When I first got into fashion at the end of 2006, I was set on moving to New York before I had even taken a trip there. I just knew it was where I was meant to be, and although I ended up on the West Coast, it still holds a special place in my heart. It’s a sprawling metropolis filled with endless possibilities.
I first visited New York on a fact-finding journey way back in 2008. Within a day or so, I was actually helping tourists and showing them where to go. Although I got lost myself a few times, it still felt very natural to me. I recall I didn’t have a lot of money nor did I know anybody, so I crashed on a friend’s sofa in Yonkers which was like a 45 min train ride into the city each day. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be in NY and was so excited to be that close.
Over the years I have spent more and more time there, and I love the energy of it. I enjoy being amongst people and chaos, and New York definitely fits the bill on that. It serves as a place of great inspiration for me. I love the hustle and bustle of the city, the architecture, the cobble stone streets, the mix of old and new and just the feeling of being there. Not to mention New Yorkers have good style as well. I recall the first time I saw the city peering out from an airplane window as we were about to land. The mass of buildings was like nothing I’d ever seen and just gave me a feeling that I’d finally arrived and was about to achieve a dream I had since I was a young kid. I even recall the song I was listening to at the time, “Live Your Life” by T.I. and Rihanna, quite fitting and a song that still takes me back to that moment.
One of my favorite memories was setting up a store in Soho. That was a dream come true, and although we no longer have the store, I hope one day we can venture down that path again. I do love the process of building out a store. I am usually one to make all the design choices, as I feel fashion and interiors go hand in hand, and who better to communicate the brand aesthetic than me. I feel more evolved now as a brand and designer and would do things a little differently this time around.
Showing at New York Fashion Week was a great experience too. I was a little nervous to do this presentation but it turned out amazing, and there are people we met at that show that we have continued to work with to this day. I enjoyed the entire process - from choosing and styling the models down to choosing the music. The music was definitely on point and gave the presentation a great feeling.
Listen to the playlist here.
I also spoke on a panel for Essentia, which I was very honored to be a part of. Essentia is by far my favorite water and to be partnered with them and to be a part of their big event a couple years back in NY was a great experience.
We launched our James Harden Adidas collaboration in New York, which I felt was very fitting. Quite a big moment for me, and one I will never forget.
The food in New York is also amazing, and the culinary adventures are what I look forward to on each visit. You do have to be patient though. Some of these places have quite a wait for a table. Some of my favorite places and my go-to’s on each trip are:
Ruby’s Cafe – I recall one trip I took to New York, and I think every meal I had was at Ruby’s. They make an awesome Aussie breakfast, and also they make an amazing hamburger. Their coffee is top notch too.
Jack’s Wife Freda (Soho) – I was introduced to this place by a friend and always go on each visit to the city. My go-to is steak with duck bacon (yes duck bacon!) and avocado. Oh so good!
Clinton Street Bakery (Lower East Side) – My go-to's on the menu are the blueberry pancakes and the Spanish scramble. Quite something, and probably the best pancakes I’ve ever had. I usually go halves with my wife on both these dishes, so we can get the best of both worlds.
La Esquina (Soho) – Amazing Mexican food. My go-to is very simple, tacos! They make amazing tacos.
Joe’s Shanghai (Chinatown) – Best soup dumplings in the city!
Grimaldi’s Pizza (Brooklyn) – Amazing pizza and a must each trip. I go for the white pizza with Italian sausage on it, as well as a margarita. Can’t go wrong. I also follow it up with an ice cream right on the water under the Brooklyn Bridge. Good times.
Shake Shack – Although Shake Shack has expanded a ton since I first had it 10 years ago, it was still a staple every time I went to NY. My go-to is the caramel shake for sure.
Although I have landed in LA and made it home, I still hold NY dear to me. And perhaps one day soon, we can get back to the city and create more great memories.