The Designers Guide to New York


by Camilla Ridley

The city that never sleeps is evolving, and If you're looking for creative and cultural inspiration New York remains as fresh and relevant as ever. Here's our concise Ridley guide to the best food, shopping and culture the city has to offer 


Ridley London designer and founder Camilla stepping out at Bowery and ready to hit the town in a super easy denim shirt dress and leather bomber from Ridley London's spring 2023 collection 

As a designer, I’m constantly on the hunt for creative inspiration and an understanding of the trends emerging on the street. So a trip to this street fashion Mecca is a real must and a complete sensory overload that’s left me beyond inspired. The chances are you may have already visited New York and as a regular there over the years, I thought I’d pretty much seen and done it all. But the test of any great city, is its ability to move with the times. To attract the most creative and ambitious and retain its relevance as a crucible of ideas and creativity. While much of New York's soaring skyline, iconic buildings and cinematic vistas are firmly rooted in the last century, a sense of opportunism and renewal is afoot. Extraordinary new buildings and developments are popping up next to the old greats, and a raft of new independents, excellent restaurants and artworks have appeared. Most of all, the famously abrasive locals have been swapped for a multi-cultural cast of much warmer, more thoughtful and service orientated individuals. Undoubtedly a product of the tipping culture, although expensive for us Brits, the difference in effort and professionalism is very noticeable.While America is undoubtedly going through a period of introspection, New York is leading a cultural shift and in the process retaining it's dynamism and an ability to amaze and surprise. Mix in the city’s immense cultural capital and competitive air fairs and New York becomes a must visit destination for anyone looking for a hit of metropolitan inspiration. 

Where to stay


The hip new Moxy, is brilliantly located in the heart of the Lower East Side. The clever design really captures the spirit of the Bowery area and energy of New York. Don't miss out on the incredible views from the roof-top bar enjoyed here by Camilla and her husband Mark. Camilla is wearing a new Serena maxi dress in the black Bee Story cotton print

For an authentic New York experience try the Bowery area which I’m reliably informed is as New York as it gets. “Right in the thick of it” is how another local described it to me, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s a brilliant location to get about from, as it’s right on the junction of China Town and Little Italy and the edgie Lower East side. It’s only a five minute walk into Soho and 20 minutes on foot to Greenwich Village, TriBeCa and Down Town with great Subway links across the city. We stayed at the Moxy Lower East side. Compared with pricier destinations, Marriott's new boutique offering is accessible, cool, and definitely captures the eclectic spirit of the Bowery area. Rooms are stylish, comfortable and cleverly designed, with floor to ceiling views. Make sure you book a room with a city view and don't miss the sensational roof top bar. Other highly recommended spots include Soho House in the Meat Packing District, The Roxy in TriBeCa, and the Mercer on Mercer Street in Soho.

Where to Eat


New York prides itself on excellent restaurants and a foodie culture. (Top left) enjoying amazing New York doughnuts and a Sunday at the brilliant Odeon Restaurant. Camilla is wearing a  Carina shirt dress in the aqua poppy dawn silk satin Liberty print. (Bottom) Enjoying brunch at Juliette's in Williamsburg including possibly the best French Toast ever. Camilla is wearing a denim Ridley London shirt dress and bomber jacket

The Odeon - TriBeCa 

This TriBeCa institution comes highly recommended by my gorgeous friend and native New Yorker @tarrarosenbaum, and boy does it deliver! For Sex and the City fan’s, the  Odeon is the birthplace of the Cosmopolitan Cocktail, so worth the pilgrimage just for that. Then throw in an atmospheric interior that’s straight out of a Hopper painting, exceptional food blending French brasserie and New York diner classics with immaculate, charming service…. and you can see why the Odeon has been a favourite for discerning locals for over three decades. Which is surprising, because like all the best brasseries, it feels like it’s been there forever.

Pasquale Jones - Nolita

Located in the lively Nolitta district this is without doubt the most stylish pizza in town. The Pizza meets Italian tapas concept really works, the wood fired pizzas are exceptional supported by a cast of interesting, tasty offerings and a very up market (somewhat pricey) wine list. The staff are great, the interiors fabulous, and set the tone for the cool, lively neighbourhood vibe. You’ll need to book ahead and don’t miss out on the lemon spaghetti!

Beauty & Essex - Lower East Side

Don’t be fooled by the name…if you’re keen to sample a slice of hip young New York nightlife, this acclaimed Lower East Side destination delivers. Hidden behind the entrance to an old Pawnshop, Beauty and Essex has all the trappings of a modern day speakeasy including a decadent multi-floor interior, delicious cocktails, excellent pan-asian tapas style food and a real party vibe. Don’t miss the spicy salmon tartare, miso roasted aubergine and emerald gimlets.

Celestine - Dumbo/ Brooklyn

This sophisticated, unpretentious eatery blends delicious seasonal middle eastern influenced food and charming service with extraordinary floor to ceiling views of the Manhattan skyline. Located just off-the beaten track at the foot of the Manhattan bridge, this would be high on my list for anyone visiting Dumbo and Brooklyn, particularly if the weather’s good enough to eat out on the sun deck. Don’t miss the mezze platter, prawns, and the excellent sweet chilli fried Brussel sprouts will change Christmas dinners forever!


(Top) no trip to New York would be complete without a pizza and Pasquale Jones's wood fired Nolita creations are sublime. (Bottom) The very cool Beauty & Essex is located behind a Pawn shop on the Lower East side serving exceptional Pan-Asian food and imaginative cocktails

Il Buco - Broadway & Bond Street

Another recommendation didn’t disappoint and it’s easy to see how this eatery has become a favourite here. The authentic rustic Italian feel and romantic atmosphere contrast beautifully with a fresh new take on Italian cooking and excellent service. The cocktails and wine list are spot on, particularly the chilled Piedmont red. The scallop cervicé and sublimely cooked steak were particularly memorable and we’ll no doubt be making the Cavelo Nero Ceasar salad at home from now on.

Juliette’s - Williamsburg

If you’re heading for some vintage shopping, there’s only one place to brunch in the capital of hipster cool. Imagine a mid century rural French Brasserie immaculately transported to the leafy streets of Brooklyn. Mix in a fusion of classic French and New York diner that’s faultlessly delivered, add a dash of the coolest, most bearded crowd you’ve ever seen and you’ll get a sense of why Juliette’s has become such a destination. The interior is fantastic as was the burger and French toast to die for.


Where to shop


New York has some great shopping including areas like the renovated Meatpacking District (top) and new concept stores from brands including Glossier's new Soho store (bottom). Camilla is wearing the new Ridley London Lyra shirt dress in the Khaki wilderness Liberty print (top) and a new  Amalfi silk shirt dress in the Ordinance print by Liberty of London

Like most global cities, New York has its fill of widely recognisable stores and luxury global brands. Shopping around fifth or Madison Avenue is almost undistinguishable to Knightsbridge or Avenue Montagne. There are iconic Apple stores and Nike temples everywhere, but for me it’s the new and independents and authentic sense of place that I’m excited by. 

Greenwich Village

Head over to leafy bohemian Greenwich Village and Bleeker Street for some great stores including SJP shoes, Marc Jacobs’s concept bag and book store and Doen. Stop at the Magnolia Bakery for a Devine cupcake and cup of tea. It’s easy to understand how Greenwich became the centre of the beat, LGBT and countercultural movements.

Chelsea & Meat Packing

Walk the High Line from Hudson Yard to the Meat Packing District. The wide cobbled streets and re-developped warehouses are charming, and everywhere maintains this ex industrial feel. Stores seamlessly mix the vintage and thrift of Chelsea Market with new upscale luxury concepts form the likes of Gucci and Hermes, with flagship stores from Local labels including Dianne Von Furstenburg and Zimmerman. There’s also the obligatory Apple and Google Stores. We ate light at Chelsea Market but heard great things about the new Soho House.


Great atmosphere and proximity with charming bars and eateries on every corner. There are lots of hip independent boutiques and book stores everywhere. For vintage ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ is great, Flying Solo is an ever changing pop-up for emerging independents, Supreme’s store on the corner of Bowery always had massive queues outside. For me the Glossier soho store was the pick of the stores, with a fantastic design, concept and product.

Brooklyn and Williamsburg

With great independents and vintage stores, this was the big destination and highlight for our 14 year old daughter. The vintage stores are all beautifully merchandised with Stella Dallas on 285 North 6th Street being a real highlight. Awoke Vintage on North 5th Street is worth a mention. Others I’ve heard great thing of include Beacon's Closet and Buffalo Exchange in Bushwick.


Don't miss out on...


New York has a long list of brilliant cultural attractions. Three of our favourites include walking the High Line (top), taking in the latest contemporary art at the Guggenheim ( bottom left) and the re-developed World Trade Centre Plaza area including the extraordinary Oculus building by Santiago Calatrava (bottom right). Camilla is wearing a new Ridley London Lyra shirt dress in the Khaki Wilderness floral print (top) and a Talitha midi dress in the pink Ordinance silk chiffon print

Walking the High Line

This amazing elevated park has been imaginatively created from a disused two mile stretch of railway line. Not only is the design and planting fabulous but it affords extraordinary panoramic views of the Chelsea district and city skyline beyond. Unsurprisingly, the park has been a major catalyst for real estate development in the area and has become one of the city’s most popular attractions with over 8m visitors each year. It can get crowded so for maximum enjoyment head out early. In summer months it’s open from 7am to 11pm.

Walking over Brooklyn Bridge 

Walk off lunch and enjoy one of the most iconic views of Manhattan. It’s literally like being in a movie. 

World Trade Centre

Following the 9-11 attacks this area has been transformed by a series of architectural statements. The fountain memorial to the twin towers is both breathtaking and poignant and the new buildings around are mostly excellent, particularly the Oculus by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava which is extraordinary and worth a look inside.

Walking the city

The best way to see and get a feel for any city is on foot, especially when the weather is so good. During our week, we pretty much covered the city from uptown Central Park to down town Wall Street. Averaging around 20k steps each day definitely helped to justify the fabulous meals we enjoyed and gave us that serendipitous ability to discover new Sites.


One of the undoubted highlights of a trip to New York trip is a stay at the TWA hotel in the renovated iconic TWA terminal at JFK airport. It really is quite something and should be high on anyone's list with an interest in design. Camilla wears the new Amalfi shirt dress in the Ordinance Liberty print silk satin

A cocktail in Grand Central Station

There’s no better place to enjoy this monument of a building than with a Negroni at the Cipriani Bar overlooking the main concourse. It was a much needed pit stop on our walk from Park Avenue to the Flat Iron Building one evening. Leaving, you're greeted with iconic views of the Chrysler, Empire State and Met Life Buildings. A perfect way to experience Mid Town.

Jazz in the Village

If you're a fan of the Marvelous Mrs Maisel, you'll know that the 1960's Village was the home to hip New York culture as well as the centre of the Beat and Counter cultural movements. As a jazz fan, it's where the Modern Jazz movement of the early 60's blossomed with greats like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk regularly performing. We got lucky and saw one of the next generation of stars, the supremely talented Kenny Garrett at the Blue Note. An extraordinary evening to remember.

Art at the Guggenheim

No designer's trip to New York is complete without a visit to this iconic gallery by the great Frank Lloyd Wright. It's amazing to think it was designed in the 1950's. We caught a couple of great contemporary shows by Gego and Sarah Sze.

Stay at the TWA

We opted for the day flight home and spent our final night in New York at the TWA hotel. What an incredible experience! The iconic 1960's TWA terminal by Finish modernist architect Eero Saarinen has been beautifully renovated with two blocks of fabulous rooms added as well as a roof top pool with runway views and a cocktail bar in a converted period Lockheed Constellation aircraft. The whole thing has been quite beautifully executed with no attention to detail spared, resulting in something that really is like stepping onto a movie set or back in time. Definitely one not to miss!

Ridley London's new Spring collection of made to measure statement dresses, skirts, tops, jackets and knitwear is available to purchase online and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality this season with a unique piece that's  individually crafted to flatter from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral or solid silks or cottons. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting: 

Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 020 3336 7900

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