10 March 2009

my new new york city penpal

our cinnamon bear giveaway winner turned out to be a sweet gal named victoria. she has fabulous manners, note the thank you note she sent back to me! and fabulous taste, note the fancy personalized stationery and fabulous stamp to go along! victoria, you've made my day.

when she emailed me her shipping address a few weeks ago, i emailed back an enthusiastic, ...i can't believe you live in new york, new york. it's my all-time dream place. i've always wanted to live there. i'd love to know what it's really like and all about the hidden local spots to eat and shop. if you have any tips about nyc, i'd love to hear them. i'll get these cinni bears off to you soon. xo. marta

soon after sending my gushing email, she kindly responded with a load of fabulous new york places i am dying to check out. therefore i have printed and filed away her favorite hot spots info guide. thought you might like to read Victoria's NYC insider tips as well.

Oh my gosh, New York City, one of my favorite subjects!

I have so many tips. Things are constantly changing around these parts, which is, admittedly, part of its charm, but also makes it so hard to keep up. Not to mention often sad. I'm still mourning some of the most lovely shops and cafes that closed years ago.

One of my favorite places is Podunk, a tiny tea cafe in the East Village. The woman who owns it is fabulous. She wears these amazing hand-sewn floral aprons and hats and makes the most delicious teas and sweets. My friend Jill and I meet there one Sunday afternoon a month, and we always stay longer than we should because we never want to leave.

The smallest public park in New York City, which is called Septuagesimo Uno, is also a don't miss. I stumbled upon it accidentally a few months after I moved here from my hometown in California. It's located on the south side of West 71st Street between Amsterdam and West End Avenues on the Upper West Side.

'Ino on Bedford Street in the West Village is a wonderful Italian cafe. They have a truffled egg toast that makes my heart pitter-patter just thinking about it!

Taim, also in the West Village, has the best fresh smoothies. You can get them with or without dairy, and the non-dairy ones are just as good as the dairy ones, if not better. All of their smoothies are super light and refreshing. It's actually a falafel joint, and the falafel is awesome, too, but, I tell ya, those smoothies are something special.

Kee's Chocolates in Soho is wonderful, too. The truffles and macaroons are just incredible, but I also love the story behind this business. Kee is a middle-aged woman who got fed up with her Wall Street job. She quit and opened her own chocolate shop, which had long been a dream of hers. I love that, and consequently, I love supporting her business. She makes it really easy, because her chocolate creations really are just that good. The creme brulee truffle? Oh my...

Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side has the best chocolate chip cookies. I cannot stress this enough. The best.

Camp on Perry is a great little boutique that sells new as well as vintage items. Sundresses, handmade postcards, handmade pin cushions, sea shell earrings... always a fascinating assortment of goodies.

Kiosk Kiosk in Soho is a really interesting shop with a unique concept. Every couple of months the owners fly to a new country and find quirky items from that country to sell in the shop. Then for eight weeks the store will carry items from that country exclusively. Then, another trip, another country and all new items for sale. I always find the most intriguing gifts here.

Bu and the Duck is a children's clothing store with gorgeously crafted items in Tribeca. I love it.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in the West Village on West 10th Street is one of those bookstores that just makes your heart sing! The hours are a bit funky though. They're supposed to be open 1 to 7 PM "most days," whatever that means. But if you happen by when they are open, it's a delight. So many old treasures as well as new ones.

Upstairs at Bouley in Tribeca has a really lovely brunch. The dining room is small but is surrounded by windows and the light is so inviting. I love taking out-of-town guests here for breakfast. Everything is delicious, but the blueberry pancakes and the cinnamon and vanilla-scented oatmeal are especially good.

Clearview's Ziegfeld Theater in midtown is such a treat. Go see a movie here if you have time. It used to be a Broadway theater, but now it shows one movie at a time. I saw the last James Bond flick here, which was a perfect film to see at such a beautifully restored and ornate theater.

Freemans is a wonderful restaurant. You walk down a dark alley to reach the entrance, and when you step inside, soft candlelight and warm, earthy color tones greet you. It's equally parts country home, mountain lodge and hipster haven. Don't miss the hot artichoke dip or the three-cheese macaroni. And if you fancy a well-made cocktail, ask the bartender to make you something to your tastes (tell him whether you want light or dark liquor and whether you prefer your drinks sweet or savory and let him do the rest.)

Ciao for Now in the East Village is a great little coffeehouse. Do not skip the muffins. Seriously. Muffins have no right to be this moist.

Fisher Landau Center for Art is a hidden gem. Of course, there are many, many fantastic museums in Manhattan, but if you're willing to take a short (I promise it's super short) subway ride to Long Island City in Queens you'll be well rewarded. No one, I repeat, no one is ever at Fisher Landau. I've been a few times, and each time my friends and I have had all of the art to ourselves. The collection is contemporary from 1960 to the present and includes pieces by Jasper Johns and Kiki Smith. After your visit, walk through Long Island City to the waterfront for a spectacular view of Manhattan.

The Staten Island Ferry is free and such a fun activity, especially when you're tired of walking and sightseeing. It's a nice breather. Hop on in Lower Manhattan and ride across to Staten Island. You'll get a great view of the Statue of Liberty as well as the Manhattan skyline.

My favorite card shop is Greenwich Letterpress. It's a small place, but I can get lost in there for hours.

thank you, victoria. and i thought my last trip to nyc was unforgettable. you've given me a lot of new new york information. hooray! i will be adding your not to be missed list to my own. will trade cinni bears for nyc tips any day of the week.

more manhattan ideas here.
and a chocoholics dream come true.


Liv Bambola said...

Woahhh! What a list!

If I ever get to New York, New York, I'll have to keep this list in mind. Thanks Marta & Victoria.

Bambola x

k. said...

What a great list. I've lived in Manhattan for four years & haven't made it to many of these - I love having new places to go!

I put my own list together here: You might enjoy taking a peek.


Anonymous said...

Fun! I'm going to make an effort to check some of these places out when the weather warms up!

Anonymous said...

Thank You Marta! My family and I are going to New York City in May this year. I cannot wait. The last time I was there I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I am now 46, with a 4 year old and 19 year old. I will definitely print this list out to take with me.

YnR said...

Those are so many tips!!! I hope I get to use them some day!
Thanks for sharing!!

One Love Photo said...

Oh my! I really wish I would have had this list two weeks ago when I was there! But we booked a NY wedding for September and I will return with this list in hand. and your welcome and thanks for the note!

Anonymous said...

I love her descriptions-- you can tell that she has amazing taste! Although I'm still a little skeptical of their existence, it seems your cinna-bears can do a world of good :)

EliseBlaha said...

just starred this in reader. how fabulous!

::Sylvia:: said...

Fab list! I have printed this list and put it with my other NYC info (you're list is there too!) in hopes of one day actually getting there. The girls of my family take an annual shopping trip in the Fall but every year something has managed to keep me from accompanying them (marriage, birthing child #1, child #2 newborn) :)

Thanks Marta & Victoria!!

Anonymous said...

I just love that you made a new friend through a random drawing give-away! Her tips sound fabulous. I live just 4 hours away from the City and have only been there once. How sad! Makes me itch to go again!

Melissa Jade said...

I absolutely must second Greenwich Letterpress. I can spend ages in this small shop and never tire. A must stop for letterpress lovers or Etsy shoppers!!

House of Milk said...

that's so great! what a lucky occurrence to pick her for the giveaway, then she turns out to be fabulous! have fun with your new friend! :)

chel wakley said...

Hey Marta-
It is Chelsea (Cram) I came across your blog, it has been awhile. Anyways you are awesome. I took some of your ideas for writing to add to my journal. I am loving it. Just wanted to tell you thanks.

Liz Harrell said...

Wow.. I'd have given anything to have had this list on my last NY trip!

Jessica said...

Oh Marta. I know you couldn't have known that I was trying to not think about the super cheap airfare I found to NYC in April, but this is making it really hard to forget!

Mary said...

wow - perfect timing - thanks! my daughter and I are planning our 2nd trip to NYC the first week of april and your post last year about your trip (and all the comments you solicited ahead of time!) were a staple of our itinerary. so grateful for more tips this year!!

Anonymous said...

wow what a pay back for a bag of cinna bears.... thanks for sharing all that info. you are the best !

gab said...

Let's go!

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