New York City is everything you have seen in movies and more. There is so much to see and do, even if the temperature outside is below zero.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been exploring the City, as NYC is known, with some of my friends. So I wanted to share with you pictures from some of the restaurants and stores I’ve been to.
New York is famous for its restaurants. It is not unusual to bump into a movie star or your favourite musician while you enjoy your supper. Unfortunately, I am yet to see anybody famous, but I know it’s going to happen soon.
The City is every fashionista and shopaholic’s paradise. There are designer stores at every corner, and while some items are beyond my budget, when they have a sale it’s real!
SA entertainment reporter Nadia Neophytou moved here recently and we made a deal to meet once a week to explore and soak up the culture.
This past Thursday Nadia & I met at Paris Commune, a French bistro in the West Village. She told me that it was co-owned by a South African, Hugo Uys. But apparently the Americans pronounce his surname as “Ice”. LOL! Mr Ice was not there, so we didn’t meet him.
The restaurant was pretty empty at 13h30 when we sat down and eerily quiet with no overhead music playing, but we could see that it was fashionable enough to attract the trendy Village crowd at night.
We loved the interior and the New England clam chowder I had was delicious. Will definitely be returning here, hopefully when there’s more life.
After lunch, we walked over to Marc Jacobs across the street for a bit of shopping and got cute rain boots for $29. What a steal! They’re taking pics of everyone that comes in the store and display them on the window. So Nadia & I took one with a model.
My second stop was Soho for a late lunch at Balthazar, another French bistro, with my other home-girl, Buhle Mkhize. Compared to Paris Commune, Balthazar was packed.
Loved the place. The service was great, the food was great. Really liked that the waitor was familiar with the whole menu and when he was going on a break, he came over to let us know who his replacement would be.
Since the restaurant is on the same street as the Kardashian sisters’ Dash store, we decided to head on over there. So while Kim and Khloe were partying it up in Mzansi, we were checking out their store in Soho.
I know the store only recently opened, but their selection is pretty limited and disappointing. I don’t think they were ready to open just yet. The window display is unexciting, to say the least, with undressed mannequins and no proper signage outside. You could literally just walk past thinking they are still setting up.
The store is quite small but has so many shop assistants (DASH dolls) following you around asking if you need help.
Buhle bought me this Dash tee as a Christmas gift
It’s cute and I love it, the perfect gift for a fan, but rather overpriced at $60. Most of the clothes were way more expensive than you would expect. I mean, Marc Jacobs, an established designer, has gorgeous tees for $35!
On a more exciting note: while waiting to pay at the cash register we discovered that the girl standing next to us was from South Africa. *Hugs all round* It’s always so cool to meet people from home.
Deandra and her friend Danielle are here on holiday.
And other places I’ve gone to in the past few months…
Madiba Restaurant in Brooklyn is one place I know I will always go to when I miss home. I’ve been there three times now.
The first time it was about a month after we arrived and I was just feeling so homesick, so we went to the spaza shop at Madiba to stock up on some Mzansi goodies.
The spaza shop is pretty pricey, but understandably so. We paid over $200 for two bags of groceries, but it was worth it.
The next time we went there my cousin Xoli Peters was visiting from Atlanta and she’d always wanted to check out Madiba, so we took her there for supper. I had a bunny chow, FDH had samp (and now he wants me to make it for Christmas). Xoli and my daughter both had fish & chips. The food was simply delicious, you would swear a mama from home had made it, but nope, they have Mexican chefs maing South African cuisine
Two weeks ago I went with my friends Buhle and Sihle Vezi. We had just been at another restaurant for Buhle’s birthday dinner, so we sat at the bar at Madiba and chatted to the owner Mark Henegan and his brother Dennis, who was manning the bar that night. We felt like princesses.
Mark and Dennis introduced us to everyone who walked into the restaurant, “These beautiful ladies are from home”. We sang along to Bongo Maffin and danced to Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi. It was a beautiful night.
Before heading to Madiba, the girls and I had supper at an upscale Italian restaurant Cipriani, which is reportedly one of Beyonce & Jay-Z’s favourite hangouts.
I loved the atmosphere at Cipriani, although it was a little crowded by the time we left.
Nadia and I met for lunch at this famous restaurant & bar earlier this month. The Coffee Shop on Union Square in Manhattan was featured on Sex and the City several times. Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha were seen lunching at the Coffee Shop in some episodes of the popular TV programme.
It’s a cute place, but nothing really special about it except the Sex and the City connection.
GOTHAM BAR & GRILL
On my way to Gotham for lunch with Buhle I walked past Forbes Magazine on 5th Avenue. Started humming the Bruno Mars, I wanna be a billionaire so frecken bad, tune
Gotham on East 12th Street in Manhattan is the kind of place you wanna take your significant other to for your anniversary or a very special occasion. The patrons have “wealthy” written all over their faces.
On the way to the restaurant you walk past fancy apartment buildings with doormen and rich women walking out dressed to the nines to walk their poodles.
New York Magazine described Gotham‘s cuisine as American Nouveau.
That’s it for now, but my friend Musa Shongwe arrives here on Sunday from Texas to spend Christmas and New Year with us. I’ll be taking her around the City, so check in again soon to see what we got up to.
As my best girlfriend would say, “Girl, you fancy.”
I tend to frequent the places that sell bootleg sunglasses in Chinatown and the hole-in-the-wall joints. There’s a club you must go to if you like musical theater–it’s a piano bar–in Chelsea, I think? I just remember the crowd was heavily ***–where the pianist plays showtunes and the crowd, which usually includes a few Broadway folk, sings along.
I’m in NYC the last few days of December (roughly Dec 28-Jan 2 I think) so we need to plan our meetup!
Aah Leesh!! NYC sounds like a dream! Thanks to you I’ve now added Madiba Restaurant onto my itinerary. I would ask you for a guided tour but seems like you have your hands full during this festive season, so maybe next time. Stay out of the cold:-))
@Shans: Do you remember the name of the club? Would love to go. I also need to check out some jazz and poetry clubs. Will e-mail you about our meet-up. Can’t wait to see you. Yay!
@Sammy: You know if you were here I’d not hesitate to give you a guided tour…well, the little that I’ve discovered You guys planning to visit here? Please do! I thin it’s colder in London than it is here, so YOU stay out of the cold. LOL.