Monday, 31 December 2012

New York - Street Art and Eating Out

Whilst walking the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens I found some wonderful street art. From installation art to graffiti, New York has it all!!! One of my favourite places to relax in Manhattan is on the High Line. This former freight rail line is elevated above the street and stretches from West 30th to West 10th street, along 10th Avenue. It has been transformed into a park. I like it because it removes you from busy tourist areas and with its seating and food stalls it is the perfect place to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon reading a book. Various artists have been commissioned to create artwork that can be viewed from the High Line and the streets below are home to some of New York's best galleries. The famous Whitney museum is soon to relocate to a space at the end of the High Line, moving from its current location on the Upper East Side.
Over in Queens, you should visit Moma PS1, this is the sister gallery of Moma (Museum of Modern Art) in Manhattan. I visited both, but Moma PS1 is quieter and still has some superb art. On the day is visited Courtney Love was hosting an event there. Almost right next to Moma PS1 is the famous '5 Pointz' graffiti site. The graffiti covers the entire building and street, and is so vibrant. It really has to be seen to be believed. The site has been used as a location in films and photo-shoots.
In Madison Square Park, light installation artist Leo Villareal has created a piece of art entitled 'Buckyball'. On a night the structure is illuminated in different colours.
If you do stop by Madison Square Park on East 23rd street, then why not grab something to eat from 'Shake Shack' which is located in the park. This place has the best burgers and milkshakes in Manhattan. Expect to wait to get your food as it is extremely popular, but it is worth it. This food chain is also located in various other places across the city. My favourite restaurant has to be 'Beauty and Essex' in Lower Manhattan. Making a reservation a few weeks in advance for this lower east side restaurant is essential, a hit with Grammy award winning singers and actors. I was lucky enough to be invited to the restaurant for my friend's birthday dinner. Expect lobster taco's, roasted bone marrow and scallops, as well as beautiful desserts and cocktails. The interior of the restaurant is equally as fabulous as the food.

If you fancy watching great live music whilst you eat, then be sure to go to Ashford and Simpsons 'Sugar Bar' on West 72nd. Established by legendary Grammy award winning song writing duo Ashford and Simpson, this venue has hosted the likes of Stevie Wonder and Liza Minnelli. I went on Open Mic night which was great but they also have Blues night and monthly guest entertainers. For food, I can also recommend 'Guy and Gallard' which has several locations around the city - great for soups, salads and cakes. Or why not go to 'Cafe Cluny' at West 14th Street, great for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I must also recommend walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. With its iconic structure and fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline, you really cannot go to New York and not walk over it. Of course a sunny day would be ideal, or why not walk over as the sun is setting. 
I also discovered Roosevelt Island, a thin strip of land between the Upper East Side and Queens. Stop by Dylan's Candy Bar on 60th Street and 3rd Ave to marvel at the most amazing sweet shop in New York and then walk one block over to take the tram across the river to Roosevelt Island.

Phillippa x

Monday, 17 December 2012

New York - Antiques and Handmade

If you are looking for bargain antiques then you should head to one of NYC's weekly flea markets. In Manhattan you should check out the 'Chelsea Antiques Garage' on 25th St between 6th and 7th Avenue. This 2 storey car park becomes a bustling antique market on the weekend, with vendors selling everything from furniture to vintage silk scarves. After exploring this venue you should walk one block over to the outdoor market, here you will find similar antique items. Also located in Chelsea is 'Olde Good Things' on 24th Street between 6th and 7th. This warehouse style building is on 2 floors and you can expect to find large pieces of furniture, old doors and light fittings. This shop also has 2 other locations in New York City aswell one in Los Angeles.
Some of the best antiques I found were in Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Take the subway over to Bedford Avenue and from here you can walk to the flea market. I found prices to be considerably lower than what I would expect to pay for antiques in the UK. I fell in love with a very affordable old metal letter 'P', but there was no way this would fit in either of my suitcases so I didn't buy it. I have been looking for one of these in the UK for such a long time but they are so expensive here. Vendors also sell lovely food so you won't go hungry and on the day I visited there was a great Christmas craft market aswell.
Back in Manhattan I found 'Let There Be Neon' located on White Street in Soho. This company produces made to order neon signs, which I love!!! They have worked with the likes of: Christian Louboutin, Kiehls and Vince Camuto, producing in store display signs, aswell as working with Victoria Secrets to produce neon angel wings.
Obscura is an Antique and Oddity shop on Avenue A/13th Street. This antique shop is not for the faint hearted, expect to find: taxidermy, skeletons and mummified heads...yes really!!! The owners of this shop also have their own television show called 'Oddities' which is on the Discovery Channel.
If want handmade jewellery, clothes and other goods then be sure to visit the 'The Market NYC'- 159 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village. Local designers and artists can hire a space within the venue to sell their products - a fantastic idea and an alternative New York shopping experience.
I hope you have liked my selection of antique shops in New York. Hopefully you will get the chance to visit them yourselves. In my next blog post I will be taking a look at street art and galleries in New York. Phillippa x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

New York - Trim Shops

During my 3 month stay in New York I discovered alot of superb antique shops, markets, trim stores and boutique fashion and interior shops. I thought I would share with you a few of my favourites.

The Garment District
New York is one of the fashion capitols of the world so you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to sourcing fabrics and trims. The area between 34th and 42nd street between 5th and 9th Avenue is commonly known as the Garment District. (7th Avenue is referred to as 'Fashion Avenue'). When visiting New York be sure to thoroughly explore this area. You will find an abundance of exciting design shops; just make sure you allow enough time to look around as these stores have so much to offer and you might find that perfect trim that you have been looking for. This neighbourhood is also home to the design studio's of some of the worlds best loved fashion designers. Expect to see rails of designer clothes being pushed along the streets!! If you visit at certain times of the year then you might be lucky enough to be in town when one of your favourite designers is having a sample sale - think Alexander Wang, Anna Sui and Tibi, etc. I got some real bargains!!!

Trim Stores
Shindo is the most wonderful ribbon shop I have ever seen. Located on 36th street between 7th and Broadway, it houses luxury ribbons and trims in all different textures, colours and widths. The staff are very friendly and they are always more than happy to help you find exactly what you are looking for. Whilst waiting to collect an order there is always a great selection of reading material available including: Bullett Magazine and the latest trend reports.
Nearby is M&J Trimming on 6th Ave between 37th and 38th. This huge store not only offers a wide selection of ribbons, but also: beads, sequins, and buttons. I prefer Shindo for higher quality ribbon but at M&J you will still find what you are looking for at a slightly lower price point.
Mood fabrics on 37th between 7th and 8th is a large fabric store, which you have may have seen on TV shows such as Project Runway. Small swatches of the fabrics are available, which is great if you like me don't want to buy any particular fabrics but just want swatches for inspiration.
Other stores worth mentioning include: Sil Thread, Pacific Trimming, Toho Shoji and Bead World.

In my next blog post I will be sharing with you some of my favourite antique shops and markets I found in NYC.

Phillippa x