HOW I BROUGHT MY YOUNGER BROTHER & HIS GIRLFRIEND BACK TO NYC WITH ME AND MADE THEM MY THIRD WHEEL
This past weekend I brought my younger brother and his girlfriend back with me to New York. It was my first time back since I moved and their first times ever. I had been needing to go back for some meetings, and I also wanted to celebrate them both becoming lawyers this year. Two birds, one stone. My brother had been unable to visit me when I lived there due to his school load and clerking. So there was NO way he was going to visit New York for his first time without me being there. He definitely tried, but that was a hard no from me.
We landed early on Friday morning, as I always take the red-eye when I am flying from LAX to JFK. We landed and headed to our hotel, The Moxy Chelsea, which is located on my old street in Chelsea. The hotel is in a prime location near the High Line and Hudson Yards. Since the room wasn’t ready, I showed them my old building since they never got to see it when I lived there. It was fun for me to show them my old stomping grounds and the areas in my old neighborhood.
Anytime I land back in NYC, I go see my barber Nick at 3 Aces Barbershop in Hell’s Kitchen. He is always my first stop upon arrival. I needed my hair prime for a surprise that I had in store for them later in the day! Anytime you go to New York, go to 3 Aces and sit and wait for Nick. His Instagram handle in the link for his name, so blow him up and go see him. You will not regret it.
By the time I got back to the hotel, freshly cut and shaved, the room was ready. The Moxy Chelsea was great, and they had given us a great room with a direct view of the Empire State Building. His girlfriend really wanted to see all of the “tall buildings,” so I was extremely grateful they were able to do that. When we all got back to the room and got ready, we headed out to the Loeb Central Park Boathouse. My brother and I grew up sailing, and since he now has boats of his own, I knew he would love it.
I had arranged for a window table right on the water. Despite there being no boats on the lake since it was frozen, they both loved it. I had arranged for them to bring a cake and champagne to celebrate them becoming lawyers, and they did a great job! I did get a puzzled look from the waiter when I poured my Shore Magic collagen powder into my latte! Their 10 Day Luxury Pack’s are perfect for traveling, and I am never without one. It’s not like I was frothing it into my drink at the table! Honestly the only reason I wasn’t was because I forgot the frother back in the hotel room. #Shameless.
From there we headed to The Plaza, my home away from home even when I lived there. I needed to pick up some essentials from the Food Court and a book from Assouline. They happened to be the only location in the country that had their new book St. Moritz Chic in stock, and I wanted to read it on my flight home. Why waste money on shipping when I would already be in town? Not to mention St. Moritz is one of my favorite places to ski! After spending sometime at The Plaza, they headed back to the hotel to rest. I on the other hand headed over to my other home away from home in New York. The Joanna Vargas Flagship Salon, located right Fifth Avenue overlooking Bryant Park.
From the week I moved there until the week that I left, I religiously went to Joanna Vargas every month for her Supernova Facial and The Power Nap. My first time back was certainly no exception, and I didn’t care that my appointment was at 7:00 PM either. It was great to be back there, as the whole team and the treatments are top notch, and I couldn’t recommend somewhere more.
Later that night we met up with my friend Andrew at Public Hotel for dinner. I knew my brother and Andrew would get along from their mutual love of boats. Andrew, or Mr. Connecticut as I like to call him, is very waspy. They got along great, with my brother proclaiming that he was going to steal Andrew as his friend. They were exhausted by the end of dinner, so we said our goodbyes and Andrew and I went and met up with some friends at Et Al. Perfect first day back in the city.
I slept like a baby that night as I had my Calm x Gravity Travel Blanket with me. It put me right to sleep and clearly kept me very soundly asleep, because I woke up Saturday AFTERNOON at 1:30 PM. I was in a bit of a panic as I forgot to set my alarm for another, yes another, appointment at Joanna Vargas. I had split my treatments up to do the Power Nap on Saturday because my facial was so late the prior evening. It didn’t help that it was intensely raining but I somehow made it right on time at 2:00 PM. Benefits of having a Joanna Vargas Supernova Facial the night before, I really did wake up like this!
While I was on my way to JV, I called my brother to see where he and his girlfriend were. They were headed to the Met and we decided that I would meet them there afterwards. Since they’ve never been to NYC, they had to squeeze as much tourist time in as possible, and understandably so.
Once we linked up at the Met, we were all able to see the paintings and exhibits that we wanted to see. In The Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, is an exhibit which is on display through May 17th, 2020. It is put on by The Costume Institute and curated by Anna Wintour.
The exhibit features promised gifts from Sandy Schreier, who over the course of more than half a century assembled one of the finest private fashion collections in the United States. The show explores how Schreier amassed a trove of twentieth-century French and American couture and ready-to-wear, not as a wardrobe, but in appreciation of this form of creative expression. The gift is part of The Met’s 2020 Collections Initiative celebrating the Museum’s 150th anniversary.
For dinner on Saturday, we were meeting my friend Jonna for dinner at Catch Steak in the Meatpacking District. Catch Steak had opened the weekend after I moved, so I had yet to eat there. Even Jonna who is a vegan, had been raving about the food. Jonna is my dear friend who designed my incredible birthday cake for my 30th birthday in August with Empire Bakery!
To say she was right about the food would be an understatement. We all shared steaks of differing types and cuts (well except for her), and had the most amazing desert. It’s called a Snickers Baked Alaska, and I have videos of it on my NYC highlights on Instagram. Its made of toasted meringue, warm caramel peanut filling chocolate cake, and flaming whiskey. Not only is it surprisingly gluten free, but they light the entire thing on fire before they cut it. Not only is the presentation fire, it literally is on fire, and it explodes your taste buds.
From there we went to Omar’s on the Lower East Side. While it was still a bit early in the evening, the first red flag should have been when the bouncer told us it was closed for a “private party” and “are we sure we want to go in?” Being that it was their first time in the city and we had some time to kill before heading to Amaya to see Gaspar Muniz DJ, we figured what the hell? It turns out that we had walked into what could only be described as a swinger’s dinner party? While the bar downstairs was relatively unoccupied and quiet, my brother came back from the bathroom saying it sounded like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre upstairs.
Bewildered yet intrigued, Jonna and I made our way upstairs to restaurant where couples clad in 70’s attire stumbling downstairs. One couple in particular asked the two of us “what brought young blood like yourselves here this evening?” as Joanna tried to make her way past him. He proceeded to follow us and continue to ask me questions as we quickly attempted to make our way back downstairs. Luckily they went into the dance room where the patrons from upstairs were now fully congregated. It resembled the scene in Mean Girls where everyone is acting like animals in the fountain. Yet all of these people were at least 60, drunk, and/or on something else. We quickly exited and made a bee-line down the street to Amaya.
The rest of the evening was great. Gaspar’s set at Amaya was incredible and everyone was having the best time. You can actually listen to his January 2020 Amaya playlist on Soundcloud here. My brother and his girlfriend decided to head back while Jonna and I stayed behind at Amaya. Eventually making it over to one of my all-time favorite haunts in the city, The Box. We called it a night around 4:00 am, given it was now my last day in the city.
I skipped going to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum that morning, as I had just gotten to sleep maybe four hours earlier. So I slept in once again, checked us out of The Moxy, and headed over to Jonna’s for a bit. We headed down to Soho and did some shopping at Dior before meeting up with my brother. We met up with them for lunch at Jack’s Wife Freida. It was a great last lunch in New York and they got to see SoHo. Plus they definitely did not look at me like I was nuts when I asked if they could froth my Shore Magic into my latte there! The waitress actually told me that not only do many people ask to do that, but that she does it as well.
After that I took them to my very first apartment I lived in when I moved to New York in NoLita. Ironically the entire building used to be my close friend Domingo Zapata’s studio years prior. I had no clue until he came to visit the apartment the first time. The hearts that are painted on the door is actually the heart he tattoo’ed behind my ear during New York Fashion Week back in 2017. How I didn’t recognize those were his hearts when I first moved in I don’t know. Initially I actually thought they were done by another painter friend of mine. While I only lived in that apartment for a month, it was a great place to live in New York. It was also a place where I met and lived with two of now best friends.
We said our goodbyes and made our way back to the hotel, and then walked over to Hudson Yards. The only reason I wanted to go was to stop by Dylan’s Candy Bar to pick up the S’Mores chocolate bars. I needed those for the flight and to bring back for my boyfriend since he had never had them. He has as a bonafide and borderline crazy sweet tooth habit yet had never had Dylan’s Candy Bar before? He’s even lived in New York before too!
The 9:15 flight back to LA is nowhere near as easy as the redeye heading to New York. We landed at 1:30 AM and then we had to drive all way back to Orange County. It was a great trip, far too short, but it was definitely worth it! We were all exhausted once we got back, and excited to return shortly.