect for finding something soft from your trip to bring home. Also, just a beautiful store to look around in while you wander around Brooklyn.
Thanks for reading! I'll see you guys next year in Thailand & Tulum.
xo Ian + Team Freck