As a professional photographer, I always bring along a camera in case something or someone sparks my creative spirit, whether I’m exploring the neighborhoods downtown or topping off my night with a holiday show. It’s nice to have the compact Canon PowerShot G5 X as an option when you are on the go in the city.
Black Seed Bagels
If you want to kick New York City’s omnipresent bagel up a notch, the guys at Black Seed Bagels are the ones to do it. Go old school with a simple bagel with cream cheese or go all out with one of their signature sandwiches. My favorite is a toasted everything bagel with wood-fired baked eggs, cheddar, avocado and tomato. Multiple napkins required!
Open Daily l 170 Elizabeth Street l website
This Lower Manhattan neighborhood puts all your senses on alert, with so much to see, hear and smell. There are unmistakable Chinatown scents starting with the wafting street market vendors as soon as you enter the vicinity. It’s fascinating to walk the streets to see the live seafood on display, but for the sweeter side of Asian foods, stop at Aji Ichiban Munchies Paradise. It is a bulk snack store where you are free to sample what intrigues you. It’s an ideal spot for stocking stuffers!
If shopping is on your list of must-dos this week, then the Strand bookstore should be your destination. Personally, I can spend hours perusing the second floor’s extensive photo book collection. It’s fun to go with a friend, as I did, and share some of your favorite books. I introduced my buddy Lexy to the work of Francesca Woodman, who was sort of my first photo inspiration and who essentially made me believe that I was able to make a career as a photographer.
Open daily l 828 Broadway l website
A retail store can often bring back travel memories just by walking into it. The Brazilian clothing store Osklen in Soho immediately transports me back to my time living in Sao Paulo. The beautiful collection of clothes has a true artistic feel to them.
Open Daily l 97 Wooster Street l website
Whether you want to pop in here in between shopping trips for one of the most decadent hot chocolate you’ll ever have or go straight for the dessert, Max Brenner Chocolate Bar & Restaurant is for serious chocolate-lovers. This time of year, Max Brenner celebrates fudge so go for the Black & White Fudge Hot Chocolate with melted fudge layered with steamed white chocolate milk. Need more? Bring along friends and share the Hot Fudge Fondue for dipping all sorts of goodies in melted fudge, toffee and a third choice of chocolate goodness. Oh yeah, they also serve real food.
Open daily l 841 Broadway l website
Gabriela Herman is a Brooklyn-based professional photographer who specializes in travel, food, lifestyle and portrait work around the globe.