Taking a Cue from Vanity Fair Magazine - NYC Re-Visited

Having spent the other weekend post-40th birthday in New York City with two of my gal-pals, I thought that rather than give you pure design inspiration like my last NYC blog post "Fresh and Contemporary at the Crosby Street Hotel", I will give you a bit of a travel log instead in case you care to have some similar adventures on your next trip to NYC.  I must admit if it were not for my foodie and "travelista" bestie, Sen-Mei Lim, Sarah and I might not have ventured to some of the spots we took in.  Since we all had been several times before to NYC, we didn't take in the usual tourist destinations re: Times Square, Empire State, the MOMA, Guggenheim, etc. so not going to give you what you may expect.


We started off our trip with breakfast at The Balthazar Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Soho.  Apparently I have been told it comes highly recommended by Gynneth Paltrow, so if it is good enough for her it must be for us :)  What I love about it, is not only the oysters of which I had (a little strange I know for breakfast) but the decor is notable - the mosaic tile floors with a Greek Key border, the soaring tin covered ceiling, and the red leather bench seating with chrome nailhead detailing felt very bistro like in a Parisian kind of way - not too done but chic.  It is always a hub of activity and a great way to start your immersion in NYC culture!


Then it was off to Nolita for some shopping - lots of local designer boutiques in this area for those looking for something a little less mainstream!  I was surprised to see that one of my favourite fashion retailers, Tory Burch, has a down market version of her brand found in the line, C. Wonder.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that C. Wonder was started by none other than Tory's ex-husband.  You can read all about the details not to mention check out some of the high-low comparables in the latest Vanity Fair Dec. 2012 issue:



Time for food again...still in Soho at the Spring Street Natural for some organic food for lunch.  Decor is not really worth mentioning but if you like your food fresh, organic, simple, and healthy, this is the spot for you.


We stayed at a fabulous hotel, called The Surrey located just off Central Park and 76th.  The hallmark image when you enter is a portrait photo of Kate Moss, in her early modelling days, located at the end of the corridor.  



Kate Moss just happens to be featured on the cover of the same Vanity Fair Dec. 2012 issue I referenced earlier.  The longevity of her career including her muse status for many in the fashion industry and the controversies she provoked are discussed - here pictured at 38 years of age - love it!  I apologize if any of you are offended by the nudity, but in my opinion the human body is a beautiful thing…



More of "The Surrey" hotel decor…our bathroom - just as I like, with lots of Carerra Marble :)



Our room - very spacious for NYC with a separate seating area (not shown) and of course, very luxurious bed linens and duvets:



Off to Haru for sushi in the upper east side - was a great moody little spot for our evening meal.  The Little Owl, the next night, in the West Villiage felt like a European resto, intimate and cozy with a soft amber glow - upon entry you had to pass through dark velvet curtains.  Sen and Sarah were especially enthralled with the red wine they ordered called Lacrima Di Moro D'Alba (from Italy) with notes of elderflower and citrus.  It is a light-medium body to pair well with the seafood they ordered. 


For a little culture we were off to the Walter Kerr theatre on Broadway to see "The Heiress" based upon the novel "Washington Square" by Henry James.  Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey and Jessica Chastain were the headline actors.  Yet again referencing the Vanity Fair issue, you can read all about Julien Fellowes, the man who created Downton Abbey for those who are interested.  Set in the 1800's, "The Heiress" is a dark account of the heroine's timid and largely depressing existence.  It was cathartic however to see the heroine find her inner strength in the end. 



Sunday we were off to Harlem for a little soul food.  Make sure to check out the Red Rooster owned by Marcus Samuelson.  You will be "filled up" literally and figuratively by the down home cooking and the live gospel music.  I have to say I was taken by the letter that was mounted in the restaurant washroom addressed to Marcus himself by a young boy who visited as part of a school group.  He wrote to thank Marcus for bringing the restaurant to the community and how the potatoes were the best he had ever eaten.  Very touching!  This photo features a fabulous mosaic wall mural that was discovered while strolling in Harlem:



We finished our trip with an afternoon spent at the Whitney Museum of American Art - the exhibits that we had time to see (Sinister Pop and Dark and Deadpan) were largely provoking as opposed to inspirational.  Challenging one's thoughts and feelings about how historical events changed a whole nation is never for the faint of heart.  Loved the pattern the lights created in the ceiling in the common areas:




To temper all the stimulation, I cannot forget to mention how absolutely lovely it was to stroll alongside Central Park to enjoy the last of the leaves on the trees…can never go wrong taking in the Park.


Having been immersed in the fashion and cultural mecca for a few days, it seems just enough time to come back to Ottawa with renewed vigour and inspiration for all things design in my world - catch some of you soon!