Classic New York with Colin Cowie
Curious-minded adventurer and style maker
My travel cravings are vast - I travel 200 days a year, have clocked more than 11 million miles, and have visited nearly 100 countries. There are several places that I crave a visit to annually: I make it a priority to go on an African safari at least twice a year and to visit the south of France or the Italian Riviera in the summer. I love visiting Turkey. Whether it's to see my friends in Istanbul, to take a a cultural trip to Ephesus or Cappadocia, or to go dancing on the tables in Turkbuku, I never miss a year. Of course, visiting my family in South Africa is also at the top of my list.
I would start my perfect day in New York with a Barry's Bootcamp workout and make way for brunch at Mario Batali's Spanish restaurant, Casa Mono, in Irving Place. Then some shopping in the Meatpacking District, lunch at abc kitchen and a walk on the High Line. An afternoon nap would be ideal (hardly ever happens since I run out of time), and then a fun night on the town. I would stay at the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th St. - I love its architecture, the views from the high rooms, and the service. My most memorable moment in New York was enjoying gin and tonics with my mother at the top of the World Trade Center towers 17 years ago, as we admired the most spectacular views and sunset. A true NYC moment.
The activities that can't be missed
1. Visit all the parks by bicycle. I love to ride along the West Side Highway from Battery Park all the way up past the George Washington Bridge to the loop in Central Park. Mayor Bloomberg has had a big impact on beautifying our city, and has planted a million trees since he came into office. (Central Park is also a great backdrop for a romantic adventure – a walk in the park, a picnic, watching Shakespeare or reading poetry to one another on a park bench under a magnificent tree with stunning views.)
2. Get dressed to the nines and get tickets to see either the NYC Ballet or the Metropolitan Opera for a big dose of culture.
3. Spend an afternoon at the MOMA, the Metropolitan, Guggenheim or the Whitney - you will be massively inspired.
My favorite places to eat
1. abc kitchen – try the squash kabosh toast, the beet and yoghurt salad, and the poached lobster
2. Junoon Indian Restaurant – the curried goat is a must
The places you should definitely see
1. The lights of Broadway at night – it's beyond sensory overload.
2. The NYC Public Library – arguably one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.
3. Grand Central Station.
My favorite hidden gems
1. I love going to spas for amazing heat. The grittiest is the Russian & Turkish Baths on East 10th St. on the Lower East Side, which has no frills, no bows, and no luxury - but it does have good, hardcore heat. There's also the fabulous new Aire Ancient Baths at 88 Franklin in Tribeca, which is chic, innovative, and a great experience.
2. Food shopping at Kalustyan's on Lexington and 25th St. for the most exotic Asian and Middle Eastern ingredients.
3. Check out Beecher's handmade cheeses in the Flatiron District on Broadway.
The place I'm most excited to go next is Rwanda, where I'll be gorilla sighting.