Like many of us, Susan Kaufman hasn’t exactly jet-set in the past two years. The former People StyleWatch editor, however, has doubled down on local exploration — on foot, without task, camera in hand — around her neighborhood of Greenwich Village and beyond. “I’ve lived near Washington Square Park for 30 years now,” Kaufman says, “and I’m still discovering new things all the time.
Kaufman’s endless walks around New York City, photographing exteriors, parks, streets, and anything else she finds “charming and personal,” have inspired her gorgeous Instagram feed and upcoming book, “Walk With Me: New York” (released May 24). Next time you’re strolling around town, here are some favorite spots that make Kaufman love his town.
For morning caffeine: Bar Pisellino (52 Grove Street)
At this café, Kaufman starts the day off right by enjoying a cappuccino and two mini croissants on the front terrace. “It’s like the anti-Starbucks,” she says of Bar Pisellino, where details like curved marble counters and baristas in beige linen blazers nod to a more European pause, sit, sip slowly and really enjoy your coffee. Even better: “They bring your order on a little silver tray so your coffee is a real treat.”
For reading material: Three Lives & Company (154 W. 10th St.)
If she was absolutely forced to choose the best bookstore, Kaufman would choose Three Lives, also considered “NYC’s perfect bookstore” by The New York Times. The Greenwich Village gem, which opened in 1978, looks exactly like a classic bookstore — rickety wood floors, exposed beams, books spilling out of every surface. But despite the library’s messy vibe, “it’s actually perfectly laid out,” Kaufman says, and is full of books handpicked by those who know best. “It’s all the books you’ve always wanted to read in one place.” (His latest purchase here: “Left on Tenth,” by Delia Ephron, who, New York-style, lives in Kaufman’s apartment building.)
For the nostalgic pasta: Morandi (211 Waverley Pl.)
“To me, comfort food is Italian food,” Kaufman says. For fresh pasta on this side of the pond, Kaufman heads to Keith McNally’s West Village trattoria, Morandi, where she recommends the tagliatelle Bolognese. “These are homemade egg noodles in a delicious classic meat sauce, and every time I order them, I feel like I’m having a meal in Rome.” If you notice a bit of a European theme here, you’re not alone: “I hadn’t expected that at all! But I lived in Italy for a bit, so maybe I miss that.
For the dessert on the go: Little Cupcake Bakery (30 Prince Street)
Every time she walks through Nolita, Kaufman stops at the corner of Prince and Mott Street for a mystery cookie: “I’m not sure of the name, but it’s totally decadent, something like chocolate chip cookie and chocolate chips chocolate,” she jokes. (After some delicious digging, its official name: the Double Chocolate Chunk.) The family-owned, small-batch bakery also offers the Brooklyn Blackout Cake, called the best chocolate cake in the country by Food & Wine.
For a walk after dinner: Washington Square Park (at the foot of Fifth Ave.)
Kaufman is admittedly biased, because it’s the heart of her neighborhood and all, but “for people watching, there’s no better place.” The past decade has seen the nearly 10-acre park completely renovated, its famous Alexander Holley monument retained and restored, and its fountain relocated as a focal point (its new location and new paths meant a 20% increase in lush green space). Right now, she adds, the cherry trees and daffodils in bloom make the park as beautiful as it is “filled with people and noise and craziness – the whole New York experience.”
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