In 2007, while on a trip to New York, a friend booked dinner at a hot new restaurant in an up and coming area of the city; the Bowery. “Now make sure the cab drops you right at the door”, she said, as the area was a little salubrious. Well no longer, the Bowery is now another hot spot on the ever changing island of Manhattan. Once the home of the down and out, the Lower East Side is now full of restaurants, bars, funky new hotels and residences.
A recommendation from another friend, this one in the hotel industry, had us based on our most recent trip to New York at the fabulous Hotel Ludlow, right in the thick of the Bowery; so new that the restaurant is still under construction. This pumping new spot, frequented by many in the arts industry, looks like it could have been an old bank or boutique department store in years gone by, but in fact it’s all new construction, with beautiful wood panelled walls, exposed beams and mosaic marble tiled floors. The furniture and lighting is a fab mix of custom, contemporary pieces and funky vintage. A cool eclectic sound track full of remixed retro music, makes the public spaces a delight to spend time in. The rooms have a perfect mix of Bowery vintage and contemporary luxury, with larger suites including potted garden balconies. Obviously I enjoyed my week here.
The neighbourhood is full of casual dining restaurants and bars, many with an industrial chic aesthetic. The clothes boutiques are another sign that this is a hot area; definitely a district made to wonder and explore. I loved the name of a bar a block from the hotel. It has a neon sign “No Fun”. With the “No” never being switched on. Love it.
Now that there doesn’t seem to be a bad area to live in Manhattan, some of the once questionable areas in the boroughs have also come into there own. None more so than Brooklyn, that includes the centre of the hipster universe, Williamsburg. This once industrial area has gone into hyperdrive as warehouses and small commercial buildings are developed into restaurants, hotels, stores and residences. This is the place for cool little boutiques, vintage markets and easy market style food. A visit to “Smorgasburg” is a must, with small stands selling an array of delicious home made food and drinks. The lobster roll is delicious. The “It” place to stay is the Wythe Hotel; it includes a fantastic restaurant on the ground floor and a sky bar on the 6th floor, with a killer view of Manhattan. Dress funky casual and prepare to hang with the uber cool.
The areas of Brooklyn heights and Park Slope are full of beautiful architecture from the late 1800s, most predominately the “Brownstones”. Spectacular rows of ornate terrace homes grace tree lined streets. It’s a quick subway ride into Manhattan, so these neighbourhoods are perfect for family homes. We have the great pleasure of working on one of these homes for our clients who have relocated from Sydney. This visit was our first site inspection and we were delighted with the incredible potential this grand old home provides, with 12 foot ceilings, marble fireplaces, ornate plaster work and concealed shuttered multi paned windows. The look for this home is NY loft meets Brooklyn funky with a gallery edge. A beautiful space with great clients, a perfect mix. This city never fails to inspire.
By Brett Mickan, a Sydney-based interior designer specialising in high-end residential design at Brett Mickan Interior Design