The (very cool) local’s guide to downtown NYC
Gone are the days of cigarette-flicking, fast-living, rock-and-roll apathy. These days, the cool kids are more likely to be into crystal healing than fast cars. Case in point: Sabrina de Sousa, one half of the health and wellness-driven Lower East Side micro-eatery/apothecary/market, Dimes, and arguably one of the coolest kids in downtown New York.
Though known for their health-conscious approach, the offering is entirely substantial. Chilled açai bowls (inspired by de Sousa's Brazilian upbringing) come sprinkled with delightful curiosities such as dried lavender, bee pollen and almond-walnut-hemp granola. There's thick slices of dense toast with figs, grapes, goat cheese and chamomile as well as hearty dinner options such as lamb merguez with gremolata or classic NY bar steak. Oh, and they've just released an equally delicious beauty line including lip balms and salt scrubs - all organic, of course.
De Sousa's charm, however, is much more than just her ability to nourish the beautiful people of Manhattan (and trust me, they are beautiful. Mostly models and a regular roster of indie It-girls such as Lena Dunham, Tavi Gevinson and Daria Werbowy. It's worth going for the people-watching alone). Her sweet, sleepy smile, her ability to make you feel immediately at home and personal brand of quiet chic has seen her inspire countless column inches from the usual arbiters of style such as The Coveteur, Into The Gloss and Vogue.com
Having spent 14 years in the city that never sleeps, she can tell you a thing or two that Lonely Planet can't. Read on for more.
Tell us a bit about Dimes...
"Dimes is a reflection of the young and vibrant creatives that make this city an anomaly. It feels like a home away from home where the quintessential New Yorker can grab a meal that offers a guiltless and balanced menu."
What are you most excited about at the moment?
"We just collaborated and designed the Dimes Chair. It's always exciting to see what new ideas we can fit into the Dimes vernacular."
What is it you love about the Lower East Side?
"Alissa and I lived in this neighborhood for a long time (eight years!) so there's a sense of investment we felt committed to. There's an affinity that I have for this part of Manhattan - the Chinatown grit always makes me feel like I'm in another element. There's something quite intriguing about it that keeps my inertia here."
What is the best thing about living in NYC?
"The language of all the layered cultures keeps the pulse so alive here. I love that I can spend a Saturday looking at amazing art and end up in the middle of nowhere and discover something new, even after 14 years!"
What do you think it is about downtown NYC style that intrigues the rest of the world so much?
"NYC has a voice of its own. There is an air of confidence that emanates from this city and it is so infectious to share that energy. It transcends in so many ways."
How do you like to shop? Where do you shop?
"I have my favorites in the city but as of late I haven't had the time to visit many shops so I find myself online, clicking away. Dangerous! "
How would you describe your personal style?
"Owning a restaurant, comfort is generally a priority. That being said, it's not surprising to find me in heels drilling something in the dining room."
What's NYC's best kept secret?
"St Peter's Church is my all time favorite. It was designed by the Vignelli's. The space carries a bold elegance by subtracting basic religious motifs and emphasizing shapes and functionality. If I'm lucky, I get to bask in the space all by myself, making it all the more special."
Name your favourite...
"Mr. Fongs. I love coming here on the early side to catch up with friends before the party crowd takes over, and I always order the vodka tonic infused with celery and herbs."
40 Market St, New York, NY
"Mimi has my heart. Owned by my friend Camilla Deterre, the space is designed so perfectly and the food is nothing short of delicious."
185 Sullivan St, New York, NY
"Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Her curations represent the archetypal modern woman in the best way possible."
123 Norfolk St, New York, NY
Health and Wellness?
"Integral Yoga Apothecary. It's like an encyclopedia for holistic health."
234 W 13th St #1, New York, NY
"Wall Street! I couldn't feel more like a black sheep anywhere else in the city, but every time I find myself around there I immediately fantasise myself in character."
"Berlin. It's the latest addition to my roster, always a fun dance party."
Underground level of 25 Avenue A, New York, NY
"Hard one! David Zwirner I suppose, only because of the range of artists that have exhibited there."
525 W 19th St, New York, NY
Perfect way to spend a NY Sunday?
"Morning dog park with Mars (my schnauzer) Uptown stroll. Late afternoon market run and cook a sunday supper for friends."
Place to buy fragrance?
"Barneys. My favourite, Regime de Fleurs, sits on their counter."
Various locations, Barneys.com
"We just lost the best flea in Chelsea. I'm still heartbroken by it."
Live music venue?
"Baby's All Right."
146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY
Buro 24/7 Selection