I am a Contributing Editor at Conde Nast Traveler US and also write about travel, food, and hotels for GQ, Food & Wine, and the Financial Times among other publications.
I moved to New York from Europe when I was 13 and will never forget the sight of the Manhattan skyline sparkling below as we circled before landing at JFK. That's the thing about the city: you always feel like you are arriving in some kind of movie set, from the spectacular sights to the crazy characters to the amazing skyscrapers - everything is larger than life here. Even though I am now based between Italy and New York I come back at least three or four times a year to eat and drink my way through my adopted hometown, while sleeping, of course, at some of the city’s best new hotels. New York changes from month to month no matter how well you know it so there are always amazing things to check out - great new exhibitions, stylish new shops, trendy just opened restaurants. It's so energizing and inspiring! In addition to favorite spots like New York and Rome, I love traveling to Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
My New York City
Where I always grab a coffee/tea/hot chocolate: I like to grab a coffee at the new Stumptown connected to the Ace hotel. Stumptown has become one of the city's hottest coffee spots because of how seriously they take their brew and I have to say it's not hype. The coffee is amazing! There are no seats so I just go into the Ace's lobby and chill out there.
My favourite stroll: God, I have so many, but even after years of doing it, it's hard to top crossing the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan. The beauty of the bridge itself, the incredible skyline, it's so quintessentially New York and never boring. I also love walking up Fifth Avenue gazing at the posh buildings looking onto Central Park.
Fiction for inspiration: Where to begin? It's a bit of a tome but Bonfire of the Vanities really captures the city in the go go 80s. Washington Square by Henry James is good for literary types. Sex in the City is great when planning a girls trip. I like non fiction books like EB White's This is New York and also The Power Broker about Robert Moses who basically made New York look like it does today.
Where to be seen this summer: Lots of new outdoor spots look to be huge this summer, a very VIP rooftop bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel is opening for example. And the Boom Boom Room in the Standard hotel is so hot that it's hard to get in even on quieter nights.
The most breathtaking view: There are no shortages of jaw-dropping views but the Empire State building deserves the prize.
The best spot for some peace and quiet: the Botanical Gardens in Central Park are beautiful and not very well known. It's easy to find a little nook to hide away from all the city's bustle surrounded by green grass and flowers, something I start craving after the concrete jungle. There is also a beautiful garden at the Frick Museum where you can sit and chill, it's a former mansion that's now a great city retreat.
Shopaholics beware!: Don't let me loose on Bleecker Street in the West Village: Marc Jacobs, this stylish boutique called Intermix where they carry everything from great jeans to the perfect cocktail dress, super soft tshirts and basics at James Perse, jewelry at Satya, great books at Biography Bookshop are just a few of the temptations. Just take your credit card with you!
City soundtrack: Jay Z and Alicia Keys' 'Empire State' has become an absolute New York anthem, Frank Sinatra's 'New York New York' is such a classic and wherever I am in the world and I hear that song I feel transported, Ryan Adams 'New York New York' (different than Frank's song) is such a sweet love song to the city too.
Don’t leave without...going to a baseball game at the new Yankee Stadium (they are this year's World Champions). Sitting in the stadium on a warm summer night is one the city's greatest pleasures - and you don't even have to be a sports fan, you can eat hot dogs, drink cold beer and watch the eclectic crowd that gathers to cheer them on.