New York Confidential
Life is so large here that it sprouts within confines sometimes so small that even their names have had to be cut down to size, like SO(uth of)HO(uston street), tri(angle)be(low)ca(nal street), etc. You need an explorer to find your way around this kind of jungle. So we found seven adventurers, all members of the New York Nespresso Club, especially for you.
ALBERT & NICOLE NAGGAR, Members since 2009
She is a psychiatrist, and he works in high finance. She is from Long Island, and he comes from Great Britain. “I’ve been living in New York for twenty-five years,” he says. “If you ask me what I prefer about it to London, I would say the fact that this city never sleeps. The climate is milder, and the food here is better.” “No other city in the world has as much energy!” she says. “Apart from Bangkok,” he interjects. This couple are united less by similarity than by the fact that they complement one another, but they share a love for cappuccinos made using their LATTISSIMA+ machine from a double FORTISSIO LUNGO simply topped with “dry” foam... Another thing they have in common is a love for their city – they often head off to discover new places here. “I don’t like leaving New York much,” he says. “Out there is the United States.”
THE NAGGARS OFTEN EXPL»ORE NEW NEIGHBOURHOODS IN THE SAME WAY THAT YOU MIGHT CHOOSE A HOLIDAY DESTINATION, by stopping a small spinning globe with your index finger at random. They recently took the ROOSEVELT ISLAND TRAMWAY (cable car) which, like the Staten Island ferry, people take more for its spectacular view than as a means of transport. On the other bank is Brooklyn, which has become a must-see for tourists coming through New York. MAST BROTHERS CHOCOLATE selects the best cacao and forms it into tablets with second-hand equipment, EGG serves deliciously simple food in a wooden shell, and THE MEAT HOOK is home to cap-wearing butchers who work Angus beef fattened-up on the estates of Maine’s wealthy landowners. Back in Manhattan, BAROLO will keep you feeling like you’re somewhere else with its garden of trees that glow like torches, where you can enjoy one of the city’s best wine cellars. Finally, with its old master paintings presented in a typical old New York interior, THE FRICK COLLECTION invites you on a journey too, but this time, it’s a journey back in time.
JENNIFER DIAMOND, Member since 2004
Jennifer is an actress and fitness instructor, and drinks the Espresso INDRIYA from india as if it were a health drink – long in the morning, and short in the afternoon. She has been drinking coffee since she was 8. “At first I would have a drop of it in my hot milk. Then the proportions gradually changed.” It’s this unusal precociousness which led her to leave secondary school in Philadelphia for Manhattan to make a go of it as an actress, almost ten years ago. As a child, Jennifer decided that the quickest route to success in life would be via Broadway, and such resolve has taught her to laugh at the obstacles in her way – she didn’t bat an eyelid when her wedding of summer 2011 ended up taking place in the middle of Hurricane Irene, which unexpectedly struck New York.
FOOD TRUCKS APPLY THE DIVERSE CHARACTER OF NEW YORK TO THE WORLD OF FOOD. These are vans, most of which are listed on the foodtrucks.zagat.com site, that sell their wares on street corners. They provide such a variety of options (social comfort food, Korean barbecues, Halal taquerias and more) that they will soon have brought an end to the reign of the ubiquitous hot dog. New York is never more New York than at CHELSEA MARKET, just next to High Line Park, a wonderful hanging garden on a disused section of the elevated railway, and which is now the second favourite green space of New Yorkers after Central Park. A bit lower down, the CORNER BISTRO has the reputation of serving the best hamburgers in the city late into the night. On the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, MOMO makes excellent sushi and vegetable tempura with matcha tea in a “Clockwork Orange” setting, while ROBERTA’S creates the best pizzas in New York. Finally, if you’ve never been to a BROADWAY theatre, then you haven’t really done Manhattan. Of course, there are some great theatres in Chicago, Seattle or London, but this avenue is to musical theatre what Hollywood is to cinema.
HARVEY SIDERMAN, Member since 2009
Before he got his ESSENZA, an impressive Italian coffee machine sat enthroned in the middle of Harvey’s kitchen. It was a superb looking professional machine, but it was horribly invasive, and every morning after turning it on, you had to wait half an hour to get a cup of coffee. “We only plugged it in at weekends, and the rest of the time, it was for show.” Harvey takes his coffee very strong and chooses his Grands Crus on the basis of their intensity. One day he happened upon KAZAAR, a limited edition that was even stronger than usual (12 on a scale that normally goes from 1 to 10). “Once, I had run out, and I found a last batch at Bloomingdale’s. I bought all 150 capsules, because auction prices on eBay were going up. I only have 10 of them left, which I’m keeping for a special occasion.”
THIS RETIRED FINANCIER DECIDED TO STAY IN MANHATTAN, BUT HIS LIFE HAS NEVERTHELESS CHANGED COMPLETELY. Having revelled in everything that a city like this provides for busy people, he now seeks simplicity. Which he finds first thing in the morning at SULLIVAN ST BAKERY, whose pastry cream or butter apple jam doughnuts are a unanimous favourite. Before going to the theatre on Broadway, he heads to TELLO, an old Italian bistro where he loves the checked tablecloths and which reminds him of the neighbourhood where he was born in the Bronx. “Little Italy is so full of tourists I wouldn’t recommend that anyone book a table there.” The ITALIAN BRONX has remained one of those sanctuaries where Italian America feels at home – head to Dominick’s for its traditional family recipes. In Soho, Harvey goes to the CAFÉ HABANA for the Cuban music and the good sangria. The quiet BISTRO DE LA GARE in the West Village is run by an excellent chef trained in the kitchens of Mario Batali (see the Chef section). CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ is a genuine institution in the area, and is as well-known for its amazing brunches as for its literature events and jazz club.
MARIA wagner DORMEN, Member since 2009
Maria works as a television director, so she knows what life is like behind the camera. She sees reality tailored to the dimensions of the small screen before anyone sets foot on the set. “I’ve worked with actors on their way up, and others on their way down. I’ve done TV series, the news, children’s programmes and even a soap opera, As the World Turns, which was broadcast for fifty-three years and was one of American television’s longest running dramas”. She loves the unlimited talent in New York, the professionals who are better trained and more accomplished than anywhere else, and its culture which encourages dynamism. She drinks a cappuccino made from an ARPEGGIO, prepared to perfection with a LATTISSIMA+ machine, which has become so indispensable to her that she never travels without it.
NEW YORK IS A THEATRICAL CITY WHICH WAS MADE FOR PERFORMANCE AND OFTEN PUTS A LOT OF ENERGY INTO IT. The black brick wall of the Japanese BUDDAKAN next to Chelsea Market hides a fairytale banquet hall reminiscent of the splendour of the enlightenment. A block further up, the Italian American chef, Mario Batali (see the Chef section) has bought himself a magnificent wine cellar at DEL POSTO. It is undoubtedly the most expensive in the city, and provides a setting appropriate for his larger-than-life personality. The AQUAGRILL brasserie has a raised terrace overlooking 6th Avenue which makes you feel like you’re sitting on the edge of a diving board enjoying a dozen oysters while watching passers-by swim past in the big pool. MOMA’s Sculpture Garden is a small retreat cut into the canyons of the commercial district, perfect after a stressful day. As is a mooch around the treasures of antiques dealer PAULA RUBENSTEIN, a guru for the aesthetics of industrial eras and bygone modernities, ironwork, woodwork, glasswork and steelwork, the golden age of sailing and trinkets of all kinds produced by the American spirit. TU-LU’s Bakery makes the whole range of cupcakes, doughnuts and cookies, but with the gluten taken out.
DAVID BAKER, Member since 2008
David is what would be called a “fixer” in war reporting jargon. Except that instead of working for journalists in a war zone, he helps luxury brands find their way on difficult terrain – the huge commercial battle zone of New York. If a brand wants to open a shop here, his job is to find it a place which corresponds to its vibe, positioning and clientele. The neighbourhoods here are both so small and so specialised that they form a kind of communication through space, which David has to translate perfectly. He drinks his coffee iced with soya milk – “my parents produced cow’s milk in North Carolina, so I have drunk enough of the stuff until my next reincarnation” – a double VIVALTO LUNGO which he also drinks as an Espresso, with a little brown sugar.
PLACES LIKE NOLITA, THE EAST VILLAGE OR GREENWICH VILLAGE HAVE THEIR OWN MICRO- CLIMATE, INDIGENOUS POPULATION AND NORTH POLE. Getting your shop on exactly the right street is the difference between making it and breaking it. This “fit” between an establishment and its new environment sometimes produces some surprisingly satisfying results. Nolita, a sophisticated if slightly outdated neighbourhood, is home to LE LABO, which manufactures bespoke fragrances. PEELS restaurant fits with the aesthetic of a Bowery on its way back up, with its excellent fried chicken, sausage gravy and house biscuits served in a wonderfully decorated interior. The KINGS COUNTY SALVAGE bric-à-brac shop provides a key attraction in the retro theme park that is Williamsburg, while WICKED WILLY’S is a bar which makes a big contribution to the Village’s childishness and that David recommends to those who hark back to their days at secondary school. You can’t do what he does without loving bespoke products. 3X1, for example, does more than just customise jeans – they make them to measure, to the extent that you feel like you’re sliding into a second skin (see the Design section). SEIZE SUR VINGT does the same with shirts that you could wash for years without it showing.
NATALIYA TODOROVA, Member since 2010
Nataliya creates restaurant and hotel interiors. In her spare time, she produces a cookery magazine called “Maza Cooking Journals” (mazamag.com), devoted to the joys of cooking, also featuring recipes from her native Bulgaria. “I’m very busy, but that doesn’t stop me from cooking every evening. I love it, because I let myself skip the fiddly bits and I simplify recipes.” A bit like New York, whose industrial identity has been cleaned up, with its loft buildings and docks that have been purged of hazardous materials. Nataliya takes an espresso macchiato in the morning, made with a VOLLUTO she prepares using a black CITIZ & MILK, a colour this decorator chose for its neutrality. She savours it without sugar, so as to enjoy it in all its fullness.
NEW YORK IS THE KIND OF PLACE WHERE YOU MIGHT FIND A DISCO in an old convent, or a nail bar that has taken over the men-only chairs at a barber’s shop… The excellent LA ESQUINA taqueria has set up in an old diner and is now serving the burgers and omelettes of a «Latinized» America: chorizo quesadilla, tortilla soup, or hibiscus juice. Further towards Nolita, TACOMBI produces a flow of tacos and tamales in a VW campervan until midnight. The fantastic retro look of the ACE HOTEL has slid into a hundred-year-old decor of royal dimensions, while INDOCHINE restaurant revives the tropical setting so dear to 1930s socialites, and EATALY transforms a former toy manufacturers’ into a consulate general for Italian gastronomy. These reincarnations sometimes bring sweetness to the dark world of the streets: MILK BAR produces ice creams from premium milk, chocolate malt truffles and milkshakes in a corner of Brooklyn, while CUPCAKE CAFÉ prepares little angel cakes in its Hell’s Kitchen paradise, under the apocalyptic access roads of the Port Authority.
Interview with Frank Schoster, manager of the New York boutique in Soho, and Nikola Mirdita, his bar manager.
RENDEZ-VOUS AT NESPRESSO’S SOHO BOUTIQUE-BAR
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELVES.
Frank Schoster : I’m the manager of the Nespresso Boutique in Soho, the flagship of our five New York establishments. I’m originally from Lima and I’ve always taken my coffee strong, which is generally the Peruvian way.
Nikola Mirdita: I manage the bar on the ground floor. I grew up in Montenegro and left the Mediterranean climate of my little harbour on the Adriatic when I was 17, to go to university right in the heart of Wyoming. It wasn’t long before I moved to New York, where I followed my interest for working in the hospitality business. I was mad about coffee and was a Member of the Nespresso Club long before working here.
TELL US ABOUT THE AREA WE ARE IN.
F. S. : It’s one of the most emblematic districts in Manhattan. Soho is famous for its art galleries and chic shops, cleverly designed to catch the eyes of passersby. We welcome neighbours and employees from downtown, as well as customers from Long Island and New Jersey, but also a lot of young international business people. Here they find that same sense of familiarity and consistent excellence that you’d find in Amsterdam, Sydney or São Paulo.
HOW DO YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE THEIR COFFEE?
F. S. : Here in Soho, most of our customers take it short – Ristretto and Arpeggio, our strongest Grands Crus, are a big hit. Similarly, our Ritual Espresso cups are more popular than the Ritual Cappuccino cups.
N.M. : A lot of Americans see themselves as “addicted” to their big mug of morning coffee. In actual fact, I think that it’s the copious amounts of added milk and sweeteners that they’re addicted to. To get them used to the bitterness and intensity of Espresso, they have to be introduced to the different degrees of roasting, to the aromatic subtleties of our range. Once our customers have ventured into this new territory of flavours, I’ve never seen a single one look back.
A Nespresso in New York
HOT-SPOTS WHERE YOU CAN ENJOY A GRAND CRU IN NEW YORK.
New York dances to rhythms from all around the world. Not far from the banks of the Hudson river, Corton serves up contemporary French cuisine and has two Michelin stars, whilst Aldea (one Michelin Star), dons the matador’s costume in true Iberian style – and New Yorkers have become infatuated. Café Centro is more laid back, a mock-Parisian brasserie in Grand Central, one of the most beautiful stations in the world, whereas Yerba Buena reinvents guacamole, ceviche and other Latin-American specialties. As for The Lion, chef John DeLucie’s chic bistro, it sings its patriotic tune with gusto: mashed Yukon potato, chicken pot pie, hamburgers and spicy pumpkin pudding.
Production : Sandrine Giacobetti - Text : Julien Bouré - Photography : Jean-Claude Amiel