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The M Dash

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What to Eat, Drink, See, and Wear When You Visit New York City

From museum days to dirty martinis, we have big plans for you in The Big Apple.

By Emma Steinbergs

“I  look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”  —Nora Ephron


New York City is best described by how it makes you feel—which is many things all at once. It’s simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. It’s daunting but also welcoming. It’s overwhelming in many respects and soothing in others. It’s a place where you can walk down the street, surrounded by people, and pretend the world is yours. 

Looking to experience this mystifying, magical city for yourself? Whether you’ve already booked your ticket to The Big Apple or are just hoping to visit sometime soon, you’ve come to the right place. As an NYC-born-and-bred brand, we could write an entire love letter to this city, but for that, we’ll point you to the works of Nora Ephron, Patti Smith, and N.K. Jemisin. For our part, we’re keeping things a little less poetic and a lot more practical, because many of you have requested local recommendations—and we know you love a to-do list.

Below, discover our top picks for what to eat, drink, see, and wear when you visit New York City.

Top photo: Annie Schlechter. Bottom photo: Meredith Perdue.
Outfit: The
Thomas hoodieRemington henley, Hockley jean, Koio Capri sneaker, and Bags in Progress Carry All tote.


Where to Stay

Situated a stone’s throw away from Washington Square Park, this charming boutique hotel features a Greenwich Village setting, French-Mediterranean cafe, and storied past. Formerly the Marlton House, it’s said the building was home to several writers of the Beat Generation.

What to Wear:
After arriving at JFK or LGA, take a taxi straight to the Marlton, where you’ll be greeted by a cozy lounge and hospitable staff. Be sure to wear something comfortable on the plane, so you can crash at the hotel for an hour or two and then resume your adventures without needing to change. The plush Thomas hoodie and breathable Remington henley allow you to layer according to fluctuating temperatures, while the stretchy Hockley jean, supportive Koio sneaker, and Bags in Progress Carry All tote are a few of our must-haves for practical yet polished travel.

Other Favorites:
Nine Orchard – If you’re really looking to treat yourself, book a room at the Nine Orchard, which opened in June of 2022 and quickly established itself as one of downtown Manhattan’s hottest hotels—but not obnoxiously so. The decor is stylish but not trendy, playing with unexpected color and texture while paying homage to the building’s century-old history as a former bank. We’re such big fans that we recently hosted our M.M.LaFleur x Petite Plume launch party in this stunning space.

Freehand Hotel – Centrally located in the Flatiron District, this hotel boasts a lively vibe, affordable rooms, and easy access to both uptown and downtown. It was also the backdrop of our holiday collection shoot, so you know your M.M. pieces will feel right at home.

Where to Eat

Top Pick: Lilia

A trip to New York is incomplete without excellent Italian food, and Lilia has some of the best to offer. With chef and co-owner Missy Robbins at the helm, Lilia is woman-led and has remained one of the city’s most sought-after reservations since its founding in 2016.

After sitting down at your table, take a moment to soak in the minimalist yet warm space, and then dive right into the menu. The most strategic move here is to dine with a small group and order a variety of dishes to share. Can’t-miss items include the agnolotti stuffed with sheep’s milk cheese, saffron, dried tomato, and honey; the mafaldini with pink peppercorn and Parmesan; and the Italian Job dessert, which is soft serve vanilla gelato topped with honey, olive oil, sea salt, and fennel pollen. But in our opinion, any of the pastas are worth the trek to Brooklyn.

What to Wear:
And since you’re in Brooklyn, lean into the borough’s slightly ediger, more laidback style. Go with black essentials, like the Leslie T-shirt and vegan leather Archie pant, which are both machine-washable and will hide any pasta sauce splatters. Make it a full restaurant-ready ensemble with a sharp boyfriend blazer, a sexy yet walking-friendly boot, and a go-to gold hoop. Buon appetito!

Other Favorites:
Mama’s TOO! – There is much debate over who makes the best pizza in NYC (I’d argue Lucali), but the truth is that you’ll probably be incredibly satisfied after eating at any of the top twenty-four. For instance, you can’t go wrong with Mama’s Too, an Upper West Side spot known for their fantastic house pizza and popular cacio e pepe slice.

Dame – If you’re a major foodie and want to go to one of the restaurants of the moment, head to Dame—if you can get a reservation. It’s seafood-focused English cuisine, so the fish and chips are a must, but other highlights include the grilled oysters with green chartreuse hollandaise, caraflex cabbage with mussels & horseradish, and sticky toffee pudding.

Ess-a-Bagel – Bagels are another NYC staple, and while we appreciate different interpretations, such as Montreal-style bagels from Black Seed, we always return to the old-school shops like Ess-a-Bagel. They do the classics best, so order an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, lox, tomato, onion, and capers.

Top photo: Paul Crispin Quitoriano. Bottom photo: Nick Solares.
Outfit: The O’Hara blazer
, Leslie T-shirt, Archie pant, Zelda boot, and Claressa earring.

Top photo: Don Riddle. Bottom photo: Ebbie Koelle.
Outfit: The Alyssa jacket, Lisey cami, Hockley jean, Zelda boot, and Lyssa earring.

Where to Drink

Top Pick: Bemelmans Bar

Tucked in a corner of the legendary Carlyle Hotel—where the likes of Princess Diana and JFK used to stay—is Bemelmans Bar. This uptown institution is named after Ludwig Bemelmans, who hand-painted all of the murals, which feature charming scenes from his famous Madeline children’s books. The atmosphere is made even more magical by dim lighting that reflects off of the gold-foil ceiling and live piano music that transports you to a bygone era. Ask one of the busy but friendly bartenders for a martini—vodka or gin, but definitely dirty. The cocktails are expensive on paper but come with a sidecar, so they end up being standardly priced for New York.

What to Wear:
Surprisingly, you’ll probably spot some very casual outfits, but we prefer to dress up a bit for an evening out. To strike the right balance between cozy and swanky, try the matching Alyssa jacket and Lisey cami. The washable silk charmeuse is relaxed and lightweight, while a dark hue like hunter is perfect for a night on the town. Complete the look by repurposing your black Hockley jean and Zelda boot, and add the Lyssa earring for some shine.

Other Favorites:
Skin Contact – If you’re drawn to interesting wine lists, spend some time at Skin Contact. This intimate wine bar is specifically stocked with minimal-intervention (read: “natural”) options—a choice that still isn’t all that common, even in New York.

Aldo Sohm – If the funkier notes found in natural wine aren’t your thing, stick to a more traditional selection like the one you’ll find at Aldo Sohm. Named after the master sommelier of Le Bernardin himself, this wine bar is both upscale and approachable.

Smalls – The drinks aren’t the focus here but are rather a complement to the music in this quintessentially New York jazz club. As the name suggests, it’s a snug space, but that means there’s not a bad seat in the house.

What to See

Top Pick: Central Park and The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you’ve ever been to NYC, there’s a good chance you’ve been to both Central Park and The Met, but you can never go to either one too many times. With the park taking up over 843 acres of Manhattan and the museum coming in at over two million square feet, their sheer size means you discover something new during each visit. And just like NYC itself, they’re always changing. Enjoy Central Park’s multi-colored foliage in the fall, or picnic on Sheep Meadow in the summer. Spend an entire day making the most of The Met, or just go for an hour to see their latest temporary exhibition.

What to Wear:
Since you’ll be spending a lot of time outside and on foot, opt for layers and sneakers. If you’re here during chilly weather, rely on a cashmere turtleneck plus a luxurious wool coat. This timeless combination will not only keep you warm but also looks like it came straight out When Harry Met Sally… or any other iconic movie set in New York. For your bottom half, your surprisingly soft Archie pant will do the trick. Along with your sophisticated sneaker, the leather texture balances out your fuzzy upper half with an element of sleekness. For extra polish, add your everyday gold hoop.

Other Favorites:
Tenement Museum – Have you had your fill of art museums? We get it. While we cherish the many art museums the city has to offer (The MoMA, The Whitney, The Guggenheim, etc.), sometimes you need to mix it up. Make your way to the Lower East Side, where you can immerse yourself in the neighborhood’s rich history at the Tenement Museum. Here, you have the option to join various tours, each guiding you through a day in the life of a different immigrant family.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge – The High Line is a former train railway that’s been all the rage ever since it reopened as a pedestrian promenade in 2009. Long story short: It’s busy. This innovative urban park is definitely worth checking out, but for a slightly more spacious and much more scenic stroll, we recommend walking the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll end up in Brooklyn Bridge Park, overlooking the East River and Manhattan, where you can grab a snack and enjoy the view.

Top photo: Pinterest via @hloblog. Bottom photo: Benjamin Norman.
Outfit: The Kasha coat, Arbus sweater, Archie pant, Koio Capri sneaker, and Claressa earring.

The M.M.LaFleur: Upper East Side store located at 1225 Madison Avenue.

Where to Shop

Located on Madison Ave. between 88th and 89th, our Upper East Side location is our first classic store—no appointments, just beautiful clothes ready for you to browse, try on, and take home. At this store, you’ll find styles that embody Power Casual: the clothing equivalent of work-life balance.

Looking for highly personalized styling advice? Book an appointment at our Bryant Park showroom to work one-on-one with a stylist. During your hour-long session, they’ll help you find your fit and shop for pieces suited to your specific needs.

Other Favorites:
John Derian – In search of a special souvenir? Stop in artist John Darian’s eponymous shop, which is filled with handmade housewares, including his famous découpage. Don’t be fooled by the term: this is far from your grandmother’s decor.

McNally Jackson – Getting lost in a great book always helps us alleviate that end-of-vacation anxiety. Before you head home, pick up a novel or two at one of McNally Jackson’s four locations. This local, independent chain is woman-owned, offers a broad selection, and the staff is always happy to help with recommendations.

Written By

Emma Steinbergs

Emma is M.M.LaFleur's Brand Manager. She previously worked as an M.M. stylist and still loves thinking through styling challenges and solutions for customers.

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