It was July, and after leaving behind behind a frozen-over Melbourne, we descended on Manhattan in the blistering heat of their summer. This was my third time in New York City. It’s strange how a huge, anonymous, forever shapeshifting city can hold indelible memories of such significance. My previous two visits had both been cornerstones in my becoming – with certain headspaces and pivot-point life decisions I can almost attach to certain streets, or intersections, or city precincts…
The first time, I was twenty one, on a ‘round the world ticket, solo. The world was new and unknown and I craved to get lost in ‘postcard’ New York. I ticked off the clichéd must-do’s – soaring up the Empire State, a cream cheese bagel outside Tiffany & Co on Fifth Avenue, and pretending I was Carrie, wandering the backstreets of Greenwich Village. Five years on – my second visit – I flew in from London, palpably vulnerable. Raw with heartbreak from a failed relationship, for that visit, New York felt… nourishing. I wandered the city with a best friend from home, and we spent those days together sprawled out on the grass in Central Park, hopping between thrice daily breakfasts and generally eating and drinking our way through the surface area of the city. New York brought back a sparkle – it was like the city reconstituted me.
Fast forward another two years, and this visit had greater purpose – New York wasn’t to widen my eyes or to enable healing – this visit one was all in the business of dream chasing. My love, Charles, had been offered a place in the prestigious Accent on Designsection of NYNow trade fair. I wanted to be by his side, and scope the show for the ‘one day’ when I might be ready to tackle it, myself.
New York felt immediately familiar – I think it’s the possibility lingering in the air. It is a city like no place else. Ambulances scream past at all hours. Our apartment, just a hop and skip away from Times Square, was in the thick of the frenetic buzz. Nights were sticky, and jetlag hammered us like I’d never experienced before. We woke up at 11pm, worked until the sun rose at 5am and the city finally hushed, then rested for a few hours before rising to the heat of the sun, and do it all again. We felt pushed, and we felt momentum.
The trade show setup was a blur of painting booth walls and applying vinyl decals with to-the-millimetre precision – it was worth every second, of course, and I felt so proud to watch my man showcase his business on an international platform. During the trade show hours, I spent most of days with my nomad office set up in the trades show cafe space, delivering water and snacks when needed.
One morning, I ventured over to Brooklyn to have a long-awaited coffee with beautiful Nastasia – miss Dame Traveler herself. We’ve followed each other since the very beginning of our travel blogging journeys and it was beautiful serendipity to finally find ourselves in the same place. This girl is everything refreshing, real and authentic – I continue to be grateful for Instagram and the incredible online connections and adventures it has brought into my world.
On one of the trade show evenings, we caught a cab down to the West Village to dine with Hillary, another creative maiden after my heart. We have worked together for years now, but as is the way with doing business online, never actually met. It was a balmy night made for a pink sky and Mexican grub. Hillary floated into the restaurant in a floral dress and mirrored earrings and beaming smile and suggested margaritas – and I loved her even more than I already did. Everyone needs a Hillary in their life.
On the last night after the trade show packdown we celebrated at Buddakan, wandered Chelsea Market and then walked the skyline from start to end – it was time to (briefly) exhale . We had given ourselves one day and night extra, before flying onwards to lose ourselves in the city.
Checking in – The Library Hotel
We made our way over to our new home – The Library Hotel. Opposite to The New York Public Library and just two blocks from Grand Central station, the location of this hotel couldn’t be more ideal. The porter Stephen grabbed our hefty cases and ushered us inside, immediately making us feel like his long lost friends – and we knew we were going to love our final night in the city.
The Library Hotel certainly deserves its name – with a collection of over 6000 books. And it doesn’t end there – the whole concept behind the hotel references the Dewey Decimal System. Each of the 10 guestroom floors honor one of the 10 categories of the DDC, like Social Sciences, Literature, Languages, General Knowledge and The Arts (to name a few). Each room is then titled, exploring a distinctive topic within the category it belongs to (with books to match). We checked into the Advertising room, and slept underneath shelves of books on design, branding and marketing – beautifully appropriate!
On level two is the Reading Room – a communal lounge serving free breakfast, afternoon tea and evening wine and cheese. (Yes, you read that right). From 5pm daily, the hotel offers guests a complimentary wine and cheese reception, so we toted our laptops down and gorged on crackers and cheese, pretzels, olives and wine, to work for an hour before curling up in our room for an early evening siesta. As had been the way of the past week, we woke 11pm, ready to explore. Late in the night we hailed a cab to famed noodle bar Momofuku for midnight ramen. Drunk on salty broth and exhaustion, we ambled and zig-zagged our way back uptown, laughing and people watching and just embracing the night together.
New York, you were a blur, and I’m as grateful for you, as ever.
Checking into The Library Hotel :: Wearing Keepsake The Label
View from the Rooftop courtyard
Wearing Keepsake The Label
The best (duck fat) chips I’ve eaten. Ever.
Visiting the World Trade Center Memorial
The Oculus at the World Trade Center
Wearing Keepsake The Label