Travel Diaries: New York / by Didier Young

Much like the late Frank Sinatra, I’ve wanted to be part of New York, New York for the longest time. Unfortunately due to some complicated logistics, I have never had the chance to step foot in the States in the nine years during which I’ve lived in Toronto, Canada. This May I decided to take matters in my own hand and booked my first trip to the Big Apple in an attempt to decipher the mysteries of the beloved city.

While four days seemed like it would be plenty of time to cover most of New York, it turns out that we barely had time to cover Manhattan, the most populated of the five boroughs of the City. Of course, we ended up at the usual touristic spots but we were also able to uncover some gems, drinks gallons of coffee and shop till our wallets dropped. Here is a photo diary of our journey.



Brooklyn Bridge



Started in 1869, this bridge took fourteen years to complete and it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Walking from one side to the other took about twenty minutes but it was such a lovely stroll. Definitely make sure to arrive early though: we got there at 6am to shoot and it was the perfect time to have the bridge to ourselves.




Since we arrived so early in Brooklyn, a friend of ours suggested that we should meet up at Cecconi's for brunch. The Italian franchise originated in Venice and has since expanded to West Hollywood, Miami Beach, Brooklyn, Berlin, Barcelona, Istanbul and London. 

Funnily enough, we mostly ate Italian food during our trip and I had absolutely no complaints. I'll definitely be checking out the Miami location when I head there in mid June.


1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge


New York is one of the most visited cities in the world so it comes to no surprise that there are so many hotels there. While we stayed at the amazingly well located Ace Hotel, I'll admit that the 1 Hotel near the Brooklyn Bridge truly took my breath away. I mean, look at this lobby!




I think that by now, you all know that I love shopping. So it must come to no surprise that I LOVED SOHO. While Barneys, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman were lovely establishments, I still preferred the feel of SOHO and it's gorgeous boutiques and buildings. One of the standout shops there was definitely The Apartment by The line with its gorgeous setup and innovative concept.



La Mercerie


On our second day, we woke up early to have breakfast with another one of our friends. Midway through our walk, we got rained on so we arrived at the restaurant looking like drowned rats. While we loved the aesthetic of the place, it was really overpriced for a menu that basically just consisted of croissants and coffee. Good croissants though.


New York Public Library


This might be the prettiest library I have ever seen in my whole life. However I will have to admit that it made it to my list mostly because it was the wedding location of Carrie and Mr. Big in Sex and The City the Movie.


Iconic Scene


With a city that is so widely photographed and filmed, there are some iconic shots that are sure to pop into your mind when you think about New York City. Dumbo's shot of the Washington Bridge along with the Flatiron building are two of mine and it was a pleasure being able to see them in person.


Top of the Rock


At the top of the Rockefeller Centre, you will find a gorgeous observatory that will offer you an unparalleled view of the city and central Park. I am not usually a big fan of paying for tourist attractions (I still think that paying for the Eiffel tower or the CN tower is ridiculous) but for the first time, I'll admit that this was worth the price of the admission.





Coffee Shops


One of the highlights of every trip for me is getting to check out the coffee scene of the city. While it seemed that most coffee shops were using beans by La Colombe or Toby's Estate, I'll admit to loving the small coffee shop attached to the hotel I was staying at. They were serving the iconic Stumptown coffee and I made sure to bring a bag of beans back home with me. I also loved the aesthetic of the Le Labo Café and the amazing matcha at Greecologies.


Ice Cream


We arrived in New York city right in time for ice cream season! While there are many locations to eat ice cream at, some of the most famous ones include Big Gay Ice Cream and Morgenstern. Of course, we had to stop by Taiyaki NYC to grab one of their incredibly Instagrammable unicorn ice creams!


Central Park


Is there truly any other location more iconic than Central Park in New York? (other than the Statue of Liberty, Empire State building... you know what I mean). We decided to cut through the park to head to the Metropolitan Museum and boy, did we get lost! Sometimes we have to get lost to be able to find something we didn't know we were looking for. I absolutely loved strolling through the park and we even went rowing on the lake which was quite a magical experience.

Much like Paris or London, New York City is one of those places where every corner is a photo opportunity and every building tells a story. The cultural hub is backed with delicious food, amazing shopping, gorgeous sights and it is so close to home that I cannot wait til my next trip to the Big Apple.