Jay Godfrey

Designer

| Chelsea

Usually sporting black-on-black with semi-coiffed hair and a beaded necklace or two, it’s hard to imagine Jay Godfrey as an ex-Wall Streeter, but before launching his namesake collection in 2005, the finance major was crunching numbers at Citigroup. Eventually leaving to enroll at Parsons New School For Design, Godfrey logged an apprenticeship under fashion wunderkind Mr. Oscar de la Renta (RIP Oscar) where he learned a thing or two about the art of dressmaking. Today, Godfrey’s mix of easy-to-wear frocks makes a solid case for contemporary dressing. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Morandi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), but I find myself at Momofuku noodle bar (MAP IT, x) over and over again too. I always get the pork buns— they’re so delicious and satisfying after a long day in the studio.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee. I like the Espresso Torinese at Eataly (MAP IT, x).

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: There are so many, but when I’m celebrating a special night, Per Se (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is my go-to. You can not go wrong with anything on the pre-fixe menu and the atmosphere is incredible.

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: Cocktails at ZZ’s Clam Bar (MAP IT, BOOK ITx); brunch at L’Artusi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x); cookies at Levain Bakery (MAP IT, x)— the BEST in the city; a long, leisurely walk on The High Line (MAP IT); omakase at Sushi of Gari (MAP IT, x); and, of course, shopping on Madison Avenue.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: Appropriately enough, a Manhattan. Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle (MAP IT, x) makes the best one, but when I’m looking for a dive bar scene, I always go to The Rusty Knot on the West Side Highway (MAP IT, x).

HEALTHY STAPLE: Periyali (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for a classic, charcoal-grilled whole fish.

GUILTY PLEASURE: The banana cake at Billy’s Bakery (MAP IT, x).

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Smith & Mills in Tribeca (MAP IT, x) and Trattoria L’incontro in Astoria (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

REGULAR AT: Momofuku noodle bar. We go at least once a week. You can’t beat the noodles—they have fresh and delicious options all year long, and the pork buns are a must too.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Dell’anima (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) at the chef’s counter; it’s delicious and romantic.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Taim (MAP IT, x) through Caviar which is my most recent favorite discovery and obsession.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I love the mid-century pieces at Lobel Modern (MAP IT, x). My interior style, much like my fashion line, is clean and modern with a splash of color and an over-arching sense of sensuality.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: The home department at Barneys New York (MAP IT, x).

TO GET INSPIRED: I love the art gallery, Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Weyl in Chelsea (MAP IT, x)– I find that pieces by Elsworth Kelly and Joel Shapiro continually inspire me and my collections.

FIT PICK: We have private pilates at our home once a week. When I have the time, I jog on the West Side Highway, and every once in a while, Dara convinces me to do Body by Simone (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) with her— I have to admit, it’s a great workout.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Graceful Spa on 7th Avenue and 14th Street (*Location now closed)— it’s nothing fancy, in fact it’s quite simple: an hour-and-a-half massage for a very reasonable price. You can’t beat it.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: About eight years ago when the night club Marquee opened, I went with some friends on a random Wednesday night. When we got inside, we looked up and Stevie Wonder was on stage doing an impromptu performance just because he happened to be there. It’s moments like those where you can’t help but think, “there is no other city in the world where this could happen.” CP

Jay’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Inside Morandi; Levain cookies; Inside Smith & Mills; Branzino at Dell’anima. Second Row: A Manhattan at Bemelman’s; Taim salads and spreads; Inside The Rusty Knot; Billy’s Bakery banana cake.

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