NYC always presents a whirlwind of opportunities, so we checked in with the author of 500 Hidden Secrets of New York to see what spots she recommends for feisty females.

500 Hidden Secrets of New York

500 Hidden Secrets of New York

Not a day goes by without someone asking me for a tip! As the founder of Hobnob Magazine (, I spend my life running around NYC in search of inspiration for parties—places with great design, or fabulous food, or inventive cocktails. In writing this book, I got to flex my muscles and explore beyond the beaten path. Here are my top 10 picks from 500 Hidden Secrets of New York, which were chosen with the eye of a designer and New York food snob. Enjoy!

Whisper Editions: When I shop, I especially adore discovering unique finds handmade by locals—the stuff you don’t see everywhere. The Whisper Editions store in the revitalized South Street Seaport, offers limited-editions of jewelry, art, accessories, and objects for the home curated by a former photo editor at Vanity Fair. Everything has an sophisticated, organic feel and minimalist sensibility.

Air’s Champagne Parlor: When I came across Air’s, it was love at first sight. If you are a lover of all that is bubbly, then do stop in at this spot owned and operated by women—and let the sommeliers guide you. It’s an adorable art-deco parlor with a world assortment of affordable to splurgy bottles of champagne. Deals happen at Parlor Hour (5 to 7)— with three glasses of bubbly plus snacks for $30 with a different theme each day. So much fun.

Bite Beauty Lip Lab: Looking good was never easier and inventive than in this playground of innovative lip-wear. Find the perfect shade for your complexion at this bespoke shop, where they will mix away until you say yay. Truly a unique experience.

Sleep No More at McKittrick Hotel: Seeing live performance in NYC is a must and always leaves me feeling invigorated afterwards. This place offers a totally unforgettable experience where guests walk through a 5-story fictional hotel that’s full of surprises. I don’t want to give anything away, but roaming solo is strongly encouraged to make the most of the night.

Shady Ladies Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: For a fun take on serious art, sign up for the tour which highlights artwork depicting courtesans, mistresses, and professional beauties along with their scandalous back stories.

Free Kayaking Pier 26: For the adventurous and athletically inclined, getting aboard a kayak on the Hudson will allow you to see the city from a totally new perspective. And the price is right! This a bragging opportunity.

Brooklyn Bridge Park: An Instagramming mecca lies on the Brooklyn side of the bridge: take your picture on the corner of Water & Washington with the Brooklyn Bridge looming in the background, then go for a ride on a picturesque 1922 carousel housed in glass. Summers offer the chance to watch a movie outdoors with the NYC skyline as a backdrop.

Opening Ceremony: Add a few amazing pieces to your wardrobe—this store has four stories packed with cutting-edge fashion. You’ll find collaborations with hip designers and selected items from a different country every year, which allows the stock to be fresh, and curated with an eye for individuality.

Forrest Point in Bushwick: Rub elbows with local Brooklynites here. Located in the center of street art capital of Brooklyn, this place was once a gas station, but has been transformed into a colorful spot covered in murals. The backyard is quirky and playful, with a jumble of swing sets, stools made of tree stumps, and festive strings of lights. A casual spot where neighbors show up with their dogs. I recommend having brunch here and walking the ‘hood after.

Ring Ding Bar at Duane Park Patisserie: When a sweet craving hits, I like to make the most of the extra calories. These Ring Dings are pretty, hockey puck-sized cakes filled with fancy creams (Nutella, strawberry cheesecake), and covered in glazes (chocolate, matcha, pistachio). Another chance to add to your Instagram gallery.

Written by Ellen Swandiak, co-author of 500 Hidden Secrets of New York, and founder of Hobnob Magazine (

Published by Luster from ACC Distributions.