If you follow along on Instagram then you know that I recently spent a week in NYC and today I have a bunch more photos and info to share about my trip. So I should start by saying this wasn’t my first trip to NYC. I actually lost count but I think it’s around 5 or 6 times now and each and every trip has been completely different. That’s what so great about New York because there’s soooooooo much to see and do that it’s never, ever boring or the same. That being said, I didn’t really do the touristy stuff, which although can be frustrating sometimes, is still worth seeing on your first visit. I mean not ALL of it, but the highlights.
I thought it would be fun to flashback to my first trip to NYC as a fresh faced 23 year old. I was so excited to go because my friend had stayed at Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan and had told me all about her trip and it sounded so good I just wanted to experience what she did! I worked for a small ad agency at the time and they had a particularly good year and really believed their employees (even the receptionist) should be inspired and well-cultured. As a ‘bonus’ each employee got a return flight to NYC plus admission to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). For real!!! What has your boss done to inspire you lately?
I went with my friend and coworker, Deb, and we decided to make a weekend of it. Keep in mind this was wayyyyyyyy before Air B’nB and social media. Deb somehow found this artist work/live loft that only advertised by word-of-mouth and you had to have a personal referral of someone who stayed there before. It was the whole floor of a building right downtown Manhattan with the family of 3 artists living there as well as 3-4 rooms they rented out. It even had a freight elevator entrance. Soooooooo NYC. It cost us $55 USD a night (!!!!) and this was the resident pup, Mr.Atom. Kinda an awesome first NYC experience right?
Well there’s been many trips since and they’ve all be great in their own way. This trip was very impromptu with a ‘no rules’ attitude. It started because one of my great friends who lives there (ummmm, how about that view of hers in the main photo above?!) needed some design help and since I had lots of travel points and not a whole lot going on that week and desperately looking to be inspired I thought I would go for a visit. The idea was to chat with her in person about her awesome project while getting myself inspired and throwing in a bit of networking by trying to set up meetings with some amazing creative people that I’ve met over the years from NYC. Even though the weather was a bit of a drag, it didn’t dampen my mood and it was a great week.
Since I was there during the week, I had the days to myself and the first stop was vintage shopping. Of course. Well it didn’t take long to have my first celebrity sighting. Within the first hour of wandering the city I found myself alone in Nomad Vintage with Chloe Sevigny. Hello! Of course I played it cool because, well it’s NYC……and also because I couldn’t pronounce her last name.
That evening I spent catching up with my friend over delicious Italian delivery and wine. By the way, you can get absolutely anything delivered in New York. Anything. You name it, someone on a bike will show up at your front door with it.
The next day I was really excited to finally meet the team at Apartment Therapy. I’ve been a weekly contributor for Apartment Therapy for over 2 years but have never visited their head office in NYC or met the lovely people that I work with remotely. They just moved into a new office so this was the perfect opportunity to do both. The office was fresh and modern and infused with colourful touches (sorry for the blurry pic). I had a great chat with the editors over morning tea and snacks while the office pup, ZouZou looked on. There’s definitely advantages to working remotely but it’s so great to have real face time with your collaborators.
That evening my friend took me to an amazing small Paella Restaurant called Socarrat where we feasted on a huge pan of Paella (obv) and a few pitchers of Sangria. Your typical February urban comfort food. I don’t have any photos but trust me, you should check it out if you’re in SoHo.
Next up on my creative hit list was the fine people of Etsy. Last September I met a lovely woman from the Etsy head office while I was selling at the Etsy: Made in Canada show. She was a big fan of my plates and told me that I should come by for a visit if I’m ever in NYC. Well I was so I did. The Etsy staff was BEYOND welcoming. I’m not a star seller or team captain or any kind of Etsy super star and they welcomed me, fed me, showed me around and gave me lots of great advice. Honestly, I was blown away by the kindness of everyone.
As you expect, the office was full of handmade touches, that’s what Etsy is all about after all. They are about to move into a whole new office and already started moving furniture so please excuse the folding tables. But as you can see even though Etsy has grown into a global company, their office has a really creative small biz feel. Everything you see has a story and was created by an Etsy maker. And of course Etsy has a creative craft lab (below). Of course! Can you imagine having a place to escape while you’re working to make something? I found out that not surprisingly most of the staff that I met also have a creative side and many of them have their own Etsy shops. They run some pretty great after work and lunch programs to keep everyone creative, de-stressed and always learning. #dreamgig
I spent the rest of the day doing a little wandering and shopping. I always like to stop by the huge Anthropologie store in Rockefeller Square and see their amazing store displays. Ok, and do a little shopping. I’m not a fashion snob whatsoever but I fully admit that I get some kind of coolness cred by telling someone “oh this, I got it in NYC” when asked about what I’m wearing. Plus I was in the mood to shop. Who wouldn’t be in this amazing store?!
Oh and I should mention that while I was shopping some really random, kinda kooky, older lady with questionable teeth came up to me (she did NOT work for Anthro if that wasn’t obvious by her description) and gave me a Psychic Reading. Of course I was aware that I probably was being taken but let’s be honest, I was literally wandering around New York looking for inspiration and direction so I wasn’t going to be picky. She told me enough things that got me interested so I let her keep going and we were chatting it up for a solid 30-40 minutes. I actually really believe in that sorta thing and although the source was questionable (but not totally crazy) it got me curious. It will be fun to see how things unfold.
It was pretty foggy and raining off/on most days. Definitely not the best for wandering but it gave the city a whole new vibe. I didn’t do too many touristy things but how can you not stop and take in 30 Rock in all it’s awesome Art Deco-ness?
The next day I decided to just give into the weather and wander around the MoMA. I hadn’t been since my visit I mentioned above and it seemed like a great place to escape the weather and be inspired all at once. I didn’t want to be that person that just took a picture of every single thing I saw because what’s the point of that instead of actually standing there and taking in the real thing? But here’s a few of my favourite pieces that I’m sure you recognize. It really is something to see them up close, brush strokes and all. I’m also always surprised by the size. We’re so used to seeing them reprinted in IKEA that we don’t realize what size they were meant to be viewed at. By far my favourite was The Dream by Henri Rousseau (below). Again, excuse the blurry pics.
A close second were the colour block pieces by Mark Rothko. So simple but so impactful in a room.
That brought me to my last day in NYC where the sun finally decided to shine! I hopped on the subway and went to explore Williamsburg. I had never been and wanted to see what all the hype was about. Well it definitely was a cool area, it reminded me of Toronto a lot actually but I think it’s more of a night spot with lots of great food & bars rather than a walking-around-on-a-brisk-february-day place. But it was a sunny day so I was just happy to be walking around with dry feet taking in the cool ‘hood.
I poked my head into the famous Wythe Hotel and if the rooms and event spaces are as cool as the lobby then it definitely lives up to its rep. Look at that elevator lobby? It was designed by Detroit Muralist Ellen Rutt. So 80’s chic.
There’s so much great street art all over New York and Brooklyn, as there is in Toronto too! I’ve actually realized through my travels that Toronto has amazing grafitti and street art so don’t take it for granted and check it out this summer.
I did go out at night with my friends and there were drinks consumed and fun was had but the cameras stayed away for those nights. If you’re looking for a fun Mexican place close to the touristy part of the city but not too touristy that serves margaritas the size of your head, try Ariba Ariba. The food was amazing! If you want more Mexican with a super fun twist, check out Tacombi in Nolita. The kitchen is an old VW camper van and there’s no shortage of character and good tacos.
Lastly if you’re looking for a kinda local dive bar with the friendliest bartender ever, then stop by Double Wide. The burger is very unassuming but packs some crazy good flavour and I tried more than half of the cocktails on the menu and they were all really good although I highly recommend the jalapeno dirty martini.
Well that was my 5 fun and inspiring days in NYC. Another great trip! If New York City is on your bucket list (and you live within a 2 hour flight) I suggest you go! Go now because you’re going to want to do 100000000 things and you won’t be able to so you’ll have to keep going back over and over and over and over. So you might as well start now.
If you like this, check out some of my other travel posts.