New York City comprises 5 boroughs sitting where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. At its core is Manhattan, a densely populated borough that’s among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers. Its iconic sites include skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building and sprawling Central Park. Broadway theater is staged in neon-lit Times Square.
The Hoxton Williamsburg
It is rare for residents of artists’ districts to look kindly upon the arrival of a chain hotel, but the young Williamsburg scene has welcomed The Hoxton with open arms. With a concept borrowed directly from London’s trendy Shoreditch, this newbie has taken to Brooklyn like a soul mate. The Hoxton’s first initiative was to completely recreate the original site of the Rosenwach factory, where the hotel is located. Formerly manufacturing wooden water towers, the factory has been carefully dusted off by the Ennismore Design Studio. Alongside the original cart workshop, which they converted into the lobby, the designers worked archaeologically, patiently stripping down the exposed brick walls and arched window openings. Within these huge industrial spaces, guests can choose from three types of bedroom: “Cosy”, “Cosy with a View” (of the Manhattan skyline) and “Roomy”. All fall within the “affordable price” category (less than $200) and boast pleasant decor and friendly service: the hotel has assembled a team of 175 local ambassadors, who are responsible for filling the bedrooms’ bookshelves with personalized books, and providing tips about the area. Following their guidance, guests can discover local artisan products, on sale in the hotel shop or available just a few blocks away, such as crisp duvets by Ellen Van Dusen (DUSEN DUSEN HOME). The public spaces and retro-style areas filled with nooks and crannies provide a cosy lounge, offering workspaces for laptops and a place to hang out before eating at KLEIN, the 24/24 restaurant. Two acclaimed chefs – Jud Mongell from FIVE LEAVES and Zeb Stewart from CAFÉ COLETTE — operate the controls of the spectacular Molteni oven, an ultra-luxe piece of kit made in France. In summer, artists and visitors alike make their way up to the rooftop terrace with its view of the Manhattan skyline to enjoy craft beers with lobster rolls and make plans for the evening ahead.
10 Corso Como New York
When it comes to the apotheosis of all-round good taste, few stores can compete with 10 Corso Como. First launched in Milan in 1991, the shop pioneered the art of combining fashion with design, decor, tech products, photography, books and good food. Under the guidance of Carla Sozzani, sister of the legendary Franca (the former editor of Vogue Italia) this concept store became the epitome of Italian lifestyle shopping, and has been successfully exported to Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai. Since September 2018, it has taken up residence on the cobbled streets of South Street Seaport on Manhattan’s East River. An unexpected sight among families of tourists and historic fish markets, the emporium’s more than 2,500 square metres can initially seem intimidating, even elitist. But any passers-by who drop in out of curiosity are soon put at their ease by the warm welcome they receive. Under dazzling retro-pop lights, 10 Corso Como’s own-brand merchandise — gadgets and accessories featuring a black-and-white, graffiti-style design — mingles with other gift ideas such as Fornasetti candles, Andy Warhol mugs, fluorescent acrylic lamps by Nobel Truong and collectible furniture by Memphis. Further on, pride of place is given to a range of designer sneakers, displayed between high-end tech accessories (Master & Dynamic earphones) and round tables bearing expertly curated beauty products (treatments by JOËLLE CIOCCO).
While some restaurants need time to bed in before they become fashionable, others are an instant hit, such as this new bistro launched by Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, veteran chefs who, for thirty years, have dominated New York’s Downtown scene (BALTHAZAR, MINETTA TAVERN, PASTIS). Since its launch in September 2018, their new project, Frenchette, with its red leather banquettes and impossibly long waiting list, has garnered top accolades in the brasserie category. So what’s their secret ingredient? A blend of attentive service, local classics and the kind of faux champagnes that the millennial clientele affectionately call “pet-nat” (naturally sparkling). Once signed up on the list of “walk-ins”, or congregating at the gleaming African mahogany bar, they pass the time examining the menu of drinks options. Selected by the encyclopaedic wine director Jorge Riera, wines by the glass have been chosen to complement classic bavette steaks, duck with star anise and frites, rotisserie lobster with curry beurre fondue, or soft scrambled eggs with snails in garlic butter. Vegetarians can choose from the special Moroccan-style tagine or artichoke hearts in white wine and olive oil, cooked à la barigoule. The dessert menu (created by chef Michelle Palazzo) is a veritable treasure trove, but everyone makes a beeline for the Black Swan pavlova with creamy chocolate and raspberries. Two tasting menus have recently been added, enabling customers to sample the house specials at lunchtime. The local fan club has been militating for more, so watch this space for brunches and breakfasts.
After opening its doors in New York in 1986, the Swiss Institute was nomadic for many years before settling in the heart of the East Village, the historic district home to colourful artists. Two blocks away, Saint Mark’s Church is still home to poetry marathons that take place every 1 January, and occasionally feature Patti Smith. One avenue further down, the PERFORMANCE SPACE (formerly PS 122, now re-vamped) still provides a venue for small theatre groups and major personalities on the Queer scene. In June 2018, the Swiss Institute added its weight to the scene, setting up shop over four floors of a former 1950s bank. The 750 square metres have been redesigned from top to bottom by the architecture studio of German-born Annabelle Selldorf, to showcase all Switzerland’s creatives, from Vitra furniture to commissions or loans of semi-permanent works by artists John Armleder, Valentin Carron and Hans Haacke.
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