As a designer of watches you never quite see the world in the same naïve way you ever did as a kid, somehow you become a critic and appreciator of views, of architecture and of design, wherever you go. New York, you did not disappoint! You were a feast for the eyes and for the belly. The scale of your city and its food is one not to be missed!
So Friday at 7am, on our first morning, our stomachs content with cream cheese bagels, we strolled from the bohemian, understated cool of East Village to the bustling hub of commercial uptown. Just like the films, steam rose from grates and taxi cabs shot past us in their haste of their journey.
27k eagerly anticipated steps led us that day to feel like ‘Friends’ in Central Park, embrace our childhood of Home Alone in the entrance of the Plaza Hotel, stand in awe at the bright lights of Times Square, peek tentatively at the windows in the world renown Diamond District (as beckoning eyes gazed right back at us!), look but not touch in the lavish shops on Fifth Avenue, and feel insignificant, staring longingly across the iconic design of a city, from the top of the Rockefeller Center as snow landed softly on our cheeks.
Saturday treated us to an adventure towards downtown New York. With our walking feet in recovery, we headed in support of freedom, to the arena of Ground Zero. At a lofty 1,776 feet, the One World Trade Center was a sombre yet inspiring experience, which shared expansive 360-degree views of the state. Feeling blessed and glad to feel sturdy on the ground, we ventured onward, towards the expanse of Wall Street.
For us the financial district had a real feel of London about it, so being the country bumpkins we now are, we headed further south and be at one with nature. Hopping on the Statten Island ferry, (crammed full of equal amounts of tourists and residents), we made the smooth journey across the water, allowing us to be in the presence of Libertas, the Roman Goddess in all of her green glory. Our day was perfectly concluded with an explore of the quaint rawness of the Docklands and a rather breezy sunset on Brooklyn Bridge.
Having done many of the ‘big ones’ over our first two days, we decided to spend our day of rest in search of some ‘smaller ones’. For us as designers, we wanted to check out the independents, the little guys and our contemporaries, New York style. Lower East side and midtown offered us a host of quirky boutique stores and curated department stores to inspire our eager brains. Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee fuelled our stomp and map reading amongst bountiful blocks became quite the art!
Our stand out store had to be a visit to the flagship Shinola watch store. For us this brand represents real inspiration. With core values revolving around bringing manufacture to their own country, championing local designers and employees, being real and true to their roots, we aspire someday in the hope to emulate this, in our own way within the UK. For any other watch buffs, NYC way, this store is well worth a visit. The shop itself was beautiful, a great use of space, bringing a range of products together, merchandised exquisitely and in keeping with their core values.
Our Sunday perfected with a little peace, as we watched New York in day and night, with a stunning sunset at the top of the Empire State building. Significant for us in its breath-taking Deco design. From the structure in its entirety to all it’s designer details, this represented true class for us, the way the films tell it. What a trip. The most incredibly vibrant city built in such scale, from the ground up. For us an experience and a pedometer record, never to be repeated. In all of this, for us some of the most memorable moments had to be the stopping. The looking around. The observing. After all, what is life or a city without its people? New York … you are unique; we will return some day!…
Our must sees and eats:
Empire State Building – for the iconic Art Deco Design
Rockerfeller Centre – for the best view of New York
Katz Deli – for the most insane Pastrami with pickle sandwich
The Parker Meridien Secret Burger Joint – for a burger cooked to your spec, in the know with the locals