The first time I went to NYC was in October 2011. Age 19. I stayed with my Aunt who lives in Brooklyn. That trip was okay I mean I guess it was cool being in Brooklyn for the first time, and seeing times square at night for the first time and eating delicious Italian food in Prospect Park and having Nathan's Hot Dogs in Coney Island at night and seeing the apartment building my grandparents used to own on Eastern Parkway but then subsequently lost in a bad deal before I was born. The next time was in April 2012. Still 19. I went with my auntie a month before she got married in Montreal, Quebec, we went to have dinner in Times Square and got lost in the subway all night trying to get back to the hotel, we finally figured out how to get back by asking some police officers lol (still don't know why we didn't just take a taxi back...) The next time I went was in July 2013, age 20. I was in a group photography show at a converted mosque on the Lower East Side with the See.Me group. This time I had a friend that lived in Brooklyn come with me to the show so I didn't get lost on the subway again. Thankfully we didn't and the art show was awesome, we went to Red Lobster in Times Square afterwards and I picked up the tab, repayment for her help. The next morning I was brave enough to get on the subway from Brooklyn by myself to go the See.Me gallery in Long Island City, where the photographs would be showing again that night. I got there in one piece, met the guys that ran the gallery and got back in time to go to the airport. The next time I went to NYC was October 2015, age 23. This time I was determined to actually see NYC. I made an itinerary, made reservations and it was very cool. This was the NYC of my dreams. I went the Met, walked through central park, walked down 5th Avenue past the Central Park Zoo & The Plaza to have a delicious lunch at Bergdorf Goodman's BG Cafe then Bergdorf's bag in hand walked to the Empire State Building right before sunset to see the view from the observatory. Then that night I went to see one of my favorite bands ever Mew play at Webster Hall. I did get there late. The next morning I had breakfast at The Rainbow Room at The Rockefeller Center. One Epic Weekend. I went to NYC again a month later. November 2015, I hadn't used my tickets for the Top of the rock observatory and saw one of my favorite bands Small Black was playing in Williamsburg so I figured why not have another weekend in the city. I played Back at Belle's and that one song they did with Washed Out and especially Empire Ants by The Gorillaz back to back on the plane ride there. I checked in late at Sixty LES, a beautiful high rise hotel on the Lower East Side, the former neighborhood of some of the greatest musicians and artists of all time. You can still feel it when you walk through the streets. Thankfully Small black had not played yet, must have been some act of God because it was 12:00 am and still hadn't gone on, not unheard of but unusual and fortunate for moi. I got to say hi to Ryan, the bass player, after the show and got a photo thankfully. He was very nice. Then on to a late dinner at The Meatball Shop which was fantastic and I even met a nice girl when I was leaving. 49 degrees, 4:00 am. in bed falling asleep with lower Manhattan floating beneath me, ginger ale in hand. I woke up that morning, got ready and took a taxi to Saturdays NYC. I forgot my makeup bag that weekend, it was very unfortunate because I had no makeup on and was about to meet the cutest guy I had ever met in NYC at the time, an Australian surfer named mark who worked at Saturdays, he didn't seem to care, he was awesome and we had a cool conversation about my fascination with surfers particularly Australian/Californian surfers. He got really excited about a place called D-Bah? Maybe I'll see it one day. Next was dinner at Fred's the restaurant at Barney's. The restaurant had a very delicious lobster sandwich. Flew home that night very thankful and still playing Small black and The Gorillaz back to back. March 2016. I stayed at The Plaza and The St. Regis,Saw Lust For Youth at The Market Hotel in Bushwick and met Hannes Norvide, went to the Statue of Liberty, walked down Wall Street, ate at The One World Trade Center, saw An American in Paris on Broadway, had wine and listened to Piano Music at Bemmelmans Bar, had 100 layer Lasagna at Del Postos, shopped at Henri Bendels and had a Cappuccino and a Crepe in Front of Tiffany's on 5th Ave, had lunch at The Ritz Carlton in Central Park, took a Helicopter ride over Manhattan visited, Bethel. one of my favorite trips thus far. As chic and fancy as it sounds, quite peaceful as well. July 2016, I stayed at The Roger on Madison Ave(don't suggest staying there, the pictures looked nice but didn't tell the whole story) had brunch at Sarabeth's on Park Ave, stayed at The Ludlow had dinner at Indochine and saw Mahogany at Pianos, went to The Row the high fashion store of my childhood heroes Mary-Kate and Ashley went to the Museum of Natural History and a pre-flight dinner at The Waldorf Astoria's Bull & Bear. November 2017, flew to NYC for one night to go to a magazine release party of one of my favorite magazines of all time What Youth, I met the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine and saw Michael Cukr again, one of my favorite filmmakers who also happens to be extremely handsome and Ben Kwock, who had suggested that I come when I met them at their offices in Newport Beach.(they've since moved on to bigger and better things) I had a late dinner at The Cafeteria a 24 hour restaurant on the Upper East Side and went straight from a 24 hour Spa to LGA through a rainy morning in Manhattan. June 2018 an impromptu trip, Stayed at The Archer a new hotel with beautiful views of The Empire State Building, had lunch at The Baccarat Hotel, a short trip to The Frick Museum, Saw Black Moth Super Rainbow, fought my way in to an amazing late dinner at Balthazar on Madison Ave, a regular restaurant of Anna Wintour and the fashion set, and had the restaurant to myself for about 20 min. I left with a baguette and after a short apologetic conversation with the doorman who wouldnt let me in, I walked through the rain down a cobblestone street to a town car. I made a reservation at Tiffany's Blue Box Cafe, but couldn't get to it because of a big obnoxious Jewish festival down 5th Avenue so I ended up at The Bar of The Palm Court the famed restaurant of The Plaza with a glass of Moet and Lobster Roll. I ordered a chocolate cake and my bartender forgot to bring it to me and now according to him he owes my a slice the next time I'm in town. I took a photo of him so he can't say he doesn't remember lol. So there's my history of me & NYC. I love Manhattan, and there's still so much of the city I want to see. So many more hotels I want to stay at. So many restaurants I want to eat at. So many more weekends, weeks ahead. So I wrote a guide of hotels, restaurants, and things I want to do in the years ahead. So this guide is for you & for me & for all the lovers of the romantic side of NYC. Click here to see the guide and plan your own adventure in the city. Have fun. - jONETIA, CEO of Alora City
Statue of Liberty & the Brooklyn Bridge
The Plaza Hotel
A Glass of Rose at Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side
The St.Regis Hotel
One of my favorite bands ever Small Black playing at Baby's Alright in Williamsburg
Saying goodnight to Manhattan from bed at Sixty LES
Indie Rock Stars, Maitre D's, Australian Surfers, Models, Filmmakers, Magazine Types, Europeans, all the nice People I've met in NYC. NYC is the world's dinner party & you'll never know who you'll meet.