Loco Coco: Loco Coco, located on the Upper East Side, serves delicious, high quality smoothies and smoothie bowls all day long. I have tried a lot of acai bowls in New York City, as they are one of my personal favorite meals, but here, the Pitaya smoothie bowls are really one of the best! Pitaya, also known as dragon fruit, is a great source of nutrients since it’s rich in magnesium, high in fiber, loaded with vitamin C, and has a ton of antioxidants. Loco Coco has every healthy topping you can possibly think of to design your own tasty creation, but also has great pre-suggested combinations on their menu. The store itself is a little small, but don’t be deterred because everything happening behind the counter is fresh and delicious! Right now, you can even get a special Pitaya bowl blended and served in either a coconut shell or scooped out pineapple, then covered with fruit, coconut, and granola! Not only does this make your Instagram post even more bright and colorful, but it seriously adds something extra to your meal. One thing to keep in mind, these bowls are made fresh with a lot of love and care, so they do take a long time to make; but trust me, it’s worth the wait!
Essie Nail Salon: Samuel Shriqui Salon, also known as the Essie Flagship Salon, is about a 5-minute walk from Loco Coco. Essie nail polish is known around the world for their amazing blends of every color in the rainbow. There are always new and surprising colors popping up when you visit your local nail salon, that sometimes you just don’t know what to choose! Essie herself has been coming to the Samuel Shriqui Salon for her weekly manicures and pedicures for many years. Therefore, it only made sense that we also experience the salon, which has a shiny, all white décor and bright colored love seats. There are 8 nail stations, each decorated with Essie nail polish colored leather seats, such as pink Bahama Mama! When you walk in, you’ll know you’re in the right place since every single Essie nail polish color ever made is sorted by color in a brightly lit case! Besides the atmosphere and calming vibes, this is also one of the best manicures I have ever had. It’s definitely more expensive than your average neighborhood treatment ($32), but it lasts a long time (mine stayed about 3 weeks!) and the entire experience was definitely worth it. Booking an appointment is super easy; just go to their website and request a day/time from there!
Metropolitan Museum Rooftop: Situated on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum (about a 16 minute walk from the Essie Salon), the Met Rooftop Bar offers incredible views of Central Park as you enjoy your wine or cocktails. It’s important to note that it’s only open when the museum is (that’s why we suggested this on a Summer Friday), but the scenery is truly spectacular and makes it well worth the limited hours! Museum entry is a suggested donation of $25, however, rooftop entry is more a donation of your choice (no pressure, I saw people giving $1!). Maybe it was just me, but the museum seemed a little difficult to navigate, so just keep asking the staff to point you in the right direction to the elevators and head to the 5th floor rooftop!
Cafe Henrie: Cafe Henrie, located on the Lower East Side, has an extremely cute interior with its light pink tables, neon signs, beautifully decorated walls, and tons of pastel colors (you've probably seen it on Instagram). It’s probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing cafes I've ever been to! It has a kind of vintage diner feel, yet still very modern. I ordered the avocado toast and also tried the banana bread; both very simple but really tasty. To be honest, I have had better coffee, but it served as a great addition to my meal! The restaurant is very small, so I wouldn’t recommend going with a large group. Overall, the nice staff and awesome presentation of their food makes this a great brunch spot to catch up with 1 or 2 friends!
Soft Swerve: Soft Swerve (about a 3 minute walk from Cafe Henrie) is a fairly new ice cream shop most well known for their Ube and Black Sesame flavored soft serves! Ube is made from purple sweet potatoes and basically tastes like a sweeter vanilla. Soft Swerve may sound familiar because it has been on a past #YWP, but I am adding it here again to let you know about their latest collaboration with Brooklyn Cupcake! When it comes to the weekend, it's time to indulge; but it’s not always easy to decide on a treat! That’s why this hybrid dessert is so great. The Coquito Swerve Cake features a moist Coquito cupcake from the Williamsburg bakery, laced with coconut and sweetened condensed milk. This fluffy cupcake then gets topped with a swirl of Soft Swerve’s bright purple Ube ice cream and comes with 1 topping such as almond cookies or Fruity Pebbles! This special off-the-menu dessert is only available until the end of summer. You don’t want to miss this!
First Street Green Art Park: Since 2008, First Street Green Art Park (about a 10 minute walk from Soft Swerve) has converted a desolate building lot on E. 1st Street into an open art space. In collaboration with NYC Parks, this lot provides ongoing cultural activity with emerging artists, architects, and community and cultural groups to keep this public space up and running! I love come here whenever I’m downtown. They always have new visual art with sculptures, murals, and a variety of other freestanding pieces. There are a number of different colorful murals from different artists that currently reside in the space such as a black wall with different colored bright and shimmery hearts! There are a few benches for you sit and look at the different murals as the space stretches across Houston St between 1st and 2nd Avenue. The entrance to the park is on 2nd Ave, right above Houston St. It’s a cool space with a lot of room, so it makes the perfect backdrop for a group or solo shot and interesting place to stop by during the summer!
Nur: As some true fans and followers may know, my 26th birthday was 2 weeks ago! I wanted to pick somewhere special to celebrate, and with a ton of restaurants always on my list to share with you guys, I also wanted to pick one that was going to fun to write about! Nur is part of a well-known and very popular Israeli group that has just made its way to NYC. The chefs at these restaurants (Nur, Miss Ada, and Balaboosta-just to name a few!) produce traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine in a slightly different way, adding more spice and an array of textures throughout all their dishes. If you plan to go here for a dinner, you must make a reservation ahead of time (I went on RESY exactly 30 days before the night I wanted to go and only a few time slots were available!). To begin, I really advise you to try out the breads! They're all very different and there's something for everyone. My favorites were the honey challah and sesame bagel, which were both served warm. Another favorite was the Smoked Eggplant Carpaccio with feta, raw tahini, dates, pistachios, and rose water. Every group around us seemed to be ordering this, and it's a very Instagrammable dish as well. The presentation is beautiful and it's just so delicious. It’s definitely made to share, and has a lot of different aromas and flavors. As a slightly picky eater, I found the main course to not be as exciting as everything we had ordered prior. I think you need to treat this dinner as a true (expensive!) culinary experience, as opposed to just grabbing a casual bite with your friends. There's some really great creativity going on in this kitchen, but the menu items do still please both the adventurous and cautious eaters alike! The restaurant is a little small and also gets extremely noisy; so if you're looking for a quiet place, this wouldn't be my first choice. However, it’s exciting to try the unique dishes on the menu and the staff is very equip in helping you order!
Chill Space: Chill Space is the first wellness spa in NYC to offer all 3 of the most current and innovative therapies including floatation, cryosauna, and full-spectrum infrared sauna. They each have a ton of benefits, so whether you are looking to ease pain, decrease stress, or just simply relax, this is the place to come! There are always plenty of appointments available and all of the associated benefits are listed with each treatment’s description. This is a great activity if you want to try something adventurous and treat yourself. The location itself is clean, warm, and inviting. The staff has great energy and greets you with huge smiles while they check you in. Not only were they so nice, they were also extremely knowledgeable and educated on every service. Personally, I have only done the infrared sauna with light therapy. You get to choose which color light therapy you’d like! I felt very relaxed and worked up a good sweat! A great addition here are the personal showers you can use afterwards so you can feel completely refreshed before walking out and continuing your day. I will absolutely be coming back to try the other services!
The Upsider: The Upsider (about a 15 minute walk from Chill Space) is one of my favorite Sunday brunch spots on the east side! Not only does this neighborhood gem have good food, they always have reservations on OpenTable, which makes the experience that much better! If you’re a big avocado fan, you must get the avocado toast that comes with poached eggs and a delicious mesclun salad. There is so much smashed avocado on top of their thick multigrain toast, you may even have some of this yummy lunch to brighten up your Monday at work! They open all of their doors and windows in the summer; so no matter where you sit, you feel part of the outdoor NYC action! The Upsider also has a great happy hour during the week, so it’s a great place to grab drinks after work!