Today, at 8 degrees below freezing, I bring you the two things New Yorkers hate more than anything: bin juice snow, as Major and I have decided to baptise it, and Times Square.
And I can see why.
The first is more life threatening than it is disgusting (literally the dregs of the city, frozen over in all its polluted glory), not to mention how redundant the expected cool factor of your multi-trench coat layering becomes as black ice and half frozen gutter puddles break your stride into jolting Jack Skellington gestures. I’ve had my fair share of plunging ankle-deep through what had looked like concrete on the surface, but was actually Elsa masquerading as bitumen. One of those times, I was in heels. I was not ok, and clearly have not let it go.
The second is just a hot mess, with very little more explanation required. As expected of any tourist destination of unjustified novelty, having a mission in a five block radius of this charmingly seedy stretch of flashing lights (flashing lights) is impossible. Whenever I’m immobilised between two large families selfie-sticking it up with the Coca Cola sign while trying to pick up samples, I think of the poor messengers who spend all those years crying in and out of Condé Nast’s 4 Times Square building.
We thank you for your service.
Anyhow, it would seem that I have not learned any lessons from my previous post-blizzard failures in New York. Here I am, in Times Square after a fitting, without lunch (and so resorting to a five dollar falafel wrap), in stilettos (don’t be fooled by their sex appeal – the neoprene does nothing in protection from the elements). Thank God for the 1 train.
On the upside, I have mastered the art of conquering this city’s midtown wind tunnels. The key seems to be a trench coat with padded lining, under another seedier, more oversized trench that I probably should have ironed, with a leather jacket to block out what’s left of the chill, and boots made for storming between the corporate lunch-goers.
So, the moral of the story is that rather than trying to tell you about what I didn’t do around Times Square, it’s probably more productive to direct you further downtown to my favourite spots. Apparently, all I do is eat:
Saigon Shack is our new favourite Vietnamese place near where we’re staying. It’s hard to beat the phở in Sydney (and I’m sure, Vietnam, though I’m yet to have the privilege of visiting), but the vegetarian phở here puts up a decent fight for a sweet $9, with flavours well worth the wait on a Friday night.
Grand Bar and Club Room at the Soho Grand Hotel for sweet potato fries, ginger lemonade (there’s also a gin cocktail version for those of you so inclined), and moody Edison filament bulbs. Desert wise, you need to get involved with their soufflé and cheesecake.
Cookshop is essentially foolproof. There is nothing average about that menu. I once scheduled three meetings in a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) here, much to the amusement of the staff, and the satisfaction of my stomach. My usual go-to is the mezze plate, which is their best vegetarian option, and the easiest to pick at over the course of a semi-important conversation.
Friedman’s Lunch in Chelsea Market makes NYC’s winning brown rice bowl, which you can add chicken or tofu to, should you be starving. That is all I ever have and will order there, and I’m ok with that.
The Cupping Room Cafe is my run-by iced chai latte spot, or if I have some time to burn, it’s either the grilled vegetables with brown rice, or the (enormous – I warned you) Middle Eastern Platter.
Soho Park’s iced tea and veggie burger, when you’re exhausted from underestimating a massive walk, is incomparable. The service is nothing special, nor is the setting. This is no fancy, gourmet, VSCO Cam situation – just a damn good burger, and a pink drink in a cup.
Miss Lily’s not only makes you feel incredibly uncool (I will never have gloriously long Barbadian braids) – it also gets you hooked on their smoothies and jerk tofu dishes. Exhibit A: I haven’t stopped going back for five years, now.
Over and out, mates. It’s midnight. I have a multiple editorial shoot day kicking off in less than seven hours.
Kenzo Trench Coat – UNIQLO x Ines de la Fressange Trench Coat – Yigal Azrouel Chunky Slub Knit Turtleneck – Laer Leather Jacket – Rebecca Vallance Leather Trousers – H&M x Alexander Wang Boots – Givenchy Mini Lucrezia Bag – ASOS Cable Knit Pom Pom Beanie – Coach Leather Gloves