Urban playground. Concrete jungle. Bright lights. Big dreams. Methodical madness and semi-organized chaos. There are innumerable ways to wax lyrical about New York City. Undeniably it is the city, outside of Perth, that has my heart for reasons disclosed and undisclosed. For the many times I have visited, I never run out of things to see and do and in fact, never manage to tick everything off my list because something always comes up to take me by surprise and show me a piece of the city that I have yet to discover.
I find New York City to be a place that polarizes people. You either love it or you hate it. I've never spoken to anyone who plays the safe middle ground. You hate it and despise it for its sidewalks heaving with crowds of people, the lights that never seem to dim, the horns that don't ever stop honking and the speed with which time appears to move. When you love it, it's all these things that make it the mesmerizing city that it is. Unable to be replicated and crazily indecipherable. You could spend your entire life attempting to learn every block and street corner of every borough and neighbourhood. You'll never succeed and it's almost as though the city knows that but it's an adventure worth seeking out.
I never return feeling as though there's nothing new to experience. Each time is seen with almost new eyes and my trip during the final weeks of winter in January and February was in fact my first time experiencing a New York City winter. The weather was a type of cold never experienced in my entire life. There were times I lost all feeling in my ears and the tip of my nose as the freezing winds blew their way through the streets.
It was a bitter cold that I cannot deny but there's also an indescribable magic in looking out from your apartment and watching the snowflakes fall from the sky as they stick to your window in a delicate formation. Walking the streets covered in a thick layer of fresh fluffy snow it was hard to resist an impromptu snow fight between friends. Attempting to get in a shot whilst ducking the handful of white stuff coming your way usually resulted in tumbles on the slippery pavement, deep belly laughs and memories that have found a place of residence in my heart.
Though I have my favourite neighbourhoods in the city, I always try to stay somewhere new even if only for a short time during my entire stay. Boutique hotels are my jam. I prefer them infinitely over bigger hotels and if I can I will avoid staying at a larger property. There's a level of personable service offered by a boutique property that I haven't been able to find at the big hotels. It's the staff remembering you by name and genuinely greeting you in the mornings. I also find that they tend to be quite creatively and uniquely designed with lots of little luxe goodies, such as gorgeous premium toiletry products. It's all these little details that can make a stay so memorable and enjoyable.
The Refinery Hotel, found near the corner of 6th Avenue and 38th Street, couldn't have been a better place for myself and the partner-in-style SOUL of SHU to work, play and rest. Its location in the middle of the famed and historic Fashion District was appropriate given that it was New York Fashion Week and we had a handful of photo shoots organized between local New York City fashion bloggers.
Elegantly decorated, the style of the Refinery was infused with old world class and glamour and little touches throughout the hotel paid homage to its home within the Fashion District. Even the uniforms of the staff were adorned with little pins of miniature sewing tools! The cherry on the literal top of Refinery is their awesome rooftop space which in better weather you could enjoy a cocktail outside under the shadow of the Empire State Building. Not just adored by guests, the Refinery Rooftop is a favourite of the after-work set of Manhattan and on more than one night a week is filled with those looking to enjoy a drink under the lights of one of the world's best cities.
If heights are not your thing, Winnie's is the hotel's lobby bar which by day sees those in business attire settling into one of the oversized leather lounges and by night transforms itself into a lively jazz bar. When the sun goes down and the heavy curtains are drawn, it's like being transported back to a Probihition era Manhattan. You never know who or what you might see.
Whilst shooting some looks for PET. and the Clique Arcade, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the carpet of the hotel perfectly complemented the pattern of one of the outfits. You could be forgiven in thinking that such a match was planned but it was pure serendipity, and that to me is the beauty of New York City.
Photography by SOUL of SHU.
Shot on location at Refinery Hotel, New York City.
Outfit details: 'Onassis' dress by PET available from Clique Arcade, 'Paris' fur jacket by Harmony and Lawson, Moschino Cheap and Chic buckle boots.