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New York

INSIDER'S GUIDE TO NEW YORK

Ever since he landed in New York City, Chinese top model Zhao Lei has been a man on the move, rising through the ranks of the modeling world and exploring the exciting neighborhoods that make up his home away from home. Whether he's strolling through a Midtown gallery, taking in a Broadway show or trying a new restaurant, there's always something to discover. “It is a big metropolitan city with a diverse mix of people,” the runway regular says. “I think the best way to really get to know the city is by walking everywhere.”

Discover Zhao Lei’s Personal Guide To New York

A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE

Arguably the most exciting city in the world, New York City has something to offer everyone. Apart from its vibrancy and architectural landmarks, New York constantly reinvents itself through the stupendous diversity of its five boroughs; whether you’re a sporting enthusiast, culture vulture, night owl or gastro-perfectionist, you would be hard pressed to find yourself at loose ends—the city that never sleeps is also the town that never stands still. Be sure to allow yourself the time to experience the city on foot, an activity made pleasant by the beautifully simple grid layout.

WHAT TO PACK

Fancy Footwork: Comfortable footwear will allow you to stroll around the city without restrictions, making the most of its parks, as well as enjoying the changing scenes of NYC. But the city’s more discerning venues are very discriminating in their dress codes so be sure to bring designer soles along.

Sunglasses: Although temperature varies throughout the year, the sun does shine through every season.

Winter Warmers: New York weather can be extreme, with hot and humid summers, bitterly cold winters. Sleet and snow are common when the mercury drops so outdoor gear such as scarfs and gloves are essential.

USEFUL PHRASES

Bridge and tunnel = Those suburbanites commuting through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered to enjoy Manhattan’s superior social scenes

Standing ON line = Standing in a queue

Ave = One of the north to south running Avenue, unless you are referring to Fifth Avenue. And certainly never the Avenue of the Americas

Howston = The correct pronunciation of Houston, as in “Houston Street”. Please inform the Texans.   

The Village =  Refers to neither the East nor West Village districts

TIPS FROM A LOCAL

Ditch The Car: With heavy traffic and parking so difficult, true New Yorkers prefer the subway, buses, cabs, or even walking to driving. If you do hop on one of the iconic yellow cabs, note that around 4pm is a bad time, because this is when most cabbies change shift.  

Between The Lines: With avenues and streets running so long, addresses are generally given with a cross reference along the city grid, e.g. 56th between Fifth and Madison (“56th Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue”).  

To The Point: Contrary to stereotypes, New Yorkers aren’t unfriendly, but they are pressed for time which can seem brusque to visitors. Get into the swing of things and be just as direct back.

See
In the lesser-known theatres that fall outside the ‘Broadway Box’, some of the most legendary plays of the future might be taking place only ever so slightly under your radar.
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Eat
A casual French bistro helmed by Chef Andrew Carmellini and Chef de Cuisine Damon Wise, this delectable eatery can be found in Manhattan’s NoHo.
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Drink
Kitschy, cute, and occasionally badly behaved.
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Sleep
Boasting a prime location and more, this elegant sanctuary is situated in close proximity to Central Park and Museum Mall.
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See
Try not to get solely caught up in Manhattan, boroughs beyond will give a diverse and enervating taste of NYC.
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Eat
The beautifully presented plates at ‘EMP’ almost too good to eat, for fear of spoiling the exquisite artwork created by Chef Daniel Humm and his team.
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Drink
Replacement bar in the digs of previous resident Milk and Honey, as opened by previous employees Michael McIlroy and Sam Ross.
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Sleep
An NYC icon of sorts and hotel par excellence, this 18-story tower from hotelier André Balazs raises the standard.
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See
New York’s biggest and best outdoor market has been showcasing the finest in organic and home-grown produce from New York and the Upstate area since 1976.
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Eat
Open since 1888, this humble New York mainstay is iconic to say the least. From the food, to the founders, everything tastes of authenticity.
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Drink
Timeless bar located in the city’s first premier luxury hotel, continues to be the gathering spot for socialites and world leaders.
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Sleep
In this leafy neighborhood, this historic hotel feels like a secret corner of Manhattan despite its utterly central location.
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See
Sporting fanatic or not, these legendary stadiums offer a unique, boisterous perspective on the dauntless American spirit.
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Eat
The ‘urban interpretation’ of Napa Valley’s famed ‘French Laundry’, from one of the finest chefs to have ever come out of the United States: Thomas Keller.
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Drink
Step into this stylish take on an old timey saloon, where the gangs may be peaceable but the cocktails pack a punch.
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Sleep
Find English charm down a cobbled SoHo street, where kitsch-cool comes personified.
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