12 Hours in New York City

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One of the perks of living in Philly is the proximity to all the good stuff- the coast, the nature, and the cities around you. And to make it better, we are nestled right in between two really amazing places- Washington DC and New York. Just a quick Amtrak ride will take you right into Penn Station (a short walk from Time's Square). But our sights are set on those neighborhoods far away from Midtown. As much as we love the hustle and bustle of the touristy destinations, it feels great to walk around a neighborhood with lots of small boutiques, find quaint coffee shops, get some goodies from the international shops that seem to blend into the large buildings.

I noticed that it's very difficult to know what is expensive in New York. We walked into Totokaelo Boutique to purchase a perfume that I fell in love with, and the building looks somewhat dilapidated from the outside with graffiti sprayed all over it. But inside, is a shiny, clean, open area with lots of clothing that's significantly outside of my price range. Perhaps it's a trend that is best followed in New York. 

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For breakfast, we stopped by our favorite brunch spot- Jack's Wife, Frieda. With its fresh juice & drinks, a lively atmosphere, and some of the best shakshuka I've had in the city, it's truly a favorite in our family. Make sure to get there really early in the morning because the lines fill up quickly. We are fortunate to come and have a seat at the bar every time, but that's because there are 2 of us. 

After getting some great food and strong coffee, it was time to go shopping. Because the vintage jeans are riding their high right now, Tom and I visited the The Quality Mending Co. where I picked up a pair of Levi Shorts. I loved the selection but as with all thrift shopping, you can't find a ton of gems at the same time. It's a process that takes time and patience. Next purchase is a classic jean jacket, and then I can walk around with my vintage jeans,  my chambray shirt, and my jean jacket and basically look like a sexy tent. 

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I then fell in love and had to be dragged out of the Plantshed plant & flower store. It was a phenomenal little shop with hundreds of cacti, flowers, plants, planters. If I lived in New York, this would be the spot I would come to live in. 

Lastly, a store that is very close to my heart, is the McNally Jackson- a place of old and new books, magazines, notebooks, coffee. I have never left without buying something, whether its a fiction book or a book on art like the "Please Make this Look Nice: The Graphic Design Process" one that is filled with amazing interviews on everything from business of art to photography, to philosophy.  What kinds of books can you not walk away from? Currently creating my library at home, would love some additions!

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For a late lunch, we returned to the Chelsea Market to grab tacos at the Los Tacos #1. It's a simple name, but it's also accurate. The system works by the customer ordering tacos he/she wants, moving down the line to tell the next person what kinds of fixings they want, and going to the last step of loading up on salsa, peppers, and sauces. The line is always super long, but it moves fast, and the tacos are worth it. Don't take my word for it. Tom's very particular, food loving pallette approved it! 

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Before leaving the city, we also made sure to visit our favorite place on the entire planet- the photography gallery. This time we stopped by the International Center for Photography in Nolita. We got lucky because my all ltime favorite photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's "A Decisive Moment" was showing. 

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If you're unfamiliar with his work, he is a French "humanist" photographer, capturing candid, everyday moments. His work was one of my favorites when starting with street photography, and I cherish his work's spirit very dearly. 

His book, "The Decisive Moment" set ripples through the photography community. 

Pioneering for its emphasis on the photograph itself as a unique narrative form, The Decisive Moment was described by Robert Capa as “a Bible for photographers.” Originally titled Images à la Sauvette (“images on the run”) in the French, the book was published in English with a new title, The Decisive Moment, which unintentionally imposed the motto which would define Cartier-Bresson’s work.
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Going back to Chelsea, we hopped on the Chelsea Highline to take a stroll with the bae. I've always admired how a city can transform itself through uses of green, public spaces and this is a phenomenal exhibition of thought, planning, and research. While walking, we saw hundreds of people sun-bathing, picnicking, drinking coffee, entertaining childrend, walking with their dates, exploring. It was warm and wonderful to be part of such lively energy.

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Khrystyna OrosComment