Moving to New York from Melbourne with her young family just over a year ago, Est photographer and writer, Robyn Lea, has wasted no time in making her mark on Manhattan. Scouring the city for the best coffee, bars and galleries, Robyn has taken the big apple with both hands and devoured all that the city has to offer. Securing tables at the best restaurants and membership to the city’s most exclusive (and reclusive) clubs, in true Australian style Robyn has divined the wheat from the chaff and shares with us the best the city has to offer.
CROSBY STREET Hotel With 86 bedrooms and suites, contemporary art in every corner, interior design by Kit Kemp and a rooftop garden that services the Chefs kitchen, this is one of the of the best places to stay in Manhattan.
MONDRIAN SOHO Benjamin Noriega Ortiz’s design for The Mondrian was inspired by the magic and fantasy of Jean Cocteau’s film “La Belle et la Bête” and delightful references are evident throughout the hotel.
SOHO HOUSE Part of the private members club, the bar and drawing room at Soho House is found on the sixth floor of the building in the Meatpacking district. The bar can only be accessed if you are a member, if you are the guest of a member or if you are staying at the Soho House hotel in the same building.THE BRESLIN BAR & DINING ROOM Not many burger joints have a Michelin star. Staying at the Ace Hotel is the only way to secure a booking with an otherwise ‘first-come-first-serve’ policy in this luxe Scottish looking pub style restaurant.
THE CAMPBELL APARTMENT Tucked into the side of Grand Central Station, the space is characterized by grand 7.6 metre ceilings and architectural details reminiscent of a 13th century Italian palace. A handsome cocktail lounge best enjoyed mid-afternoon before corporate rush hour dominates the atmosphere.
THE LION Tucked away down a residential street, The Lion offers Italian-American cuisine by John DeLucie, which is served by some of the most charming waiting staff in the city. The back room feels like a private salon, dripping with artworks and atmosphere.
GILT A two Michelin star restaurant where 19th century architecture meet 21st century design accents and culinary ideas. Choose from three, five or seven course menus.
MORIMOTO Architect Tadao Ando created the all white Morimoto interior to both sooth and awaken the senses, and Chef Masharu Morimoto’s Japanese fusion menu inspires the palette.
TODD HASE FURNITURE Todd Hase is one of the few American furniture designers still working with local craftsmen. Individually hand-made pieces combine a handsome American aesthetic with French undertones, and are as likely to be found on offer at a Sotheby’s auction as they are in one of Madonna’s homes.
JOHN DERAIN COMPANY When designer John Derian turned his hand to découpage he infused it with just enough modernity to appeal to a new market of collectors and decorators. His two stores stock his designs alongside papier-mâché dolls by Julie Arkell, woodblock prints and bags by Hugo Guinness and a host of other artisanal treasures.
GAGOSIAN GALLERY There are three Gagosian Galleries in New York but my favourite is in the Chelsea art district. Representing artists such as Richard Serra and Picasso, and a current show of the work of German artist Georg Baselitz, this gallery leads the private galleries in Manhattan for curatorship and clout.
MURIEL GUEPIN GALLERY This private gallery in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights represents an exceptional collection of emerging artists, many of them locals. This is the place to commence and build your art collection.
JOE When I arrive at Grand Central Station on the 7.10am train with my husband, we head straight to Joe’s for a take-away caffè latte for our fix before we start our day in the city.
SUMPTOWN COFFEE ROASTERS Watching the baristas work at Stumptown fills me with excitement. Their ultra-serious rituals and measured dance behind the bar is a performance as good as their coffee.
NINTH STREET ESPRESSO Coffee culture for serious connoisseurs, conveniently positioned about half way through the Chelsea market to assist shoppers in their quest to make it through to the other side with a spring in their step.