At House of Coco we love a good adventure and we have so many places we want to visit so that we can tick them off our bucket list. For our head stylist, Taheed Khan, it has always been all about New York and here, he tells us all about his trip to the big smoke as our stylist gets lost in the city…
When friends of mine decided on a trip to the Big Apple – I was more than happy with the choice! Having been on my bucket list from as far back as I can remember I couldn’t wait to experience the American dream.
They say New York is contagious and they weren’t wrong – the minute I landed in JFK and I saw my first yellow cab I was transported to all the films I’d seen growing up!
Our taxi ride through Manhattan was magical – the tall sky scrapers and a sneaky spot of the Statue of Liberty in the distance made it feel even more real! Finally pulling up at the Hilton on Lexington – we were greeted with a smile and a freshly made cookie – I knew this holiday was going to be full of fun!
I organised my wardrobe – day outfits to evening ensembles – accessory options lined up with choice of coats and shoes, I was advised to take a pair of comfortable shoes because we would be doing a bit of sight seeing which involved walking, and my mind was cast aside to Carrie Bradshaw and whether she would choose comfort over style – I soon forgot about that piece of advice.
No time for sleep, a quick shower and squirt of Tom Ford it was time to go venture outside of our hotel, and there is something about the crisp air of Manhattan that has you hooked. Making our way through the fast pace traffic, the hustle and bustle of the crowds, overhearing the strong New York accent – the smells of the food carts we passed, we finally made it to Times Square. And it is as crazy as you see on the films and TV! It is almost like being on location of a million dollar set. Obligatory Times Square pictures taken – the perfect selfie has to be achieved! We stopped for food at Ellens Stardust Diner which was a true delight! And then I was ready for bed!
Bright eyed and excited – the sun was out, I teamed my grey Isabel Marrant coat with my classic Alexander McQueen wool skull scarf and super tight favourite skinny jeans and simple Lanvin T shirt under a cool vintage denim shirt which was a bargain purchase in a vintage store in Manchester – feeling stylishly put together I was ready for my day! It was agreed that we would do the obvious tourist haunts.
A hop and a skip to Brooklyn Bridge it was laughs all the way – the sun stayed out and the heat was turned up, you wouldn’t think it was mid November. First up we walked across to the 9/11 memorial and stayed there for a few minutes thinking about life and those who lost theirs. Passing street artists who were painting caricatures’ whilst dancers performed their well choreographed routines.
We boarded the Staten Island Ferry, I thanked god for the wise choice of clothing – because I could definitely feel the blustering New York wind over the Hudson River – as the sun set the views of Manhattan were breathtaking – Sailing past the Statue of Liberty she definitely lived up to her magnificence – it was one of those experiences that would only happen once in a lifetime.
Dinner that evening was at SixtyFive having heard about this magnificent location via Harpers Bazaar earlier this year when they named it number 3 on their list of ten places around the world with the most amazing views – I made it my mission to eat and drink there. As soon as the doors of the Rockefeller open you are transported to nothing but opulence and grandeur.
Shooting 65 floors up you are greeted with smiles and shown to your table. Situated at the top of the Rockefeller plaza it has a wraparound outdoor terrace and you are immerged into the panoramic views of Manhattan and further. Its classic features are perfectly partnered with contemporary furniture. The menu is clear and simple offering small plates of delicious food ranging from oysters, wagyu striploin tataki to fried chicken – you literally want everything!
I opted for the salmon sashimi and the Foie Gras Paté on toasted truffle brioche with spiced quince – it was truly delectable and what a magical experience it created in my mouth! Highly recommend! Another favourite would be the Wagyu Beef Sliders the sweet tangy caramelised onions are a charm and accompany the beef so perfectly the sharp cabot cheddar and truffle fries are undeniably the icing ontop of the burger!
When in such fine restaurants I love a drinks recommendation! Otherwise I always just stick to my classic Espresso Martini which isn’t on the menu at Sixty Five but may I add they make an exceptionally amazing one! Our waiter for the evening kindly recommended the ‘Ward 8.’ Now if I was to describe it in 3 words they would be ‘sophisticated, sharp and serious’ the sweetness from the Crème de Cassis is beautifully partnered with a serious kick from the Luxardo Maraschino a wonderful partnership leaving you wanting more! When in Manhattan it would be rude to not try a ‘Manhattan’ and that also lives up to its name – truly splendid!
Overall an evening that I will never forget, great service, breathtaking views and food that is so graciously prepared that it looks like a work of art – I would highly recommend this place to anyone who is going to New York – and I will be returning! Thank you SixtyFive for a perfect evening!
Two days down and an amazing meal the night before – New York is fast becoming my favourite place on Earth! There are few places in New York I really wanted that perfect picture moment – one being the iconic Marilyn Monroe image where she is stood on a subway vent and her dress blows up as she’s infront of a crowd of paparazzi promoting ‘The Seven Year Itch’ – It would have been even more iconic if I was wearing the perfect white dress but no one wants to see my legs!
It was a surreal experience how this unmarked grate around the corner from Lexington and 52nd once 60 years ago a Hollywood legend stood and created an iconic movie moment that still today is recognised – The famous dress recently sold for 4.6 million dollars and due to the loud cheers from the fans the New York scene did not actually make the film but was reshot in California however the images were used for the films promotional purposes!
Next stop the New York Public Library, another location that has appeared in numerous famous films such as Sex and the city, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ghostbusters and Spiderman! It lives up to it grandeur, the steps and the two sitting lions are endearing and are an actual work of art – housing a cute gift shop perfect for those New York inspired gifts and a gallery featuring fantastic art – each winding marble stairwell leads to an exquisite room filled with beautiful stonework and you feel the history – a classic New York landmark.
A casual stroll to the West Village and it was time for the obligatory picture of being sat on Carrie Bradshaws foot stool! Her street is narrower than you think – No sign of ‘Big’ but don’t fear we still have a few days! The West Village is cool! Designer boutiques, vinyl stores and quirky bars – it screams old New York with a modern twist – Individualism is key and everyone is dressed on point – the West Village allows you to be unique which I like especially since I am a stylist – expressing yourself through the means of fashion I praise highly! Walking back to my hotel I stopped in shops along the way buying cool fashion art magazines and items of clothing I didn’t particularly need but one day will eventually wear.
Our final full day was spent Ice skating in Central Park, something I’ve not done since I was 15, however it’s Central Park and it is something you just have to do when you are in the Big Apple! And as predicted it was a great experience although my skating was questionable. The sun was shining and buskers played cool jazz on saxophones as we walked through central park, the autumnal colours really reflecting the season blissfully quintessential to the whole experience.
I finally ended up in the Upper East Side – I have wanted to always visit the Neue Galerie the home of the ‘The Woman in Gold.’ It was smaller than I actually thought but still so breathtaking each brushstroke tells a story. Gustav Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer is a painting with a heartbreaking story and you really appreciate the history surrounding the work of art. The gallery also holds other Austrian and German paintings including a room dedicated to fashion which is like stepping into a time machine.
The walk back to the hotel is as much fun as getting to the destinations – the iconic building such as The Met, The Astoria and Madonnas amazing townhouse are all on our way back – I half expect Blair Waldorf and her minions to casually stroll past – the upper east side is class personified with the beautiful buildings and the flawless pavements which are all endearing.
Dinner that final evening was at a charming Italian – and a show on Broadway! I wasn’t ready for what was going to happen after we settled our bill – during our meal we could hear a man singing – songs that were the epitome of New York classic Jazz – our table was away from this, however it sounded incredible. As we exited the restaurant we passed the guy singing. As I looked at him, I thought ‘I know you from somewhere’, then instantly I looked over at Colin who whispered ‘That’s Big’ – it was the perfect finish! Chris Noth singing away clutching his Espresso Martini with a huge smile! But I wasn’t satisfied, I wanted more, so as my friends waited patiently outside I went back in to take a picture and said ‘Hey’ and he replied, smiled and continued to sing! Perhaps sitting on Carrie Bradshaws doorstep is the reason Big manifested – but it made New York for me.
I have travelled the world this year – Australia, Italy, Bali and then I thought about the places I had been to over the years, I have always had fun but never really had the urgency to head back but with New York I left my heart there.