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