January 15, 2015

New York Solo

I know, it's been a good two months since I visited New York City during its best week in autumn, but it makes this recap very fitting for a throwback thursday.

In quiet moments, I still reminisce my last visit to New York. When people asked me how the trip went, "it was fun" or "it was great" became too dull and modest of a response.  Even when I'd emphasize how amazing it was, I could only go that far, not realizing exactly what quality did the trip boil down to to make it so incredibly tongue-tied over. My conclusion, after a couple of months spent with renewed motivation, is that New York in autumn was an existential experience, that proved to me the most self-gratifying aspect of travel. 

I've been to New York several times. A couple of times strictly as a tourist and a couple of times strictly for Fashion Week. In both occasions, I relied on a schedule to dictate my days and I was always around familiar faces in familiar settings. Being a tourist and conducting business are simply familiar. But when you take all of that away and all you are left with is yourself, and time, and the world, perspective get interesting. 

Although I traveled to New York with Kyle, his destination was his office for business. We only spent 2 full days together out of our week in the city. So I was on my own the rest of the week. On my days, I had filled a morning or afternoon here and there with a meeting or lunch with an old friend. But most hours were spent wandering the streets and the subways absorbing the lessons and lives of those present and the energy of everyone charging forward to their day. I meandered through Upper West Side, finding charming establishments to grab a meal and dine with my kindle book. There was a gorgeous French bakery right next door to our hotel, The Belleclaire, that was easy for a flaky croissant and tea to bring back up to our Mark Twain suite for a working morning "at home". It's generally loud in the city, but once you cross over to UWS, the silence is nearly deafening and so crisp. It really is a true feeling that in a city of millions, you can feel alone - and I say that with no depressing intent. Only in solitude could I have fallen in love with the neighborhood by The Belleclaire for its subtle elegance; it was a perfect retreat to ease myself into city-dwelling life. The subway was a block away from the lobby and all the worldly magazines I ever needed for inspiration were just three stores down. Mid-week, we moved downtown to the quaint Cosmopolitan hotel in the middle of bustling TriBeCa, where I was thrown into the throngs of chic urbanites as I stepped out the lobby, trying to hold up my tea and iPad through everyone's garment bags and Issey Miyake prism totes. While I ventured one subway stop to Soho for things you can't get in LA, most of my eagerness lied in living my day to day within West Village. Its Old World character is what I'm addicted to and also can't get in LA. It's somewhere I can rest and go about the best people-watching, inspiring myself with imaginative stories of their backgrounds as they stroll past the cafe window. 

Only in solitude would I have discovered the beauty in unfiltered perspective and the triumph of a self-indulgent itinerary in New York. Only in solitude would I have learned how comfortable I can be with my own thoughts in an entirely unfamiliar place. Although this was just a mild taste in somewhat solo travel, I'm extremely keen to the idea of a solo adventure to see what else I can discover. 

I have to thank Hotel Belleclaire, a Triumph Hotel, and The Cosmopolitan, a Triumph Hotel for sheltering me in style during the most beautiful week in New York and for being a part of my self journey. They're both charming boutique stays in the hearts of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan and appropriately Fashion Week friendly. Hotel Belleclaire is just literally one subway stop away from Lincoln Center and The Cosmopolitan in TriBeCa is right where all the hottest parties are. 

For a delightful stay in the Upper West Side, make a reservation at Hotel Belleclaire. For a chic stay to sleep during the day and party at night, make a reservation at The Cosmopolitan.

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