Shop til you drop

New York has perhaps the best shopping in the world. From the Upper East Side to Tribeca, this city has it all. The latest couture, one-off’s, knock-off’s, and more litter the main streets and side streets in an orgy of fashion, furnishings, and fillers. I can’t understand how all these stores survive, but as the weakest perish, new ones blossom into the light.

So, we can begin with the fabulous trifecta: Bergdorf’s, Barney’s, and Bendel’s. With no preset spending limit these three will handily defeat your budget and keep you wanting more. Find your latest and greatest here and then descend the streets of 5th Ave to peak your pleasure center to exhaustion.

Once you have trolled the usual suspects, South Manhattan beckons. Chelsea and the meatpacking district (smelly, but ultrachic), Greenwich Village (don’t forget the west and east), Soho, Noho, Nolita, the Bowery and Tribeca. The names like Prince, Spring, and Canal are emblazoned into our subconscious. Overload, overload, so much shopping, so little time.

Anyway, here is a list, in no particular order, of some of our favorite New York shops.
De Vera
ABC Carpet and Home
John Derian
Fish’s Eddy
Urban Archeology
Pearl River Market
Dean and Deluca
Freeman’s Sporting Club
Paula Rubenstein’s
Old Good Things


The New York Diet

The title is a misnomer. Dieting is probably the dumbest thing to do in New York unless you were suddenly considering stopping shopping. My husband and I have sometimes planned a whole vacation around a series of restaurant openings. Sure, we love the Vegas-on-the-Hudson offerings of Battali, Colicchio, Robuchon, and the like, but what we really like are the more hidden neighborhood offerings scattered profusely around the city. A blog about the great restaurants of New York could go on forever, so here is a brief compilation of some of our favorites.

First, our perennial favorites Balthazar and Pastis: The perfect brunch or dinner in the coziest atmosphere possible (Dorothy, am I in Paris?). Then almost any Danny Meyer restaurant (don’t miss Gramercy Tavern or the Modern). For the food orgy of your life try Per Se (Thomas Keller’s French Laundry for the Big City) – bring your American express and wait as your taste buds explode in happiness. Feeling hip and on your game then try the Waverly Inn. Need to call on your best contacts for this place, but the mac and cheese and chicken pot pie really are that good. My husband likes a shave at the Sporting Club followed by dinner at Freeman’s Alley. He says in a town geared to the exultation of everything woman, it is nice to find a small corner in the Bowery for men to be men.

Feeling the need for a great steak – head to Quality Meats (wins for best interior). Hate to chase the mainstream media, but Chef Gordon Ramsey’s London is exquisite.
Gabrielle Hamilton (Anthony Bourdain’s favorite) still continues to amaze at Prune. For a perfect taste of Korea nothing beats the Momofuku trio (Ssam Bar, Noodle Bar, and Ko).

Anyway, now I’m hungry. So bring your appetite, don’t just order a salad, always try at least one desert and never go home hungry


Zen in New York

After the frenetic first few days of New York market week, we have discovered our own private Shibumi. Trevanian would be proud. We have therefore decided, after spending numerous hours reliving other people’s best of New York lists (and usually being sorely disappointed), we would prescibe a few of our own favorite old and new haunts to the greatest American city.

First the rest, rejuvenation, and solace of the perfect nights sleep. One can go for the soaring classical neo-metropolis of the Four Seasons (Cary Grant should be your bar mate), the picture perfect Central Park-side Ritz-Carlton (would you like a carriage ride with your croissant?), Gramercy Park’s dark lux glam (a private key to the park, for your pleasure), ultra-mod gravity defying Mandarin Oriental (coolest thing in the world swimming a mile up in the sky), or the brooding hypercool of the Bowery (remember to step over the derelict bum, while sidestepping the paparazzi).
Our current residence is the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. Thus to the zen of the title. Built of reclaimed lumber, handmade brick and furnished like your favorite apartment, this hotel could truly be called your home away from home. Even the pool is housed in a painstakingly hand wrought ancient Japanese barn – no nails to be seen. Floating on water in this lantern lit room is as close to heaven as I wish to venture.

Too expensive you say? Ah, but this is New York, still a steal compared to the other great worldly cities like Paris, London, Moscow, and Rome. So next time, pull out the plastic, rack up some frequent flyer miles and plop yourself into a little slice of the big apple.