Last week we had the chance to visit New York for the Autumn/Winter 2013 Men's Fashion Market. As a first-time visitor to the Big Apple, I was struck by how many people are packed into one space. So many different ethnicities, ages, and tax brackets all smashed together into the truest form of the American "melting pot" I've ever experienced.
As a fledgling lifestyle blogger from Cincinnati, you'd think that I'd have remembered to bring my fancy SLR to capture the adventure. Unfortunately, in the rush to pack the perfect sweater, I left my camera behind. Fear not, Article readers. My travel partner (@NobleDenim) and I both packed our iPhones, and making use of a modern technological advancement called Instagram, we were able to document some of what we experienced.
The purpose of the trip will be revealed later this year - Article's got BIG plans. Until then, this post will serve as a Weekend Guide to NYC - Article Style (Smartphone Edition)..
Welcome to the post-modern industrial palace known as the Ace Hotel. Located in the midst of a fairly nondescript set of blocks littered with shops selling Asian-made gifts and hair-extensions, you'll realize you're in the right place as you're greeted by the hipster doorman dressed in a throwback wool Varsity coat embroidered with a giant A. The check-in counter conjures thoughts of the admission booth of a strange industrial-inspired 1940's amusement park, and the lobby bar, surrounded by white pillars and adorned with a giant vintage American flag, stays hopping from about 3pm until late into the night. Our room was small, but the beds are comfortable and the antique-esque rainwater shower makes up for the room size.
Almost worth the trip alone. This is where you'll eat lunch everyday. As a self-described "modern day roadside burger stand," the Shake Shack serves burgers on a walk-up basis. These aren't just any burgers. I ordered what I thought was a burger patty topped with a portabella mushroom, only to find the burger patty WAS the portabella mushroom. Two in fact. Deep fried, and stuffed with muenster and cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, and "shacksauce." Try to read that previous description again without your mouth watering. Krinkle-cut fries are fixed fresh for every customer and served HOT.
Back inside the Ace Hotel sits their restaurant - The Breslin. The Breslin is famous for it's charcuterie - the culinary term used to describe sausages, cured meats, pates, and gelatinous meats of various origin. The ceramic pigs and various animals adorning the restaurants rafters pay a playful homage to what you're about to eat. Start with the Terrine board, a $33 appetizer that includes pork pate, rabbit and prune head cheese, guinea hen with morels, and liverwurst. It's a little adventurous, but hey, you're in New York. Recommended for your entree, try the lamb burger served medium rare. While you're waiting for a table and throughout dinner, keep the "this is happening" cocktails coming. The "This is happening" is made of rye, benedictine, oloroso sherry, and aromatic bitters.
Once you're finished getting fitted for a handmade suit at Freeman's Sporting Club on Rivington Street, you'd do well to get a haircut and shave in the barbershop at the back of the store. Go back outside and head down nearby Freeman Alley. It sort of feels like a stroll down a Florentine alleyway. Surrounded by old rustic bricks and cracked pavement, string lights above shine your path as an old tree hunkers over the doorway. At the dead end is the entrance to Freemans Restaurant. Freemans prides itself on old-fashioned Americana. I recommend the Hunter's Stew - Elk, Venison, and Wild Boar meat surrounded by chive creme fraiche and potato dumplings. It's very, very good. Order yourself a Freeman Cocktail - Rye, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and bitters - you deserve it.
While you're in the West Village near Freemans, you should check out several opportunities to shop at some of the best men's stores in the country: