City guides: London and New York
Pei-Ru is the New York Editor of Wallpaper* magazine. She covers stories on design, art, architecture, travel, and fashion from New York and the US, and reports back to their London headquarters.
What kind of traveler are you?
I would say I'm pretty laid back. I've travelled a lot as part of my work, often alone, so I've come to enjoy being thrown into a place and figuring things out from there. I do try to put together some bare bones research before though.
You've lived in both London and New York. So, which do you prefer, and why?
They are both wonderful places, but if you looked deep into my heart, I'd have to say London. There is history and elegance lurking around every corner. New York is a little more rough and ready, but that has its own charm too! The city's energy is unstoppable. It's a real race to the top to survive in New York.
Where would you go for brunch in London? And in New York?
Breakfast in London has to be at The Wolseley. The dining room is perfectly set up for people watching - the best part about going out to brunch!
Pictured above: The Wolseley (credit: Cocoa Chelsea)
Pictured above: The Butcher's Daughter (credit: Daniel Krieger)
What about for good dessert and cakes?
I take my dessert very seriously. I absolutely adore Patisserie Burrow in Dumbo. It's a Japanese-run patisserie in a nondescript building near the Brooklyn Bridge. The treats there are otherworldly, delicate and almost too good to eat! (Almost.)
Other top favourites are One Girl Cookies in Cobble Hill for their pumpkin whoopie pies and mini cookies which I discovered when my sister visited. For cupcakes, I love Molly's Cupcakes in the West Village. No contest there.
Pictured above: One Girl Cookies (credit: Dumbo NYC)
Now we want to know your favourite Japanese restaurants in New York!
In New York, the two most memorable places I've been to lately are Tanoshi on the Upper East Side and Kura in the East Village. Tanoshi is a no-frills hole-in-the-wall with only ten seats, but the omakase selection is delicious. Kura is also omakase-only but is armed with more inviting surroundings. The best seats are always by the counter.
In London, good Japanese is harder to come by. I'd have to say Koya for their udon and great variety of soup flavours, and Roka at Charlotte St (Zuma's sister restaurant), if you want a more trendy evening out.
What are your favourite shopping neighbourhoods in each city?
In London, I loved shopping in the east. Columbia Road was great for little things. On a trip back last year, I discovered a Japanese stationery shop and a design shop at the end of the road, which I could have stayed in for hours. It's most well known for the flower market on Sundays, but if you go on a Saturday when it's quieter, treasure abound!
In New York, my favourite shopping area is Boreum Hill in Brooklyn. There are design shops, fashion boutiques, perfumeries lined on either side of the streets, and they're all filled with niche, independent names. You can find a little bit of everything here at a relaxed, leisurely pace.
What do you do in London that you don't ever do in NY?
Afternoon tea!! It somehow doesn't really exist in New York, or maybe I haven't been looking hard enough. I go to the farmer's markets a lot more here in New York than in London. In the summer, the cornucopia of stone fruits, flowers and berries is really the definition of the American Dream.
What are some of your must do's when you travel?
I always try and find a pastry shop, or somewhere that you can find delicious treats. Snacking is my life. Call me crazy, but I also like going to the pharmacy to see what unique everyday things I can find. I also try to find a good view - the more unconventional, the better. And then I round things off with a must-do, as touristy as it may be: how can you go to Paris and not go to the Sacré Coeur!
What are your 5 travel essentials?
- Nice-looking shoes that I can walk around in
If there was one designer's vacation home you would like to live in for a week, whose would it be, and why?
This is the question I found the hardest. It would either be Chandelier Creative's surf shack in Montauk or Locusts on the Hudson. It was probably only when I moved to New York and started to get out to the countryside more that I truly learnt how to appreciate nature's beauty. Both these houses would be best enjoyed with a large group of friends in the summertime. Lots of swimming by day and then long dance parties at night.
Pictured above: Chandelier Creative's surf shack (credit: trendland)
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