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Best Beauty Treatments

By Claire Gilbertsen

Life in the big city can be exhausting, so it’s essential to relax and recharge as much as possible. Luckily, there’s no shortage of truly stellar spas and salons to help you look and feel your best. Here’s a list of our favorite places to get primped, pampered, and beautified.

 

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Cornelia Spa at the Surrey

20 E. 76th Street

corneliaspaatthesurrey.com

This spa is top-of-the-line luxury pampering at its best, because the foundational concept here is a customized experience. Therapists listen to your needs and your lifestyle, note your statistics, and then make a suggested program. The spa is elegant and peaceful and the entire experience is otherworldly. Be sure to block out a whole day, because they offer every service imaginable to get every last part of you looking polished.

 

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Devachan

425 Broome Street and 22 W. 79th Street

devacurl.com

The stylists at this award-winning salon are all masters of the curl—there’s no texture that they can’t whip into shape. Using their signature dry-cut technique, you’ll get a cut you love, and they’ll teach you how to style it at home, too. Bonus: Their product line (including their famous “No-poo,” a suds-free cleanser) will keep your curls and your new cut looking fresh. (Book with Rosie for the royal treatment—she’s a true artist).

 

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Arrojo

180 Varick Street

arrojonyc.com

This salon is the place to go for a modern, creative cut and/or color. Many of their cuts are particularly edgy, done by using their signature razor technique. Stylists take their time to determine a look that is unique and stunning. Cuts start at $78 but for $500 you can get an appointment with the founder, Nick Arrojo.

 

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Tracie Martyn

101 5th Avenue

traciemartyn.com

The white, flowy space with lavender accents and crystal chandeliers will make you feel like a princess from the moment you arrive. After one of their decadent facials—the diamond facial, for example—you’ll feel like a new person. Maintaining your skin with their all-organic skincare line will keep your skin glowing and pure.

 

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Oh My Nails

117 E. 7th Street

ohmynails.com

This teeny, tiny, unassuming nail salon is, perhaps, New York’s best-kept secret for nail care. They use paintbrushes to apply Cal-Gel, which is different than the gel you get anywhere else. Manicures last two weeks minimum—sometimes longer—and removal does not ruin your nails; in fact, Cal-Gel makes your natural nails super strong and long. If you want to dabble in décor, the artists at Oh My Nails will happily oblige, adding a little sparkle or an interesting shape. It’s rumored that the owner is also Beyoncé’s manicurist…but that remains unconfirmed.


 

 

Best Boutiques

By Claire Gilbertsen

Fashion junkies come from around the world for a chance to shop ‘til they drop in the city’s stores. And while the department stores in New York City are some of the best and biggest in the world, it’s the unique, independent boutiques that make Manhattan a mecca for all things stylish.

 

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Dusty Buttons

324 E. 9th Street

dustybuttons.com

This adorable boutique is a treasure trove of vintage gems. You’ll find fabulous one-of-a-kind dresses from all eras in pristine condition, unique jewelry, and lovely old-world home decor. Everything in the store is carefully curated by Amanda, the delightful owner, who makes you feel right at home and provides spot on suggestions for your body type.

 

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Journelle

1266 3rd Avenue and other NY locations

journelle.com

An elegant shopping experience for luxurious lingerie, this beautiful store feels like your own personal dream closet. It smells delicious (yes, you can buy their signature scented candle—it’s heaven), and you’re provided with chocolate and water once in the dressing room. This boutique is a girly girl’s delight: Designer lacy and sexy underthings, and super soft sleepwear galore!

 

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Jitrois

959 Madison Avenue

jitrois.com

This French designer excels in making form-fitting yet flattering leather and suede dresses. Their elegant, modern New York flagship store is a leather lover’s heaven. You’ll find sensually cut dresses, butter soft suede coats, leather shirts, pants, skirts—and yes, even a catsuit, for the more adventurous buyer.

 

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Kirna Zabete

477 Broome Street

kirnazabete.com

This funky Soho boutique has gorgeous ready to wear designer clothes that are coveted by all fahionistas. Between the daring garments and accessories, the bright décor, and neon artwork, prepare for an exciting sensory experience. It’s hard to leave without at least one filled shopping bag. Bonus: Their online store offers same day Manhattan delivery.

 

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Doyle and Doyle

412 W. 13th Street

doyledoyle.com

This is the go-to for vintage jewelry. Their meatpacking boutique feels like a luxurious museum of jewels—the only difference is that theirs are for sale. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, and the stunning display lighting makes the diamonds extra drool-worthy. Their inventory is constantly changing, which is a fantastic excuse to make it a habit to drop by regularly.


 

Best Brunch

By Olia Golovkina

Everyone loves a good brunch, but New Yorkers really love this in-between, all-encompassing meal that turns a Sunday into an event and makes Saturday night’s overindulgence bearable. The city is chock-full of outstanding brunch spots, but here are five of our favorites.

 

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Buttermilk Channel
524 Court St, Brooklyn
buttermilkchannelnyc.com

We begin our search for best brunch in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, where the wait for a table at Buttermilk Channel can be long, but definitely worth it. You won’t find chicken and waffles on the brunch menu (buttermilk fried chicken is available at dinner service), but the fried pork chop and cheddar waffles is a delicious alternative that is juicy, tender, and perfectly breaded. We also recommend the pecan pie French toast, which, with its triangular slices reclining in a pool of bourbon and molasses, looks more like a five-star dessert. Buttermilk Channel also offers mimosas and four kinds of bloody Marys. Need we say more?

 

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The Camlin

175 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn

Next, we head to Williamsburg for a modern-chic brunch overlooking the New York skyline. The chopped salad here is like a canvas of its own, with neat rows of alfalfa sprouts, fava beans, wheat berries, pickled parsnip and carrots, asparagus, and sunflower seeds laid out on the plate and finished with tarragon vinaigrette. The cast iron skillet pan-cake brings “fluffy” to a whole new level, and the corned beef hash with house-cured pastrami is also egg-cellent.

 

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Corkbuzz
13 East 13th Street, NYC
corkbuzz.com

Across the East River and slightly west of Union Square lies our next stop: A restaurant and wine bar that is bound to satisfy the more spirits-oriented. The red wine list alone amounts to about 100 bottles; plus, there are 24 additional offerings of everything from beer to mixed drinks and scotch. Within the brunch menu, the accent is on the cheese and charcuterie, and we recommend the Chef’s Tasting with your boozy beverage of choice. Then again, for the classics-lovers there are the usual suspects executed with fresh flair: Lemon-ricotta pancakes, cornflake-crusted French toast, and duck confit hash. Mm-mm-mm.

 

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Sunday Brunch Jazz Cruise

Pier 40, NYC
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Perhaps the best brunch of all isn’t located at a street address, or even on solid ground. The Jazz Cruise from Hornblower has it all—the spread you would expect from a quality New York restaurant, two hours of spectacular skyline views, free-flowing mimosas, and a live jazz band. You can welcome the morning with bubbly and a bite of a mini quiche, then share a slow dance with someone special. Or maybe you prefer to break it down? An on-board DJ can make that happen too.

 

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Amused
142 West 83rd Street, NYC
amusednyc.com

And finally, we sail north and end our roundup Amused at this fun and gourmet spot for tapas-style fare. The brunch menu sizzles with hot and cold, savory and sweet—starters like the breakfast banana split (banana brulée, yogurt, berries), mains like the green eggs & ham (poached eggs, griddled bread, cherry wood-smoked ham, basil hollandaise), and desserts like churros with their own salted caramel sauce. Allow us to simply leave you with this picture of the deconstructed S’more: a torched marshmallow resting on a syringe of melted chocolate like a cake pop, to be blended on the palate in all its gooey glory.


 

Best Fitness Classes

By Claire Gilbertsen

 

Most New Yorkers are pretty active, by virtue of just living in the city and having to get through all of the items on their to-do lists every day. Walking everywhere, chasing after a cab, and running and up down subway stairs will help you stay fit, but to go the extra mile, check out any (or all!) of the city’s top fitness classes. There’s no shortage of interesting and fun ways to get moving—and these classes are the real reason New Yorkers stay fit, despite there being over 25,000 restaurants in NYC.

 

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SLT

41 W. 57th Street, 8th Floor and other New York locations

sltnyc.com

SLT is known for their innovative hybrid classes that combine elements of strength training, cardio exercise, and Pilates. Each 50-minute session takes place on or around their Megaformer machine, and includes so many different movements you will almost forget you’re exercising—until the next day, when muscles you didn’t know you had are sore. Check out a class with Bethany Meyers—her enthusiastic energy is invigorating and intoxicating.

 

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“The Class” with TT

291 Broadway, 4th floor

theclasswithtt.com

Teacher Taryn Toomey created this unique, integrative movement class out of her passion for wellness and healthy living. The holistic mind/body experience combines various movements, sounds, and poses to build strength, release endorphins, and break through whatever is holding you back.

 

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SoulCycle

Various locations around New York and Brooklyn

soul-cycle.com

A class at SoulCycle takes what would otherwise be a challenging ride on a stationary bike and elevates it to an inspirational and joy-filled experience. Classes are typically 45 minutes, but hardcore riders can take a 90-minute version. The music is invigorating, the sweat feels good, and the teachers are dedicated to getting you there—wherever it is you want to go.

 

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ShadowBoxNY

28 W. 20th Street

shadowboxnyc.com

Not for the faint of heart, these classes involve shadowboxing, guided heavy bag work, and motivational music. Hand wraps and boxing gloves are available, making it easy for newcomers. Their space is a beautiful and modern take on a boxing gym, complete with a small café serving great coffee.

 

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City Row

80 5th Avenue #1501

cityrow.com

Using beautiful wooden rowing machines, these classes will give you a full-body workout using intervals to blast fat.  In addition to cardio, you will also build and strengthen arm and chest muscles without adding bulk, since the resistance is fairly low. If you’re new, the top-notch teachers will make sure your form is on point.


 

 

Best Speakeasies

By Olia Golovkina

In New York, bars and lounges are a dime a dozen—there’s no shortage of places to get tipsy. But the speakeasies are where, in our opinion, the city’s drink scene really shines. They harken back to Manhattan’s place in prohibition history, and epitomize what the Big Apple is all about: You have to work for it, but once you’re in, the enjoyment knows no bounds.

 

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Bathtub Gin

132 9th Avenue, Chelsea
bathtubginnyc.com

Walk down 9th Avenue in Chelsea on a moonless autumn night and you may easily pass right by an unassuming coffee shop sign bearing the name “Stone Street Coffee.” But step inside and through the secret door—designated overhead by one cherry-red lantern—and you’ll find yourself inside a hidden inner compartment, pulled back in time to Prohibition’s dangerous yet intoxicating “bathtub gin.” Come for the delicious cocktails; stay for the diverse selection of small and large plates, cured meats, and desserts.

 

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Please Don’t Tell

113 Saint Marks Place, East Village
pdtnyc.com

Another hidden after-sunset gem on the East Side lurks beneath a large hot dog suspended high in the air—the entrance to cellar-level Crif Dogs. No one will come forth to greet you inside—there’s a reason this hideaway has earned such a name—but step into the phone booth for further instructions. We can’t say exactly what you’ll find, but it will definitely be worth your while.

 

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Little Branch

22 7th Avenue S, West Village

Little Branch is only a metal door on the stump of a block where four streets come together at a triangular configuration resembling a sand clock. It has no website either, which further mystifies the bar’s inner-workings. But word on the street is that the stairwell leads down to a cozy cellar where the 1920’s come alive with sophisticated beverages in a jazzy, candle-lit atmosphere.

 

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Angel’s Share

8 Stuyvesant Street, East Village

And yet another unmarked door—this time beyond the entry way titled “Village Yokocho”—separates the sidewalk passersby and oblivious tourists from Angel’s Share. But those who know the way take the stairwell upstairs, to a modern Japanese restaurant, and open the wooden door with an antique, embellished handle the shape of a hand fan. The old-fashioned décor continues into the bar where a painting spanning the length of the counter looks over goblets and martini glasses. It depicts an angel with a clear message: “Shhhhhhh.”

 

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Raines Law Room
48 West 17th Street, Flatiron District

It certainly has nothing to do with law and everything to do with quality drinks. Look for the small black awning, then ring the doorbell—a white button where, it seems, a door handle used to be—to summon a dapper host, who will proceed to escort your party to a table. Or, take your conversation outside to the intimate back garden, likewise evoking nostalgia for a different age. Lastly, make sure to closely examine the wallpaper; you’ll be surprised at the details that make this speakeasy as authentic as it is diverting.

 

 

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