Everyday girls, NYC
Whether it’s your first visit or you’re a New York regular, an insider perspective is always the best. We’ve asked three insightful locals to talk about their experience, and reveal where they love to spend their time in the city that never sleeps.
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Fashion is a big part of Fatimah Muhammad’s life. The 30-year-old New York native producers a YouTube series called FashionFilez, where she interviews people in the fashion industry – everyone from influencers, entertainers, musicians and celebrities – to talk about inspiration, style and what drives creativity.
The episodes are shot on the streets of New York, and a couple in Harlem, where Muhammad grew up. “It’s a colourful place full of culture, fashion and smiles. Where I live there are lots of families and people of different ethnicities and ages. Most people in my neighbourhood are friendly and we have known each other forever so it’s like a big extended family,” she says.
It’s tough, gritty and it makes you fearless, she says of the city, and living in New York makes you feel like you can do anything.
What she loves about the city is its transport – “honestly, I can get anywhere within a decent amount of time” – its eclectic architecture, the fact there’s plenty of free things to do, and lots of opportunities to meet new people. “And I love the different types of ice-cream you can eat,” she adds, laughing.
It’s not all perfect, though. “New York can be challenging because there is a lot of competition for the same things, such as jobs, guys, and just space or quality of life. New York has some of the best amenities but it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain them.”
Fashion is never far from her mind, and she says if stylish friends were visiting, their day out would start with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “They always have the best fashion exhibits on. Then I would take them to Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorfs to see the shop windows – they have the best windows in New York,” she says before getting very excited. “OMG, I would then take them to Coldstone to get ice-cream made to their specific order.”
above, Saks Fifth Avenue by Luisa Brimble
New York is full of stylish people and Fatimah says a wander down Fifth Avenue offers amazing people watching. “You really see some people who have great style when you walk the streets of New York,” she says.
As for the city’s edgiest shopping, nothing compares to Soho.
More about Fatimah:
Running is in the blood of 21-year-old Mary Cain, who became the youngest American athlete to represent the US at a World Championships meet when she competed in the 2013 World Championships in Athletics in Moscow.
The middle-distance runner is among the fastest American juniors at both 800 and 1500 metres. She lives in Bronxville, a one-square mile town just outside of New York City, and here tells us what she loves about the city.
WinWin: You go to Fordham University – what’s it like studying in NYC?
Mary: Fordham is where my Dad studied, so my family and I used to visit him and I always loved the campus. Despite being in a big city, it is a small, closed campus, but you still have all the perks of being right next to the city. The campus is on the MetroNorth train line, so 15 minutes north takes me home, while 15 minutes south gets me to Grand Central.
WW: What are you studying?
Mary: I’m a Business Administration major in Gabelli’s school of business. I’m also completing all of my pre-medical requirements.
WW: Your uni is in the Bronx – tell us about the borough:
Mary: Fordham’s campus is next to the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Gardens, so it’s easy to find fun things to do around campus. Fordham is also next to the Belmont neighbourhood, which is considered the ‘Little Italy of the Bronx’, so there are tons of great places to grab some food.
above, Arthur Avenue, Belmont by Christopher Postlethwaite for NYCGO
WW: A friend is coming to town, what do you plan for their visit?
Mary: My coach lives next to Central Park, which is an awesome spot for running, but also for Museum Mile, a stretch along 5th Avenue that has a bunch of different museums. I’d first take them for a run around the park, then we’d get a bite to eat at one of the many great nearby restaurants, and head to a museum. The Guggenheim is always fun and it’s extra cool when you run into a celebrity.
WW: As a runner, where’s the city’s best place for a run?
Mary: My favourite is Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. Not only is it close to my house (only 12 minutes away), but it’s five minutes from Fordham, so I can get a quick workout in before class and then drive back to campus. I love Van Cortland because it has every type of terrain I need to train: there’s a track, a large flat loop, a hilly loop and countless connecting trails. You can never get bored there.
above, The High Line by Tagger Yancey IV for NYCGO
WW: Is there another corner of NYC you love?
Mary: The High Line on the West Side of NYC. It’s an old, elevated train line that has been converted into a walkway. It runs from about 11th to 34th Street, so it’s also really close to the Chelsea Piers. The park is really cool because it has great views of both the city and the Hudson River. There’s also often entertainment along the path. It can be quite crowded, so if your goal is to run the trail (which I still haven’t done), it’s probably best to go when the park first opens or right before closing.
WW: What’s your favourite restaurant?
Mary: In the city, I will often go to Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast or lunch. There are a bunch of stores scattered throughout the city and they have the best pastries. There are a couple of locations near the Museum Mile stretch, such as the original NYC location near 86th St.
More about Mary:
I am a college student, writer and comedian. I recently published a book, Earth Hates Me, about what it’s like to be a teenager in today’s society. I have a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade, and have been writing for different websites since I was 10. I mostly write and talk about my various ups and downs and how I’ve gotten through them.
My neighbourhood is the Upper West Side, so it’s not a super hectic neighbourhood. I’ve lived there most of my life so the streets feel safe because I know them so well. I love the chaos of the city. I can’t imagine a life without the weirdly wet subway platforms, the fast-paced walking and the eager people.
Most New Yorkers aren’t your classic people, but everyone has unique personalities; you’re constantly surrounded by so many different kinds of people and cultures, and I think that’s a really incredible thing.
If a good friend was coming to town I’d take them to the Brooklyn Bridge, The Metrograph – the coolest movie theatre I’ve come across – and the High Line. It a beautiful walk with views, lots of tourists and is great for people watching. If that’s your thing, the train is also great. You’ll find miracles on the train.
My favourite shop is See’s Candies – it’s amazing. They have a few around the city. My fave café is Irving Farm Coffee Roasters and again, you can find them across the city.
Central Park by Luisa Brimble
If I want some quiet, I go to Central Park. There’s a bench I found, it’s on one of the trails. I try to go as often as I can to read or write. It’s really beautiful and nobody goes there because it’s secluded and hard to find.
Nothing compares to New York City, especially when you’re a native New Yorker. I can’t imagine not living in a city and really, no city compares to it.
We have an awesome piece of Ruby’s writing in our POWER section… go check it out!