I fell in love in 2010. With a city.
I was nine years old when I joined my mom on a business trip to New York City for fashion week and attended fashion shows by designers; Max Azria, DVF, & Ellie Tahari. I shopped at Dylan’s candy bar, rode a carriage through central park, and observed the city through starry eyes.
Seven years later, I have travelled to New York many times and although I no longer shop at Dylan’s candy bar or tour central park, I still see the city the same way I did as a little girl—with starry eyes.
My cousin, Brittany, lives in New York, creating the perfect excuse to visit annually or if I’m lucky- biannually. This summer, I spent a whirlwind, four days hanging with Britt and exploring the city.
Friday morning, my redeye landed at seven AM and I hit the ground running. Actually, that’s a lie. I hit the ground walking in circles.
Unfortunately, my navigation skills are not my greatest asset, leading Waze to become my best friend, and sometimes, enemy. Assisted by Waze navigation , I always end up where I want to be but I’m usually “rerouted” a time or two and the trip takes me far too long.
I freshened up in a restaurant bathroom and headed to Kobi Halperin, a friend and talented designer’s, office for my first meeting. Kobi, a colleague of his, and I went through my presentation and a workshop on social media strategy. Next, I meandered my way to Indagare, a luxury travel agency, and did the same with a group of seven women in their office.
Both presentations were a hit and similar to the feeling of satisfaction after a project at school, I was giddy. I decided to bike around central park but found myself lost again. As result of a dead phone, I ended up biking twenty blocks to find a Citi Bike dock.
I was giddy until I was tired. I fell asleep, sitting upright, at Brittany’s desk at work. I took a long nap but woke up ready to explore the city some more. For dinner, I had the best BLT sandwich I’ve ever had from Witchcraft.
Brittany and I decided to spend our evening with a few of our favorite things: walking the highline and enjoying crave-worthy ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery. 20,000 steps later, we winded down with refreshing mint tea at the beautiful NOMO hotel in Soho.
Waking up in Williamsburg was much more luxurious than the previous morning, waking up on the tarmac at Newark.
We began our day with NY Bagels and rode the subway uptown to experience the Comme de Garcon exhibit at the Met. I have always loved my CDG converse and admired CDG design but the complex collision of art and fashion in the exhibit exceeded all expectations. While Uptown, we also checked out the NY Public Library. Just like the movies, it was absolutely beautiful.
The majority of our day was spent in and out of stores, shopping Soho, but the best part was the live concert. While strolling Crosby street, we looked up to discover a man sitting on his fire escape, playing original songs on the guitar. His lyrics were full of angst but his voice and guitar skills were record-signing-worthy. We asked where we could find his music but learned only his first name before he retreated back into his apartment. These are the moments that make New York so special.
I mentioned I love my converse, and I do, but by the end of the day our feet started to kill, and a late afternoon massage in China Town felt very necessary. So did two dinners, both consisiting of dumplings.
In order to satisfy a craving, we went to Bao for soup dumplings that surpassed any great dumpling I had had before. Embarrassingly, when we ate the first dumplings, we knew there were more to come. An hour later.
For our second dinner, we met a friend at her apartment to eat Mimi Cheng’s takeout. The dumplings were great. But even better, was the dimly lit New York apartment with music spinning on a record player in the back and conversation between four friends.
One would assume two dinners in one night would be enough, and it was, but both lacked dessert so we made one more stop at the Meatball shop for a late night ice cream cookie sandwich.
Sunday is infamous for church and brunch. Somewhat on accident, we got both.
Our morning began with chicken and waffles at Sweet Chick in Brooklyn. I’ve always been skeptical of the unlikely combination but it only took one bite to understand the obsession- it’s the perfect mix of salty and sweet.
While shopping Brooklyn, we heard beautiful music pouring out of a nearby church, C3 Brooklyn. We walked in, planning on listening to a song or two, and ended up staying for the service. The service reminded me of City Church back home with uplifting music and a young pastor sharing a relatable message.
We biked across the Brooklyn Bridge, en route to our next treat: ice cream at Kith, a street wear concept store. We spent more time shopping and exploring Soho before going to the Samsung store.
Last summer, Samsung had a “social media tunnel” in their store that projected your Instagram on a series of screens. Unfortunately, the tunnel expired so instead we found a selfie-video creator and were hooked. A few moments, and too many selfies later, Britt and I realized our photos would be projected in the store so we decided to dip out quick with our heads down.
Next, we stopped for mini donuts at Doughuttery, in the Chelsea Market, that puts Seattle’s mini donuts to shame. We walked the highline during golden hour before heading back to Brooklyn for our next meal. For dinner, we ate mouthwatering tagine, couscous, and mint tea at Café Mogador.
On our way home, we heard a jazz band playing at a restaurant and stayed for a private show.
We woke up earlier than expected, just in time for an SLT workout class in Brooklyn. Neither of us knew what to expect from the class but it was technical, challenging, and exactly what we were looking for, especially after our everything we had been eating.
We had completed much of our shopping “hit list” in the days’ prior, leaving us with no agenda for our last day. It was a beautiful summer day so we grabbed an iced coffee at Dean & Deluca and wandered Soho, discovering old and new stores. One store I hadn’t seen before and loved was Shinola.
We made the trip back to Brooklyn to shop at Sally Dallas; the dream thrift shop. Sally Dallas is a store I could have easily spent an entire day in. Each item seems hand selected and the store is impressively organized.
For our final destination, we indulged in a malt chocolate milkshake from the Momofuku Milk Bar. Another delicious treat and the perfect note to end on.
As I journey back home, I am filled with gratitude for time with my cousin in such an inspiring, novel city. New York, you have my heart.