CECI JOHNSON

OCCUPATION: Founder and Creative Director of Ceci New York and editor of the weekly online style magazine, CeciStyle.

MY STYLE: Personal style for me could be defined as downtown style meets classic elegance—just the right blend of polish and creativity. Mixing statement pieces adds the perfect touch of glamour. I love to wear color and I love things with luxurious, unique detailing that are eye-catching, but always sophisticated. My home is a modern combination of color blocking throughout with artwork and graphic textiles creating a midcentury-modern look. I use warm woods, clean crisp whites, and great color pops throughout: comfortable, livable, and practical.

I LOVE NEW YORK BECAUSE: I love the energy, the culture, the creativity, and the spirit of New York City. It is a big playground of opportunity and discovery for both kids and adults. Children are not isolated, so the exposure to such a variety of experiences enables them to be gregarious and more open to trying new things. From the museums to the food to the people we pass on the street, New York City is truly a city that has it all.

Rosa Mexicana

Open since 1984, Rosa Mexicana was one of the first high end Mexican restaurants to gain A-List status in New York. Their version of tableside guacamole is unbeatable in this town and menu items like daily ceviche, crab flautas, and filet mignon make the spot stand out from standard taco fare. The space is large and dramatically designed, making it great for accommodating parties as well as big families. Ceci Johnson, a regular, says, “I’m a Southern California girl, born and raised, and growing up in San Diego keeps me craving great Mexican in NYC—hard to find on the East Coast! But Rosa Mexicana is a weekly favorite of my husband’s and mine. It’s kid friendly and the flavors and great service have us coming back for more over and over again! Not to mention the fact that the handmade guacamole is sensational.” With three locations over the city, this is one spot too convenient to miss.

 

Fred’s

This casual neighborhood bistro in a basement manages to feel both bright and rustic, thanks in part to the presence of the occasional friendly pooch. Ceci Johnson says her two year-old son Mason loves seeing all the dog pictures framed on the wall—“Not to mention all the dogs that people bring to brunch with them! Fred’s is warm and family-oriented and has great bites.  Plus, it’s right next to the flea market, so you can stop by after brunch on Sunday to find some treasures, or just to enjoy being outdoors.”  The well-priced menu of classic American cuisine features burgers, pastas, and more will be a hit with kids. In the warmer space, a sweet outdoor space is perfect for relaxing with the family.

 

American Museum of Natural History

“All the bugs and animals keep my sons entertained for hours,” says Jules Reid of The American Museum of Natural History, the city’s scientific mainstay. We love the wide range of exhibitions and activities, catering to any field your child could possibly fancy. Don’t miss the life-sized replica of the blue whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, or the built-to-scale Tyrannesauras Rex, created almost entirely out of 65-million-year-old bones, in the Fossil Halls.

 

MoMA

What to say about this New York institution founded in 1929 by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and friends? Perhaps that it’s the preeminent museum of modern art in the world. Even non-art buffs will recognize plenty, as the building’s five floors are filled with iconic works by Modern and Contemporary Art masters: Dalí, van Gogh, Warhol, Picasso, Matisse, Lichtenstein, de Kooning, Munch, Rousseau, Chagall, Mondrian, Monet, Cézanne, Pollock, Wyeth, Kahlo…the list goes on. The relatively pricey admission fee of $25 is waived Friday nights, which makes the museum especially crowded. For something a bit more leisurely, bring the paper and sit in the lovely sculpture garden. It may be the best place to admire Yoshio Taniguchi’s structure, which is impressive and, yes, very modern. Photo courtesy of: Timothy Hursley/MoMA

 

Central Park

Built in 1980, Central Park has long been a go-to for New Yorkers in need of a little nature, and Jules Reid’s sons especially love the park’s playgrounds (there are 21!). Other activities like model boat sailing, bicycling, chess, and even bird-watching make the 842-acre park an obvious choice for children and adults alike, and moms in particular will appreciate the recent arrival of Le Pain Quotidien. Located at the Mineral Springs Pavilion, the beloved boulangerie provides the perfect post-play pick-me-up.

 

The NoMad

From Andrew Zobler, the man who brought you the Ace Hotel, comes a new venture in Manhattan’s emerging NoMad (North of Madison Square Garden) district. Apart from being the name of the hotel, the word connotes a spirit of worldly wandering that designer Jacques Garcia sought to capture with the luxurious, eclectic aesthetic behind the building’s Beaux-Arts façade. “It’s insanely beautiful—classic and sexy in a refined, masculine way,” says Jenn Falik, who’s made the hotel her go-to spot for breakfast meetings. The NoMad is also the name of the hotel’s restaurant, a more relaxed iteration of Swiss chef extraordinaire Daniel Humm’s other culinary hit, Eleven Madison Park. If you don’t want to dress for dinner, you can have something from its kitchen—the signature whole-roasted chicken stuffed with foie gras, black, truffle, and brioche for two, let’s say—delivered via room service. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for sitting at the bar, which has one of the best cocktail selections in the city.

 

Hotel Gansevoort

Credited as the first “hotspot” to transform the previously gritty Meatpacking District into its current state of chicness, the Gansevoort is all about kicking things up a notch. After a night of club-hopping (the city’s best clubs are a stone’s throw away), guests can swim at the rooftop pool, get a nightcap at Ono, or just hunker down amid Egyptian cotton sheets. And if all this isn’t enough, take Tia Williams’ endorsement: “The Gansevoort is cooler than cool.”

Nichola Hunt

Cocktail aficionado. Large dog breed lover. Fondness of summer dresses. Hater of pickles. Born in London, based in Bali.

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