In a city like New York,
where there’s no shortage of things to see, eat and do, it’s no easy feat to create a travel guide of the ultimate, must-do, things not to be missed. However, when Dempsey & Carroll, a luxury stationery brand that was founded in 1878, asked me to do just such a task to help celebrate their new Jet Set Collection, I was honored to accept the challenge. The Jet Set Collection features four iconic cities, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles, all allowing you to travel the world at the tip of a pen and the writing of a note card. As someone who enjoys travel more than anything else in the world, you know this is a stationery collection that has my name written all over it (I couldn’t resist the pun!).
When crafting this ultimate guide to NYC, I decided to approach it a little differently than my normal routine of listing out every amazing place I’ve ever been to here (because there truly are so many). Instead, I thought of it from the aspect of what would be the top things I would make sure to write in a note card (aka where space is limited), or what would be the top things I would do if I left New York and then returned for a visit. Albeit, this tactic was somewhat inspired by our impending move, and still didn’t make it very easy to narrow things down, but I think I finally managed. Now, without further ado, I couldn't be more excited to present my handwritten guide to the city so nice they named it twice.
The Best Skyline Views
(Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights + Dumbo)
Hands down, there are no better views of the skyline then the ones you’ll get from Brooklyn Bridge Park and Dumbo. I know I’m a bit biased because I’ve lived so close to the park for so many years, but you truly can’t beat it. Whether it’s just for a morning or evening walk (a daily occurrence for me and my husband), or it’s to enjoy many of the things that the park offers (from movies to Shakespeare performances to art exhibits to kayaking) or even to grab a bite to eat or something to drink (1 Hotel, Cecconi’s, Fornino, and my personal favorite, Pilot), the park has something for everyone, and at the very least, it’s got a view that no one will be disappointed in seeing.
New York is fueled by coffee. I mean, it’s next to impossible to go a block without finding at least one place to get a cup. One of my favorite places to get my daily dose of caffeine, though, happens to be Ludlow Coffee Supply. It’s not often that I find myself on the Lower East Side, where the shop is located, but it’s a 100% worth going out of the way for. The decor is on point, the baristas are always super friendly, and, my favorite part, they have a menu of signature lattes. The bourbon vanilla is a total dream, but the salted caramel is not too shabby either. They also happen to be located right next to some other great spots, like Dirty French, Sweet Chick and Katz’s Delicatessen, so you can easily grab a bite afterwards, too.
I know, I know, this is a New York City guide, and here I am writing about French things. But, as a resident of one of the most French-populated neighborhoods in the city and a frequent consumer of croissants, I couldn’t leave Bien Cuit off my list. After all, I’ve probably spent my life savings (and then some) just buying their croissants, because they truly are some of the best I’ve ever had. They’re buttery, flakey yet just soft enough on the inside. In other words, they’re all the things a croissant should be. Don’t get me wrong, Bien Cuit also makes incredible breads and some darn good pastries, as well, but the croissants (plain, almond, or chocolate almond) are where it’s at. If it’s a nice day, make sure you grab a latte or mocha and sit outside in their adorable little patio area.
A Gem of a Brooklyn Boutique
(Article&, Cobble Hill)
After grabbing yourself one of the best croissants ever, head down the street to Article&. New York has boutiques a dime a dozen, but somehow I always find myself returning to this one. The shop girls are always friendly, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of items, but there’s still enough to keep you coming back, the price points are reasonable and I love that they mix in some lifestyle items, too, like candles, skincare, and even dishware made by a local Connecticut potter.
Charm, location, stellar food, amazing service, Buvette has it all. I’ve been there more times than I can count and they never disappoint. Funny enough I’ve only ever gone for brunch, although I’m positive their dinner doesn’t disappoint. Nonetheless, that’s the reason why it’s my can’t-miss-it brunch spot. I’ve tried almost everything on the menu, but I always go back to the scrambled eggs with prosciutto and, of course, the Croque Forestier (It’s everything!). Their fresh squeezed juices are not to be missed, either! As an FYI, they don’t take reservations so waits can get pretty long, but they do open early and they serve breakfast all week long, so if you don’t want to wait and you have the flexibility to go during the week, I’d definitely recommend that.
One of the first restaurants we ever went to after moving to our current neighborhood was a little spot called Frankie’s (they also have a West Village location too). We ordered a few things, but as soon as I put a bite of their gnocchi in my mouth, nothing else mattered. The buttery, fluffy little pillows, served with a simple marinara and fresh ricotta, tasted like heaven on a fork. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the menu is pretty good, too (We also love the meatballs and the sweet potato ravioli.), but the gnocchi is where it’s at. In fact, we recently took a group of friends there who were visiting from Europe and they loved the gnocchi so much, that they insisted we order another bowl for the table! This is a great place to bring a group of friends since everything is served family-style, but just make sure that whatever you do you ask to sit outside, if it’s summertime (the backyard is just magical), and always, always, always order extra gnocchi.
If you can’t find me at home, in my neighborhood, or out and about exploring, there’s good chance, you’ll find me in the lobby of the Marlton Hotel. It’s a great spot to work during the week or have a meeting, or even just stop to grab a drink with a friend. My favorite part is the fireplace, which is especially welcome on a cold winter day. Also, make sure to order your coffee or tea with their almond milk, which is made fresh in-house every day.
Vinegar Hill House is tucked away on a quiet, unsuspecting street, in, where else, but Vinegar Hill. The spot is cozy, rustic, charming and unpretentious. The food and cocktails are simple and comforting yet still unique. Brunch is always a win here (You absolutely hands down have to get the pancake! It’s like no other I’ve ever had!), but dinner is just as delicious. They also recently expanded with a sister restaurant, VHH Foods, just down the road in Dumbo, which does not disappoint either. They open earlier and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week and are a great option if you’re looking for something a little more fast-casual but with the Vinegar Hill House quality you can count on (sometimes they even serve VHH favorites, like the chocolate guinness cake).
When you mention a place is a speakeasy, people often assume that said place is also pretentious and difficult to find and/or get into. While Garfunkel’s is certainly a speakeasy worth going to, it’s also none of those things often associated with speakeasies throughout the city. Unsuspectingly tucked away above a burger joint (serving one of my favorite burgers in the city, just in case you happen to be hungry on your way to get a cocktail), you’ll head through an old bank vault before emerging into a room decorated from a different time. The cocktail menu is great, but even more incredible is the fact that you can tell the bartender flavors or liquors that you like and they’ll just whip you up a cocktail, no big deal. On select nights they also, have live jazz, which makes the overall experience that much more magical. Reservations are not required, but definitely recommended.
I’d love to know, if you’ve visited NYC, or live(d) here, what are some of your favorite spots around the city?
Thank you to Dempsey & Carroll for partnering on today’s post.