When I was 14-years-old my parents took my sister and I on a major family holiday to New York City. We stayed on the Upper West Side, across the road from a huge food market where you could buy everything from rice pudding in a cup, to toffee apples, to single serve packets of minced garlic. I was captivated by the grown-upness of it all.
The first day we walked outside our hotel onto the wide, leafy streets (me wearing a 50s-style purple floral dress I’d borrowed from a friend for the specific occasion of ‘My First Day In New York’), a woman with three dogs on leashes rolled by on a pair of roller-skates, turned back and yelled to me, ‘Kick ass dress dude!’. Since that very first moment, living in New York City was the only thing I could think about. I dreamed about it. I drew it. I wrote stories about it. And ten years after that trip, I finally did it.
Living in New York was simultaneously unlike anything I could have imagined, but also somehow exactly as I thought it would be. Unexpected things affected me in ways I didn’t anticipate. I hadn’t anticipated how lonely I would feel. I didn’t fully grasp the extremity between the sticky heat of summer and the bitterness of winter. I’d never even seen a rat until I had to run past them crawling outside the trash cans of my first apartment.
And yet, exactly as I’d imagined, walking down the street everyday felt like a movie – in fact – often times you DID stumble onto a movie set. The people were brash, no-bullshit, and some of the best I’ve ever met. Anyone who’s moved to New York goes there for much the same reason, and while there is a huge amount of diversity on every spectrum, those big New York City dreams are the one thing that binds everyone together.
Everyone has their ‘spots’ in New York, and there are constantly new things to discover. From a creative perspective, there is nowhere more inspiring. Here are some of my favourite design-focused spots.
TDF’s editorial assistant, Sally Tabart, sitting on the stoop of her old apartment in Brooklyn. Photo – Isabelle Barbier.
A true knick-knack treasure trove on the Lower East Side. Photo – courtesy of Coming Soon NY.
Coming Soon mixes a range of designer objects with high-quality, vintage furniture. Photo – courtesy of Coming Soon NY.
Down the stairs is a little gallery space where Dowel Jones debuted his collection for New York Design Week! Photo – Brooke Holm for The Design Files.
Dimes Market Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
Dimes was opened by two friends, Alissa Wagner and Sabrina De Sousa, in 2015. Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
Dimes is known for their delish health-conscious menu and chill vibe (…and heaps of good-looking clientele!). Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
If the restaurant’s busy, they also have a sister cafe around the corner, Dimes Deli. Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
Perfect lunch or dinner spot! Photo – courtesy of Dimes NY.
A neighbourhood favourite in Chinatown. Photo – Yudi Ela.
This cute little Bushwick gallery always has a show worth visiting. Photo – courtesy of Fisher Parrish.
‘Character of Color Phenomena’ (vessel) by Sarah Zapata and ‘Karaoke Utopia’ by Al Baio, part of ‘In My Dreams’ show curated by Aria McManus in mid-2018. Photo – courtesy of Fisher Parrish.
‘Wide Side Table’ by Zach Martin (sculpture), ‘They’re the ones that drove me out of this town’ by Aaron Elvis Jupin, part of ‘Familiars’ show by Zach Martin and Aaron Elvis Jupin. Photo – courtesy of Fisher Parrish.
Exhibition still of ‘Hardly Together’ by ‘Field Experiments’. Photo – courtesy of Fisher Parrish.
The bright and beautiful Williamsburg store! Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
A curated selection of handmade home goods. Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
The store was started by jewellery designer Caitlin Mociun Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
Taking mental notes for future home inspo! Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
Midnight pasta? This is the spot! Photo – Adrian Mesko.
Primo’s only opened a few months ago in the Fredrick Hotel in TriBeca. Photo – Adrian Mesko.
Model Camille Deterre designed the popular Tribeca bar. Photo – Adrian Mesko.
Tictail Market sits on Orchard and Broome streets – one of my favourite corners downtown! Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
The fashion and homewares store is worth a trip for the interiors alone. Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.
The Broome street facade has a rotating mural – this one’s by Photo – Nancy Mitchell for The Design Files.