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NYC Pairings: The Fashionista

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NYC Pairings: The Fashionista

NYC Pairings: The Fashionista is a New York City pairing for those who love all things fashion and design.

City Pairings offer thematic itineraries, seasonally adjusted, that answer the six core questions of travel: Where should I stay? What should I do? What should I see? Where should I eat? What should I drink? and What should I buy?

A Place to Stay:

The Plaza Hotel
The grandeur and opulence of The Plaza Hotel is recognized around the world. Aside from being one of the most famous 5-star hotels in New York, The Plaza Hotel has been providing timeless service and unsurpassed elegance since the doors first opened in 1907. This Central Park-side resident is listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places alongside other noted landmarks such as the Empire State Building. Rich in New York history, this grand hotel boasts royalty, presidents and celebrities on the guest list.

NYC Pairings: The Fashionista

Things to See & Do:

With the major winter sales underway in November and December and post-Christmas sales in January, it might be challenging to pull oneself away from the shops over the next few months. However, here are some options should you shop-and-drop and require a little respite.

View the Christmas Window Displays

In the late 1800’s, New York’s finest retailers began to use Christmas window displays as a means to attract customers during the busiest shopping season of the year. Many of New York’s major hotels and office buildings joined in to make the city one big winter wonderland. The installation of the displays begin mid-November and are usually completed by the Thanksgiving weekend which marks the official launch of the Christmas holiday season.

Click here for the Interactive Christmas Windows Walking Tour Map. The POPS spaces (see next piece) are reliable spots to see many fabulous displays.

NYC Pairings: The Fashionista

Explore the Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS)

POPS are one of the city’s best kept secrets. According to the Municipal Art Society (MAS) NYC website: Privately-owned Public Space is “a plaza, arcade, or other outdoor or indoor space provided for public use by a private office or residential building owner in return for a zoning concession.” There are about 525 such properties in New York City, covering 82 acres throughout the city.

When the weather turns nasty, it’s possible to hop between the POPS to sit, socialize, join Meetups, eat, drink, shop, people-watch, play chess, read and relax, all without spoiling your Manolos. Many of the spaces are architectural marvels and contain water features, light shows, exotic plants and feature luxury building materials and amenities. Here is the a map of all of the properties.

NYC Pairings: The Fashionista
Paley Park is a gorgeous outdoor space, particularly dramatic at night

The Fashion Institute of Technology 

227 W. 27th

The Museum at FIT: It bills itself as “The Most Fashionable Museum in NYC”

From the website: For the 100,000 people who visit The Museum at FIT each year, we work to create exhibitions, programs, and publications that are both entertaining and educational. The mission of the Museum is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, programs and publications.

The museum’s permanent collection encompasses some 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present. Important designers such as Adrian, Balenciaga, Chanel, and Dior are represented. The collecting policy of the museum focuses on aesthetically and historically significant directional clothing, accessories, textiles and visual materials, with emphasis on contemporary avant-garde fashion. 

FIT Events Calendar: The calendar is a monthly list of lectures, book launches, panel discussions and hands-on workshops that are open to the public.

Something to Drink:

While there are hundreds of post-modern minimalist spots to choose from, if you like to dress up beyond the basic black and go out, here are a few dramatic (and iconic) spots for pre- or post-dinner drinks, all within several blocks of The Plaza Hotel. Because if you can’t dress up in New York City, then where can you dress up?

The Champagne Bar @ The Plaza
From the website:The Champagne Bar began as the Champagne Porch, which was introduced with the hotel’s opening in 1907. The Porch was a seasonal outdoor restaurant with only ten tables, patronized by the likes of Diamond Jim Brady and the Prince of Wales. Today’s Champagne Bar was beautifully renovated in 2014 and is located adjacent to The Plaza’s lobby and Fifth Avenue foyer.

Overlooking Fifth Avenue and the Pulitzer fountain, the Champagne Bar is a fabulously elegant dining venue. Celebrate by night with the finest champagne, caviar and wines. By day, indulge in freshly baked pastries, light gourmet fare, and specialty coffees.

Inside the Parker Meridien Hotel, 119 W. 56th
A cross between an Italian palazzo, a medieval castle and a theater set, the Knave bar, in the back lobby of the Parker Meridien Hotel, is enchanting. The room is long and narrow and the ceiling high with walls encrusted with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The space is also a thoroughfare, though not in an intrusive way, which makes it great for people-watching. It’s all antique velvet seating, Persian carpets, candles and the largest chandeliers you will likely ever see in your life. The cocktails are the star of the show.

The Bar at Clement @ The Peninsula
700 5th Avenue at 55th
From the website:The Bar at Clement overlooks Fifth Avenue and provides a chic and seductive setting for intimate cocktails and light, Asian-inspired bites. 

The modern lounge space with dimmed lights, leather banquettes and cozy nooks complement rich tones of tobacco and cognac while a stunning cocktail menu features a selection of fresh, organic signature concoctions that will surprise and delight even the most discerning connoisseur. A must try is the Sassafras Cobbler which consists of Dickel Rye sassafras leaves and pickled blueberries.

The space is smallish and cozy, filled with a fairly eclectic clientele and set inside a gorgeous hotel. The bartenders are on top of their game and the service is impeccable.

Somewhere to Eat:

The Palm Court at the Plaza
Eloise had it right, the Plaza would be an amazing place to live year round. But for most guests, their stay is a luxury and afternoon tea at The Palm Court a must. Reservations are required. When tea is done walk up to the mezzanine for a fabulous lobby view and a peek around the luxurious Assouline book shop.

The Todd English Food Hall 
Located in the “basement” of the Plaza, this Food Hall is utterly unlike the food court at your local (even high-end) mall.
From the website:The Todd English Food Hall — a European-inspired specialty food hall — offers the finest fresh, prepared, and gourmet foods. Designed by renowned architect Jeffrey Beers, The Todd English Food Hall mirrors the aesthetics of the finest food specialty markets throughout the world. The global architecture is reflected in mosaic marble floors, elegant wood paneling, ceramic backdrops and stained-glass windows.

Known for his interpretation of rustic Mediterranean cuisine, Chef Todd English expands his culinary borders to international flavors, creating a true dine-around experience among the nine diverse food stations (Ocean Grill & Oyster Bar, Noodle & Dumpling Bar, Pasta Bar, Sushi Bar, The Grill, Taqueria, Pizza, Cheese & Charcuterie, Wine Bar and Patisserie). You can join us here, entertain, or take us out, so why would you go anywhere else?

With an extensive selection of offerings, it’s a great place to stop for a quick snack, dessert, food to takeaway or a full sit-down meal.

Le Train Bleu
6th floor, Bloomingdales
Ah, a secret that’s not really a secret! Le Train Bleu is modelled on a real luxury train car which plied its trade along the rail routes of the south coast of France during the heyday of train travel. Tucked away in the back of the 6th floor (housewares), one mounts a flight of stairs, takes a left down a hallway and steps into the railcar and back in time. The tables are dressed in white linen and silver, the food excellent and served with care by servers who have worked there for years, if not decades. It’s a study in character and an excellent place for Ladies Who Lunch (and men, too) and makes a memorable stop for a special event.

The only downside? After decades of service, the restaurant is slated to close after Christmas. There are store renovations taking place and rumours swirling that Le Train Bleu may soon be gone forever…

NYC Pairings: The Fashionista

NYC Pairings: The Fashionista

Michelin-Starred Restaurants & Bib Gourmand
You’re probably familiar with the Michelin-starred rating system, but did you know about their Bib Gourmand collection? Bib Gourmands are restaurants that serve excellent but more affordable food and drinks within a price range that is set for each market ie. $40 for a two-course meal and a glass of wine. Click on the link for a map of Michelin-rated restaurants in the five boroughs.

Something to Buy:

Clothes shopping is such a personal undertaking it’s impossible to make specific recommendations here. Of course there is 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue and all kinds of designer brands in Chelsea. But every borough offers a range of shopping options including their own specialities. Mr. Google will be your best friend to find exactly what you’re looking for and your hotel concierge can offer suggestions for your particular neighborhood.

Many museum gift shops offer interesting jewelry, scarves and other items at a range of price points, most often quite different from what you’ll find at regular retailers (plus you can visit the gift shops without paying admission to the museums.) They’re also an invaluable shopping resource for gift-giving for those hard to buy for people.

Happy shopping!

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