Recent Posts

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

This pandemic is the worst – words I never thought I’d say. In a span of six months, we have locked down and sanitized every corner of our lives. Children have been pulled from schools, jobs have been lost, living rooms have been turned into co-working spaces, mass commutes are a thing of the past (I hope), warm embraces and touch have been replaced with awkward waves and elbow bumps, gone are the days of the pub, gone are the days of fast dating and fast travel, television and film productions have been put on hold, as well as live entertainment, beloved American sports may or may not return, the gym, flirting with strangers, sleepless nights in New York and big city dreams have all been cancelled or, at the least, have been put on PAUSE.

Yes, this pandemic has taken away so much from us and, clearly, some have paid a higher price than others, but, in my hopes of finding a silver lining or causality in all of this, perhaps, this crisis, in return, has given us other things?

While the inability to move around and live as we please is both uncomfortable and different, perhaps, this PAUSE is just what our fast world needed. 

They say there is a paradigm shift (aka change in status quo) every twenty years or so, some big, some small. These shifts which can happen in any one area of expertise or industry or all (say, in science, technology, medicine, policy, law and, even, fashion), dictate our way of life. Remember when we went from believing the Earth was flat to believing it was round? Yep, that was a massive paradigm shift and, surely, a series of events led up to that change in thinking.

Now, right now, something is happening, our way of life pre-Corona was forced to a halt. We got so good at being fast, it literally made us sick. The wheels in the well-oiled machine have hit a snag and the machine is no longer working. We are now being forced to address issues of quality-control in what we eat, in our leaders, in our healthcare systems, in our workforce and, once again, in how we treat one another. We are in the ultimate “time out” and we can either clean up our act or lose more lives, we can either clean up our act or hurt our economies even further, we can either clean up our act or never comfortably leave the house again. We can either clean up our act or be shit people instead of decent people.

In the meantime, life is not over and, surely, we can revisit the simple life for a brief moment in history while we innovate.

Furthermore, while making money is good, so is being kind and so is treating animals with respect and so is caring for the planet and caring for each other (#blacklivesmatter) and caring for ourselves. We’ve been living unkindly for so long that assholery is normal and civility is odd. We’ve been living unkindly for so long that several would rather thousands die instead of wearing a mask.

I don’t know what the answers are, but I hope there is something to learn from this disruption. I hope we are able to extract some good from the bad. While well wishes and positivity will never bring back the lives that have been lost in this pandemic, I hope we hear the call to action and, collectively, make the choice to redesign our lives. I hope there is something to learn from this massive existential crisis. Until then, I hope we find ways to live with intention and reconnect with whatever quietly gives us meaning and purpose.

Yours truly.

 

Kimpton Gray Hotel

Kimpton Gray Hotel

Considered one of the best hotels in Chicago, the Kimpton Gray Hotel, also known as The Gray, is best known for its opulence and exquisite on-site dining and amenities. Situated in the Financial District and located in the historic New York Life Insurance Building, The Gray is grand and lavish, but also timely and accessible. It’s a popular option for weddings and special occasions because of its marble entryway, but also a hip and happening spot for happy hours and hangouts.

Despite being named after the Georgia Gray marble that lines its walls and its grand staircase (a masterpiece), there’s nothing gray or dull about the Kimpton Gray Hotel. On several levels of the property, you’ll find a number of entertainment options. For starters, there’s the nightly wine hour hosted by the hotel – a great way to meet other guests and interact with the concierge team (so friendly, so helpful.) On the same level, there’s Vol. 39, a chic respite featuring bar-cart service and small bites in a bookish setting. A few stories up, there’s my personal favorite, Boleo, a rooftop bar and lounge with delicious South American eats and a sultry playlist underneath the Chicago night sky. As per the Boleo website, “the massive retractable glass roof keeps the vibe warm no matter the season.” Amen, who needs the club?

If chill house music isn’t your thing, no worries. You can always head back downstairs for some quiet reading time in the hotel’s stately lobby. Hmm, just don’t forget to leave before 5pm, that’s when the boozier crowd comes down to get their wine. Or, you can borrow a hotel bike and take a leisurely stroll through town. Down time can’t get any easier.

Another feat, concierge is always ready to help—like really help. Forgot an item at home? No worries, just send them a friendly text and they’ll deliver your travel essential in a beat. Unreal, but fabulous.  

Equal parts elegance and equal parts comfort, the Kimpton Gray hotel is a top choice in the Windy City. Located in Chicago’s historic loop, the Gray hotel is also within walking distance to many of the city’s main attractions. Go watch Hamilton at the CIBC Theatre or grab brunch at The Gage located on Magnificent Mile (order the Corned Beef Hash, it’s heaven). Go to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the best of civilization or plan a picnic along Lake Michigan.

Like most American cities, you’ll soon understand Chicago isn’t a city you visit only once. It’s a city with multiple layers and fragments, rich in diversity – architecturally, culturally and otherwise. It’s a city full of culture, history, food, art, entertainment and natural beauty and the Kimpton Gray Hotel is there to ease you into your fascination with the city and welcome you back each time you return.

Thank you to Kimpton Gray Hotel.

Address

122 W. Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603

Call

(312) 750-9012

Web

www.grayhotelchicago.com

Kimpton Nine Zero

Kimpton Nine Zero

New York City may be America’s cultural tipping point, however, Boston is the birthplace of the American Revolution. It was in Boston one fateful night that Paul Revere set off into the midnight to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the approaching British troops. If it were not for this famous ride and the disgruntled colonists who fought for freedom from British rule, then, perhaps, American History might be much different.

Sure, many subsequent battles were lost and won in New York City and it is where General George Washington became the First President of the United States, however, no battle did more for the American Revolution than the one that began it.

It’s hard to visit Boston and not see this action play out before your eyes. From the architecture, to the tours, to, even, the restaurants (go to Union Oyster House to visit the longest running restaurant in America; also known for regulars John F. Kennedy and Daniel Webster), everything in Boston is rich in history.

On a different note, it’s also a very modern city with vast dining, shopping, nightlife and entertainment options. It’s one of few cities that can offer the charm and quaintness of a quintessential New England town and, also, the vibrancy and effervescence of a metropolis.

During a few warm and sunny days in February (unusual, I know), I was lucky to stay at Kimpton Nine Zero, a chic boutique hotel located in the Downtown Boston area and down the street from Boston Common. Located at 90 Tremont Street, Kimpton Nine Zero is close to many of Boston’s main attractions, but also offers swanky amenities and services for those that’d rather never leave the hotel (totally possible), such as a daily wine hour in the lobby for guests, in-room spa services and a dedicated pet concierge. While I love a good spa day, this was certainly not going to be the case on this trip, as the New England Patriots had just won the Superbowl and the entire city was getting ready to celebrate. Yankee or not, I’m no party pooper. Coincidentally, I got to the city in time to catch the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl Victory Parade, which was my first and, probably, favorite sporting event of any nature. Bostonian’s sure know how to party. Also, coincidentally, my hotel was located directly on the parade route meaning I had a good chance of viewing the parade from my hotel room. Touchdown.

Going to Boston is always a treat, especially when a stay means checking in at the Kimpton Nine Zero. The 190-room property is beautifully designed and features rich velvet drapes, deep dark leather and gold details to elevate your lodging experience – you’ll feel like royalty by the time you leave. While there are plenty of dining options in the area, a trip to Better Sorts Social Club is definitely worth some consideration – especially since it’s on the second floor of the hotel. Yep, this hip, gastropub is a member of the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group and, therefore, is within the building. As you can imagine, the restaurant is also beautifully designed with plush velvet chairs and tufted leather booths – it’s the perfect place to befriend a stranger or to try with a dinner companion.

There’s so much to love about Boston, as well as Kimpton Nine Zero – each new discovery is icing on the cake. Whether it’s the amenities, the stunning views of Boston at night or the fervor of sports fans, a trip to Boston is always a win-win.

It’s one of my favorite modern old cities in the U.S. and an easy destination to travel to and explore.

 

Thank you to Kimpton Nine Zero.

Address

90 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

Call

(617) 772-5800

Web

www.ninezero.com

Simon and the Whale

Simon and the Whale

There’s something about the American coast that evokes a sense of longing and nostalgia — something about growing up in a sleepy New England town meant for whale watching and harvesting the day’s catch. Imagine smoke, fog, cliffs, light houses and the crash of waves — this very something is what seafood menu dreams are made on.

Enter Simon and the Whale, the not-so-sleepy and charming “neighborhood bar” located within the popular Freehand New York hotel in the Flatiron District. Parts quaint, parts warmth, fully New York and oh-so-sophisticated, this restaurant and bar is, perhaps, restaurateur Gabriel Stulman’s answer to dining somewhere that feels very close to home.

Upon arrival, the restaurant feels very warm, dimly lit, the perfect place for reflection or a boozy night cap. The 76-seat restaurant space which features dark and moody wood-paneling, green tufted upholstery and brass light fixtures has a high-end feel, but is both warm and welcoming. Additionally, while the menu seems Mediterranean (which we also love), a closer look throws that notion out the window.

For starters, a must at Simon and the Whale is to try the restaurant’s trademark black bread (made of pumpernickel) served with taramasalata and smoked mussels served simply with wheat crackers (mmm). Or, if you’re like me and can’t wait til after dinner for dessert, order the sweet potato crostini to satisfy any sweet tooth craving. As far as entrees go, there’s more than one haunting meal. Try the ricotta gnocchi, squid ink tagliatelle (ah, squid ink) and the wild striped bass served in a warm and tasty tomato broth (yes, please)! There’s absolutely no room for ordering error, as this menu is nothing but delicious comfort food for busy New Yorkers.

Hmm, with a beautiful interior and an unfussy menu, Simon and the Whale provides the comfort and warmth of a childhood spent seaside or in a bed and breakfast town – whether you grew up by the sea or wish you did, Simon and the Whale proves it can transport one warm meal at a time.

Thank you to Simon and the Whale.

Address

23 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Call

(212) 475-1924

Hours

Monday – Friday: 8 AM to 11 PM

Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM to 11 PM

Web

www.satw.nyc

Freehand New York

Freehand New York

Located in the historic George Washington Hotel (a former boarding house and boot-legging distillery), the Freehand New York is a modern-day bohemian enclave providing locals and out-of-towners with a trendy and affordable lodging option.

This 395-room property brought to you by the Sydell group (also Nomad hotels, LINE Hotels), boasts rich architecture featuring high arches and marble columns, characteristic of the Italian Renaissance, as well as bright walls lined with artwork representing a touch of bohemia and in honor of the many famous writers, musicians, poets and painters that have lived in its walls. While a student at the School of Visual Arts, Keith Haring once lived in the historic Flatiron building. Furthermore, the hotel is integral to the artistic community and invites art majors and alumni from Bard College to create original work and exhibit throughout the property, including guest rooms. They even have yearly fellowships for recent graduates to live and work throughout the space – unreal. Befittingly, the entire hotel is reminiscent of a Pinterest board.

If the cool factor of sleeping in the dormitory of W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood isn’t enough, then, perhaps, the amenities of this hip and beautiful hotel will lure you in. Yep, this property is also the answer to every culture-thirsty millennial’s dream. Located on the 2nd level of the property is a sprawling co-working space retrofitted with beautiful mid-century furniture and lush greens. This space is open to the public, as is Studio, a North African bakery and café offering light bites, George Washington Bar, a dark and moody library bar serving cocktails and fancy eats, and Broken Shaker, a popular spinoff of the award-winning namesake bar in Miami and located on the rooftop. For a heavier meal, go downstairs and dine at restauranteur Gabriel Stulman’s Simon and the Whale, a neighborhood restaurant drawing inspiration from the American coasts.

Undoubtedly, The Freehand New York is a special place representing and honoring a cultural mecca from eras past. This bohemian hangout is an art gallery, co-working space and a cultural oasis. It is the answer to today’s digital nomad lifestyle and, thankfully, does not cut any corners. The Freehand Hotel knows its audience and makes it easy for them to be themselves.

Thank you to Freehand New York.

Address

23 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Call

(212) 475-1920

Web

www.freehandhotels.com

The Frederick Hotel

The Frederick Hotel

If you’re flying into New York for a few days or desperately in need of a staycation, stay at The Frederick Hotel in Lower Manhattan.

Centrally located in Tribeca, but easily accessible to any part of New York City through a multitude of options (try the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C trains or hop aboard a shuttle or bus for some sightseeing), The Frederick Hotel is the perfect option for exploring Lower Manhattan on foot, as well as other parts of the island.

Walk a few blocks South and spend the day at Westfield World Trade Center, the largest shopping complex in Manhattan and part of the Oculus transportation hub, or spend a quiet day at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and experience the calm and tranquility of the reflecting pools.

Walk west in the direction of the Hudson River to catch sailboat season in full swing, as well as come upon several lovely outdoor eateries. Or, discover more shopping at Brookfield Place and stroll through the atrium – it’s absolutely breathtaking.

If shopping isn’t really your thing, go on a few sightseeing adventures. Climb to the top of the tallest building in the United States (in 47 seconds, unreal) at One World Trade Center/ One World Observatory. Experience New York how you’ve never seen her before (360º) and See Forever™. If heights aren’t your thing, hop on a double decker bus (plenty depart from Lower Manhattan, off Broadway) or hitch a ride with Downtown Alliance’s Downtown Connection Bus, free bus service connecting Battery Park City to South Street Seaport through 36 destination stops, to get up close and personal with Manhattan while never leaving the ground. For more information on Downtown Alliance’s free shuttle bus, please visit www.downtownny.com/programs/downtown-connection-bus and download their Downtown Connection Map today.

If it’s your first time in New York, you’ll quickly discover New York has something for everybody. However, if a low-key experience is more up your alley, then The Frederick Hotel is right for you. If you wish, never leave your room at this 4-star hotel and enjoy amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, Frette linens, C.O. Bigelow bath products, state-of-the-art TV, complimentary daily newspapers, and, most importantly, in-room dining brought to you by Serafina Restaurant. If a long trip requires a long rest, then The Frederick Hotel is the right place for you.

Thank you to The Frederick Hotel.

Address

95 West Broadway, New York, NY 10007

Call

(888) 895-9400

Web

www.frederickhotelnyc.com

Black Tail

Black Tail

Located in the Pier A Harbor House in New York’s Battery Park City and brought to you by the makers of Dead Rabbit, Grocery and Grog (also in Lower Manhattan), is Black Tail, a Cuban-esque restaurant and bar inspired by the days of Prohibition when privileged Americans would flee the United States and jet set to Cuba for the weekend in pursuit of drinking pleasures.

Enter the downstairs lobby of this venue and immediately transport to a speakeasy era when access was not always granted, but the promise of a good time was worth the gamble. Once vetted, ascend a stairwell lined with nostalgic black and white photographs evocative of Old Cuba and enter a welcoming main lounge filled with lively crowds and the sound of glasses clinking. Choose to wait for a table or sit at the bar for a more interactive experience (these bartenders can really shake a drink.) Enjoy the piano bar feels and let the leafy greens and rich, dark oak of the space begin to work their magic on you as you begin to ‘embrace the lush life.’ Imagine yourself a socialite or debutante in 1920s Cuba escaping the dry laws of the United States, if even for a few hours, and rubbing elbows with both the military and literary elite… think daiquiris, Hemingway, pearls and cigars. If you fancy a bit more privacy with your rat pack, sit in the cigar lounge (décor only; please see New York smoking laws) where you can chit chat the night away or think up the next big work of literature or revolution.

If décor is not your thing (hmm?), no worries, as there is plenty to drink and eat. Try the Pink Elephant! A bright elixir with hints of vanilla and bitters or become undone with the Handmade Woman a shy, yet robust cocktail infused with dandelion and chamomile. Whatever you do, try the Crispy Cuban Fries because it’s not really Cuba until you’ve had some yucca or plantain (mmm, starchy vegetables.)

Yep, the team behind Dead Rabbit runs another one out of the ball park. This ‘American bar with a Cuban soul’ hits all the right marks with its ability to transport you to early mid-century Cuba with the convenience of never leaving New York or going through TSA and delivering tasty eats you can snack on all night long. For many reasons, it’s no surprise Black Tail was voted best new American bar in 2017 — it’s sister establishment Dead Rabbit has been voted Best Bar in the World multiple times. It’s only natural Black Tail would follow on its heels. Go pay both spots a visit and tell them we sent you; indulge in the leafy green décor at Black Tail and then try the early Irish-American experience in New York at Dead Rabbit. We promise, neither place will disappoint.

Thank you to Black Tail and Dead Rabbit.

Address

Black Tail: 22 Battery Place, Pier A Harbor House, New York, NY 10004

Dead Rabbit: 30 Water Street, New York, NY 10004

Call

Black Tail: (212) 785-0153/ Dead Rabbit: (646) 422-7906

Hours

Black Tail:

Sunday- Monday: 5 PM to Midnight

Tuesday- Saturday: 5 PM to 2 AM

Dead Rabbit:

The Taproom

7 days a week, 11 AM to 4 AM

The Parlor

Monday – Saturday: 5 PM to 2 AM

Sundays: 5 PM to Midnight

The Occasional

By arrangement.

Web

www.blacktailnyc.com

www.deadrabbitnyc.com

The Revitalization of Lower Manhattan

The Revitalization of Lower Manhattan

It’s difficult talking New York without talking about one of the worst tragedies in New York’s history, as well as modern day American history. However, if New Yorkers are anything, they are resilient.

Sixteen years later, New York City’s Lower Manhattan is reborn. One World Trade Center is on its feet and attracting more visitors than ever. There are two reflecting pools and an oculus where two towers once stood each commemorating the nearly 3,000 people that lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, two upscale retail malls have been added to the area, several new hotels and restaurants have opened for business, both Conde Nast and Time, Inc. have relocated their headquarters to One World Trade, downtown residential and commercial real estate continues to boom and somehow (not overnight) Lower Manhattan has become a destination for both work and play.

The revitalization of the city’s downtown area continues and is no accident. Soon after 9/11, government funding for disaster relief began to pour in, as did private investments, driving a massive rebuilding effort that continues to this day. Nearly $30 billion powers the reconstruction we see years later, along with the spirit and will to breathe life back into an area devastated by loss. Furthermore, a vibrancy that was not there before was born from the ashes and continues to also fuel much of the change we see today.

Now, there are more than double the dining options, world-class shopping, luxury real estate, chic hotels and cultural exhibitions and events than there were twenty years ago. Lower Manhattan is now cool and hip and, while New York will never forget 9/11, there is clearly a continual commitment to rebuild and to keep this part of New York moving forward and into the future.

Manhattan by Sail

Manhattan by Sail

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline.” – Ayn Rand

Thanks to Manhattan by Sail New Yorkers and out-of-towners can easily experience both the sunset and the sights. Step onboard Manhattan by Sail’s Clipper City Tall Ship and Shearwater Classic Schooner to experience New York from a new perspective and enjoy the New York City skyline directly from the Hudson River.

Give your city lungs a break and hop aboard either the majestic Clipper City Tall Ship, reaching 120 feet in height and 158 feet in length, or the Shearwater Classic Schooner, a classic Newport-style yacht, for an afternoon or evening of sailing fun. Give in to the lull of the waters and allow your body and mind to drift away from office worries and commuter nightmares. Set sail on the Hudson and see New York like you’ve never seen her before. We guarantee you’ll discover a new way to unwind.

If the calm of the water or waft of the ocean isn’t enough to sign you up, perhaps you’ll enjoy the great selection of beer on tap. Oh, yes, there’s that. Both Clipper City and Shearwater Schooner are alcohol-friendly and sell beer on deck, as well as offer weekend brunch sails, happy hour events and craft beer tastings. In fact, Manhattan by Sail offers several thematic ride options, including day sail, night sail, twilight sail, champagne sail, burlesque sail and jazz sail – unique experiences for every New Yorker.

Each sail lasts about 1.5- 2.5 hours and adult tickets begin at $39; sails depart from either The Battery in Battery Park or the North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place.

It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque setting – even in New York.

Thank you to Manhattan by Sail and the amazing crew on deck. If you’re in New York or planning a trip, make sure to add this nautical adventure to your itinerary and prepare to see New York like you’ve never seen her before.

Address

Clipper City Tall Ship:

The Battery, Slip 2 (Battery Park)

Lower Manhattan, NY

Shearwater Classic Schooner:

North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place

Lower Manhattan, NY

Call

(212) 619-6900

Hours

Please visit the Manhattan by Sail website below for a full schedule.

Web

www.manhattanbysail.com

Gild Hall

Gild Hall

Fact: New York City offers a plethora of dining, shopping, hotel, art and cultural options, but if you want to experience how the other half lives (and, by other half, we mean bankers, brokers, you know, your typical 20-something finance guys), then plan a stay at Gild Hall.

Located in the heart of the financial district and just a stone’s throw away from Wall Street, this hotel is the perfect space for an aperitif and/or a low-key business dinner. While the location of this property makes it the perfect playhouse for Wall Street executives, don’t be surprised to find a good amount of tourists mixed in with the happy hour crowds.

As the name suggests, Gild Hall, appropriately located at 15 Gold Street, is draped in luxury. Enter the woodsy, yet whimsical lobby and indulge in the decadent details of the space, such as my personal favorites: antler chandeliers and a golden illuminated map of the world. Enjoy a complimentary glass of prosecco upon reception and play a game of chess while you weigh out your options in the lap of luxury. Indulge your curiosity and browse through the beautifully bounded collection of books lining the lobby walls or continue your stay at the hotel’s rustic lobby bar.

When it’s time for dinner and you’re fully recovered from your travels, go next door to Felice Ristorante (the hotel’s kitchen and answer to room service) for some delicious Tuscan cuisine. After dinner, make your way upstairs to La Soffitta – the restaurant’s semi-hidden wine lounge – and prepare to live la dolce vita as you step into a Federico Fellini film. Pose for a selfie on the iconic stairs and, once you reach your destination, indulge in the beautiful brown leather sofas and an endless supply of Italian wines. No doubt, this is the perfect setting for your mambo italiano dreams.

After your nightcap, head upstairs to catch some zzz’s and sleep like a king. Enjoy the beautifully quilted leather headboard and touches of gold – there to remind you that you are royalty, of course – and, if you wish, never leave your throne!

After the closing bell has rung and the work day is done, nothing says you’ve arrived better than a trip to Gild Hall. Whether you’re in town for business or living for pleasure, Gild Hall is a definite treat.

 

 

Thank you to Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel and Felice Ristorante.

Address

15 Gold Street (at Platt Street), New York, NY 10038

Call

(212) 232-7700/

(212) 785-5950

Web

www.thompsonhotels.com/

www.felice15goldstreet.com