So you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions, and you are determined not to crash and burn before the end of January. We’ve gathered some of the top resolutions for 2019 and a few suggestions to help you stay focused on all your goals even while on vacation in the Big Apple. Nothing’s gonna stop you from having the best year, so here are the best spots in NYC to evolve your mind, your body and your wardrobe.
Become a Lean, Fat-Burning Machine
A $50 multisport day pass goes a long way at Chelsea Piers. Included is access to the 28-acre campus’ indoor swimming pool, basketball courts, indoor track, weight room, cardio machines, fitness classes, enclosed golf driving range and indoor ice-skating rinks. There are also drop-in activities you can try like gymnastics, batting cages, soccer and rock climbing. Who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love with a new sport.
The Manhattan Athletic Club is a Midtown exercise oasis with the feel of a private club. With a one-day pass ($19.95), you can use the latest equipment, specialized sports-training facilities and well-maintained locker rooms. Enjoy time in the steam room or sauna, work on your game in the golf simulator or shoot some hoops on the basketball court. For a nutritional pick-me-up, stop at the health bar for a juice or smoothie. Tip: Add on a post-exercise massage on-site from Mpower bodywork.
In NYC, workouts have become the new nightlife. And the new-ish NEOU, a live streaming exercise platform and a tri-level gym, is one of the trendiest Midtown spots to break a sweat. It hosts top fitness experts and workout concepts from around the world in its state-of-the-art fitness hub complete with neon lights, projectors for live streaming, luxury amenities, and a gourmet café and juice bar. With the partnering app, you can keep the workouts going after your vaca and never miss a beat. This first-of-its-kind facility uses cutting-edge technology to link individuals to the best fitness concepts and elite trainers, creating a new generation of workout experiences. Expect programming to be constantly changing, including boxing, yoga, bootcamp and plenty of booty shaking.
We aren’t sure if vegetarian restaurants are significantly healthier than those that serve meat, but at least at abcV you know you have a zero-percent chance of accidentally eating a pound of bacon. abcV is completely plant based, non-GMO, sustainable, artisanal and organic whenever possible. Its mission is to serve, inform and inspire a cultural shift toward plant-based intelligence, through creativity and deliciousness. Sounds good to us. Foods can include a whole head of cauliflower and a dosa filled with egg or avocado. Be sure to make a reservation or you may end up eating at 10:30 pm and, really, who wants to do that?
Franklin Becker’s health-minded Flatiron spot Little Beet Table banishes wheat from its menu, offering instead gluten-free but still-rich plates like slow-cooked salmon smothered in nutty pistachio pesto and briny black olives ($26). Other hearty oceanic eats include sea bass a la plancha dressed with fennel-and-scallion pebre ($27), and tuna tataki over millet and avocado ($15). Vegetables go from garden-variety to gussied-up: grilled zucchini punched with pickled currants and tangy feta ($12), and white-bean–kale soup crowned with salty Parmesan ($9).
Seamore’s is entirely built around the idea of healthy dining and is known for its sustainable and local seafood. Pop in for super-fresh fish tacos and a robust raw bar menu. The starring item here is the Reel Deal, which gets you a piece of fish plus three daily market sides ($24). The salads are great, too. And while you might roll your eyes at the fact that Seamore’s serves vegan frozen yogurt for dessert, trust us: It’s so good. Visit any of the six locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Pokéworks—a nationwide chain with local outposts in Union Square, Bryant Park, the Grand Central vicinity, Park Slope and Hudson Yards (to come)—is strictly a take-out/pick-up joint with limited stool seats, but its Hawaiian-inspired poke bowls (salads made with fresh raw fish) make it worth a mention, especially if you’re looking to grab something fast and filling that will compliment your get-fit resolution. The fixings draw inspiration from the mix of cultures that Bravo's “Top Chef” finalist and collaborator, Sheldon Simeon, grew up with in Hawaii: ahi tuna, green and sweet onions, ogo seaweed, cucumber and an assortment of condiments. Customize your bowl with a choice of sushi rice, quinoa, kale noodles, salad and more.
In this world of “all screens, all the time,” one of life’s greatest pleasures can still be had by slowing down and flipping through the paper pages of a genuine book. Let’s face it: Books have texture and even an aroma that a Kindle can’t touch. And for those who promised themselves they would become more literate in the New Year, there are an infinite number of places to rediscover the bliss of solitary time with a good book. Embellishing your personal library is a particularly enjoyable task in this town, where many bookstores also have added attractions, cafés and events.
Start with the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, where the array of titles to choose from is vast. Books are donated by publishers and other individuals passing on their gently used book, and because it’s uncertain what merchandise comes in each day, choices constantly change. Proceeds from Housing Works’ sales go to homelessness and AIDS causes. At the Bookstore Cafe, staffed mainly by volunteer workers, customers can enjoy a refreshment while leisurely browsing a book before purchase.
For those who want to get a better foundation in the classics, no trip to NYC is complete without exploring the six-story Argosy Book Store. Founded in 1925 and now in its third generation of family ownership, Argosy features a wondrous collection of antiquarian and out-of-print items, with a specialization in modern first editions. Enjoy an adventure in browsing as you make your way up the first four floors (the fifth and sixth floors are accessible by appointment only). The main floor and basement contain 60,000 out-of-print books, including fiction, biography, art, poetry, philosophy and numerous other subjects. A mezzanine houses fine bindings and leather-bound sets. The fifth floor features literary first editions and Americana; and the sixth floor includes an autographed book department. Argosy currently stocks a beautiful 1926 first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “All the Sad Young Men.” Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” is also a sought-after title; and as of this writing, Argosy has a 10-volume set (in English), rebound in brown morocco leather with a gilt-ruled and lettered spine. The store also offers binding services, restoration and appraisals.
The Strand independent bookstore in Greenwich Village is one of the world’s largest bookstores. With its “18 Miles of Books” slogan, film appearances and celebrity customers, the bibliophile’s haven has become a cultural landmark since it opened in 1927. The store occupies three-and-a-half floors covering almost every literary genre. The children’s section is home to a popular (and free!) storytime four times a weekend, when characters like Queen Elsa and Elmo come off the printed page and into real life. Make sure to check out the Rare Book Room, which houses a book printed in 1480: a commentary on the Psalms in German. The most expensive item in the store is James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” signed by both Joyce and Henri Matisse, who did the illustrations for this particular edition, and priced at $45,000.
Finally, if you are the kind of person who can’t walk into a Barnes & Noble without immediately feeling overwhelmed, then bookbook is the perfect shop for you. The independent bookseller in the West Village, with French doors and a central spiral staircase, offers hardcovers at 20 percent off, as well as remainders and a table of discounted books, including former best sellers. The shop is small enough to easily find someone to help you, which makes the entire experience stress-free. And don’t we want self-improvement to be just that?
Make Time for Self-Care
MNDFL (pronounced “mindful”) is NYC’s premier meditation studio. With expert teachers from a variety of traditions, MNDFL offers simple meditation techniques in an accessible manner. Meditation has been known to decrease stress, anxiety and depression, as well as increase focus and overall hapiness. With two Manhattan locations, its zen studios are meant to feel like home. Or, at least, the spacious home you’d love to have in New York. In an airy, industrial studio, you can “book a cushion” and connect to the ancient practice of healing through breath, mantras or sound. Focuses range from finding emotional clarity to getting an energy boost with dynamic Kundalini breathing techniques. Classes last 30, 45 or 60 minutes. This is the quietest place in New York City. So … Relax. Reset. Repeat.
Why not take a quick trip to Edgewater, New Jersey, and day spa SoJo Spa Club? It’s conveniently situated on the Hudson River and offers a complete wellness experience with over 140,000 square feet of pools, specialty baths, saunas, treatment rooms, lounging and dining areas 365 days a year. The highly acclaimed and expansive state-of-the-art facility has been designed as a fully immersive holistic health experience. Worried about how to get there? No problem. Complimentary valet parking service is available to all guests; and for those traveling from New York City, Sojo offers a complimentary shuttle to and from Manhattan, seven days a week.
Self-care is also about taking a break from the daily stress of “adulting” and letting your inner child out to play. Visit the Color Factory, a vibrant and sprawling 20,000-square-foot museum featuring participatory installations of colors collected from all around the city—hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play. Prominent artists, creatives, designers and makers have teamed up to tell their unique color stories and engage all of your senses in unexpected ways. There’s even a giant adult ball pit equipped with overhead cameras to catch the perfect Insta-shot. You get a little gift bag at the end of your stay as if to say, “Thank you for coming out to play with us.”
Upgrade Your Style
Clothes make the person, and Manhattan makes the clothes for those who want a wardrobe upgrade. It can be daunting, however, for fashionista wannabes who do not quite trust their own sense of style. Therefore, allow a knowledgeable personal shopper to find the latest trends that are right for you.
Natalie Tincher of Buttoned Up Style advises anyone looking to reinvent their look to begin with internet and magazine research. “You will start to see common themes, and figure out why you gravitate to particular styles,” she says, adding that you should integrate key pieces of the proposed new look into your current wardrobe. That can start with whatever resides in your hotel closet. For women, Natalie says matching suits are not a must. “Adding blazers or cardigans that have a pattern, texture or unique cut is a great and easy way to update without completely changing your wardrobe.” Some of her go-to brands for layering pieces are Reiss, Karen Millen, Iro, L’Agence, Hugo Boss, Kobi Halperin, Rebecca Taylor and Calvin Klein.
As for men, invest in properly fitting clothing and get the items tailored. Natalie notes that “if you are a tough fit, there are a lot of great places in the city to get made-to-measure or custom suits and shirts done right for any budget.” Ranging from lowest to highest cost, Natalie suggests LS Mens Clothing, Beyond Bespoke and Michael Andrews Bespoke. “These professionals will be able to educate you on proper suit fit,” she says. Her final advice: “One thing a man doesn’t want is square-toed shoes. If you are a gentleman who is still wearing them, please get rid of them ASAP, and buy an updated pair of dress shoes like a cap-toe.”
Joan Kaufman (212.206.9781, 917.686.1669) believes just walking around New York can provide an education in fashion. “People in the city have great style, and are great at starting fashion trends,” she says. As for where to shop, she recommends stores or boutiques that fit your budget and carry various designers or collections that are versatile and classic. “Uniqlo in SoHo carries a broad range of great up-to-date styles each season with color options, as well as fun accessories. They also feature a well-known young designer’s collection with an affordable price point for men and women.” While Uniqlo presents classic merchandise, Kaufman points to Filson for a rugged look and Paul Smith for a stylish collection. She also suggests browsing the high-end boutiques along Madison and Fifth avenues. Finally, “rather than being a slave to fashion trends, your personal style should come from learning what works best for you and how to put it together,” she advises.
Valerie Halfon of Shop With Val, who works out of both NYC and Houston, Texas, likes to start by asking her clients what they currently love and want to maintain, and where they want to see the most change. She feels a style board on Pinterest or photos of their ideal style helps. Once the style is decided upon, Halfon says, “they can walk out the door feeling equipped to tackle whatever the day throws at them.” When working with a client who is money-minded, she zeroes in on budget and goes from there. “I like to ensure I’m always suggesting pieces within a price range that the client is comfortable with. In general, many of my clients are looking for a seasonal update or a wardrobe overhaul, so I enjoy taking them to department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, where they can enjoy access to designers at different price points.”