Around the corner from where Maryam Nassir Zadeh just staged her Spring 2020 show, fresh NYC addition Sister City appears as an oasis on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. All timber-clad rooms and terrazzo finishing, consider this your Fashion Week escape and your place to begin exploring the city.
With its tonal, built-in furnishings, Sister City had us at first sight. Created by the studio behind Ace Hotel – Sister City has distilled the essential, sketched from a ménage of reference points that make perfect sense when you see the results. Think Finnish saunas (chic, succinct spaces flanked by wooden benches); Japanese bento boxes (compartmentalised enrichment); ancient rock cut cliff dwellings (only the necessities) and composer John Cage’s 4’33” (quite literally, the sound of silence).
Sister City’s pared-back approach hinges on the notion that the purpose of travel is not to stay inside, but to explore. Take it as license to embark on an art and design tour of NYC, outside these walls.
First up, neighbourhood icon the New Museum is down the street and a work of art from the outside in. Look for the building that appears like a towering stack of boxes against the sky. A walk or bike ride through Central Park will take you to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, celebrating its 60th birthday as well as its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A visual spectacle in its own right – within the spiralling structure you’ll find Brancusi, Basquiat and Mapplethorpe.
When a transformed Museum of Modern Art reopens in October, it will be with several odes to the notion of space; among them Surrounds: 11 Installations and a moving image exhibition titled Private Lives Public Spaces. If that doesn’t fit your timeline, you can still visit the MoMa Design Store in SoHo for all the objects you wish fit in your suitcase.
On Sister City’s ground floor you’ll find all-day restaurant Floret. With focus on local, seasonal ingredients and a neighbourhood vibe, this is the place to get your filone toast with whipped ricotta, stone fruit, honey and black pepper in the AM and your olive oil poached cod with artichoke, baby potato and aioli as the sun goes down. We don’t need to tell you the interiors are a dream – all Italian terrazzo tiles, greenery and light wood features in airy surrounds. And if you need to gain perspective, go high.
Hit 11 in the lift to reach Sister City's Last Light rooftop bar, an intuitive combination of quintessential views, inspired cocktails and performances from the likes of Okay Kaya – if you catch the right night. But if not, no matter. A sunset, and that skyline, are the only true essentials.