BIG APPLE MYTHS
Having grown up with Gossip Girl and Sex And The City references, I would have thought that New York would have had no surprises left for me. Still, ten days in the Big Apple taught me otherwise; here are some false ideas I had about NYC:
“You can walk all day in heels” – remember that episode when Carrie Bradshaw crosses Manhattan in her fancy Manolos with a cup of coffee in hand? Of course you do, that’s in every single episode of Sex And The City and that’s also a big fat lie. Given the distances in a city such as New York, where a block generally equals to Geneva’s whole shopping area, an entire day in high-heels (let alone escarpins!) would be just too much of a pain to be worth it. Sorry Manolos, where are my Adidas sneakers?
“Prepare yourself to eat unhealthy” – let me be clear, the only time I’ve been in the US was in Miami Beach three years ago, a most shocking experience when it comes to food. That’s why I’ve been surprised when coming to NY, and discovering one by one the coolest new places some of my readers recommended to me. Yes, there are plenty of fast-food chains and traditional diners offering some treats from the American “gastronomy” (been there once, never again), but the number of fashionable coffee places with bio and/or vegetarian menus is quite impressive too (my faves were without doubt The Butchers Daughter, The Smile, ChaCha Matcha and Jack’s Wife Frida). And if you’re into cooking and like to eat at your place you can still venture into a supermarket – while regular supermarkets have the widest selection of corn flakes I’ve ever seen (it’s actually frightening), their vegetables corner is filled with scentless tomatoes and tasteless salad – but thanks God there are more and more Whole Foods, which are basically supermarkets that offer a large healthy, real and vegetarian selection. They have great sushis too by the way.
PS : if you still want to eat something unhealthy but cannot bring yourself to have a McDonald’s, try ShakeShack – a really really guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nevertheless.
“Taxis are cheap” – yellow cabs are cute on pictures, but cheap they are certainly not! Ever heard of traffic jams? That crazy situation happening every day and almost every time you happen to jump in a taxi? If you haven’t you’ll probably be surprised to pay 45$ for what was supposed to be a 10 minutes drive (and turned up to be an hour “drive”). The best piece of advise I can give you is to use the UBER app – you won’t avoid traffic jams, but at least Uber has a fixed fare, so no matter how much time you’ll spend in the car, you’ll pay the amount that was indicated when you ordered your ride (generally, the prices are lower than taxis!).
“Brooklyn is unfashionable” – a few episodes of Gossip Girl would be enough to give you a wrong image of Brooklyn, and I watched the whole six seasons. Yet Brooklyn is one of the borough I enjoyed the most during my stay in NY; there are plenty of amazing galleries, sick graffiti spots, it’s calmer than Manhattan, the service in coffee places and restaurants is way better than in the center and, last but not least, Juliana’s Pizza’s there – and it’s the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had (try the margarita one, with mushrooms and meat balls as toppings, you won’t regret it).
“The shopping is incredible” – well, the choice is incredible indeed, you can find whatever you want in NY, but being used to European prices I just couldn’t get into the Big Apple’s pricing. I know that Manhattan is an island, that it has no place to grow, but 26$ for a tiny cupcake-shaped soap sold in the middle of the street, really? I remember also wanting to get myself some vintage stuff, I soon came to understand that vintage was an excuse to sell worn-out stuff for 3x the original price – ever seen an old ripped Coca Cold t-shirt costing 170$? I have, it was in West Village. As for the luxury goods, they are all over taxed and a quick stop at Barneys proved me that shopping international brands in NY would be a mistake. My only purchases were from Levi’s (where I found amazing denim pieces on sale), Victoria’s Secret (because I wasn’t going to leave the states without something from VS) and from a lovely store in Williamsburg that was selling local designers.
“Chinatown lost it’s charm” – Charles and I stepped into south of Broome Street, aka Chinatown one morning knowing that’s it’s a very touristic spot, and found ourselves in a different continent. It was amazing. Exotic food, live fishes, a lot of unknown smells and so many beautiful colors. This is where we chose to shoot our blogpost, in the middle of a busy Chinatown street. You know, in french there is that word, dépaysante, that describes so well Chinatown’s atmosphere – it’s a bit disorienting, you forget that you’re in the US, and even that you’re in 2017 while you merge into those asian vibes.
Pictures : Charles Legrand
Jacket : Boggi
Pants : Patrizia Pepe
Top : Levi’s
Bag : Gucci
Shoes : Givenchy
Sunnies : MaxMara