NYC Travels - May 2016
New York City
The place I called home for the past two years. It was great to be back! I’ve learned that I enjoy visiting New York more than I enjoy living in New York. The City got to me those two years. I found my thoughts frequently on the subject of how I could torture all of the cat-callers in Harlem. Sorry. I’d be lying to you all if I said otherwise.
I had about two weeks in my city before traveling to my wedding destination. I basically focused my trip on workouts, eating well, and seeing old friends. Not a bad way to enjoy the beginning of May! Unfortunately the jet lag got to me the first few days. New York is 12 hours behind Hong Kong time… not the easiest transition. I arrived at about 10:30pm to the Sheraton TriBeCa only to realize that I was starving and room service had ended. I took this as an excuse to commence my stay with an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese (highly recommended) from the bodega next door.
I purchased a 5-pack of Flywheel sessions in order to ensure my trip would be full of movement and sweating instead of feenin’ for bodega bagels. These classes are so expensive that you literally have to take the class you pre-purchased in order to justify anything else you’d buy in New York City. I do highly recommend Flywheel…. especially over Soul Cycle. Soul Cycle is okay… I find it more of an Upper East Side social cult than a workout, but that’s only my opinion. Flywheel is a true workout with a scoreboard, and your own dashboard of numbers to keep you accountable during the 45 - 60 minutes. I took classes at the Flatiron, TriBeCa, and Lincoln Square locations during this trip. My personal best was a total power of 390 in a Fly60 class with coach Grant Belton in TriBeCa. Let me know if you beat me!!
Make sure you stop by the local Juice Press to grab a post-workout smoothie or juice. I absolutely love this place! The location in TriBeCa is awesome. I had their Mini Raw Oatmeal and Advanced Berry Blend drink. Although pricey, I find Juice Press to be one of the best tasting vegan shops around. They use high quality ingredients, and the staff are usually pretty knowledgeable about their products. I believe it’s worth the money. I also believe the NYC is just too expensive so I’ve made peace with just accepting some things cost more. I’d rather spend a little more money on quality foods that I’m consuming. My bodega bagel was only $3, but I can’t imagine it had the same affect on my gut as the organic fruit.
Once my husband made it NY we moved uptown to Le Parker Meridian Hotel on 56th street right below the park. I love this area, and highly recommend it for first timers to NYC or anyone that doesn’t want to deal with some of the typical NYC problems. You can literally get anywhere from this location within an acceptable time frame. I also highly recommend Le Parker Meridian. Excellent staff and service with an awesome boutique-y feel, this hotel is great if you’re alone or with adults. I don’t recommend it if you’re with children. Make sure you ask the front desk to upgrade you to one of the top floors with a view of Central Park. YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE BURGER JOINT. It’s not advertised, nor the easiest to find, but you have to go. Located in the lobby of this semi-fancy hotel is a dive of a place graffitied with everyone and their mother trying to tag themselves on this little gem of a spot. It’s always crowded, but the weekends are when it’s the most busy. In the lobby of the hotel there is a neon burger sign hiding in a hallway next to the front desk… this is the “secret” entrance. You will most likely see the cattle chute line of people before you see the burger sign. I promise you it’s worth it. The hotel itself is littered with secret little spots. The most obvious being the covered rooftop pool overlooking all of Central Park. There is a beautifully decorated bar and lounge called Knave that is perfect for drinks and snacks before or after dinner. Norma’s breakfast is to die for, and if you’re lucky you’ll be served by a remarkable waiter with a killer toupee that was born to be in hospitality. Near the hotel elevators is a barber shop where they serve you drinks while you get a clean shave or hair cut. For the ladies there is a Drybar located in the basement that also has great service, drinks, talented stylists, and movies playing all day. Their Gravity fitness facility is the largest hotel gym I’ve ever used. It’s no Equinox in terms of luxury, but has anything you could want and a front desk staff that’s willing to assist you. I loved this hotel so much I booked it again in August for my next NYC trip.
It just so happens that I was in the city for Cinco de Mayo, so naturally I went to Dos Caminos. They have some pretty great options for the mindful eater. You can upgrade your chips to fresh veggies when you order their guacamole, and all of their tacos have a “naked” option… which actually houses more food on the plate than the original tacos. They add quinoa, beans, and mixed greens to make up for the tortillas. Of course I entered this Mexican paradise with a cut-off gym shirt that said “Torq & Tacos.” Torque down for what? Courtesy of Flywheel apparel. If you’re feelin’ frisky and have no morals when you enter the restaurant order the Tres Leches, and send me a hand written thank you note. You’re welcome in advance.
My final stop in The City was the Great Jones Spa. The majority of the services are held in the lower levels of the building, but don’t let that discourage you. They added skylights and a relaxing water lounge to rid its basement of any cellar feeling. I took the advice of the spa and arrived an hour and a half early to my treatments in order to take advantage of the water lounge or “self-directed detoxification program.” It was worth it. It’s communal so everyone is wearing a suit of some kind, and the idea is to cycle through the services 3x before your treatment. I started with the River Rock Sauna, to the Chakra - light steam, then to the Cold Plunge, followed by the Thermal Hot Tub. I found this cycle to be surprisingly relaxing and rejuvenating, and it put me in the perfect mental state to disconnect for a few hours. The lounge is lit by skylights, and if you are hydrophobic you can relax next to all the water treatments and enjoy reading, small snacks, and tea. My treatments at the spa included a Deep Tissue Massage and a Signature Facial. I asked the tiny therapist for “hard” pressure as I thought I wanted, but she was a little too aggressive and it wasn’t the most relaxing. I recommend saying medium pressure. The facial was incredible, as was my esthetician. The spa states this facial is for detoxifying, healing, and re-mineralizing the skin and that’s exactly what it did. I walked out of there glowing and ready to get married in three days.
At the fear of getting too personal I didn’t include all the little places I went with friends or my now-husband. One stop that’s worth mentioning is VRTCL Entertainment where one of my best friends, Brendon, records his music with the awesomely talented Terry Derkach… Listen to their work here! Brendon and I both met Paul Frazier at VRTCL who said he was performing a few days later at Rockwood Music Hall. I took my husband and met up with Brendon and Paul and we had a blast! Rockwood is a great place for some live music with some super talented musicians. We heard Lucy Woodward performing with Paul as bassist. Rockwood has three stages with different performances thoughout the night… check it out!
Please, let me know if you experience any of these great places in New York City!