Where: Freeman Alley between Chrystie Street and The Bowery, Lower East Side
Why: This bustling brunch spot is perfect for people watching on a rainy day. The long wait was worth it: we got the best table for two in the house (just ask the hostess!) and ordered way too much food. The artichoke dip and mac and cheese were super healthy out of this world — I already can’t wait to go back. More NYC recommendations here!
Why: Classic brunch fare and a super charming block. But the real reason I love Palma? Flowers. Everywhere. Seriously the prettiest (and most fragrant) brunch spot in the entire city! More NYC recommendations here.
Anxious about moving to New York? I’ve been getting so many emails about advice for moving to New York, finding a first apartment, finding the right neighborhood, etc. that I thought it might be worthwhile to compile some of the most frequently asked questions into one post. I hope some of you find this helpful!
How did you find your apartment?
I’m obsessed with Streeteasy and highly recommend it for preliminary research. You can search by neighborhood, price, number of bedrooms, pets, etc., save listings you like, and contact brokers and owners directly through the site. I have a couple friends who found their apartments without brokers but I was moving during my busy season for work so it was hugely helpful to work with a broker. Mine worked so hard to find the right apartment that I was almost happy to write him a check for all his help. (Email me if you’d like his info!)
Which neighborhood do you live in?
I lived on the Upper East Side my first year and just moved to the West Village. The Upper East Side was more “affordable” (which I use as a relative term given that everything in New York is pretty pricey) but the West Village is a better location for downtown meetings, my social life, and taking Rory to the dog park. I now spend more money on my apartment but less time and money on cabs. How should I choose where to live? Consider where you work, what you can afford, where your friends live, how often you take the subway, and where you tend to eat and go out. There’s no one “cool” place to live and each neighborhood has its own unique feel. Talk to your coworkers and friends who live here and spend an afternoon in a couple different neighborhoods to decide where you feel most at home. I equate it to touring different college campuses your senior year of high school, except you’ll only have to stay one year. How much did you save before moving to New York? Obviously this is a personal matter but my advice is to save as much as you possibly can. I was lucky that I could live with my parents in Connecticut for a year to save money. If that’s not an option, you could always pick up a second job on campus during your senior year to start putting money aside. (I worked in alumni relations on campus and did a virtual internship for an online magazine.) There are no two ways around it: New York is expensive and it helps to start saving early. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! How can I make living in New York more affordable? Pick your battles. For this apartment, I cared most about location and natural light. For other people, having a great kitchen or a true one-bedroom might be more important. My situation is rare in that I work from home and it wouldn’t be fair to subject a roommate to my business, dog, inventory, etc. But if your post-grad situation is more traditional, having roommates and living in less central boroughs or neighborhoods is a great way to cut costs. Here’s a map with the median rent for one-bedroom apartments last year to help you get a feel for which neighborhoods cost less than others.
How can I decorate my first place on a budget? I wrote a whole post on that right here! This all sounds like a lot of work. Is it worth it? Ask anyone who’s dealt with moving to or within New York and they’ll tell you it’s not a walk in the park. But there’s something about this city that sucks you in and makes you fall head over heels in love with it. My friend Hallie did an awesome job explaining it in her love letter to New York City. I’m visiting New York for the weekend. What should I do / where should I eat?
Check out my New York City guide — I’ll be adding new favorites every week! Some recent favorites include Café Cluny, Café Gitane, the Mermaid Inn, Palma, and Tipsy Parson. And definitely see a Broadway show if you can — I loved these three.
So far my New York City Guide has consisted entirely of brunch spots (most of which are just as good for lunch, dinner, etc.). Now I love brunch as much as the next girl (read: a lot) but I’m pretty excited to have more daylight hours in which to photograph my favorite spots for cocktails, dinner, and dessert throughout the spring and summer. Totally worth the lost hour of sleep, right? Right.
But today I’m switching gears entirely and sharing a must for any proper NYC guide: Broadway! My sister Reilly studied theater in college so our family has always loved musicals and plays — and I’m no exception. I wrote “see three Broadway plays” on my new 101 in 1001 list and I was able to cross it off this past weekend! (Though I’ll definitely see more within the next ~2 years!) I thought I’d share what we saw and what I loved about each in case any of you are planning a trip or just a local looking for a recommendation!
My boyfriend’s parents gave us tickets to Beautiful for Christmas and neither one of us was sure what to expect. And we loved it! We didn’t know much about Carole King going into it (and were definitely the youngest couple there!) but we recognized way more songs than we thought we would and ended the night dancing to “I Feel The Earth Move” with the rest of the audience. If you want to hear killer singing and walk away feeling totally inspired to immediately download every one of Carole King’s songs, this one’s for you.
Recommended for: bringing your parents (you’ll love it as much as they do)
One boyfriend, two Broadway shows in one month. He’s a trooper! I gave him tickets to The Book of Mormon for Valentine’s Day after my sister declared it the funniest show she’s ever seen. It’s written by the creators of the show South Park so it’s hilariously inappropriate. The dance numbers are seriously catchy and the entire audience was in stitches for the whole play.
Recommended for: girlfriends, siblings, and significant others (probably not your adorably conservative grandparents!)
My Christmas present to my mom and sister and definitely my favorite of the three. All I can say is whoa. The costumes were out of this world and the child actors literally took my breath away. The opening scene gave all three of us goosebumps — there really are no words. The singing wasn’t as powerful as, say, Beautiful but the choreography, lighting, and special effects were extraordinary. If you only see one show this year, this gets my vote.
Recommended for: kids and kids-at-heart (everyone!)
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Next on my list? I’ve heard great things about Matilda (I loved the movie growing up!). Have you seen any Broadway shows lately? What’s your all-time favorite?
TGIF. It’s been a busy week around here and it’s definitely not slowing down anytime soon. I’m headed to the National Stationery Show on Monday, have my first intern for the boutique starting on Wednesday, and will be out of town the following three weekends. Sooo this is my last weekend in New York for a little while and I plan to make the most of it by laying low in the park (Turkish towel in tow) and frequenting a couple of my favorite brunch spots. Whatever you’re up to, make it a good one! xx