Although I was born in Nashville, I think I’ve been a New York Stylista at heart since birth. My first visits to NYC were to spend time with my godmother who lived and still lives in the East Village. I fell in love with the City at the age of four and it’s been a torrid love affair ever since.
There’s so much more to New York City than what you see on tv and in the movies or online for that matter. Today, I’m sharing 5 hidden gems (a few are in plain sight) that any New York stylista with her weight in salt knows about.
1. Sample Sales
It’s nothing to walk down the street in New York City and see some of the most seemingly effortlessly fashionable and stylish folks, women and men. Pre-pandemic, New Yorkers gave their counterparts in Milan, Paris, and Tokyo a run for their money.
How do New Yorkers do it? Sample sales! I don’t care how much money you do or don’t have, sample sales are a way of life in NYC. I have waited online (sometimes for hours) to get into sample sales, and in communal dressing rooms, with celebrities and socialites alike. All New York Stylistas know that the BEST time to go to a sample sale is between the hours of 2 and 4pm unless there’s something you’re dying to have. If so, you have to get online early before the doors open and wait it out.
Why are sample sales so popular? There’s just something about getting a deal! And let’s be honest, designer clothes, jewelry, and handbags are expensive. There’s an art to mastering sample sales, but I’ll save that for another post. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss that!
But before a New York Stylista can master a sample sale, you need to know how to find them.
How To Find NYC Sample Sales
I’m going to date myself here, but before Instagram, there was something called Daily Candy. Daily Candy was a daily NYC newsletter that anyone who was someone figured out how to get an invitation to join. Daily Candy had the 411 on all of the hottest sample sales – everyone from Cynthia Rowley and Tracey Reese to Hermes. Yes, even Hermes had sample sales.
2. The Subway
The subway is the quickest way to get around the city and from borough to borough (i.e., from Manhattan to Brooklyn). I know, on tv it looks like people take cabs everywhere or have unlimited Uber accounts, and some do … but, most of us take the subway on the regular. It’s fast, reliable, and relatively clean. However, our underground is nothing like the pristine cars I rode in Asia, and I doubt they will ever be. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to be stuck in traffic, take the subway.
3. Ballet Barre Classes
Working out is a way of life in a city like Miami. Looking like you workout is the thing in NYC. A gym membership is de regiour – private gyms, yoga studios, and popular gyms like Equinox. But, if you want to slim down your hips and tighten your gluttes for that perfect New York Stylista silhouette it’s all about ballet barre classes.
There are two popular studios – Physique57 and Core Fusion. And now gyms like Equinox are offering barre classes too. Typically, classes are $30 – $35 a pop. You can also buy monthly passes that generally take the price per class down to $20 if you maximize it.
What Is Ballet Barre?
Ballet Barre classes focus on muscle fatigue, plain and simple. Physique57 is based on The Lotte Berk method (a fitness studio that offered the eponymous technique created in the 1950s by a former ballet dancer). The Lotte Berk Method combines elements from modern & classical dance, orthopedic back exercises, and Hatha yoga. Seems like a lot, right? Ballet barre classes are generally low-impact, but extraordinarily effective workout routines that firm, lengthen, and shape muscles to their optimal form. Sounds like fun? Some might think it’s easy-peasy …. not so much. Physique57 is one of the most challenging workouts I’ve ever done.
My first P57 class, as I affectionately call, it was Spring 2009. I stayed in the beginner classes until a few years ago, and quite frankly I prefer the beginner classes. You spend the first 10-15 minutes warming up using weights and light cardio moves. Then you move to the barre for 15 minutes where the focus is on shaping your butt and thighs – when your legs are burning and shaking, that’s when the change is happening.
The barre workout is followed by floor work with a focus on abs. It may sound a little bit crazy, but as a woman with an ample rump, I can tell you if you do P57 at least 2x while maintaining a normal workout routine you will see a difference in as little as 4 weeks. And the good thing is if you’re not in NYC, you can sign up for their online classes.
4. Coffee Shops
New York City is one of those places that has coffee shops of all kinds on all levels all over the place. When I first moved to New York, it was cool to go to the coffee truck outside of the office to get your morning fix in that ubiquitous blue cup. Then Starbucks popped up on every corner and began to cut in on the coffee truck guys. Now, there are literally 3 or 4 coffee shops on some blocks. What I love is that there’s a coffee spot for everyone. In our building with 6 units, every single person goes to a different coffee shop. I know this because being the New York Stylista I am, of course I asked!
Grandaisy, my favorite coffee shop, is not particularly fancy or even super cute, but the coffee is great and the staff is wonderful. I’ve been going there for so long that they know me, my order, and my husband when he shows up to get my coffee.
Reaons I love Grandaisy? I’ve done photo shoots there, I created a limited edition coffee sleeve for them and they start making my coffee the moment they see me walking in. I wish I could say my experience is unique, but it’s not. This is one of the many reasons I love NYC. Ask just about any New York coffee drinker about their coffee shop, particularly a New York Stylista, and they too will wax poetic.
5. Hidden Gems
Every stylista has a favorite spot or two that she frequents and pulls out when friends come to town or on special occasions. My two faves are both bars that one might pass by and be none the wiser. If you’ve come to New York and not had a good meal or ended up at a touristy cocktail bar, I’m sorry but it happens. It’s hard to know where to go when there are so many neighborhoods and spots to check out. The New York Times usually has good picks and so do websites like Eater, but you get the best insider info from insiders.
If you love classic cocktails, you have to add The Brandy Library to your list. The Brandy Library is a clubby, refined bar & lounge specializing in rare spirits with an eclectic menu of small plates. The gougères are divine as are the lambs in a basket. The book everyone goes to check out is the fat-bound menu showcasing refined cognacs rustic Calvados, and just about anything else you could think of, including more than 115 classic and house cocktails. Honestly, at one point BL was like our version of Cheers; we even took our engagement photos here.
My other ace-in-the-hole is Grand Banks Oyster Bar. Head on over to Redfin to read what I had to say about this unique spot on the Hudson River.
From One Stylista To Another
These are the top 5 things that I truly believe every New York Stylista knows or should know about! From sample sales to hidden gems – armed with this list you are well on your way to conquering the city that never sleeps!
Is there anything I missed? Let me know down below! I’m always on the hunt for new spots in the city.
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