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A Local’s Guide to Manhattan

2014 July 15


I first “met” Jenny on Instagram and was instantly taken by her cool, casual city girl style. Based in New York, where she works as a stylist and lifestyle blogger at Your Soul Style, she has an aesthetic that I appreciate: clean and contemporary but full of spirit and soul. So it’s with great pleasure that I show you her beloved city through her very stylish eyes in this latest Local’s Guide To…Manhattan (see other cities here).

Where to get a facial: Soho Sanctuary, specifically with Susana – the best part about Soho Sanctuary is that 1) it’s small and intimate and 2) it’s women only so enables a sense of comfort you won’t get from other spas around the city. The other win is that they carry skincare lines by brands like Dr. Hauschka and Arcona which are made from organic and all-natural ingredients, giving you a chemical free, holistic treatment. Susana helps alleviate any pre-existing issues and sets you up for success with products that are best for your skin type. If you’re closer to midtown, Mario Badescu has his one and only skincare salon on 52nd street between 1st and 2nd avenue, which offers a plethora of facials customized for your needs. (editor’s note: I’ve been. She’s right. It’s amazing.

Where to get a massage: Soho Sanctuary, specifically with Regine. I have searched high and low in this city to find the best massage therapist around and Regine is definitely my go-to gal. Her massages are rhythmic and equally efficient. Great Jones Spa however would be my recommendation if you’re looking to get a rub down with your man since Soho Sanctuary is women only. The experience at Great Jones includes a water lounge, which is hard to come by in NYC – hot tub, plunge pool, sauna and steam room are all on site. Once inside, you immediately leave the hustle and are transported somewhere zen. Visit the Great Jones Spa Juice Bar & Cafe next-door after your treatment for a healthy and delicious lunch! For a trendier spa day, visit the new Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca – more for the overall experience than the massage itself.

Where to shop for your man: Steven Alan – my favorite location is the most recent one in Chelsea. There is a J.Crew Men’s Shop uptown, in Tribeca and one in Soho and Saturday’s Surf is a perfect destination for your hipster, surf’y beach guy complete with apparel, accessories and boards.

Where to shop for your home: ABC Carpet & Home, hands down – reminiscent of a Moroccan bazaar, the first floor will devour your senses with items like decorative pillows, chandeliers, candles and tablescapes that will entice you to buy entire collections. Give yourself ample time to navigate through the carefully curated six floor mecca. Be sure to check out the second floor landing that carries an assortment of emerging designers. Fishs Eddy is a must for fun and quirky giftable dishes and glassware.

Where to shop for your kids: Zara Kids, Crewcuts and H&M Kids can be found all over the city, but my favorite “mom and pop” boutique is Lucky Wang. Also, Trico Field in SOHO has super cute kids clothes. The best learning and creative toys can be found at Kidding Around.

Where to shop for yourself: I could go on and on and on (and on and on) about the shopping in NYC, but I’ll keep it broken down by area: the Lower East Side is chock full of emerging designers and boutiques like The Reformation and beautifully curated jewelry and lifestyle shop Love Adorned. Soho encompasses a range of options from mainstream stores like Zara, Topshop and J.Crew to contemporary stores like Rag & Bone, A.P.C. and Helmut Lang to high end fashion such as Prada, Stella McCartney and Mulberry. Opening Ceremony and American Two Shot are a must see for their cutting-edge assortments. Bleeker Street in the West Village is a nice stretch with stores like Maje, Sandro, Diptyque, and Zadig and Voltaire and the ever-evolving Meat-Packing neighborhood includes stores like Warby Parker, Scoop, All Saints and high end store Jeffrey’s. I don’t usually shop uptown, but will go if I need a department store like Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s or Bloomingdales. And upper 5th has mainstream shopping similar to Soho, but with a bigger assortment of high end stores. One of my current favorite boutiques is right in my Greenwich Village neighborhood (which doesn’t have too much shopping) called Personnel.

Where to get a sweet treat: If you’re in Chelsea or Greenwich Village, Amorino has the best gelato. Big Gay Ice Cream in the West Village has the kind of soft-serve that will take you back to childhood with decadent options like the “Salty Pimp” and “American Globs”. My new favorite sweet treat is yogurt from Culture, which is “made from specially selected live probiotic cultures and the freshest local milk.” If you have kids, Max Brenner on Broadway is a must.

Where to get a fresh juice: Juice Press is the best juice around, but they are pre-made and grab and go. For made-to-order juice, try Liquiteria, The Butchers Daughter (great brunch too) or Melvin’s Juice Box at Miss Lily’s.

Where to get a cheap eat: Los Tacos in Chelsea Market brings you authentic, down-home Mexican fare, and Mamoun’s, open since 1971 and featured in “1000 places to see before you die”, has the best grab n’ go falafel around.

Where to wine and dine: Marc Forgione’s Forge is my favorite restaurant in NYC and we recently tried his new one American Cut which did not disappoint. ABC Kitchen is not only beautiful by design, but “the menu is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, hormones, is GMO-free, and naturally and humanely sourced from regional farmers and fair trade cooperatives”. Narcissa in the Standard Hotel East puts a creative spin on the classics and I recommend sitting at the chef’s table (if you’re a party of 2) for the experience of watching chefs gracefully master their craft. And if you’re looking for a most perfectly composed, farm to table style plate south of 14th street, Blue Hill cannot be beat.

Where to wine: I love the speakeasy, underground vibe of Little Branch where the mixologists shake up creative concoctions that you’ve never heard of before. On the corner of Leroy and Varick, the entrance is unassuming so you need to look very closely in order to find the sign on the door. Death & Co, Employees Only and PDT are also intimate and swanky cocktail dens worth checking out while in town. Harder to navigate, be sure to visit their websites for instructions on how to find them and get in. For an easier, more laid back vibe, I like Wilfie and Nell for happy hour or The Other Room and City Winery (live music here) for wine.

Where to have breakfast: Cafe Mogador in the East Village has the best breakfast around. The Middle Eastern flare adds a dynamic spin on typical American fare. Get there early in the warmer months for a seat outside and to avoid a wait. For an all American, typical breakfast, try Westville or Grey Dog Cafe.

Where to take the kids: The American Museum of Natural History has rotating kid-friendly exhibits all year. In the summer, try “The Beast” high speed boat ride which travels along the Hudson and stops for views and photos at the Statue of Liberty. a win for both adult and child. The Central Park Zoo is more manageable for little ones since it’s smaller then the Bronx and a Broadway show like the Lion King is a hit for anyone, at any age. FAO Schwarz is sure to win over your kids in a heartbeat, and for a cheap, save your pennies day, try a visit to Washington Square Park, where kids can be entertained (for free) by the street performers till the sun goes down, and a newly renovated playground will keep them busy for hours.

Wow, this amazing list can surely keep me entertained for hours, too. And to top if off, Jenny has a great eye for photography (the picture above is one of her own) so if you like fashion and New York (who doesn’t?), you can follow her on Instagram here for more. Thanks, Jenny!

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