Wellness Guide to NYC
New York, New York: a city so nice they named it twice. Before I moved out to LA in October, I lived in NYC for eight years. And even though LA is often thought of as the wellness capital of the U.S., NYC is no slouch! The city has so much to offer. So whether you’re looking for healthy restaurants, a solid workout, or a place to recharge your batteries, here’s my guide of wellness recommendations in the Big Apple.
10 Downing Street (West Village)
If you’re worried about finding a healthy restaurant that will also make everyone in your group happy, look no further than Cafe Clover. They focus on ingredients that are pure, simple, and organic but pull it all together to create really imaginative dishes. From the warm hemp seed wheatberry biscuits and spaghetti squash latkes at brunch, to the persimmon carpaccio and chickpea pappardelle with mushroom bolognese at dinner, even the most discerning palette will enjoy the food at Cafe Clover. Don’t worry if you’ve got a meat-eater in your group because they have plenty of options, including one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. And to top it off, the decor is gorgeous and the atmosphere is lively and fun.
*Pro tip: pop over to their market, Clover Grocery, just down the street on 6th Avenue for some shopping. They sell a mix of organic produce and gourmet food, beauty products, gifts, home goods, and more. And don’t miss the coffee bar in the back!
19 Kenmare Street (Nolita)
The menu at The Butcher’s Daughter is 100% vegetarian, is mostly vegan and gluten-free, and they can accommodate almost any dietary restrictions. Are you sold yet? They buy their produce from local and organic farms and design the menus to reflect the season, so you know you’re getting food that is really fresh. For brunch, be sure to try the coconut yogurt parfait, the weekend waffles, and the spinach egg bowl. If you’re there for dinner, the angel hair carbonara made with spaghetti squash and cashew ricotta will satisfy your most intense pasta craving. There are two other locations in the city (West Village and Williamsburg) but the Nolita location is my favorite because if it’s a sunny day you can sit outside on the patio and experience some of the best people-watching in NYC.
Juice Press is one of the places I miss most in New York City. This organic and plant-based health food provider is just that good. Let’s start with the smoothies. I’m very picky about ingredients and at Juice Press you can really create whatever you want. Plus their almond milk is made in-house and contains no sugar! In addition to the made-to-order smoothies, they have pre-bottled options, juices, and some delicious healthy treats (the mint chocolate chip cookies are to die for). If you need something heartier, they serve a variety of hot soups that are filled with super clean ingredients. The split pea and lentil mushroom chili are my favorites but they also have butternut squas, carrot ginger, and a spicy red lentil with potatoes. During the winter I would stock up on the take-home quarts so I could have some for dinner (they were a lifesaver when my husband and I had our wisdom teeth surgeries) With 57 locations throughout the city, Juice Press is your answer for nourishing food on-the-go.
Warning: if you’re planning to do a lot of walking during your time in NYC, this class is probably not the best option. But I say that as a compliment! SLT (stands for strengthen, length, tone) is pilates on a Megaformer and it’s one of the most effective workouts I’ve ever done. The classes are 50 minutes of controlled movements on the Megaformer that target every inch of your body. You will discover muscles you never knew you had and they will all be shaking. And with 12 locations throughout NYC, it’s easy to find a studio close to where you’re staying. If you want to challenge yourself and are okay feeling sore the next day (or two), then definitely check out SLT.
If barre is more your speed, Physique 57 offers the best class in NYC. It’s really fast-paced and you will work up a solid sweat within minutes. Their process, called “Interval Overload,” will hit your arms, thighs, butt, and abs in 60 minutes, using your own bodyweight as resistance. There’s also an express 45-minute class and a 30-minute abs & arms class so you can squeeze in a workout no matter how booked your NYC itinerary may be.
22 Park Place, 3rd Floor (Tribeca)
The Class is the most unique workout I’ve ever done. It challenged me physically, mentally, and spiritually. Founder Taryn Toomey created a workout of repetitive calisthenics and plyometrics that will help you build a strong and lean body. But it’s so much more than that. Throughout the 65 minutes, you will challenge your mind by dealing with feelings of discomfort and engage with your soul through meditation. I felt like a weight was lifted off my chest and I even shed a few tears at the end. If you only have time for one workout during your NYC trip, make it this one.
29 East 19th Street (Union Square)
If you’re in the mood for some pampering (and TBH who isn’t?), look no further than Rescue Spa. From the gorgeous decor to the hot tea and dried apricots, you will have a luxurious experience no matter what service you booked. The menu is extensive (nails, hair, waxing, massages, makeup, and more), but Rescue Spa is renowned for the Biologique Recherche facials. In fact, the Paris-based skincare company partnered with Rescue Spa so their facials could be offered in the U.S. If you don’t have time for a facial, the spa sells a wide variety of Biologique Recherche products so you can stock up before your flight home.
51 East 25th Street (Flatiron)
If you’re a stickler for non-toxic nail polish, be sure to book a manicure at Sundays. The space is adorable and their in-house polishes come in a variety of gorgeous shades (free of chemicals, toxins, and animal products). I tried the non-toxic gel manicure and it lasted a full two weeks, which included hikes and building campfires during a trip to the Catskills. Your overall health and wellbeing is a top priority at Sundays so they offer a guided meditation from Inscape during the manicure service.
No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to Central Park! Even though it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, there are spots that are calm and serene. Two of my favorites are the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir running trail (86th Street and Central Park West) and the Conservatory Garden (105th Street and 5th Avenue). And while The Great Lawn may seem too hectic at first glance, it’s a great place to bring a book or just lay under a shady tree and admire the city skyline surrounding you.