Sunday, February 27, 2011

Barneys Warehouse Sale

I had heard great things about Barneys Warehouse Sale and was very excited at the prospect of finding some great designer deals.  I went along for a visit to see what all the fuss was about and to try and find some bargains for myself.

The sale is in an actual warehouse on 17th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, and you only know it's there by the red 'Barneys Warehouse Sale' sign on the door.  I thought that it would be a store like Century 21 or Filenes Basement, but it is just a warehouse filled with simple racks and boxes of merchandise.  It reminded me of a cheap store like Primark with everything rammed in and people crawling over each other to get a bargain. 

However, the clothing rails here are lined with clothes by top designers including Stella McCartney, Givenchy, Prada and Emporio Armani.  I was impressed with the range of designers and most items were less than half price.  If you spent the time looking through everything I have no doubt that you would find some amazing clothes at a fraction of the price.  Make sure you check the clothes carefully before you buy them, they are all rammed together and not stored or displayed as you would expect such high-end pieces to be, so invariably they get damaged.  I found a beautiful coat reduced from $3000 to $800, but the material was covered in pulls which were very noticeable.  I would want an $800 coat to look amazing even if it was reduced from such a high price in the first place!

They have an amazing selection of shoe designers, including Chanel and Prada, but again they are piled high on top of each other and scattered all over the floor.  It was heartbreaking to see a gorgeous pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes shoved underneath a mountain of boots, the soles looked worn and the satin was scuffed.  However, at $400 reduced from over $1000 they would definitely be a bargain for someone! 

Overall I was quite disappointed with the sale, even at half price the clothes and shoes are very expensive and I wouldn't want anything that looked damaged or worn.  However, if you spend the time and look carefully at the items you are buying there are some fantastic deals to be had, especially if you get there early. 

All sales are final and you can't try anything on, so try and wear an outfit you can slip clothes over or under!The sale is on for another week until the Sunday 6th March and for more information visit http://www.barneys.com/Barneys-New-York-Warehouse-Sale/WAREHOUSE_SALE,default,pg.html

Let me know how you get on and happy shopping!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baked Beans and Tea Bags

If you are missing some of your home comforts, don't worry there are places in Manhattan where you can get some British favourites!

Morton Williams Supermarkets, with multiple locations across New York City, have a small selection of British goods.  They sell things like Heinz spaghetti, salad cream, HP Sauce, Heinz tomato soup, Rich Tea biscuits and PG Tips tea bags.  It's quite a good selection for a local supermarket.  Check their website for locations and opening hours http://www.mortonwilliams.com/.

Some Food Emporium stores stock Heinz baked beans, Heinz soups and PG Tips.  I go to the one on 2nd and 51st Street and they have these products, but not all stores carry the same items.  For more information visit http://www.thefoodemporium.com/.

There are two shops that have been recommended to me that specialise in British cuisine and groceries, but I haven't been to visit them yet.  Both are run by people from the UK and they stock most things you can think of from sausages to Walkers crisps and Cadbury chocolate.

The first is called 'Tea and Sympathy' located in the West Village.  They have a grocery store and a restaurant that serves typical English Fayre.  Their website is http://www.teaandsympathynewyork.com/.

The second is called 'Myers of Keswick' again located in West Village.  They make their own sausage rolls which are meant to be delicious.  Their website is http://www.myersofkeswick.com/.

If you visit either stores before I do, let me know how you get on!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yosi Samra Flat Fold-up Shoes

Just a quick note to say how much I love these Yosi Samra Fold-up Flat shoes.  I know there are lots of 'handbag shoes' on the market, but these are much better than most of the other makes on sale. 

They are a bit more expensive, but you actually get a decent shoe rather than a flimsy slipper.  You can walk around New York in these shoes as they have a proper sole, and you don't have to worry about wearing them in the rain!

Now the snow is finally going (yay!) and I can start wearing nice shoes again, I always put a pair of these in my bag in case my feet hurt after an evening in heels.  They do lots of different colours, so I have a few pairs to choose from depending on my outfit.

Their collection is online at http://shop.yosisamra.com/flats.html

You can also get them at

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden

The amazing Lady Gaga will be performing at Madison Square Garden next week on the 21st and 22nd February. Unfortunately I can't go, but if you are lucky enough to have a golden ticket to the show have a wonderful time!

I would to love to hear any feedback from the show, you can post a comment here or tweet me @NewGirlNewYork.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The New York City Ballet

Recently, I was lucky enough to go and see Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' as performed by the New York City Ballet at the Lincoln Centre.  It was absolutely brilliant and one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen.  The choreography was beautiful and the dancers were breath-taking.  The large orchestra playing Tchaikovsky was great in itself, and throughout the performance I found my hairs standing on end.  The dances with the swans were my favourite and the final scene was just awe-inspiring. 

Going to the ballet can be expensive, but if you get tickets early you can get seats at the front of the upper circles for about $55, which is cheaper than most Broadway shows.  These are still good seats and you can see the entire stage without obstruction.  Also, if you are on a budget there is a 'Dancers Choice' performance in June which is choreographed and put together by the dancers themselves.  Tickets for this event are only $50 or $25 and the money goes to the NYCB Dancers Emergency Fund.

A night at the New York City Ballet really is a night to remember and whilst living in New York you should definitely take advantage of having one of the world's most talented ballet companies on your doorstep.

For more information in the NYCB and upcoming performances visit http://www.nycballet.com/.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Frick Collection

The Frick collection is an amazing gallery of art works that were once owned by Mr Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919).  He donated all of his art work, and his exquisite home in which they are displayed, to the state after his death. 

There are a great variety of works on display, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, clocks and porcelain.  They often change what is on display and not all of the works are available to view at one time.  When I visited my favourites were the stunning Constable landscapes, the beautiful Gainsborough portraits and the Monet. 

The house alone is worth a visit, set off of busy 5th Avenue, it is magnificent.  Each room is decorated elegantly and there is a beautiful indoor garden with water fountains.  It is very quiet inside and you forget that the hustle and bustle of New York is just a few steps away.

The Frick Collection is quite a small gallery, which I liked as I could really take the time to enjoy the art on display and not rush in order to see everything.  I really enjoyed my morning there and would like to go back when they display some of the other works in the collection. 

For more information, opening times and ticket prices visit http://www.frick.org/

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spice Market-Restaurant Review

The Spice Market, located in the Meat Packing District, is a really buzzy and trendy restaurant.  It is spread over two floors, but feels like one big room due to the fact the first floor overlooks the room below.  There is a good atmosphere throughout and decor is very interesting, it reminded me of an India Jones movie but done really well!

The menu is inspired by Southeast Asian street food, and they have a variety of Thai and Vietnamese items to choose from.  They have an excellent selection of curries and offer Bento boxes at lunch time.  The food is really good, we had the Vietnamese spring rolls and chicken skewers to start, followed by Cod with Malaysian chilli sauce and Vietnamese chicken curry, all of which was delicious. 

There is a lively bar where you can have pre and/or post dinner drinks.  You can also get small plates and appetizers at the bar if you just wanted something light with a few drinks.

I would definitely recommend making reservations for this restaurant as it gets extremely busy, but they do keep some tables open for walk-ins.  These are given out on a first come first served basis, so I would get there early if you want to make sure you get a table.

I love this restaurant and would highly recommend that you give it a go.  For more information and reservations, visit http://www.spicemarketnewyork.com/

P.S. For any Brits reading this they are opening a Spice Market in London.  If you go let me know what it's like!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New York Fashion Week 2011

New York Fashion Week 2011 is taking place at the Lincoln Centre this week.  They have amazing shows throughout the week and lots going on throughout the city.  Although I already knew Fashion Week was upon us, I was reminded at dinner this weekend when a party of models walked into the restaurant.  As expected they were all extremely tall and skinny and I felt almost guilty tucking into my burger while they ate salads!  So guilty that I just had to have pudding as well ;-) They did look amazing though, and of course they were wearing some gorgeous outfits.

I haven't ventured to the Lincoln Centre yet, I'm hoping to go tomorrow, but I hear there are lots of free events for those of us who aren't celebrities, designers or stylists.  I'm sure it will be fun and you never know who you might bump into!

Also, throughout New York City many shops are having special fashion week sales.  If you like a bargain, check out TJ Max (http://www.tjmaxx.com/), Filenes Basement (http://www.filenesbasement.com/) and Century 21(http://www.c21stores.com/) for some great fashion week deals.  I have found some amazing designer shoes and bags for more than half price.  If you have the time and patience to rummage around the store there are some fantastic bargains to be had.

If you would like more information about Fashion Week visit http://www.mbfashionweek.com/

Friday, February 11, 2011

Volunteering with New York Cares

Volunteering with the charity 'New York Cares' is a great way to get involved with your local community.  Not only is it very rewarding, it is also great fun and a good way to meet people.  In order to get started you need sign up for an induction on their website.  The inductions are only a couple of hours long and are offered across New York at varying times of the day during the week and at the weekends. 

Once you have completed your induction you can start signing up for projects.  They have so many different opportunities available, including working with children, the elderly, at animal shelters, tidying local parks, painting schools and proving food for the homeless.  You can give as much or as little time as you want, it really is up to you.  There are some projects that require long-term commitment, but many only require you to sign up for one session at a time.  It is all web based, so it is very easy and convenient to view and sign up for the projects thay have available.

If you are unable to work in the US due to Visa reasons, or unable to get a social security number, you can still volunteer with New York Cares and sign up for many of their projects.  However, they do require two references when you sign up to volunteer.

I really enjoy volunteering with New York Cares and have a few projects that I work with regularly.  I have met some great people and it has really helped me to become part of the community and get to know the city.

For more information visit  http://www.newyorkcares.org/

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zumba Latin Fitness

The latest fitness craze in New York is 'Zumba' dance classes.  Zumba fitness is based on Latin dance moves with music to match.  It is such a fun way to work out as you are so busy learning the dance routines that you forget that you are exercising! 

I go to the Zumba class at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre on 55th and 9th Avenue.  They have lunchtime classes three days a week, evening classes twice a week and three classes at the weekend.  The instructors are excellent and make you feel welcome.  However, as the classes are so popular they can be very busy and it can be a bit of a squeeze in the studio.  People are friendly though, and everyone goes to have a good time as well as keep fit.  Alvin Ailey offers numerous dance classes from hip-hop to ballet, so if Zumba isn't for you there are lots of other styles to choose from.  Visit their website for more information at http://www.alvinailey.org/ .

Before we moved I used to go to the lunchtime Zumba classes at the DanceSport studio on 34th street between 5th and 6th Avenue.  The classes are smaller and the teacher, Xavier Marzan, is excellent. They offer classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Friday's 12:00pm-1:00pm.  Their website is http://www.dancesport.com/ .

Give Zumba a try, it is so much fun and a great way to exercise.  Hopefully I will see you in a class soon!
http://www.zumba.com/us/

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Celeb Spot-N-Dubz!

I just saw the UK band N-Dubz trying to get a cab in Midtown.  Even celebs have trouble hailing a cab in this city......:-)

21 Club-Restaurant Review

I recently went for dinner at the '21 Club' in Midtown West.  It is a really interesting restaurant, with 2 dining areas, private dining rooms and a cocktail lounge.  We ate in the 'Bar Room', which is the main restaurant.  It is a really quirky dining room with lots of American paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling.  You can also eat in 'Upstairs at 21' which is a more intimate setting seating just 32 people. 

The restaurant has a dress code of no jeans or trainers and everyone was dressed smartly.  I saw a few cocktail dresses and many of the men were wearing suits.  We went on a week night so I am guessing people dress up even more at the weekend!

We booked our table via the restaurant website and as a result received a complimentary cocktail on arrival.  You are required to leave your credit card details when making a reservation as they do not overbook, which means no waiting for your table and actually getting seated on time.

The food was excellent, we chose to eat from the restaurant week menu (which they are still offering until the end of February) and enjoyed the calamari to start followed by delicious pork belly.  Although I was full, I still made room for some of the red velvet cake which was just lovely.  They offer an extensive wine and cocktail list and the Sommelier is on hand to give advice if required.

The staff were very attentive and efficient.  Our food was served at a good pace and we were always being topped up with wine and water. 

We did not have a drink in the cocktail lounge, but it looked quite busy when we left.  It had more of a mature feel to it, but there was a mixture of ages enjoying drinks at the bar.

The whole place had a feel of a private members members club and I will definately be going back.  I would recommend this restaurant and I hope you get the chance to give it a try. Visit their website at http://www.21club.com/ for more information.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

GiltCity-Great deals in NYC

GiltCity is a great website that offers coupons and discounts for many different services across New York, including restaurants, spa's, Broadway shows, concert tickets, personal training and shops . 

You can often get tickets for special events they organise or sponsor, such as restaurant openings or VIP cocktail evenings.  They have more luxurious offers than some of the other coupon websites and I am looking forward to some spa treatments and dinners I have booked through them.

Take a look and sign up for free for some great deals at http://www.giltcity.com/invite/dz3aaynv79exgdtxx7mt.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stowe Mountain Resort

I have just got back from a brilliant skiing weekend at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont.  We decided to drive up, which took 6 hours from Manhattan, but it was well worth it as there are some amazing views on the way.  The drive is really simple too, especially if you have a Sat Nav! 

Stowe Mountain accommodates all levels of skier, the majority of runs are blue (in the US they don't have red runs, so the blues are slightly steeper and more tricky than in Europe) but there are plenty of green runs for beginners, and black runs for those who want more of a challenge.  As with all ski resorts the lifts get busier on weekends, but if you get out there early you can get a good few runs in without having to queue for lifts. 

The resort has a real village feel, they gave out free hot chocolate and smores (melted marshmallows and chocolate in biscuits-a must try!) around the fireplace in the afternoon.  The staff are extremely helpful throughout the resort and will go out of there way to accommodate requests.

We stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge which was absolutely lovely and right by the chair lifts, making it easy to ski in and out.  I got a great deal on Expedia (http://www.expedia.com/) for a Timberline Studio room which was gorgeous.  The room was a really good size, with lots of space to relax and even had a working fireplace! 

The hotel offers a great ski valet service so you don't have to worry about lugging your ski gear from and to the rental shop.  Hotel guests can use the outdoor pool, hot tubs and gym.  However, if you want a more relaxed (and warmer!) experience, I would recommend using the 'Healing Lounge' at the spa.  It is $25 a visit or free if you are having a spa treatment, I thought it was well worth it though!

The restaurants on the mountains are of really good quality, as is the food.  I would recommend booking restaurants for the evening though, especially at the weekend, as there aren't many places to eat.  The 'Solstice' restaurant in the hotel is lovely, and you can eat at the bar or order room service.  You can also go across to Spruce Base Camp for meals until 9pm.  There is another good restaurant 5 minutes walk off site called 'The Cottage' and we had a delicious meal in there.

The apres ski is pretty calm and quiet there, with people just chilling out in the bars and restaurants, which is great for families and couples, but this might not be the place for you if you want the night life usually available at bigger European resorts.

We had a great time at Stowe Mountain and are hoping to get back there before the end of the season. 

Visit these websites http://www.stowe.com/ and http://www.stowemountainlodge.com/ for more information.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Skiing in Vermont

I am currently on a ski weekend in Vermont and having a great time, I can't wait to tell you all about it when I get back. It is beautiful here and the snow is great, just hope my ski skills improve tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Universal News

If you are missing your glossy magazines from home and want to catch up on the latest UK celebrity gossip, then take a visit to Universal News.

Universal News has 10 locations across Manhattan and they stock magazines from all over the world. Not only can you get copies of the most popular UK magazines, you can pick up almost any publication on offer in the USA.

They stock the widest variety of magazines I have seen so far in New York, and if you can't find the publication you are looking for they may be able to get it for you. They also have an Internet cafe and stock a variety of cakes, sweets and drinks.

To find your nearest location visit http://www.universalnewsusa.com/.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting tickets for Broadway Shows

If you want to avoid paying full price for tickets to shows on and off Broadway and you don't want to queue up at the TKTS box office in Times Square, visit http://www.broadwaybox.com/.  They offer tickets at 25-50% off of the regular price and often have tickets for sold out shows. 

You can either book online and print out your tickets, or print out a coupon and get your discount when you buy tickets directly from the show box office.  I have got tickets from broadwaybox.com on many occasions and have always managed to get good seats.

If you sign up for their newsletter you will receive a daily email with all the best show offers available that day.  They also offer discounted tickets for many of the New York attractions and tours.

I have seen some great shows, I would highly recommend going to see Al Pacino in Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' at the Broadhurst Theatre, it was amazing. 

I also loved the play 'Gruesome Playground Injuries' at the Second Stage Theatre.  It is a very intimate theatre with brilliant acting from Jennifer Carpenter (from the TV show 'Dexter') and Pablo Schreiber (Tony award nominee) as the only cast members.

One I would avoid is 'Dracula' at the Little Shubert Theatre.  It was uncomfortable to watch as the acting was so bad and English accents were terrible!

If you have any recommendations for performances you have seen on or off Broadway I would love to hear from you.