August 20th, 2015
I’m trying to remember the last time I was in New York. I think it was about 5 years ago… much too long between visits to my very favorite city in the world!
Last month we finally got to make a trip to NYC for the grand opening of the first Davines atelier in North America – one of only three Davines flagship salons across the globe.
To our surprise and delight Davines generously offered us a spur of the moment, all expenses paid trip as a thank you for being one of their top 10 salons in the country. (Yay Festoon! You all helped us get there!)
Invitations went out to a select group of successful salon owners who could provide clear, constructive feedback on the products, training, service and experience of working with Davines. We were thrilled to have an opportunity to offer our insights
John and I decided to book a red eye flight so we could take advantage of a full day for adventure, before our day of class at the new Davines studio. Additionally, I scheduled our return flight for late in the day following our day at the studio, so we could do more sightseeing before returning home. We love New York; why not make the most of it?!
Our plane touched down at JFK at 5:00 AM, and we took a cab to our hotel, The Ludlow Hotel, on the Lower East Side. Great location with stylish decor, this hotel is super cool. Even at 6:00AM with very little sleep, I loved everything about it. Arriving way too early for check-in, we left our bags with the concierge and went off to explore.
Pros of NYC in July? Everyone has gone to the Hamptons so you have the city to yourself! Everything is on sale. And, New Yorkers, bored because no one is there, are very playful and happy to see you!
Cons? It’s very hot and muggy. Did I say muggy? And hot? We happened to be there during the hottest two days in two years. How lucky.
Food is one of the city’s best highlights. So, one of the first priorities in NYC is visiting a classic New York deli. Conveniently of us, Katz’s Deli is right on the corner, near the Ludlow Hotel. Katz’s has been an NYC icon for years. Remember the famous scene from when Harry Met Sally, when the little old lady wanted to order what Meg Ryan was having? Yeah, that is Katz’s Deli.
After our meat overload (think pastrami sandwiches that could feed a small village), we walked through our favorite neighborhoods: Little Italy (my personal favorite) and SoHo. Walking the city is the perfect way to stumble upon great people-watching opportunities. We happened on a park where people gathered for Sunday morning yoga and then stayed for a nap in the shade.
The nap was enough of a break that I figured we were ready for our next meal. Since I am gluten free, dairy free and other things free, this can be tricky. Luckily for me, Spring Street Natural Restaurant had lots of tasty options for even my nearly zero-tolerance diet.
Somehow the hours slipped by until we could, you guessed it, eat again! That evening, John and I met up with some friends at Dirty French, the restaurant in our hotel. With a name as intriguing as “Dirty French,” I had to ask about the story behind it. Our server referenced a dirty martini and said “That’s how we kinda do French food here. It’s French but it’s a little dirty.” I loved that answer. We loved the food and the ambiance, too.
After dinner and our long day of exploring, we were ready to get some sleep in our perfectly decorated little room. Tiny NYC room, but big city decor for sure.
Work day. We arrived at the new Davines studio right on time. The space looked beautiful and John and I were ready to go. I immediately recognized the owners, Marco Santini and Leonardo Manetti, from our old editorial Bumble and bumble days! Seeing our longtime colleagues was a lovely treat. After a bit of reminiscing, we got straight to work. Marco and Leo led the class and demonstrated the looks we were going to learn that day on gorgeous professional models.
After the demonstration, we got to pick which look we wanted to experiment with. I chose the hair sewing (what’s that, right?!), and John opted for the small braids and the ponytail. Then, our models walked in. They were professional, too, which was great! They looked beautiful and encouraged us in our work (and texted on their phones, of course). All the stylists there were working on different looks and the whole salon was buzzing. John was working on his braiding while I rekindled my backcombing skills… and voila, two gorgeous looks. And, check out this great video that Davines made documenting the day. John and I are special guest stars!
After we were finished recording the day’s work with photographs, we had a few hours to kill before dinner with our friends and colleagues. I got to sneak in a bit more window shopping and inspiration for me!
Dinner was a short walk away to Huertas a Basque inspired restaurant. The food was delicious and it was accompanied by more hair talk with other salon owners. So ended Day 2, with great food and great company!
John and I woke up, packed and strategized on the best things to do in our last few hours before a 4:00 PM flight. FYI- always be careful to not book a flight after 4:00PM! Traffic gets awful and you can easily miss your flight.
We chose to spend our last few hours at the new Whitney Museum and a walk on the High Line. The beautiful thing is they are right next to each other! Also nearby is the Gansevoort Market, a great place for casual dining and picking up food to go. We got some great eats for the plane. A bit of an NYC picnic to enjoy while we headed back to the Bay Area.
We wrapped up our trip with an Uber ride through heavy traffic, back to JFK. Next time I won’t wait so long to call a cab… and I definitely won’t wait so long to visit NYC ever again. Promise!