20 reasons for girls to visit New York
KRISTIE KELLAHAN, LOUISE GOLDSBURY
The top 20 reasons why ladies should love New York City.
1 SWEET TOOTH
First there was Magnolia Bakery, then cakes went gluten-free and vegan at Babycakes. The latest craze is bite-sized cupcakes from Baked by Melissa (bakedbymelissa.com).
Beloved by weight-watching New Yorkers, we dare you to stop at just one bite of the delicious flavours including peanut butter cup, red velvet and cinnamon.
Sweet tooths also go mad for cronuts - a cross between a croissant and a donut - from Dominique Ansel Bakery (dominiqueansel.com) and the super-addictive crack pie from Momofuku Milk Bar. See milkbarstore.com.
2 VERY VINTAGE
Whether you're seeking 1940s frocks or original aviators, NYC is a treasure trove of vintage stores offering one-of-a-kind clothing, shoes and accessories.
Spend a day in Brooklyn foraging for rare finds at Mafalda on Atlantic Avenue or Guvnor's Vintage Apparel, see guvnorsnyc.com.
Expect stiff competition from TV and film costumers for those authentic, pre-loved Chanel pumps; these stores are very popular with celebs and their stylists.
In Manhattan, vintage boutique What Goes Around Comes Around on West Broadway is well worth a look. See whatgoesaroundnyc.com.
3 SHOPPING AND THE CITY
If you've shopped the discount designer racks at Century 21 (c21stores.com) then look for more bargains at Gap Factory Outlet in Brooklyn (gap.com), Designer Shoe Warehouse (dsw.com) and American Apparel SoHo Factory Outlet (americanapparel.net).
Hardcore shoppers head out of town for a daytrip to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets (premiumoutlets.com). The trip takes about 90 minutes; buses depart regularly from Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan's Midtown.
Woodbury Common's 220 outlets offer eye-popping savings, at up to 80 per cent off.
4 HOTELS FOR HER
What's not to love about a hotel that offers shopping suites with an extra room for storing shopping bags? At the Wolcott Hotel (wolcott.com) near Macy's 34th Street flagship store, rates start at just US$120 ($146) a night, leaving plenty of spare change for Macy's vast shoe floor.
At The New York Palace (newyorkpalace.com), a breathtaking renovation and refurb has just been unveiled. Cinderellas take note: the champagne suite can be yours for a night for US$25,000 ($30,443).
5 SO STEAMY
As the temperatures drop and winter's cruel march approaches, savvy New Yorkers make haste for the city's steam baths and hot hammams. Recently opened in Tribeca, the fanciest is Aire Ancient Baths (ancientbathsny.com).
Sleek, glam and catering to a discerning clientele, two-hour sessions are capped at 30 bathers.
A world away in Queens, Spa Castle (spacastleusa.com) is a megaplex Korean spa where the steam and scrub is offered with a side of Starbucks or sangria. Yes, really.
6 PAMPERING AT ANY PRICE
If you want the royal treatment, book a luxe afternoon at Guerlain Spa at Waldorf Astoria (waldorfnewyork.com/guerlain-spa).
The Abeille Royale Facial is one of the best - and most effective - in the city. For those on more modest budgets, Chinatown is the place to be.
Wander along Mott Street and you'll find dozens of reflexology spots where an hour's kneading is just US$30 ($36.5). Enjoy a mani/pedi for US$25 (430) and a haircut for US$20 ($24). Don't forget to tip.
7 BEST BRUNCHES
Forget grand Saturday night dinner plans. Weekend brunch is the thing, a party ritual that makes 2pm feel like the new 2am. At Bagatelle (bistrotbagatelle.com), glamorous beauties and Wall Street hedge-funders enjoy eggs, mimosas and a nightclub vibe in the Meatpacking District. Calle Ocho (calleochonyc.com) on the Upper West Side offers unlimited sangria and Latin fusion nosh right by Central Park. At Lips (lipsnyc.com) in Midtown East, you get unlimited mimosas, food and drag queens performing Broadway hits.
8 DREAM DATES
You can bet Mr Big would have wined and dined Carrie at New York's iconic Rainbow Room (rainbowroom.com). The old-school, suit-and-tie restaurant and cocktail lounge atop the Rockefeller Center opened in 1934, but has been closed in recent years.
Manhattan is a-twitter with the news it will reopen in 2014. If you're single and ready to mingle in the Big Apple, may we suggest Jay-Z's 40/40 Club (the4040club.com), Johnny Utah's (johnnyutahs.com) and the Empire Hotel rooftop bar (empirehotelnyc.com).
9 SWEAT IT OUT
Cupcakes plus Cosmopolitans equal calorie-bombs. Sweat it out, stay in shape on your trip and meet NYC locals in their natural habitats at popular fitness hotspots.
Barry's Bootcamp (barrysbootcamp.com) will make you wish you were never born, but you will walk away with glutes of steel.
At Soul Cycle (soul-cycle.com), the full-body cycling workout, pedal next to celebs including Chelsea Clinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Katie Holmes. Or dive in to the latest trend, underwater aquacycling (aquastudiony.com).
10 SALE TIME
Stay on the ball and you'll find stellar markdowns at NYC's sample sales. Held in pop-up stores and warehouses throughout the city, the sales are over in a flash - sometimes lasting just one or two days - with the best clothes, shoes and bags snapped up in a New York minute.
Follow @260samplesale on Twitter for news on upcoming sales including Rent the Runway and JCrew, and check out racked.com for sales reviews and tips.
11 HAIR HERE
If your style won't cut it in Manhattan, head to Bumble and Bumble University Model Project (bbumodelproject.com) for a complimentary makeover by a professional hairdresser.
These are not nervous, newly trained apprentices but experienced stylists visiting from other salons to learn the most current techniques.
Sign up for an evaluation of your hair type to be invited to the next model call, held twice a month in the Meatpacking District. Apply early as the waiting list is several months' long.
12 BEAUTY BARGAINS
High-end skincare brands also have schools where you can score free or heavily discounted facials and waxing. Dermalogica Academy (dermalogicaacademy.com) charges nothing for a "face mapping" analysis and personalised daily regimen, with a few samples thrown in. Treatments start at US$5.
Aveda (aveda.edu/new-york) has a wider range of spa services for face, back, feet and hair. Splurge on the US$50 ($60) 90-minute head-to-toe experience which includes a facial, foot massage and scalp treatment.
13 MEETING MEN
Admit it, you're hoping to be swept off your feet by a model/actor or Wall Street banker.
The good news is New Yorkers are not afraid to stop women in the street and ask them out to dinner, or to buy you a drink when they hear your cute accent (yes, they really do love it).
Sit at the bar during happy hour, go to the baseball - heck, just strut down Fifth Avenue with a smile and see what happens.
14 CONTACT SPORTS
Remember that scene in Sex and the City where the girls find themselves surrounded by hot guys in a sports bar? It's spot-on.
Check the football schedule on nfl.com to work out the best times to casually drop into a pub playing the game, then (during a commercial break) ask the nearest handsome American who he's supporting. It's that easy.
Even if you don't meet your true love, enjoy the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere, enthusiastic cheering and buckets of buffalo wings.
15 FEMALE HOSTEL
Not everyone is looking for men in this city. Pink (pinkhostels.com) is New York's first and only all-female hostel. Two blocks from Central Park, the property is also within walking distance of major museums, Apollo Theatre and the soul food restaurants and jazz clubs of Harlem.
Dorm-style accommodation is priced from US$19, with free Wi-Fi in common areas and free tea, coffee and juice. Look out for the hot pink door.
16 POWER EATING
There are ladies who lunch and then there are women who work, network and hammer out deals at the hottest restaurants in town.
Join the most influential executives, editors, fashion designers, filmmakers and celebrities in Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, NoHo and SoHo.
Order the latest cult salad at ABC Kitchen, Buvette, Lafayette, Cafe Cluny or Rosemary's. For dinner, share the small plates at Boqueria or nibble on raw food at Beauty & Essex. Dress to impress.
17 TEA TIME
For finger sandwiches, scones and crepes in elegant surroundings, our top choice is Lady Mendl's Tea Salon (innatirving.com) where all the diners are female and the waiters are male.
On the Upper East Side, the Lowell's Pembroke Room specialises in Maine lobster salad and caviar pinwheels. The best view with your tea is on the 35th floor of the Mandarin (mandarinoriental.com).
Always book in advance and make sure you brace yourself for the bill.
18 OUTDOOR WORKOUTS
Combine your exercise with a nice view in a pleasant setting. NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (nyc.gov/parks) teams up with Equinox gyms to provide free classes in parks and beaches.
Socrates Sculpture Park (socratessculpturepark.org) in Astoria, Queens, offers free canoeing and kayaking. Free yoga can also be found on Thursdays at 8am at Union Square or 6pm at Bryant Park.
Or hire a bicycle from Bike and Roll (bikeandroll.com) and hit the car-free Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.
19 THE BIG GRAPE
Don't go west coast with your wine. Instead of the ubiquitous Californians, try a glass (or bottle) from one of New York State's 320 lesser known wineries - there's even a few in the city. Red Hook (redhookwinery.com) has daily tastings for US$5 ($6), City Winery (citywinery.com) hosts live music, and Brooklyn Winery (bkwinery.com) also has events and tours.
At Brooklyn Oneology's new tasting room (brooklynoenology.com), sample their wines and whiskeys with locally made cheeses, jerky, chips or pate.
20 NO COSMOS
In the heart of New York City, the cocktail bar is its liver. Chic mixes for chicks change by the minute but wherever you go, do not even think about ordering a Cosmopolitan - that's so 1990s.
And here's the best part: generally, the drinks are cheaper in NYC than in Australia.
Do you have any reasons to add? Leave a comment below.
- FFX Aus