Welcome to my New York city. I’m sure you’ve seen a bunch about it on the internet, or perhaps watched your fair share of Law and Order, but my New York city is a series of personal interactions with some wonderful folk who define the great hub. To me, it’s the bustling place where people come to make their mark on the world, and as a result you’ll find yourself surrounded by great talent and a bunch of really good lookin’ people. The New York way of life is local, people are proud of their neighbourhood and will go out of their way to show you the best of the best on the block, whether that be a 24hr donut pub, the tastiest Horchata, their top notch tailor, or the world’s greatest rueben sandwich.
So let me present a highlights list if I may, curated by my network of menswear loving, food obsessed, poetic pals who have at some point shown me their New York prime cuts, and what a heck of a memorable journey.
Shot by our pal Bill Gentle.
/ WILLIAMSBURG /
/ Marlow and Daughters /
A butcher shop run by romantics. They created a shop that honestly raised, top notch meat to their yummy eateries like Diner, Marlow & Sons, and Roman’s to name a few. These are all worth a face-stuffing by the way. I urge you to make a pilgrimage to see their spread of grass fed beef, homemade charcuterie, and locally sourced seasonal produce. They have built great relationships with surrounding farmers and that’s why you need not go further for the tastiest tomato in town, or most scrumptious sausage.
/ The Brooklyn Circus /
This is a great American label that sings a soulful song to history and great sartorial moments. Everything they produce takes us through a page in time, marked by the great craftsmanship behind each story. They play an important role to American style, and their store is a trophy room to their achievements in defining style through delicate fragments of the past.
/ Cafe Colette /
A solid contemporary eatery that boasts a great cross section of Williamsburg food. Step into their diner that shows off some great classic American vintage pieces like their bar fridge, mixed in with some meaty, rugged textures. The cuisine is hearty and satisfying, with a more modern approach to the menu that sees to clean flavours and a focus on good produce. Try their butter bean & kale stew for lunch that comes with a sunny egg, parmesan, and some crusty sourdough. It’s also a mean spot for the afternoon aperitif.
/ Mast Brothers Chocolate /
How could you not come to Williamsburg without taking a few bars of Mast Brothers Chocolate home? They’ve revamped their chocolate factory into a sophisticated shrine to deliciousness, where you can sample their single origin bars and perhaps compare them to some whackier flavours like goats milk (yum). Despite recent highbrow chocolate snobbery in the press, tagging the guys as cocoa hipsters, the fact of the matter is they make moorish chocolate and that’s why we come back for more.
/ SOHO /
/ New Museum /
Asides from having a great sail ship riding the facade of their building, the New Museum is always a must visit for me when I’m in the area. After all, New York is an exciting hub for art, and here is where you’ll find yourself in a sensory playground that confuses and delights.
/ Katz Delicatessen /
I was introduced to this institution by a dear friend Matt who is well known on the internet for his upstate shenanigans on a farm doing dude-y things like shooting fowl and making sausages. I chose to introduce you to Katz’s precisely that way because it’s kind of a huge mess hall filled with dudes who know their way around smoked, brined, and salted meats. Walk through those doors, take an orange paper ticket, order a rye sandwich with your choice of meat, and munch away with their fresh pickles to give you that much needed respite from mouthwatering meatiness. In all seriousness, you need to try one of their rueben sandwiches, and my little tip to you is, start by ordering just a half.
/ Morganstern’s ice cream /
Yes, these guys make delicious ice cream in both classic and crazy flavours, but I’d like to share a little secret with you: Avocado toast. Come before noon and do yourself a favour by ordering an avocado toast. Why? well, it’s an ice cream parlour right? Ice cream sandwiches are delicious right? Well what if I were to tell you that the ice cream were avocado flavour…?
/ HARLEM /
/ The Apollo Theatre /
Make sure you check the scheduling at the Apollo while you’re in town. It’s an iconic institution, set in the rich neighbourhood of Harlem that is a centre of African-American culture. Where else better to experience music than through the doors that played a huge role in the rise of jazz, R&B, blues, and soul.
/ The Demolition Depot /
If you’re a dumpster diving, thrift store loving, flea marketeer, you’ll have a field day at The Demolition Depot. Their inventory is vast, from copper and wooden bathtubs with brass fish legs, to antique light fixtures with all original fittings, it’s just a pleasure to look at the rich colours and textures that once adorned New York’s bars, restaurants, and brown stones.
/ Red Rooster /
Although a relatively recent addition to Harlem’s soulful landscape, Red Rooster is welcoming and homely, serving up comfort food that speaks to ‘roots’. Think buttermilk blue cheese wings, chicken & waffles, macaroni cheese, catfish, and donuts with sweet potato cream. We’re home baby.
/ Levain /
I usually have doubts about a pricey cookie, but all thoughts dissolve into a happy place at first bite. You really need to go for a classic choc chip or maybe even a double choc messy disaster waiting to happen. The mess is 100% worth it.
/ Paris Blues /
You need to make a night of Paris Blues. This totally friendly little bar offers a creole buffet that feels homely even to a gal like me, and enjoy a listening party of Harlem’s talent that rings down to the tip of your toes with life and vibrancy. It’s so much more than a music venue, it’s the heart of a great community.
/ Studio Museum /
Don’t miss a visit to Studio Museum when you’re in the area, for me it’s a rich archive of inspiration and in particular, their photography. It’s a centre point for African-American culture that will take you on a ride around painting, film, sculpture, installation work, but more importantly its a expression of greatness through American history.