We love New York City. So much so that we are even willing to brave the frigid temps and snow for a visit. Some may say no to NYC in winter but we were all in when the given the opportunity to go. The key to having a blast in NYC while it dips below freezing minus the misery? Simple, we just stick to the classics. Our tried and true places that never seem to disappoint. Take a chance on a wasted cab ride to a spot that we are unsure of in subfreezing weather? Perish the thought. For winters in NYC, we like to leave little margin for error.
With a dip in temperatures comes a dip in hotel rates, two thumbs up :). We highly recommend picking a hotel that you will want to spend time in and make it your NYC HQ should a storm hit and you find yourself under hotel arrest. For us, that place is Sixty LES (formerly Thompson LES) on the Lower East Side.
We love the hip and groovy Sixty LES. The rooms and bathrooms are spacious and modern. Most rooms come with comfy couches that are perfect for relaxing. There is a well-equipped gym, a spa, the Blue Ribbon Sushi restaurant and three bars, all right there at the hotel. Everything you could possibly need is here should inclement weather lock you in.
We have stayed here several times and always find the staff to be amazing. We feel right at home when we check in with Chiara at the front desk and Raoul as our go-to guy for cabs and insider tips on the city. We know you will enjoy your stay here as much as we always do.
TIP: We love the Lower East Side location of the hotel. There is an enormous Whole Foods Market just a few blocks away making it very convenient to bring much-needed healthy snacks and green juices back to the room following late nights in NYC.
TIP: We have also stayed at Sixty LES in early September when it is hot and beastly humid. The rooftop pool is a most-welcome bonus in the warm season.
We found our way to Variazioni one night post-dinner in a nearby SoHo restaurant. It was after hours and the store was closed. There it was, a must-have purple dress in the window. We set our eyes on the purple frock, convinced that it was certain to be pricey, but couldn’t stop thinking about all the places this purple number would go.
Since Variazioni is just steps away from our favorite SoHo restaurants and shops, there was really no harm done in just going in for a quick peek. We had to get to the bottom of it with the purple dress and we wasted no time returning to Variazioni the very next day.
We entered the tiny store and that is where we met Ryan, salesperson extraordinaire and a true character, in every sense of the word. Ryan is fun and flamboyant and when he rushed over to see if he could help us, we knew a good time was sure to follow, no matter what the outcome of this purple dress debacle.
While it was all fun and games, inevitably, we had to talk price tags. Reluctantly, we asked. Ryan answered with “$75 but don’t worry, I can give you girls a deal”. Wait, backup? We couldn’t believe our ears. How could that be? $75 and a deal? We became fast friends and this is where the “Ryan dress” and the “Ryan store” all began for us.
Ryan began pulling out dresses from all over the store and a few crazy, over-the-top getups for us to try on. When we questioned Ryan’s picks, he said “just belt it and it will work”. Who knew? Not wanting to squash Ryan’s genuine enthusiasm, we tried on everything he suggested. The three of us were having so much fun that Ryan sent Steve, who is actually Ryan’s boss, to the store for a bottle of champagne to take the shopping festivities to the next level. The champagne made shopping “low” feel much more high brow.
Now keep in mind that you need to be open and sift through some tackiness to find the gems, but once you find them it will be worth it. Not only did we get our beloved purple dresses (we got them in black and green too), but we each came out with a handful of other dresses for very, very little cash.
When in NYC, we always stop by the Ryan store and usually come out with at least one good find. Even if we don’t, we love catching up with Ryan and Steve and having a little bubbly. We think you should stop by too and see what getups Ryan has in store for you!
TIP: The Ryan store has been very good to us and our Ryan dresses have made their way to many restaurants, parties and even some swanky events that we were lucky enough to be invited to. They look just as good today as when we first bought them (granted they are polyester and virtually indestructible) and when paired with great boots or shoes, only you will know the price;)
TIP: Variazioni has several locations all around the city but they will never be the same without Ryan. There is only one Ryan and you can find him at the location on 153 Prince Street in SoHo.
TIP: Don’t be fooled by Ryan dress impostors. We were in a Miami boutique recently where a salesperson tried to justify the high price of their “designer” dresses, yet they were the very same Ryan dresses that were in our suitcases back at the hotel! Many stores will slap their own label on these dresses, call them designer and jack the price up.
Barneys New York is truly one stop shopping and paradise when visiting NYC in freezing cold weather. You can find everything you “need” right here from shoes, to clothing, to cosmetics to every accessory imaginable. They have the latest in cutting edge fashion and take chances by carrying emerging designers that you won’t find everywhere. We especially love the shoe and sunglass departments and when we are shopped out, we can have lunch right in the store at Fred’s.
We first met Taylor, a concierge at Barneys, while visiting NYC for Fashion Week. At first, he was all business but eventually, we grew on him. Taylor is in the know not only with all things Barneys but he has the best recommendations for anything else you need in the city, all while being kind and professional. We took him up on a few restaurant tips and we were not disappointed. On the day we met Taylor a huge downpour of rain came out of nowhere and no one (including us) wanted to leave the store, making it virtually impossible at lunch time to get a table at Fred’s. With Taylor on our side, we were in with one phone call. When we arrived at the bustling restaurant, the hostess said “you must be Taylor’s people”. We love being some of “Taylor’s people” and you will too. Barneys New York is a must stop during your visit to the city.
When in NYC, we can never stop at just one visit to Mercer Kitchen for lunch. We have even been known to make it our only lunch spot during a three day visit.
What’s all the hoopla about at Mercer Kitchen, you ask? For starters, you simply cannot go wrong with this Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant. Everything from the hip, sleek decor to the food, to the people watching, to the staff at this Mercer Hotel eatery is perfect. But the real draw for us is the chicken (hold the chicken part) and coconut-milk rice soup and we can’t get enough of it! We have always loved the food at Mercer Kitchen, but after ordering the soup, which mere words cannot describe, we were hooked.
George, from Greece, is the manager at Mercer Kitchen and one of our favorite NYC characters. He has always been kind enough to work a little magic to get us a table when we are in town. George is a mover and a shaker who gets things done and we like it. Just one visit and you will see what we mean.
Mercer Kitchen is located in the heart of SoHo near all our favorite stops, making it a breeze for us to stop by for lunch. Even if you are not in SoHo, we think it’s a well spent cab ride downtown;)
TIP: Skeptical about the coconut-milk soup? Not to worry. Everything we have ever tried at Mercer Kitchen has been delicious. We also love the Mercer Burger and the Steamed Shrimp Salad. The menu is practically fool-proof and you can’t go wrong with whatever you order.
TIP: Right outside Mercer Kitchen (even in winter) is Christine, a street vendor who sells fun and fabulous bracelets for nearly nothing. Not only will Christine take credit cards but her bracelets are guaranteed and she will either fix them or replace them should they break. They make great gifts for the peeps back home;)
The Standard Grill at the Standard Hotel, High Line in the Meatpacking District was yet another Fashion Week discovery a few years back and we have been returning with each visit ever since, no matter the weather. There is always a buzz in this happening spot and it’s our classic, go-to lunch place when meeting up with our friends from the city.
We love both the food and the service at the Standard Grill. Some of our favorites include the burger with fries, the lobster roll and the tuna salad but with so many options on the menu you just can’t miss. The waitstaff is friendly and efficient with one just as beautiful as the last. We have never had anything but great service here and they do their very best to accommodate special requests.
It’s location, right in the heart of the Meatpacking District, makes this spot ideal. Just take a cab to the Standard High Line, have lunch and then walk across the street to Scoop NYC, Sephora and to nearby Kiehl’s, Chelsea Market, La Perla and many other great boutiques and art galleries. When it’s not freezing cold, we never miss a chance to walk along the High Line for a great perspective on the city.
TIP: The Standard Grill is especially exciting during New York Fashion Week in early September. The weather is warm and the entire Standard Hotel, High Line is alive with fashionistas, models and photographers who are all out and about. The people watching and the outfits are second to none and it was here, on the hotel rooftop, that we attending our very first NYFW fashion show
Step foot into Miss Lily’s while in NYC and you will instantly be carried away to the Caribbean. It always does the trick to put us in a carefree, warm weather mood regardless of whatever may be happening just outside.
The food is amazing and fresh and it is easy to eat healthy here. We always start with the ackee dip and plantain chips to put us in a Jamaican state of mind. Our favorites on the menu include the fish tacos, the West Indian curry vegetable stew and sides of sweet plantains and jerk fries. We haven’t been brave enough just yet to venture into the goat arena that comes highly recommended but we will let you know if and when we do! The fruity cocktails add to the vacation mode but you can also get one of Melvin’s tasty organic juices if you’re trying to be good.
We love to go to Miss Lily’s for dinner, the crowd is like no other in the city and we always feel like we’re stepping into a cozy after-party when we arrive. Whenever we have been to Miss Lily’s the crowd has been a fun mix of laid-back rockers (Mick Jagger and Paul Stanley to name a few), Rastafarians and locals that all seem to be catching on to the Jamaican stress-free vibe. The reggae music spun by the in-house DJ takes the experience to a whole other level and the walls are covered with Jamaican music album covers spanning over 50 years. The checkered floors and the vinyl booths add to ambiance of this very special place.
If the food, the crowd and the ambiance aren’t enough to get you to Miss Lily’s, we know what will. A portion of the profits from the restaurant go to the Rockhouse Foundation. The Rockhouse Foundation is a charity that transforms and improves the places where Jamaican children learn and it also supports their teachers. We all win by eating at Miss Lily’s:)
TIP: Miss Lily’s gets packed and stays that way all night. If you’re not feeling as laid back as the rest of the Miss Lily’s crowd, it’s best to make a reservation to cut down on the wait time.
With our tried and true favorites in hand, we see no reason to stay away from New York this winter (0r ever).
Go to NYC whenever opportunity knocks.