New York City travel diary

As I mentioned in Tuesday's post, I go to New York City at least once a year. Even though it's been over five years since I moved away, I miss living there, and I love going back to see what's new. It had been several years since I'd been there around the holidays, and even though Christmas was over by the time we arrived, there's something magical about seeing the city all decorated and lit up. The tradeoff about visiting New York in winter is that sometimes the weather can be terrible, but thankfully we were lucky on this trip, with pretty mild temperatures and only one day of rain. (That said, there's still plenty to do indoors when it rains.) Here's how we filled our days—and nights.

Day one, evening
We took an afternoon flight from Chicago, which was slightly delayed, so we didn't get into the city until dinnertime. After we checked in, we headed straight to dinner. One important thing to note: we brought Zuni, our dog, on the trip. In summertime, this wouldn't have presented much of a problem, but in winter, you can't really eat outside. Thankfully I discovered a hack for traveling with your dog in winter: most dog-friendly hotels will let you eat and drink in the lobby with your dog. And one of the most dog-friendly hotels in NYC is The Soho Grand, so that's where we ate dinner the first night. We then took Zuni for a nightcap at the Greenwich Hotel and the Soho Grand's sister property, the Roxy. Service at all three was super-friendly to Zuni, who was pretty tired from traveling and slept most of the time anyway.

Day two
Since we had some major sightseeing to do, we decided to put Zuni in doggy daycare for a couple days, which was a wise decision. I made arrangements ahead of time with The Wagging Tail, and the staff there were great. Zuni was calm and happy every time we picked her up! Anyway, while she played, we headed uptown to The Grill for lunch. Formerly the Four Seasons, it's in the landmark Segram Building and is now run by the team behind Carbone, a restaurant I still need to go to (next time!). We each had a very fancy omelet and a glass of Sancerre.

After lunch, we headed to MoMa to see the Bruce Nauman exhibit, which is on view through February. Nauman is one of my favorite contemporary artists, because a lot of his work incorporates wordplay and, in general, comes across with a wry sense of humor. If you have the chance to see it, I definitely recommend it! Plus, MoMa is always worth a visit to see major works by Brancusi, Jackson Pollock, Matisse, and so on.

My favorite thing to do in NYC is to walk around, and we definitely did a lot of that—24,000 steps on the first day, to be exact. We needed to rest our feet, so we took a detour through Grand Central Terminal, which is the prettiest railroad station I've ever seen, to The Campbell, which is pretty much my favorite bar in the city. Formerly a private office, this bar used to be almost like a speakeasy, but Rande Gerber (a.k.a. Mr. Cindy Crawford) bought it a few years ago and now it's a bit more public (i.e. crowded) that it used to be. That said, the drinks are fantastic and the atmosphere is very New York. I suggest going there after rush hour has died down and things are a bit more mellow.

Day three
We ventured out to Jersey City for lunch with friends on the third day, which meant we got to travel through the new Oculus transit hub and mall at the new World Trade Center. It was, as you can see, very Instagrammable. And indoors, thankfully, so we managed to do a little shopping while it poured rain outside (I got a sweater at COS). It was also my first time seeing the World Trade Center memorial, and as someone who lived through the 9/11 attack and does not talk about it very often, all I can say is that it was an incredibly moving experience—I bawled for about 10 minutes straight.

We tried to hit a bunch of photography galleries in Chelsea, but they were all closed for the holidays, so we salvaged it with a walk along the High Line—which is lovely even in the rain—and happy hour at The Park, which has been around since I lived in the neighborhood a very, very long time ago.

For dinner, we hit the new Public Hotel on the Lower East Side, which is also very Instagrammable. I loved the vibe of the hotel, especially the lobby where we hung out. The service was super friendly (especially to Zuni!), the food and drinks were great, and the people-watching was off the charts. We grabbed a nightcap at the Ludlow Hotel, which also has a dog-friendly lobby. Zuni approved of the comfy leather couches.

Day four
On our last full day, we decided to head to Williamsburg, primarily so Sean could hit the record stores (Rough Trade being the most famous one), but also because I hadn't been there in over five years. Man, has that neighborhood changed! There are so many luxury hotels and high-rises along the waterfront, and by serendipity, we ended up at Westlight, the rooftop bar at the William Vale hotel just as it opened at 2 p.m. After a short wait, we were whisked up to an amazing view, tasty drinks, great food, and did I mention the amazing view? My advice on going to Westlight: either make a reservation or get there right when it opens. It's worth the wait regardless, but the line was out the door by the time we left.

After two cocktails, I felt like shopping, so I hit some of my favorites on Bedford Avenue: Catbird, a tiny jewelry store that's been around forever; Shoe Market, which is always having an amazing sale; and Pinkyotto, a place that, amazingly, still had me in their database even though I hadn't shopped there in six years. I love Pinkyotto even more because they don't really have an e-commerce site, which makes shopping there feel like an act of discovery. I got a sweater dress and a scarf, both of which will be coming to the blog soon. I was too busy shopping to take photos there, but on the way back to our hotel, I also hit Love Adorned, another one of my favorite jewelry stores, and S├ęzane, both in Soho. For the latter, I was so pumped to actually shop in the store, but I discovered I kind of prefer the online experience.

We had grand plans to take Zuni to dinner at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, but when the prospect of a subway or taxi ride presented itself to our tired feet, we opted to have it delivered to our hotel room instead. We did make it out for a nightcap at the Crosby Street Hotel, which is a lovely place, and I'd totally stay there if $800 a night were in my budget.

Day five, morning
Faced with a six-hour flight home, we decided to walk Zuni to the dog run at Washington Square Park to tire her out.  We grabbed takeout breakfast on the way at Balthazar and ate our croissants while Zuni made some adorable new friends. And then, sadly, we left for the airport.

Where we stayed
This was our first time staying in a hotel in NYC—we have friends who had a guest bedroom, but, sadly, they moved away last year—and thankfully we lucked out with the Nomo Soho. It's on the southern end of the neighborhood, on a pretty quiet street, but the location was amazing, the service was friendly, and our room was pretty baller. We got upgraded to a king suite with a separate sitting room and an incredible view. Zuni's favorite activity was staring out the window! I personally loved the Molton Brown bath products—I think I am a convert to their Coco & Sandalwood lotion—and the delicious coffee in the lobby every morning. We had such a great time, we'd definitely stay there again.


Elegant Duchess Fashion and Lifestyle said...

I love NYC! I've been there only once but i would definitely like to go back and explore more. xx

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passion fruit, paws and peonies said...

I've walked the High Line a few times but I've never done it at night - that's one I'll add to my next trip there! Thanks for the guide xx Maria

Carrie said...

Oh how fun! I have only been to NYC once and I'd love to go back again. I love that you brought your dog along and that so many hotels are so accommodating on letting you bring your dog to eat! I bet it was lovely to live there at one time!


NotJessFashion said...

Lovely photos you have here dear. There's just too many things to see, discover, and experience in NY.

Jessica |

Nancy 's Fashion Style said...

Loved to read about your trip! I read a lot of your posts on my mobile phone, but I can't comment on the mobile. Just wanted to let you know.

Claire Justine said...

Lovely photos Cheryl. Makes me want to visit all the more :)

Thanks for sharing at Welcome To The #Weekendbloghop

Straight A Style said...

This looks like such a marvelous trip! NYC is just the best. How fun that you took your dig with you and were able to find friendly spots/hotels.

Amy Ann
Straight A Style