Alexandria Haechler

Editorial Director, CITIPHILE | Writer

| Tribeca

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that this week will be CITIPHILE’s last post. As its founder and Editorial Director, I have spent the last three years surrounded by some of the most creative, inspirational and intellectual souls around. World renowned photographers, Broadway set designers, journalists, chefs, fashion designers and trailblazing entrepreneurs have welcomed me into their homes with open arms, and have shared, so graciously, the intimate details that color their personal worlds and lives. As many of you know, I launched CITIPHILE with the mission of curating the best of environments so that everyone could make the most out of their time in any one place. I dreamt that anyone— be they locals or visitors— could bid a final goodbye to the antiquated standard of combing through anonymous reviews in order to plan an upcoming date night, out-of-town trip or other memorable experience; instead, current recommendations from a destination’s leading, local tastemakers would be at our fingertips. Why should the magic of a city’s hidden gems or its once-in-a-lifetime experiences be limited to the few? What if instead of grabbing that Starbucks out of sheer desperation, you could readily discover that the neighborhood’s best cappuccino was just one block away? Or, in lieu of aimlessly walking around NY’s East Village, you knew exactly where to go to rifle through the city’s best vintage? Knowledge is power— or in CITIPHILE’s case, the power to create meaningful and special memories. Though this marks a final chapter for the website, I am forever grateful for the incredible journey and the many lessons I’ve learned along the way— namely, that the world is filled with beautiful, good people who are living their truths so never let yourself be discouraged from doing the same (failure really does make you stronger); that your big idea or ultimate dream is only as good as your team so be kind, be humble and never forget that two minds will always be better than one; that you have more answers than you think you do— listen to that little voice you keep suppressing because whether it’s time to go for it, ask for help or move on, you’ll know; and that life exists for you, rather than happens to you so never stop searching for the beauty in every day nor working towards leaving your own inimitable footprint. The world needs more authentic selves. And with that, I leave you with a window into my New York; I hope within it you find little nuggets of treasure that bring you as much joy as they have me.
x Alexandria

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: To me, the essence of a neighborhood standby is a cozy, easy place you crave holing up in with good company, funky wine and beautiful, albeit uncomplicated food on any given night in any given season— Cervo’s (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), Estela (MAP ITBOOK ITx) and I Sodi (MAP ITBOOK ITx) fit the bill. I can’t see myself ever outgrowing any of them.

COFFEE OR TEA: Every morning, I start my day with a Bulletproof coffee made expertly and left on the counter for me by my lovely husband. He whips collagen protein into it (AKA nature’s Botox) and only uses beans from Laughing Man (MAP ITx)— the Guatemala blend, to be specific. We love a rich, dark cacao tasting roast and we’ve never tasted better. I often drink loose leaf green tea as well— the grassier, the better. Tea Dealers (MAP IT, x) is a husband-and-wife-run local tea company who only source naturally-grown tea leaves, stores them at the right temperatures for maximum nutritional benefit and, most importantly, has the greatest green teas I’ve tasted outside of Japan. I am an eternally devoted fan.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Hands-down, Gjusta (MAP ITx). Granted, it’s in LA, but I am never happier than when I know there’s a Gjusta meal in my future– morning, noon or night. If I could only eat smoked fish (especially warm-smoked salmon with dill), thoughtfully prepared seasonal vegetables and small plates like olive oil-roasted octopus and rotisserie herbed chicken with tzatziki or chimichurri for the rest of my life, I would want for nothing… at Gjusta, I could. Unfortunately, New York has no on-par equivalents; however, a few favorites include Blue Hill at Stone Barns (MAP ITBOOK ITx) in the spring; Le Bernardin (MAP ITBOOK ITx) for seafood, Milos (MAP ITBOOK ITx) for Greek, Shuko (MAP ITBOOK ITx) for sushi and I Sodi for everything (but especially the whole branzino and, when in-season, their fried artichokes).

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A negroni in the spring and summer; a boulevardier in the fall and winter… no one will ever make a better cocktail than Sam or Mickey at Attaboy (MAP ITx), though I Sodi’s negronis are quite excellent.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: The library bar at The NoMad (MAP ITx) still wins for well-crafted cocktails in a subtly elegant, cozy setting.

DINNER WITH FRIENDS: Anywhere conducive to sharing many plates… At the moment, that would be Nur (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), whose Israeli food is delightful and whose seared foie gras, otherworldly.

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: Barneys Greengrass (MAP ITx) for NY’s best smoked fish; Black Seed (MAP IT, x) for bagels if said out-of-towners eat bread; The Cloisters (MAP ITx); SoHo House (MAP ITx) for the rooftop pool; The Dia Foundation (MAP ITx); Williamsburg; Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca (MAP ITx); Raoul’s (MAP ITBOOK ITx) for the burger; Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (MAP ITBOOK ITx) for steak; Attaboy for cocktails; a live jazz show at The Django (x) at The Roxy Hotel (MAP ITx) (see answer below)…

MUSIC PICK: I’m a ‘60s and ‘70s child through and through— to me, The Byrds, Bowie, The Mamas & The Papas and Derek & The Dominos are the vibrations of happiness. I do love live jazz; my husband and I are perennially impressed with the talent that passes through The Roxy Hotel’s underground jazz club, The Django (we once walked in to an unforgettable performance by a 30-person orchestra). The space is also better than most jazz clubs around town: the vibe is more 1940s Parisian cabaret than high school cafeteria complete with folding chairs and bottom-shelf liquor.

BEST BRUNCH: SoHo House’s brunch is the stuff of my dreams (think fresh seasonal salads piled high, roasted vegetables like sunchokes, carrots, delicata squash and mushrooms, and warm or cold-smoked fish). If I’m not looking for a full-fledged feast however, I am a fan of Bubby’s (MAP ITx) for omelets, De Maria (MAP ITBOOK ITx) for a seaweed-avocado salad with house-smoked salmon (yes, it’s a theme) and there is not a better croissant in NYC than the almond croissant at Arcade Bakery (MAP ITx).

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The entire city twice a year for Fashion Week– love it or hate it, technicolor dream coats teetering down the streets of NY is a sight to see.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Unless I have a meeting or lunch date, I make a healthful lunch at home every day. One of my new year’s resolutions is to always have at least four homemade condiments made up of seasonal produce stocked in our fridge— at the moment, it’s a lemon tahini, chermoula, macadamia-beet green pesto and a beet hummus. I believe that armed with a stock of tasty toppings, anyone can pretty much make anything delicious within minutes. Currently, I’m making big salads of baby kale, half an avocado, dill, a soft-boiled egg, one in-season roasted vegetable (for winter, it’s typically broccolini, turmeric cauliflower, rainbow beets or radishes), a few sprinkles of nigella seeds (a recent obsession) and one (or several) of the sauces on top. I’m also an at-home pickler so if I’m in the mood for a little brine, I’ll toss in a few of my pickled onions or cucumbers too. That being said, if I’m eating out, my healthy staples include De Maria (for the aforementioned seaweed chicory salad), Hu Kitchen (MAP ITx) (because I know they don’t use any cheap oils) and Two Hands (MAP ITx) for the brassicas bowl. Oh, and I must give a shout-out to Golde, the upstate NY-based team whose golden milk I indulge in every afternoon.

GUILTY PLEASURE: I try not to eat sugar (including honey, fruit, sweeteners, etc.); however, I have three vices in this city: Milkbar’s (MAP ITx) birthday cake truffles, Van Leeuwen’s (MAP ITx) vegan pistachio and espresso ice creams and Magnolia Bakery’s (MAP ITx) hummingbird cake (trust). I’ll choose one to savor for my birthday each year.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Date nights should be sexy, indulgent, subversive and a good time; a nice bar is key. A few spots that have always made me feel this way are Cervo’sLocanda Verde (MAP ITBOOK ITx), Dirty French (MAP ITBOOK ITx), Shuko, Bohemian (MAP ITx), Minetta Tavern (MAP ITBOOK ITx), The NoMad (MAP ITBOOK ITx), Mimi (MAP ITBOOK ITx), Via Carota (MAP ITx), I Sodi, Il Buco (MAP ITBOOK ITx) and Estela. Also, my husband and I had our very first date at Gramercy Tavern (MAP ITBOOK ITx) so it will always be a nostalgic happy place.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Dimes (MAP ITx)! Whenever I’m too lazy to cook for us on a Sunday evening, my husband and I are always amazed at Dimes’ delivery. No matter what you order, it’s bound to come with at least two fresh toppings/sauces and a bundle of fresh herbs— it’s rare to find that kind of detail and thoughtful seasoning when it comes to delivery orders!

GO-TO GETAWAY: My husband’s wedding present to me was land upstate in the Catskills. We built our little cabin from the ground up and, excitingly, it should be finished by the end of next month so it will soon become my perfect hideaway. We’ll have a row boat for our lake, endless land for our rottweiler, Remy, a Swedish-style sauna (because I am married to a Swede) and my dream vegetable garden— it is my idea of heaven on earth. For a place to visit though, I love Glenmere Mansion (MAP ITx); it’s where my husband proposed and we spend our anniversary weekend there every year. It’s nothing short of perfection!

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: Paul’s Casablanca (MAP IT, x); Paul’s Baby Grand (MAP ITx); Spring Place (MAP IT, x); Indochine (MAP ITBOOK ITx); Sant Ambroeus SoHo (MAP ITBOOK ITx); The Polo Bar (MAP ITBOOK ITx)…

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: The Shibui Spa at The Greenwich Hotel (MAP ITx) for the best massages; Pamela Miles (x) for first-degree reiki classes that will change your life; Sky Ting Yoga (MAP ITx) for positive thinking and mental and spiritual cleansing.

CLOSET CHECK: I describe my style as, “elderly Japanese woman meets Santa Fe potter.” Basically, I love to pair airy, minimalist pieces that emphasize clean design with offbeat, artsy jewelry. I will forever cherish my earring collection from Sophie Buhai— her sculptural designs are, in my opinion, flawless and timeless. For clothing, I shop vintage and Etsy, as well as eco-friendly brands like Everlane for basics and Datura for upmarket chic because after watching Netflix’s Chasing Coral (and being brought to tears), I have a newfound mission to reduce our family’s carbon footprint and consume mindfully wherever we can.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: Our home is a study in minimal Scandinavian design peppered with unexpected notes of creative whimsy like our curly alpaca stool— aptly named Prince Hairy– and our vintage tambourine. When shopping for precious home goods, I love The Apartment by The Line (MAP ITx); it’s made the once-arduous task of treasure collecting effortless.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Flowers from Emily Thompson (MAP ITx); a small objet from The Apartment by The Line; a bundle of palo santo; a strange, but delicious wine (I’m into gifting orange wine) from Chambers Street Wines (MAP IT, x).

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Aura Friedman (x) is a color master when it comes to hair (especially blondes). I only wear natural makeup so I buy all of my cosmetics from Onda Beauty (MAP IT, x) or CAP Beauty (MAP ITx). For nails, I paint my own using J. Hannah’s natural polishes; the colors are gorgeous and toxic-free. Also, after much recent research into the toxicity of drug-store tampons (including the bleach and carcinogenic chemicals present in nearly all of them), I urge all my ladies to switch to an all-natural brand like Cora— they do monthly memberships delivered to your door and their products are free of any and all harmful chemicals!

FIT PICK: New York Pilates (MAP IT, x), always and forever. Britni, you have my heart (and abs, arms and buns). I take their Advanced Technique classes 4-5 times per week. For mental peace and wellness, I try to make it to a Sky Ting yoga class once a week as well.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Singing and dancing to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” in a small dance circle with Phillip Lim at his NYFW after-party felt like one of those moments that NY dreams are made of; however, starting CITIPHILE and having the many inspiring voices we’ve profiled welcome me into their own homes has been the ride of a lifetime and a magical reminder of the beautiful souls that make up both New York and Los Angeles. CP

Alexandria’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Cervo’s; Accessories from Apartment by The Line; Emily Thompson florals; Womenswear at Apartment by The Line. Second Row: Dia Foundation; Tea Dealers tea and snacks; De Maria; Sophie Buhai earrings.


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