Sirens. Large crowds. New York City has many associations, often ones of cacophony. But for the locals, it’s a labyrinth of cultural muses, diverse people groups and the iconic rooted in the day-to-day. Behind the facade of seeming chaos is a city rich with character, charm and encounters with the unexpected. There are few cities that sit at the global cultural apex and zeitgeist as much as New York City and while not for the faith of heart, we explore the island from the prism of a local with the curiosity of a visitor.
A favourite amongst the jet-set, the Aman Group is known for its elevated yet understated aesthetic, offering premium hospitality often within iconic or historic locales. The highly anticipated New York property is no different. Located in midtown Manhattan in the Crown Building (the former home of the Museum of Modern Art), the hotel sits at the corner of 57th street and Fifth Avenue. Fully restored and transformed, the hotel goes a step above. In a city bound by limited space, the property boasts a tri-level spa focused on holistic wellbeing and two restaurants with Italian and Japanese fares while its 14th floor hub offers Manhattan landscapes in abundance.
Nestled in the midst of Museum Mile on the Upper East Side is a grand structure, that while an actual mansion, many would pass by. While appearing as one of the many other regal properties in that postal code, for the more discerning or the artistic observer, the Frick remains a gemstone amongst Manhattan’s bustling cultural expanse. The namesake of its former owner, the industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, The Frick is a former residence turned museum housing the former owner’s private collection, boasting an intimate array of Old Master paintings with prolific names like Thomas Gainsborough, Rembrandt and El Greco. Portraits of London’s Ton, Sir Thomas More and his archrival Thomas Cromwell adorn the walls, revealing a glimpse into some of the most intriguing chapters of history. The richness of the art in conjunction with the opulent yet discreet setting creates a delightful afternoon resting stop unlike the more well-known and demanding destinations such as the Met, or its neighbour, the Guggenheim.
For the average jet-setter, skin maintenance is a high priority yet a tall order. Time restraints, finding merited locales and minding the opportunity cost ratio, it’s much to consider on a brief trip to Manhattan. Enter Rescue Spa. Located at the sweet spot between Gramercy and Flatiron – distinctly local territory with a bit of panache – the spa also happens to be what some would consider the best facials in town. Game-changing skincare lines like Biologique Recherche feature in the spa’s lineup, and the founder is a skincare savant that rivals many. Yet at the core of her philosophy is pragmatism, a welcome approach in today’s market. Facials are preceded by thorough analysis, ensuring a revitalising treatment every time.
Few galleries represent the level of pedigree as that of Magen H Gallery. Located just south of Union Square, the gallery boasts a rotating catalogue of pieces from some of the most sought after names in mid century design. From Charlotte Periand to Jacques Adnet, the inventory of vintage items are always of pristine quality and exceptional distinction. Founded in 1997, the Manhattan-based gallery is a neighbourhood gem and favourite amongst the city's contemporaries. Housing pieces by modern names like Giancarlo Valle in addition to their historical listings, it’s an idyllic location to appreciate as well as shop collectible design.
Korean bbq became ubiquitous with the rise of popstar groups like Blackpink and the Korean skincare routine. But COTE, amongst the growing competition of Korean restaurants and beloved steakhouses, remains a step above. Located just a few minutes walk from the Flatiron building, the unassuming exterior is met by a dimly lit, sophisticated and spacious interior. Offering premium cuts, an extensive wine list, delectable fare and smokeless grills for the perfect interactive meal amongst groups, the Michelin-starred restaurant is the idyllic spot for the contemporary New York City dining experience.