City Series: The Corporette® Guide to New York City

working girl's guide to NYCA reader suggested we start a series this summer for what to do in different cities — I DO often notice that there are a lot of comments about different cities, so this seems like a great idea. Let’s start with NYC! What’s your best advice on where to shop for workwear in NYC? (What about other fun shopping?) What are your favorite restaurants and bars? What hotels have you found to be decent; which attractions are a must for you? Here’s a template to use for your response if it’s helpful:

Where to stay:
Where to shop:
Where to eat:
Favorite attractions:
Etiquette tips if any:
Safety tips if any:
Other notes:

Readers, you can check out other posts in our City Guide series here. Want to offer advice for YOUR city? Please fill out this form — we’d be so thankful for any advice you have! 

For my $.02, here are my answers:

Kat’s advice for where to stay in NYC:

I don’t actually have any advice here — friends and family always stay with us or outside the city! I know a friend always recommends the Cosmopolitan hotel to her visiting family members, but it’s just up the street from where she lives in TriBeCa. (On the negative side of things, my husband and I stayed at the Gansevoort for a night for our babymoon and I was really underwhelmed by the experience compared to the price, although the pool was nice.)

Where to Shop for Workwear in NYC:

I haven’t updated my posts on where to shop for workwear in NYC in a while (ahem), but I still agree in broadstrokes with much of what’s in there

  • Lower Fifth Avenue has a good stretch of affordable workwear stores (Banana Republic, Zara, Club Monaco, White House | Black Market — Of Mercer‘s flagship store isn’t very far away on 21st street)
  • SoHo workwear stores go from the affordable (Uniqlo, Topshop, Mango) to medium (Bloomingdale’s, Tibi, Elie Tahari) to expensive (Sportmax, Missoni, TSE, Donna Karan, etc). (You can also book an appointment at the MM.LaFleur showroom near SoHo, or swing by the M.Gemi store.)
  • I’d also add the shops at Time Warner Center, especially if it’s a rainy day — you can find Hugo Boss, LK Bennett, Stuart Weitzman, Cole Haan, Thomas Pink, J.Crew, Montmartre (hit or miss for workwear) and more. Update: as recommended by a reader below, if you’re in the area do check out the Carlisle outlet on 55th near 9th — tons of good basics for trousers, skirts, blouses, sweaters and more at crazy sale prices. (When I went I got a $375 blazer for $32.)
  • For drooling purposes I love the uptown department stores also — Bergdorf Goodman (definitely hit 5F for younger/slightly more affordable stuff), Barney’s (especially the jewelry department), and Saks

Where to Eat in NYC:

There are a ton of great places to eat — some of my absolute favorite restaurants include Momofuku (long, annoying lines), IppudoGotham Bar & Grill (fancy), Marea (fancy), La Lanterna, Crispo, Momoya, Westville, and Do Hwa. I haven’t been to the new location of Pommes Frites yet, but I’m assuming the fries are still epic. If you’re vegan, try Souen (two locations downtown) or Candle 79. The drinks at WeatherUp are delicious.

If you’re looking for reasonably-priced restaurants that are near popular attractions, here’s a list I recently gave to some other friends — I wouldn’t say any of these are destination restaurants, but I’ve found them to have reliably decent food at reasonable prices:

Lincoln Center: The Smith (Broadway/63rd)
Times Square/theater district: the restaurant at The Westin (43rd/8th – good drinks/atmosphere), Turkish Cuisine (46th/9th)
5th/Madison Shopping: Burger Heaven (53rd/5th – decent food, decent prices) or Fred’s at Barney’s
Grand Central: Pershing Square (just outside), Oyster Bar & RestaurantShake Shack (fast food), The Campbell (mostly expensive drinks, but a great spot — recently reopened!), Magnolia Bakery
Union Square: Republic

Kat’s Favorite Attractions in NYC:

Three favorite things: Sleep No More, drinks at the Mandarin Oriental (killer views of Central Park), and shopping on Fifth Avenue at the crazy expensive jewelry stores (I like to think of them as similar to museums)

Kat’s Etiquette Tips for NYC:

I often think that in NYC, the highest form of politeness is efficiency, and regular New Yorkers get annoyed easily with people who are NOT efficient. Stand on the right, walk on the left on escalators. Walk on the right side of the street, and if you have to stop to look something up, move out of the way. Don’t stand on the subway steps. Don’t eat on the subway, take up more than one space, or hang on a pole so that other people can’t access it.

Kat’s Safety Notes for NYC:

NYC is a very safe city, especially in Manhattan, but always stay aware of your surroundings — and if you get a bad feeling in your gut, leave the situation: stop the cab ride, exit the subway car, leave the bar, etc. Don’t allow yourself to get isolated — if no one else is on the street or subway platform where you are that’s a bad sign. Don’t put your handbag or purse on the back of your chair.

Other Notes:

Wear comfortable shoes! Plan for a lot of walking if you’re here as a visitor.

Readers (particularly either current New Yorkers, recent New Yorkers, or recent visitors to NYC) — what are your best tips for where to eat, stay, and shop in NYC? What’s the best advice you’ve found? 

Readers, you can check out other posts in our City Guide series here. Want to offer advice for YOUR city? Please fill out this form — we’d be so thankful for any advice you have! 

Picture via Stencil.

the working girl's guide to NYC

The Corporette Guide to New York City - where to stay, what to eat, and where to shop for workwear in NYC!


  1. LondonLeisureYear :

    Thanks for doing this series!!!! I promise to post a ton of advice for cities I have been to!

    • Southeast anon :

      +1, such a nice idea- I was looking forward to some more NYC tips, thanks for the above!

  2. Jane Jane :

    I’d include the Oculus shopping mall for shopping! There is a decent selection of stores and there’s eataly on the top floor

  3. Kat, this is alway’s fun! Here are my thought’s:

    Where to stay: Mandaran Oriental (at Columbus Circle)–Great Coffee and Danish
    Where to shop: Lord & Taylor, Bloomies,
    Where to eat: Second Avenue Deli
    Favorite attractions: Statute of Liberty, MOMA, MET MUSEUM, Staten Island Ferry, Yankee Stadium
    Etiquette tips if any: Do NOT let a yellow cabbie help you get INTO a cab (I have been goosed too many times)
    Safety tips if any: Do NOT walk in the Subway alone after 7:30 pm, unless you are getting off at an express stop.
    Other notes: Have fun –after all, NYC is the best!!!! YAY!!!!!

    • Wondering why you are so cautious about the subway at such an early time?

      • Yeah, I can understand being cautious, at, say, 2 a.m., but after 7:30??? That’s WAY too early for just about every subway station I can think of in Manhattan / Queens / Brooklyn.

      • This is Ellen, possibly THE Ellen.

        If I got goosed by a cabbie, I would complain, loudly, and move on to the next cab. And. I’ve never had that issue with a cabbie, or an issue with Uber or Lyft…but I’m not Ellen.

    • cross that i'm at work :

      are you from nyc? 7:30? Who gets helped into a cab?

  4. Where to stay: I’ve always lived in NYC, so I’ve never needed to stay in one and have seen that hotel prices are ghastly in the city so I’d suggest staying in Long Island City, Queens (at the Paper Factory Hotel or Hotel Z) which is just a couple of stops from midtown by subway. I also love the W Hotel generally and they have 3 in the city (and 1 in Hoboken). Also look into the new hotels in Chinatown/Little Italy that have sprouted up, they’re probably cheaper.
    Where to shop: I love consignment stores like Second Time Around and Buffalo Exchange. For regular stuff, I always stop by Ann Taylor and WHBM. For a day of flagship store and boutique shopping, stroll around SoHo.
    Where to eat: Hotel Chantelle in LES; Barbounia in Gramercy; any David Burke restaurant; Fiorello’s in UWS
    Favorite attractions: Metropolitan Opera
    Etiquette tips: Walk faster than your usual pace. Keep your umbrella, map and selfie stick away from my personal space. Do not lug around obnoxiously large luggage/suitcases (learn to travel light!). Take off your backpack from your shoulders when boarding trains. Do not be a dope holding up the turnstiles because you didn’t look at your Metrocard before swiping.
    Other notes: I hate standing on long lines and find that most places that have one are tourist traps or just overcrowded and not worth the wait at best (including Shake Shack, sorry!).

  5. Where to eat: bagels at Absolute Bagels (best in the city but really far uptown) or Ess-a-bagel, doughnuts at Dough, cookies at Levain Bakery, pizza at Prince Street Pizza, Keste or Marta, banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery, ABC Kitchen, Gato, Upland, Khe-yo, Babbo, Scarpetta, L’Artusi, Marea, Gramercy Tavern

    Favorite attractions: Broadway shows, the Met, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, for good views skip Empire State Building and go to Top of the Rock or One World Observatory

  6. This is great, but even as someone who lives in Manhattan I can easily get overwhelmed by options! Perhaps a neighborhood guide for Manhattan would be useful?

  7. Any suggestions about where to go clothes shopping with a high school girl in NYC?

    • Anonymous :

      Broadway in SoHo is teeming with tourist teenage shoppers (it has Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, Steve Madden, F21, VS Pink, Hollister, cheap boutiques, etc.). If she likes Forever 21, there is a gigantic one in Times Square that can’t be beat.

  8. This is so timely, my family (with two teenage daughters) are coming to NYC today for the weekend! I can share the results of my hotel research. I haven’t stayed at these, but they are recommendations from people I trust: RowNYC, Yotel, NYLO. We are staying at the Kimpton Ink48, which I hear has an awesome rooftop bar.

    Two specific requests: recommendations for a family-friendly bar with pool tables, foosball, darts, video games? And recommendations for any street festivals this Memorial Day weekend?


    • We’ve done a staycation at the Kimpton Ink48, right after it opened. It was great! And for bars, I recommend the Fat Cat on Christopher Street – there’s pool, board games, shuffleboard, and ping pong.

  9. Midwest Mom :

    Favorite place for shopping for work clothes in NYC is the Carlisle outlet on 55th (between 9th and 10th). Prices aren’t what’s on the tag but a significant discount off that, but you have to ask how much. My absolute favorite hotel is the Peninsula. A splurge, but worth it.

    • Thanks so much for recommending this! I was in the neighborhood yesterday and checked it out and was excited to see the crazy good sale prices. (Example: $595 blazer marked on sale to $275, then take 80% off of that price. I got a $375 blazer for $32.) Lots of stuff that wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but lots of good basics for trousers, skirts, dresses, coats, and accessories at crazy prices.

  10. I love to stay on the Upper West Side, the Lucerne is a favorite hotel. It can be a little expensive, but they do run good specials once in a while. It’s at 79th and Amsterdam, very close to a subway station and the west side of the park. It’s within a couple of blocks of the Natural History Museum and directly across the park from the Met, an easy and scenic walk. Lots of good restaurants in the area (Sarabeth’s, Shake Shack, a good bagel place that I can’t remember the name of) and a great French restaurant (Nice Matin) is attached.

    And the best advice I can give anyone going to NYC for the first time: if the subway car is empty, don’t get on it! There’s a reason it’s empty and you probably don’t want to find out why.

  11. Taxis – only available if the box on top with the numbers/letters is lit up. Screaming and waving at an unlit cab flags you as a tourist.

    Most of us are friendly. We will give you directions, recommendations etc if you ask for them.

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