Like many of us, Susan Kaufman has done exactly no jet-setting in the past two years. The former People StyleWatch editor-in-chief has, however, doubled down on the art of local exploration — on foot, taskless, camera in hand — around her Greenwich Village neighborhood and beyond. “I’ve lived near Washington Square Park for 30 years now,” says Kaufman, “and I still discover new things all the time.”
Kaufman’s endless strolls around NYC, photographing exteriors, parks, streets and anything else she finds “charming and personal,” has provided inspiration for her gorgeous Instagram feed and for her upcoming book, “Walk With Me: New York” (out May 24) . The next time you’re wandering around town, too, here are just a few favorite spots that make Kaufman love her city.
For morning caffeine: Bar Pisellino (52 Grove St.)
At this café, Kaufman starts the day right by enjoying one cappuccino and two mini-croissants on the front patio. “It’s like the anti-Starbucks,” she says of Bar Pisellino, where the details, like curved marble countertops and baristas in beige linen blazers, nod toward a more European style of pausing, sitting, slowly sipping and really enjoying your coffee. Even better: “They bring your order out on a little silver tray to make your coffee feel like a real treat.”
For reading material: Three Lives & Company (154 W. 10th St.)
Were she absolutely forced to choose the best bookshop, Kaufman would pick Three Lives, also deemed “the Perfect NYC Bookstore” by the New York Times. The Greenwich Village gem, which opened its doors in 1978, looks exactly as a classic bookshop should — rickety wood floors, exposed beams, books spilling off every surface. But despite the messy-library mood, “it’s actually perfectly laid out,” says Kaufman, and chock full of books hand-picked by those who know best. “It’s every book you’ve ever wanted to read in one place.” (Her last buy here: “Left on Tenth,” by Delia Ephron, who, in true New York fashion, lives in Kaufman’s building.)
For nostalgic pasta: Morandi (211 Waverley Pl.)
“For me, comfort food is Italian food,” says Kaufman. For fresh pasta on this side of the pond, Kaufman heads to Keith McNally’s West Village trattoria, Morandi, where she recommends the tagliatelle alla bolognese. “It’s homemade egg noodles in a delicious, classic meat sauce, and every time I order it I feel like I’m having a meal in Rome.” If you’re noticing a bit of a European theme here, you’re not alone: “I didn’t plan this at all! But I lived in Italy for a bit, so maybe I’m missing it.”
For dessert on the go: Little Cupcake Bakeshop (30 Prince St.)
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 completely decadent, something like chocolate chocolate chocolate chip,” she jokes. (After some delicious digging, its official name: the Double Chocolate Chunk.) The family-owned, small-batch bakery also boasts 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 base of Fifth Ave.)
Kaufman is admittedly biased, since it’s the heart of her neighborhood and all, but “for people watching, there’s nowhere better.” The past decade has seen the nearly 10-acre park completely overhauled, its famed Alexander Holley Monument preserved and restored, and its fountain relocated as a central focal point (its new spot and pathways meant a 20 per cent increase in lush green space). Right now, she adds, cherry trees and blooming daffodils have the park as beautiful as it is “crammed with people and noise and craziness — the whole New York experience.”
JOIN THE CONVERSATION