For the next instalment of explore, I asked Tina Ramchandani, interior designer and author of the design focused blog Life in Sketch to take us on a design walk in New York. I went on a design walk with Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo when I was there last year, but New York is such a diverse city, I wanted to see what Tina would pick! Despite being on almost the same streets, Tina’s viewpoint is completely different. Over to Tina…
Hello from NYC! I’m very happy to be sharing a little bit of my New York with you today. Although it isn’t the largest of cities, it has a lot packed in. You can turn a corner and be in a whole different neighborhood with a completely different vibe. Things are constantly changing, with new restaurants opening up, new design stores taking over and new trends popping up every day.
Today I’m focusing on a few blocks in Soho, which have everything you could ask for, fabulous design stores, innovative artwork and of course lots of stops for food and drink!
1. Start in the heart of Soho, where you’ll find a hidden design gem. Kiosk is one of those stores you keep coming back to and you kind of hope no one else finds out about. Well, today the cat’s out of the bag! While walking on Spring street you’ll notice a neon sign followed by graffitied walls leading you up to Kiosk. The nondescript entrance is created by plastic hangings similar to those you’d find in a car wash. While everything at Kiosk is available for sale it feels more like a museum than a shop. You’ll find things from all over the world, some pieces never before seen in the United States. Once you get over your initial excitement you’ll realise you can find almost any kind of gift available and some unique pieces for your own home as well. (95 Spring Street, 2nd Floor, 212.226.8601)
2. Carry on down Spring Street, turn right onto Centre Lafayette and then immediately left onto Kenmare Street and you’ll see the Storefront for Art and Architecture – one of my favorite galleries. This not-for-profit gallery has moveable panel walls which create multiple entrances when open, and also serve as additional display walls, opening the gallery to the streets for all to see. You’ll find work from emerging voices, that often forces you to have a conversation. Each display is intended to increase awareness of its particular cause. If the collection of the moment isn’t for you, I promise you won’t be disappointed by the architecture! (97 Kenmare Street, 212.431.5795)
3. A short walk away just around the corner on Lafayette Street, you’ll find Canvas. This is one of my favorite design stores to visit when I’m picking out accessories for projects. The pieces you’ll find here are classic and beautifully crafted. No matter what your design style you’ll be able to find something that you love. While Canvas does have furniture and bedding, my favorite products in here are always the table top pieces. (199 Lafayette Street, 212.461.1496)
4. Just down the street you’ll see Clic Bookstore & Gallery. Clic is one of my favorite places to visit if I’m just looking for some inspiration. The gallery sells works by emerging and established artists and has books focusing on photography, lifestyle and art. Inside the bookstore there’s a small area devoted to the General Store, where you can find accessories and clothing. (255 Centre Street, 212.966.2766)
5. Right next door is Calypso Home, an extension of Calypso St. Barth. Much like the fashion line, Calypso Home is a bright and airy boutique. The pieces are whimsical, many in bright colours and made of natural textiles. If you’re looking for interesting lighting and furniture, you have to take a moment to look around. A little secret: some furniture pieces can be customized, so if you need a different size be sure to ask! (407 Broome Street, 212.925.6200)
6. I recently discovered Ankasa Home when I went to an industry event there and let me tell you, I fell in love as soon as I walked in the door! The textiles are hand embroidered and the table top pieces are one of a kind. I can’t decide what I want, because really I want it all! The fashion-forward store also has accessories like totes and clutches. (424 Broome Street, 212.226.8002)
7. After all this I’m sure you’ll be in need of a little rest and refreshment! I like to stop at my favorite tea house Harney & Sons, to relax and have a bite to eat. If you’re a tea lover Harney is the place for you. As you walk in, you’ll see a huge wall filled with a variety of tea leaves – you’ll definitely find the perfect tea for you! I usually have a carafe of the iced Caribe black tea and a vanilla scone, which is made on site. Everything is delicious and the staff is very knowledgable. If you aren’t sure which tea is for you, ask for a recommendation. Then head to the back to the tiny cafe that has wifi so you can instagram all those pictures you’ve just been taking! (433 Broome Street, 212.933.4853)
There’s so much to do in New York City and so many places to visit in any given neighborhood. After a long day of design exploring, you’ll probably work up quite an appetite, so if that scone didn’t fill you up, here are my top 5 spots for a drink and meal in this area…
1. La Esquina: If you’re looking for a casual bite the cafe upstairs is the place for you. Great margaritas! If you’re looking to start off your night on the town with a bang, visit the brasserie downstairs, but be sure to make a reservation. Enter through a door upstairs, walk through the kitchen and you’re in a gorgeous speakeasy restaurant with amazing food and delicious cocktails. (114 Kenmare Street – below bottom)
2. Despana: Let me preface this one by saying I love Spanish tapas. When I really miss Spain and want a good bocadillo I visit Despana. The casual environment is inviting, the food is fantastic, and you can get a glass of wine too. (408 Broome Street – below top)
3. Jack’s Wife Freda: Yes, this is an unusual name for a restaurant! The restaurant is named after the restaurant’s founders who created the menu based on their South African and Israeli cultures. The flavour combinations are superb, Jack and Freda have done a great job with this place. (224 Lafayette Street)
4. Soho Park: Looking for a good burger? This is the place to go to. (Note: Also very pretty for instagramming!) Great burgers, great scene, what more could you ask for? Oh yes, an open area for warm weather – check! (62 Prince Street)
5. Ed’s Lobster Bar: To my mind, there’s nothing better than a good lobster roll. If you’re looking for one, you’ll get it at Ed’s Lobster Bar. Yes, the other food is good too, but the lobster roll is the best. (222 Lafayette Street – below middle)
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little exploration through Soho, NYC. With all the fabulous restaurants and stores it’s hard to stay in doors even for a few minutes. You can learn more about my NYC adventures on my blog, Life in Sketch. Have a great week!
Further reading for the especially geeky: