Curio Collection Local Guide, New York City

We sent Yodeler Davina Tan to The Renwick Hotel New York City, Curio Collection by Hilton to create a New York City Local Guide. Once artist’s studios and lofts, occupied by greats such as John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Renwick Hotel is set in the heart of the city and each room is decorated with original artwork. With a plethora of iconic New York City destinations within walking distance, Davina created an incredible local guide full of expert restaurant recommendations and local secrets just for you.

Name? Davina Tan

Occupation? Graphic Designer / Content Creator

Preoccupation? Couch potato, coffee addict, dog lover, handbag lady

Place you live? Brooklyn, New York

How long have you lived there? About three years

Can you sum up New York? New York is the largest city in the U.S. and home to architectural marvels, historic monuments, iconic movie backdrops, cultural diversity, world-class shopping, a 24-hour subway system and an endless supply of amazing food from all around the world. It is vibrant, exciting, colorful, energetic and eccentric: it is everything you can imagine and has everything you could want.

What is the best thing about New York? It is a walking city and everywhere is accessible by foot or by train, so getting around is super easy. The shopping here is second to none. I don’t know anyone who has visited and then went home empty-handed. Plus, the food scene is one of the best in the world and offers endless selections. You could dine out for every meal for a year and not have to go back to the same restaurant twice. (See all my restaurant recommendations below.) There is so much to experience in New York, from Broadway shows to music festivals to museum exhibitions, this really is the city that never sleeps!

What is your perfect day in New York? For me, a perfect day consists of walking around exploring the different neighborhoods and indulging in as many different cuisines as possible. Nothing beats wandering Central Park in the Fall as the leaves start to change. There is so much to see, but no matter where or when you are, the variety of food available is astounding! See my 24-hour suggestions below for restaurant recommendations.

What are the people like in New York? New York is so diverse that you find every kind of person here, yet everyone feels like they belong in this city. But generally, New Yorkers are fierce, passionate, ambitious, hungry, curious, creative and all kinds of weird and wonderful. New Yorkers have tons of stories to tell.

If New York was a person who would it be? I would say New York is like Rihanna. With her huge character, Rihanna is very inspiring, always exciting and full of energy, just like New York City.

Can you tell us about your visit to The Renwick Hotel New York City, Curio Collection by Hilton? I received an incredibly welcoming check-in when I arrived at the hotel. Check-in was fast and easy, and I was able to get into my room despite arriving an hour before check-in time. I was greeted by a large, clean and comfortable room, with incredibly unique art, a plush king-sized bed, small kitchenette and free WiFi. The next day I went on a tour around the hotel with the manager, who explained the rich history and artistic background of the hotel. (See below for details.) I also went to brunch at Bedford & Co. which was delicious and highly recommended. Try the Smoked Trout Caesar Salad.

What did you love about The Renwick Hotel New York City, Curio Collection by Hilton? I love the history behind the hotel. It is a restored building that was once home to artists’ studios and lofts occupied by intellectuals and novelists such as John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Mann. To celebrate this long and rich artistic history, the hotel and rooms are covered by artwork originally and personally painted by American artist Gregory Siff. The location is great too being in close proximity to many well-known attractions such as Bryant Park, New York Public Library, Empire State Building, Times Square and Grand Central Station. This also makes it very easy if you’re looking to travel by train, for business or pleasure.

If a friend was visiting New York City for 24 hours what would you suggest they do? You should start early because 24 hours is going to go by in a blink of an eye in New York! I would recommend you start with breakfast from Bedford & Co. – the pancakes, waffles and avocado toast are all delicious. Now, I’m not going to recommend the usual tourist spots like Times Square or Empire State Building because you can find those recommendations in all the New York guides. So let’s do something different and explore New York like a local.

After breakfast, head from The Renwick Hotel south down Park Avenue towards the Flatiron District. Stop at the Shake Shack at Madison Square Park for burgers, milkshakes and an up-close view of the Flatiron Building. Around the area, check out Dover Street Market for really cool fashion labels, Cha Cha Matcha for all things green tea, and Birch Coffee on 27th and Daily Provisions for amazing sandwiches and pastries by Danny Meyer.

Continue the walk towards Washington Square Park. Around the area, there is Olio E Piu for really good pizza and pasta, Buvette for wine and French-inspired small plates, Bluestone Lane for coffee, The Doughnut Project for doughnuts and Tacombi on Bleecker for tacos and the best Elotes Esquites in town. Continue the walk towards SoHo for all your retail needs.

From there, head east towards Nolita and you’ll find The Butcher’s Daughter for vegan fare, Oficina 1M for creative Italian dishes, Sel Rrose for happy hour oysters and crafted cocktails and Morgenstern’s for the city’s best ice-cream. The Bourbon Vanilla flavor is a must try!

Continue the walk down south towards Chinatown. Nom Wah Tea Parlour is a must if you’re looking to fill up on Chinese dim sum.

Afterwards, keep heading south towards the Brooklyn Bridge. If you can, cross the bridge during sunset for an epic view! And finally, across the bridge on the Brooklyn side, check out Grimaldi’s or Juliana’s for New York famous pizza. If you’re feeling a little swanky, The River Cafe for fine dining has romantic views of the Manhattan skyline.





New York City

Best place to eat: 
Shake Shack for burgers, Oficina 1M for Italian, Tacombi for Mexican street food, Nom Wah Tea Parlour for dim sum and Morgenstern’s for ice-cream.

Best place to drink:

Sel Rrose for the happy hour oysters to go with the delicious crafted cocktails.

Local tip:

Walk on the right and walk fast. If you want to take a photo, make sure you don’t stop in the middle of your walk, but rather move to the side and make sure you’re not blocking the other walkers. There’s no greater pet peeve for New Yorkers than slow walking tourists and tourists who stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take photos.

Best place to shop:

SoHo. Pretty much all the brands are there, the architecture is beautiful and the vibe is energetic but laid-back.

Best outdoor activity:

Walk (and eat) as much as you can, while exploring all the different neighborhoods.

Best indoor activity:

There are tons of really great museums in New York, some of which are even pay-what-you-wish or free on certain time or days.

Best place to stay:

The Renwick Hotel New York City, Curio Collection by Hilton