OCCUPATION: Food writer

MY PERSONAL STYLE: Classic preppy with a tomboy twist. I live in pursuit of the perfect jean, and have never met a tailored shirtdress I didn’t like. In the summer, you’ll always find me in flat sandals, and winter is all about my riding boots.


Known to attract the city’s most unabashed of preps, this Carnegie Hill restaurant sports nautical décor, and serves fresh, in-season eats. Lobster and seafood dishes (clam chowder and the daily catch) are featured prominently on the menu, in addition to a long list of salads and pastas. What’s more, the atmosphere is so relaxing (“nicely situated away from the hustle and bustle of mid-town,” says Kelsey Banfield) that you’ll want to stay for dessert. “I occasionally indulge in the toasted brioche ice cream sandwich with caramel sauce. In fact, I love it so much that I included the recipe in my cookbook!” says Banfield.

New York Philharmonic Kids

On a quarterly basis (check the calendar for further details), the NY Philharmonic orchestra gives a “Young Peoples Concert” geared especially towards children and their families. Before the concert begins, little ones have the opportunity to experiment with instruments, compose their own tunes, and meet with professional musicians from the Philharmonic. “We adored introducing Daphne to the world of classical music in this atmosphere,” says Kelsey Banfield.

The High Line

Set on repurposed freight train tracks, the High Line rises high above the city streets, boasting sweeping views of the skyline and the Hudson River. “I lived in Chelsea while this public park was being built, and it is a very special part of New York to me,” says Kelsey Banfield. “Sometimes it’s peaceful and meditative, other times it’s alive with people and bursting with energy. Just like New York itself.” Best of all, the verdant paths (there are also themed tours for botany enthusiasts) are dotted with seating areas, and will lead you to coffee shops and gelato stands galore.

J McLaughlin

The colorful, playful attire at J McLaughlin may be intended for barbecues in the Hamptons, but wearing it year-round just might keep the spirit of summer alive. “This is my go-to spot for my preppy mom uniform,” says Kelsey Banfield. “Their dresses come in the coolest prints [think floral, zigzagging stripes, and tons of different solids], and they make the best silky blouses ever. I also adore their accessories—especially the satchel bags that I like to get monogrammed in fun colors,” she says.

The Mandarin Oriental

Right on the circumference of bustling Columbus Circle, The Mandarin Oriental is a destination for out-of-towners and townies alike. The spa has a vitality pool and amethyst crystal steam room; the Asiate restaurant serves innovative cuisine; and the hotel bar is, according to Kelsey Banfield, “an absolute must. You can sit in the white banquets and see clear across Central Park and to the East Side. It is so much fun to sip a glass of wine and try to pick out places you know from so high up!”