TRAVEL

NO MAT­TER HOW YOU SLICE IT, THIS MOST FA­MOUS CITY, WHICH HAS SOME­THING FOR EV­ERY­ONE, IS A DEEPLY PER­SONAL STATE OF MIND

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

New York PLUS 48 Hours in La­p­land

MY BIG AP­PLE by Kelly Fung Ev­ery time I visit New York City, I find some­thing new and fas­ci­nat­ing wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered. I’m a non-tourist trav­eller, mean­ing that I de­light in dis­cov­er­ing what the lo­cals do and I avoid most ar­eas rec­om­mended by guide­books. For the best ex­pe­ri­ences, I seek out the in-be­tween places, wan­der down the side roads and try to make my­self as much a ‘na­tive New Yorker’ as pos­si­ble. It comes with its own mind-set, and very quickly be­comes a whole new (tem­po­rary, sadly) way of life…

MUST-DO The beauty of New York is that you can’t pre­dict what you’ll end up do­ing. One thing is for sure: the city is over­flow­ing with things to see and places to visit. Be hy­per-alert for the con­certs, shows and mu­sic per­for­mances hap­pen­ing all around the city. Be­friend a mu­si­clov­ing lo­cal, fol­low a gig guide, check out posters – do what­ever it takes to get in the know about what’s on. I al­ways look for­ward to hus­tling my way onto guest lists; last time, I found my­self at the Brook­lyn Bowl cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas at an in­ti­mate party with The Roots. I know, I’m brag­ging, but how could I not, when the likes of Suf­jan Stevens, Reg­gie Watts and Mozaic Flow per­formed for us in one gi­ant jam ses­sion? An un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence, if you ask me.

IN­SIDER TIPS Through­out the city you can stum­ble across a hid­den bar or an exclusive club. Get to know the lat­est speakeasys – like Blind Bar­ber, a chilled-out cock­tail bar tucked away be­hind a bar­ber­shop on the lower East Side; passers-by would never know it’s there. Blind­bar­ber.com

A cor­ner­stone of New York food cul­ture is Katz’s Diner, a deli that’s been around since 1888. The food is fa­mous, par­tic­u­larly its gi­ant pas­trami sand­wiches. The place it­self looks like a movie set from the ’70s and the walls are cov­ered

from floor to ceil­ing in pho­to­graphs of ev­ery fa­mous face you can think of. Noth­ing fancy, not at all pre­ten­tious, it at­tracts lo­cals and vis­i­tors. Katzs­del­i­catessen.com

WHERE TO STAY If your budget al­lows, stay at Langham Place, a won­der­ful bal­ance of mod­ern lux­ury and gen­er­ous old­school hos­pi­tal­ity. It’s known for its ex­cel­lent cock­tail bar, the Mea­sure Lounge, and is ideally sit­u­ated on Fifth Av­enue, so shop­ping is right at your door. The thing about stay­ing in mid-town is that you’re in the heart of Man­hat­tan and can eas­ily get to just about any­where. Newyork.lang­ham­place­ho­tels.com

WHERE TO SHOP For a mix of cool la­bels and ‘It’ de­sign­ers like Kris­vanass­che, Si­monn, Gareth Pugh and Jeremy Scott, head to ODD BOU­TIQUE. Odd-style.com AS­SEM­BLY NEW YORK is one of my top fash­ion spots, even though it’s a lit­tle pricey. It houses lesser known but no less bril­liant de­sign­ers – and of­fers an amaz­ing shoe se­lec­tion. Assem­blynewyork.com

WHERE TO EAT There are thou­sands of din­ing op­tions in this city. Here are just three of the spots I’d go back to: BAOHAUS, Ed­die Huang’s cult spot is tiny – a graf­fiti-cov­ered hole-in-the-wall. Try one of his in­ex­pli­ca­bly de­li­cious Baos (buns). Bao­haus­nyc.com Headed by chef/co-owner April Bloom­field, THE SPOTTED PIG is a firm favourite with the lo­cals. En­joy sea­sonal Bri­tish and Ital­ian in­gre­di­ents and don’t ig­nore the im­pres­sive burg­ers. Th­es­pot­ted­pig.com

MY NEIGH­BOUR­HOOD Ev­ery­one has their favourite area of New York. Mine is Lower East Man­hat­tan, a slightly gritty and ‘street cool’ area that was once over­crowded and slum-like. Here, you’ll find small bou­tiques and cof­fee bars. I love the area’s un­pre­ten­tious feel, with traces of its old­time tough­ness but with the in­fu­sion of new gal­leries, eater­ies and bars.

Kelly in front of New York street art by Bradley Theodore.

Above left to right Scenes from Kelly’s Big Ap­ple ex­pe­ri­ence.

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