The Insiders Guide to Everything Cool in New York City

I’ve lived in New York for over 15 years. Most of those years were spent in Harlem. I now split my time between New York City and Miami Beach and I love it. I love them both for different reasons and if you’re looking for those reasons, you can find them here in my New York or Nowhere blog post. I’m usually in New York City a few days out of every month and it’s reignited my excitement for city life. I love to play tourist in my own city and check out the latest art exhibitions, restaurants, shopping boutiques and bars. There is always something to do or see in New York City. That’s arguably why it’s called The City that Never Sleeps, and I’m here to tell you it never does. It can be a gift and a curse depending on whatever mood you’re in that day. I was recently in New York City for a week of discovery. I usually only fly in for work but this trip was all about discovering and venturing to the hottest of everything, that I’d been hearing about for the past few months. So get out you paper and pen or pull up the notes on your phone and take inventory of everything cool in New York City right now.


Sake No Hana — It’s a Tao Group Restaurant and the ultimate date night spot. It has a super sexy ambience with low light and incredible service. If you love asian fare then this restaurant will delight you at every turn. Go for the miso soup, chili edamame, king crab and wagyu sushi rolls, spicy tuna temaki, the short rib rice with bone marrow and the branzino. 

Fandi Mata — It’s a Williamsburg staple and the food is just as good as the day it opened. The ambience is cool and eclectic. The bar is super sexy as well. They also have live music and DJ’s rotating through which makes it a good spot for date night or a girls night out. It’s Mediterranean cuisine and everything is delicious. Go for the meatballs, octopus, Caesar salad (yes it’s that good), Gnocchi with lamb or the Branzino for 2. 

Temple Room at The Beekman Hotel — This place is like stepping back in time. It’s definitely giving old world vibes with its decor and mind boggling atrium. It has a classic bar and restaurant filled with ornate chairs, lamps and paintings. If you want the place to yourself, go for a delicious breakfast or an early lunch. For lunch, I’d go with the Chicken Mushroom soup. It’s perfect for a cold winter NYC day. 


Manhatta Bay Room Bar — This downtown bar is absolutely stunning. It’s on the 60th floor and at the entrance they have a coat check. When you exit the elevator on the 60th floor you have an option to your left and to your right. One is the Bay Room which has southern views of New York City. You can even see the Statue of Liberty. This room is more chill because they only serve drinks. The sunset is stunning. On the other end is Manhatta which also has a bar as well as a restaurant. The views are sweeping of uptown New York City with the Brooklyn Bridge as well as the Empire State Building. Order the Goodbye Roses cocktail and watch the sunset in the Bay Room and then pop over to Manhatta for a lively dinner.

Record Room — It’s a new Speak Easy in Long Island City. If definitely a cool spot for 80’s babies. The outside is a coffee shop and yes it’s functioning during the day. At night you are lead through the coffee shop, behind some curtains and a long walkway with records filling the walls, into Record Room. It’s no frills with a few different intimate seating areas, a bar and a DJ Booth where the DJ plays all the old school jams on vinyl. I had an amazing time with friends at Record Room and will definitely be going back. It’s also Black Owned. 

Harriet’s Rooftop Restaurant at 1 Brooklyn Bridge Hotel — If I want to impress someone I take them to Harriet’s Rooftop Restaurant for drinks. You can reserve a cozy couch or bar top table with amazing views of downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s one of my favorite views of the city and great for a date night or girls night out. 


Dough Doughnuts — Dough has some of the best donuts in the world. Anytime I’m in New York or Brooklyn I stop by and grab a plain glazed, hibiscus and passionfruit donut. Their doughnuts are thick and fluffy but still manage to be moist! 

Magnolia Bakery — This is an NYC staple and it’s all because of their whipped banana pudding. I love it because is so light and fluffy and not too sweet with bananas and vanilla wafers. They also have a massive assortment of cakes, cupcakes and cookies. 

Capri Bakery — If you’re uptown in Spanish Harlem, hit up Capri Bakery on 116th street. Their breakfast is divine but the star of the show is their Tres Leches cakes. Anytime someone is having an event or birthday I go a buy a small Tres Leches fresh Fruit Cake and it’s always a hit!


Flying Solo — There are a few locations in Soho and anytime I’m in New York, I pop in to check out the latest from independent designers. I always find cool bags, clothing and jewelry. These are the kinds of pieces you haven’t seen before. Definitely put this on your list of must visits if you’re a true fashion girlie. They even put on a fashion show during New York Fashion Week.

What Goes Around Comes Around — Has 2 locations in Soho, NYC and they are both chock full of archive pre-loved luxury pieces. I’ve gotten several of my vintage bags from them, whether in store or online. They are super thorough and trusted as well. If you love vintage Chanel, Hermes and Dior then this will be a haven! The buyers are geniuses and source one of a kind pieces.

Century 21 Department Store— This used to be my spot and then it closed but luckily it has reopened and I’ve managed to find some deeply discounted designer pieces over the last year! I’m talking Saint Laurent to Bottega Veneta. It can be a hit or miss so visit at least once every few months. 


Field Trip Harlem — This is my go-to. I could eat here every day of my life. The roasted chicken bowl with jollof rice, collard greens and avocado sauce is heaven sent. I also love the braised beef bowl as well. They also have quite a few vegetarian options. 

Lucille’s Harlem — This neighborhood cafe feels like a warm hug. Get the breakfast sandwich and Mikes Hot Chai Tea Latte. Everything on the menu is stellar and it’s an aesthetic environment to bring your laptop and get a little work done as well.

Melba’s — Anytime I have an itch for southern cooking (I am a born and raised North Carolina girl), I visit Melba’s. I love their Catfish, Yams and Macaroni and Cheese. The food continues to be incredible after all my years of living in Harlem. 

Levain Bakery — For a delicious cookie that will melt in your mouth…this French Bakery that set up a location in Harlem, is the one and not the two!

Go ahead and drop all of your favorites places in New York City in the comments. I’m always looking for new restaurants to try and places to shop. I’d love for the comments section to be a resource for those visiting New York City and looking for the coolest things to do and see.








  1. Kim Russell
    January 15, 2024 / 8:34 pm

    Your newsletter is so informative and interesting. Please continue to share your experiences with your followers.

    • LaCharm
      January 16, 2024 / 3:17 pm

      Love Your Take on NYC livingI’m familiar, Lived and Played within the 5 boroughs!!

      • Shirley McBride
        January 23, 2024 / 3:22 am

        Hello Young Queen,
        You know this Ole head is her taken in everything you have to offer. You are an amazing writer. You have taken me on a fairy tale ride and I loved every moment.
        I should have known you in 2001. I would have loved to have known as these great places that you have shared but you were to young and definitely not in NY. But you are there now. I hope someday to return in the near future.
        I am eventually going to find my way to your blog.
        Thank you so much for this.

  2. Sunflower Butterfly
    January 16, 2024 / 12:20 am

    Thank you Monroe, such a trove of excellent choices, whenever myself, family and friends visit, appreciate you bunches. ❤️✨

  3. Cozy Sunflower (Tanesha Lonergan)
    January 16, 2024 / 5:40 am

    Sounds very inviting! I’m going to take a trip to NYC just to visit these places! 🙂

  4. Jennifer Lee Jones
    January 16, 2024 / 1:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing the NY info. My great niece would like to visit this year. I should find out what she would like to do. She’ll be 14 soon.

  5. Tonia Foster
    January 16, 2024 / 1:50 pm

    Thank! My family and I will be utilizing your NYC list for our upcoming Boston-New York travels. We’re on the North West Coast and are looking forward to seeing family post pandemic.

  6. Bianca Doura
    January 16, 2024 / 5:27 pm

    Thank you so much for all this great information. This is wonderful to have for when my daughter and I visit this amazing city! I love your content

  7. Michelle Ricketts Tenn
    January 16, 2024 / 5:49 pm

    Thanks for the info Monroe, for my next visit I will visit one of these spots .

  8. Tamique
    January 16, 2024 / 6:12 pm

    Thanks as always for putting us on!

  9. Jan Jenkins
    January 17, 2024 / 10:30 am

    Thank you for all you share!!!

  10. Valerie Miller
    January 17, 2024 / 10:38 am

    Hi. Monroe! I don’t ask God for many things but He always seems to give me what I need when I really need it. In 2020 during the midst of shut-downs and very lonely days, your channel popped up in my YouTube feed. I have been blessed by your energy, inspiration and positivity ever since. You tuned me into a world of great Black women and other minority designers and content creators that I previously did not know exist. I was able to live vicariously through your older travel videos to the many beautiful and fun places you visited. I live in Maryland but spend lots of time in New York (Long Island) and your NYC tips on places to see and dine are the best. Thanks for all of the good that you do. I know that your work can be extremely difficult at times and very time consuming but know that you are always greatly appreciated

  11. Tracey L. Campbell
    January 17, 2024 / 10:59 pm

    Oh such a wealth of information. Beloved, Sweetheart, Sugar, Honey, Darling, My Love I just think I’ll wait 4 months and ask in your DM’s Monroe’s Manhattan. I tell you those neighborhoods and boroughs confuse the heck out of me. And I’m a city girl. You make it look so easy coming from NC.

  12. February 15, 2024 / 7:25 am

    Regards! I’ll be using your NYC list with my family on our next trip from Boston to New York. Located on the North West Coast, we are eager to meet our relatives after the epidemic.

  13. February 19, 2024 / 1:47 am

    wonderful post.

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