NEW YORK - the most designed places

New York State of Mind

This is the city that has everything, the capital of the free world and a gateway to endless possibilities. It’s the city that has everything, big-time.

Here is the less-known version of New York, a combination of art, design and fashion, with good food and lots of trendy places.

To each their own New York, and here’s my 2023 model.

I’ll gladly be hosting a dear friend of mine later on, an interior designer who lives and works in New York, so that she can share her perfectly-designed places with you.

3 Excellent Restaurants within Design Stores

There is a high concentration of excellent, designed restaurants, the most special ones being situated within design stores, as part of the store’s vibe and vision.

Here are three excellent restaurants with great food (which I won’t go into, but trust me, it’s just as good as the beautiful places that serve it), each at a different perfectly-designed store, with a unique story behind each one of them.

These restaurants are highly-recommended, and you should reserve a table in advance since they are in extremely high demand.

Roman & Willams Guild

The Guild combines a design gallery with a restaurant in the heart of SoHo.

I met the owners, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, at a course hosted by Dr. Daniella Ohad as part of Christie’s Education division. Standefer and Alesch are partners at one of the leading American architecture and interior design firms, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors. The course brought us face-to-face with the world’s top ten designers. Just like that, at opposite ends of the world, I got to familiarize myself with their work and very much longed to visit the place that was filled with their vision and great talent.

The items in the gallery, as well as the restaurant kitchenware, present a vision of luxury rooted in nature. All the kitchenware, accessories, furniture and light fixtures are original designs made from natural materials, using ancient techniques by special artists from all over the world. At the front of the exhibition hall, French restaurant La Mercerie also incorporates their vision of using natural materials, and all the kitchenware is sold there.

53 Howard St, New York, NY

Guild Gallery was recently opened right next to the restaurant and store, an art gallery displaying pieces that merge the ancient and the modern using traditional techniques, alongside very unique guest artist exhibits.

321 Canal St, New York, NY

NEW YORK - the most designed places
The restaurant’s space as part of the Guild design house, SoHo

ABC Carpet & Home

ABC Carpet & Home is a New York icon established in 1897, when Austrian immigrant Sam Weinrib loaded a cart with used rugs and linoleum, and pushed it through the Manhattan Lower East Side all the way to its current location in the Flatiron district.

The authentic, handmade carpets were the core of this establishment and have remained so; it was at one time the world’s largest carpet store. As time passed, more accessories and furniture were added to the store from the best manufacturers in the world, as well as textile products and gifts you just have to have. Renowned chef Jean-Georges joined the establishment a few years ago and opened three restaurants in the nearby complex using the ABC Kitchen brand.

888 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

There’s also a new outlet store opened in Brooklyn:

220 36th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Elegance and great food at ABC Kitchen

 ABC Kitchen by Jean Jeorge

The menus at all three restaurants are described as farm-to-table, and have fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, obviously organic.

The highlight of the location is its “Taste the ABC” menu, including dishes from all three restaurants served on ABC Cocina’s patio, only during dinnertime.

I recommend arriving at the location for lunch, and also visiting the shop and nearby Union Square farmer’s market.

There are a lot of design stores in the area, and it’s fun to browse them.

35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003


The RH New York showroom is in the Meatpacking District, next to Chelsea Market.

Six floors of indoor and outdoor luxury furniture, a gallery and an interior design atelier with a huge selection of materials and fabrics.

A glass elevator in the middle of the space leads to the top floor and the rooftop, where you can find a restaurant and garden overlooking the breathtaking view of the Hudson River on one side and central Manhattan on the other.

At the center of the structure, built on metal columns that connect the floors, is a beautiful light fixture exhibit by American glass designer Alison Berger.

9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Lighsts installation by Alison Berger at the center of the showroom
NEW YORK - the most designed places
Great atmosphere and food at the RH rooftop restaurant
NEW YORK - the most designed places
Rooftop, combining great food and views

A Few More Must-Eat Places

Sadelle’s is one of the best places for breakfast or brunch to start off the SoHo morning (I’m not really into brunch, since it disrupts my meals and causes nutritional jet lag for me).

The place is beautiful, and the dishes are modern takes on classic New York meals, based on bagels, eggs and salmon carved right in front of the diners.

Warning: there’s no barista, just good-old-fashioned American filter coffee that doesn’t agree with me.

The place is named after the owner’s great-grandmother, and they have since opened multiple branches in Las Vegas, Miami, Paris, Boca Raton and Dallas.

463 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Sadelle’s, SoHo

Another similar New York icon can be found at the other end of the city.

E.A.T. is a restaurant and deli with iconic black-and-white floor tiles, a great place to start off a museum-packed morning on the Upper East Side as you check out the Metropolitan Museum (which isn’t a substitute for the museum restaurant overlooking the park), the Guggenheim and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum that I will mention later. You should take some sandwiches from the deli for a picnic at the nearby Central Park.

There’s also an adorable gift shop next door.

1064 Madison Ave (Between E80 and E81 Streets), New York, NY 10028

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Maman, French-style coffee, pastries, meals and kitchenware

Coffee in the City

It’s well-known that coffee is not the Americans’ forte, at least not when it come to our palate. For those of us who won’t settle for Starbucks, many European-style cafés have opened in the last few years.

One such French-inspired chain is Maman (French for mother), which started out as a café and bakery in SoHo and has branched out to other parts in the city, as well as the East Coast.

The decorated kitchenware, some of which hide rabbits, and the chain’s recipe book are sold both on the premises and on their online store.

Ole & Steen brought in Danish pastries, with excellent coffee and a few branches around the city.

R Starbucks, while part of the Starbucks chain, provides an entirely different experience.

R stands for roastery, since they roast coffee there, and the copper pipes bring in the coffee beans. You can schedule a guided tour of their roasting process.

It’s located right next to Chelsea Market, and if you can’t find it, the scent will guide you to the right place. Aside from the gorgeous design, Another good reason to go there, is the Italian Princi pastries they sell. There are only six R Starbucks branches around the world, and I’ve written about the first one opened in Shanghai here.

Listen to the guy in the video below, and don’t skip this place.

61 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Play Video

And the last, definitely not-designed place is offered to you as a public service to all those excellent Asian food-lovers, ho don’t have the time or aren’t in the mood to go all the way to Chinatown.

Joe’s Home of Soup Dumplings is a great restaurant for anyone caught in the middle of 5th Avenue – which is quite sparse for mid-day restaurants. You can’t book a table, but the long line is quick and worth the wait (save it, you’ll thank me later).

3 Design Galleries for Collectors and Design Enthusiasts

New York is the epicenter of the worldwide design collectors’ scene, mostly for its design galleries that support contemporary artists and display their works.

There are many design galleries in the city, and I have chosen the following three which are my favorite, each in a different area of the city.


R & Company has been promoting contemporary collectibles for over 20 years, and is a Mecca for collectors from all over the world.

The gallery mostly presents design items from the 20th and 21st centuries.

The gallery has two spaces on adjacent streets in Tribeca.

Founders Zesty Meyers and Evan Snyderman are considered to be leading figures in the support and nurturing of new and veteran artists, providing them with scholarships and developing new avenues in the industry – among other means – while expanding commercial and academic interest in historical and contemporary design.

The gallery presents some of the best-known international names such as glass designer Jeff Zimmerman, multifaceted designer Pierre Yovanovitch, and renowned coin furniture artist Johnny Swing.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Mid-20th century design pieces next to 21st-century pieces, R & Company
NEW YORK - the most designed places
Masterworks: Nordic Design in the USA exhibit, R & Company

The gallery on 64 White Street was opened in 2018, and aside from the changing exhibitions, you can schedule a visit to the library and archive that hold about 4,000 books, journals and magazines on design, from 1900 to the present day.

64 White St, New York, NY 10013
82 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013

NEW YORK - the most designed places
The Franklin Street space with iconic pieces by artists showcased at R & Company

Friedman Benda Gallery

The Friedman Benda Gallery is on W 26th St, near Chelsea.

The gallery represents leading artists from all over the world, and also discovers new talents and supports them all the way to a global center stage in the field of design collection.

The gallery promotes collaborations between international artists such as Daniel Arsham and Studio Nendo, who created the highly-regarded piece for the latest Milan Design Week.

Alongside collectible items is an art space with changing exhibits by innovative artists.

There was a colorful and adorable exhibit by widely-recognized Brazilian artist Rafael Baron when we visited there.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
A combination of colors and textures in the works of Brazilian artist Rafael Baron
NEW YORK - the most designed places
NEW YORK - the most designed places
Nature-inspired light fixtures by Rafael Navot at the Friedman Benda Gallery

While I was there, there was an exhibition by Rafael Navot called On the Same Subject.

Navot, who has been collaborating with the gallery in recent years, was born in Israel and is a alumnus of the Eindhoven Design Academy, currently working in Paris.

Navot has had several furniture items on display, combining traditional art with exquisite and contemporary materials, focusing on shapes derived from nature. Objects such as rocks and pebbles have inspired sofas, tables and light fixture.

Works by known artists such as Ron Arad and the Campana Brothers can also be seen here in rotating exhibitions.

It was a great experience visiting the gallery’s warehouses and touching design icons awaiting purchase by collectors.

The gallery has another branch in Los Angeles.

515 W 26th St 1st Floor, New York, NY 10001

Salon 94

This completely different, vibrant and happening gallery can be found right next to the Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side.

The gallery presents the vision of its founder, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, who wishes to break the boundaries between art and design, as according to her items express not only functionality but our values, philosophy and history, and thus should be presented together.

The gallery started on E 94th Street.

In 2020 the gallery moved to the historical building on 89th Street, built between 1913-1915 by architect and designer Ogden Codman. The building was originally owned by art philanthropist Archer Huntington and sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. The couple gifted the building to the National Design Academy in 1940.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Salon 94

Among the prominent artists displayed at the gallery is designer Rick Evans, who designs powerful tribal furniture.

The three floors of the gallery are currently showing artist Marilyn Minter’s exhibit in painting, video, sculpting and photography, in collaboration with the LGDR Gallery.

3 E 89th St, New York, NY 10128

3 Museums You Have to Know About

The big museums of the city have a soft spot for design, and among the most prominent are the design gallery at the Metropolitan Museum and the design items at MoMa, which recently underwent changes. The legendary Head of Design, architect Philip Johnson, was at the heart of the New York design scene, and led the design pieces to center stage alongside modern art for dozens of years. Lately, with the opening of the new David Geffen (no family relation) Wing, the iconic gallery items have been spread out among the art pieces.

There are three museums, one in Manhattan and two outside the city, that emphasize design, each in their own special way.

MoMa PS1, Queens

The MoMa’s brash little brother from Manhattan is just across the river in Long Island City, just a few minutes’ ride from Manhattan.

The MoMa PS1 is situated in the first public school building in Queens, hence its name. The classrooms have become galleries and the school has been preserved as is (consistent with how many of the public schools in the U.S. appear).

MoMa PS1 focuses on innovative and groundbreaking art, and is looking for the connection between art and community.

There’s a lovely café there, and exhibits that display local artists as well as others.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
MoMa PS1, Queens, just beyond the East River

Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the States. Its roots go all the way back to 1823 when they established a library in Brooklyn meant to educate young craftsmen. The library became the Brooklyn Institute, which featured a painting and sculpting exhibition in addition to the many lectures they had on various topics. In 1846 they established an art gallery there which later became the Brooklyn Museum.

The museum, which has been getting a second wind in recent years, is part of Brooklyn’s culture and leisure center along with the Botanical Gardens (a joint ticket is recommended), the Mount Prospect Park and the Public Library.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
The entrance steps to the Brooklyn Museum, painted to fit the exhibit showing the typical flowers in the area

The fourth floor of the museum is dedicated to design, and at its center is an exhibit that looks into the tension and correlations between hand-made and industrial creations. The exhibit in the tower shows various yet corresponding groups of functional items, mostly created between WWII (1939-45) and 1960, and includes pieces by famous artists such as Charles and Rey Ames, Isamu Noguchi and Gio Ponti.

The same floor also has a gallery dedicated to The Dinner Party, an important feminist art icon of the 1970s by Judy Chicago. The Dinner Party includes a huge feast arranged on a table set for 39 women who made history. The silverware hints at feminist symbols while the names of 999 other women are written in gold on the tiled floor beneath the triangle-shaped table. Alongside the regular exhibition are rotating ones relating to the 1,038 women honored at that table. Nowadays the New Museum, SoHo (a recommended museum in its own right) is dedicating 3 floors to the exhibition Judy Chicago, Herstory. The exhibition reviews the artist’s 60-year career of painting, drawing, textile and embroidery. The exhibition will end on January 14th, 2024.

Fashion Show at the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is joining the common trend among great museums worldwide that see fashion as a contemporary form of art. Some of the shows at the museum travel, like the one dedicated to Christian Dior which arrived from Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and is the basis for the wonderful show at the Gallery Dior, Paris (you can read about that here).

While we were at the museum, they had a show in memoriam of fashion designer Thierry Mugler, which made its way to the Brooklyn Museum from Canada. Alongside it was the retrospect covering the endeavors of Afro-American designer Virgil Abloh, who also passed away that year. Abloh was famous for designing menswear for Louis Vuitton, and was owner of the Off-White brand.

You should check the museum website for more shows.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Virgil Abloh collaborated on this show, but it was opened several months after he passed away.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The museum at Carnegie Mansion, on the corner of 91st Street and 5th Avenue, is right next to the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan museums. The museum was founded in 1897 by Sarah and Elinore Hewitt, granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper, hence the name.

The museum, dedicated entirely to design, has four floors of galleries with a standing collection of over 215,000 design items as well as new and contemporary exhibitions. The place also takes pride in its design library, one of the most important in the world.

This is the only museum in the State solely dedicated to historic and contemporary design. The standing collection and manor at the heart of the city are worth a visit on their own, and you should always check for new exhibitions.

2 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in a beautiful manor in the heart of Manhattan. PR photo

The newest of them all is the Neue Galerie on 89th Street, dedicated to German and Austrian art from the 20th century, which combines the collections of art dealers Serge Sabarsky and Ronald S. Lauder. Among other works, the gallery displays the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt, also known as the Lady in Gold.

On the corner of 83rd and 79th Streets is the Metropolitan Museum, the largest museum in the city, and its wardrobe department puts fashion on the center stage.

Not far away, on 89th Street, is the Guggenheim with its iconic structure by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Frick Collection shows a collection of modern art in an impressive structure that used to be the home of Henry Clay Frick.

On the other side of the park is the National History Museum. The new recently-opened wing, designed by architecture Jeanne Gang as a natural mall carved into rock, became an architectural attraction.

The Whitney Museum, which focuses on American art, is next to the High Line and galleries at Chelsea, and you should also pay it a visit.

You should enter the museums’ websites and see the current shows when they’re open (hint: usually not when you wanted to go) and buy tickets online, so you don’t waste time waiting in line.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
The Guggenheim Museum, the unique structure and Alex Katz’s exhibit, Gathering

Hudson Yards – Manhattan’s Newest Neighborhood

New York keeps changing, and the old warehouse district along the Hudson River has turned into a new, modern neighborhood that incorporates art galleries, innovative architecture and a luxurious brands mall (which is odd in this mall-less city), and a lot of sea and air views.

Hudson Yards is located between 10th and 12th Avenues, from W 30th Street to W 35th Street, north of Chelsea.

Between the roundabouts and gardens of this neighborhood are the Shed Arts Center and the luxurious Equinox Hotel, with the Edge deck, the city’s highest skydeck.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
The Shed, a versatile arts and culture center at the Hudson Yards
NEW YORK - the most designed places
The Vessel at the center of Hudson Yards

The Vessel

The Vessel is a part-building, part-sculpture in the center square of Hudson Yards, planned by British designer Thomas Heatherwick as a 16-story beehive connected by 2,500 stairs. The parts of this structure were manufactured in Italy and took two years to assemble.

The entrance to the structure was closed when we arrived, thus sparing us the challenge of the stairs. Don’t worry, there’s also an elevator leading to the balcony with a view to the nearby Hudson River.

The building was opened in 2019, but after several suicides, it was closed to visitors. It has recently reopened, though people are only allowed to visit in groups.

The structure’s full name is Vessel TKA, with TKA stands for Temporarily Known As. The development company called on the public to offer a permanent name for the statue, and you’re welcome to take part and affect the city’s newest tourist attraction.

The southern part of that green area connects to the High Line.

The view of the river and the perfect weather drew us south to Hudson River Park, and we walked between the green park and the blue river all the way to our next destination.

Little Island

Little Island is part of the park built along the Hudson River, a space combining nature and art, established with the Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation (DVFFF, who are also behind the High Line development, the Statue of Liberty Park and other famous sites around the city). It all started with the need to fix and reactivate Pier 54 after it was damaged due to Hurricane Sandy. Two leading design firms were selected for the project: Heatherwick of England and New York landscape architect MNLA.

The piling-shaped concrete structure drew inspiration from the pilings left after the storm struck Pier 54, which were visible above the water.

The park planned on top of the structure looks like a floating leaf, its unique wavy topography creating spaces for shows and theater.

The park was planned as an ecological botanical garden with 35 types of mini-trees, 65 types of bushes and 270 types of weeds, year-round plants and vines, most of which were selected for their scent and ability to draw birds.

Among the luscious vegetation are street games, such as a floor piano you can play with your feet, statues and recreational facilities.

The structure’s architectural innovation, combined with the breathtaking view, is a great way to rest from the city’s frenzy for a while on the way down the river to nearby Chelsea or Downtown.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
The wooden pilings left over from the destroyed pier against the concrete pilings and Little Island Park

Recommendations of a Local Designer

I’m happy to introduce you to Sharon Rembaum, a dear colleague and friend who works and lives in New York. Sharon was born and raised in London, having worked in broadcasting media for 20 years before graduating from UCLA’s Interior Design program. She opened her boutique design firm in New York in 2016. Sharon specializes in spaces that are carefully curated, eclectically combining modern and vintage furniture and art. Sharon will be opening a gallery in Tribeca this fall, specializing in vintage and eclectic art and furniture from all over the world.

NEW YORK - the most designed places

“There are very few cities as rich in art and culture as New York. There is history, culture and art in abundance. In many ways, New York – from the paved streets of Tribeca to the large-scale galleries of Madison Avenue – is a city of immigrants; each community has left its footprint in various parts around Manhattan, mostly in the boroughs around it: Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island.” That was how Sharon introduced the city where she lives and works. “There are many tour guidebooks written about New York, but there’s nothing like living and working here, and getting the chance to walk the streets and find out everything this city has to offer.

My work as a designer gives me the opportunity to discover new destinations on an almost-daily basis. There’s a near-endless selection of places where you can purchase furniture and art. There are museums, studios and galleries with some of the most important collections in the world.”

 Here are some of Sharon’s favorite places:

Maison Gerard is situated between Union Square and Washington Square Park. This gallery is one of New York’s leading destinations for great furniture, lighting and art. From French Art Deco antiques and mid-20th century design to some of the most important modern designers of our day, it is a must for design-enthusiast collectors.

The Invisible Collection was recently opened on the Upper East Side, and has three stories of furniture and collectibles by leading contemporary artists such as Charles Zana and Pierre Yovanovitch. Their online store is excellent and ships worldwide.

Espasso Gallery in Tribeca specializes in modern and contemporary Brazilian furniture. The gallery preserves the country’s rich design heritage from the 20th century and promotes the works of modern artists. The gallery has pieces by iconic designers such as Oscar Neymar, and some of the most iconic furniture from Brazil.

The Noguchi Museum is a museum and sculpture garden in Queens, planned by Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988). The museum displays his sculptures, architectural models, furniture and sketches. The 20th-century industrial structure provides a peaceful environment for some of the artist’s most important pieces, and is certainly worth leaving Manhattan for.

Aman Hotel is on the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street. The hotel was designed in collaboration with gallery owner and artist Olga Niescier, of the Tuscany-based Kalpa Art. Old meets new. The architecture and art are nothing less than astonishing.

NEW YORK - the most designed places
Iconic Brazilian furniture at Espasso Gallery

Finally: One Park, a Food Market with a View of the Big City

The best place to see Manhattan at its glory is outside it.

Brooklyn allows you to fondly look at New York’s world-famous skyline.

There are many parks along the river, and our favorite was the Marsha P. Johnson State Park, with its Smorgasburg food market.

Smorgasburg is a project that operates open food markets throughout the U.S. (with pop-ups in Brazil and Japan as well). The market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is the largest open market in the States, and is only open on Saturdays starting in April (and it’s very close to the Brooklyn Museum). The market offers stalls with any food you could imagine, some are branches of famous restaurants around the city that serve their flagship dishes to the public.

You can find the market in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on Sundays.

Another New York branch opens on Fridays at Oculus, on the corner of Fulton and Church near the Ground Zero memorial grounds, a place you should see regardless (and if you’re around, don’t miss out on a coffee break or meal at the local Eataly’s).

Marsha P. Johnson State Park, 90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn

NEW YORK - the most designed places
A look at Manhattan’s skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge from the East River Park

A Bit about Me’m an interior designer with 20 years of experience. My studio specializes in luxury apartments and residential, commercial and business design. As part of my job, I travel to perfectly-designed places around the world and am delighted to share those experiences with you, while offering my personal and professional perspective. All this in the blog Design & the City, also published monthly in the Designer magazine of HaAretz newspaper.

For updates on the perfectly-designed places of the world, follow me on Instagram by clicking this link. My followers can also enjoy highlights and additional recommendations.


NEW YORK - the most designed places

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