Whether or not this is your first visit to New York City, it always gives you a special feeling. A mixture of green space and metropolitan, fashionable and nostalgic. Spring in NYC is beautiful. Blue skies, light breeze, and cherry blossoms all over the place.

We are all about slow living and mindfulness now. Being in a busy city like New York can be quite stressful and suffocating, but there are ways that you can chill in the city. If you have a few days to spare and walk around the city, here are some of my picks that you can easily chill, grab a coffee and a bite, and taking in the scene and architecture. Grand central terminal is more than a shooting scene for TV show Gossip Girl. The magnificient architecture and the multiple exits have lots of cafes, farm-to-table fresh gourmet market, florists and little shops wrapped under the same roof. My favourite is Cafe Grumpy, small but good coffee to go. Definitely not grumpy at all.

 

Manhattan has so much to offer, just grab a coffee, and perhaps pick up a chocolate cookie from Culture Expresso near midtown, they have the BEST chocolate cookies in NYC! Then stroll around the Garment district, hit along 5th, or 6th avenue and you can pretty much do all your shopping on your way. Or go downtown towards the lower Manhattan and head over to meat packing district.

 

If you want a different vibe, head over to Brooklyn. Brooklyn used to be a less desirable borough but in recently years it has become a very hip and cool area, especially Williamsburg. On a good day, it is very lovely to stroll along the Brooklyn Bridge, there are lots of cute little shops, cafes, restaurants that you can check out. Of course, have a little walk up on Brooklyn Bridge, no matter how many times you have been, it is still fun to be up there and take in the view. It is also fun to catch a ferry at one of the piers  head up to Williamsburg, there you will find many creative outlets : art galleries, vinyl shops, independent boutiques and local designs, on top of many options of food and beverage. You can feel the funky vibe in Williamsburg even during the day, imagine in summer nights, parties and cool people hanging out on the streets having a ball. So much fun and so groovy!




If Williamsburg or Brooklyn is not really your type of itinerary, stay in Manhattan for something more upscale then. Head over to Baccarat Hotel opposite MOMA for an afternoon tea in exclusive partnership with Mariage Frères.  Specialty blends of tea brewed by their Tea Sommelier paired with chef-selected canapés and petit fours. Offering a few options of afternoon tea sets for one or two to share, it is a relaxing afternoon easily spent with friends under the high ceilings and Baccarat chandeliers. Decorated with Jouffre silk-covered walls, parquet floors, and plush, high-backed banquettes , the Grand Salon is where you will be stunned by that dose of French “je ne sais quoi”.

Being in nature helps to relax the mind. Spring time is a beautiful time to stroll in the famous Central Park. Of course you can take the romantic option of riding the carriage, but remember to negotiate on the price, they can always lower it for you. If you prefer to walk, just follow your heart and wander around in the park, it is big enough for you to get lost. Lay on the grass, sit on the rock, rest on the pond side, just enjoy.



 

Flying to New York from Hong Kong is very far, it’s one of the longest direct flights. But flying from London is actually not that bad. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both offer multiple flights a day to and from NYC, and it’s only taking a little under 7 hours per journey- which is not that bad. Here’s my first experience with Virgin Atlantics.


As for my hotel recommendation? I highly recommend 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge if you are up for a change in scene, and if you want to stay midtown Manhattan? You can’t go wrong with the Refinery– the location is too central to compete.