Creative Strategist – Jess Willemse


A collection of my wandering thoughts on design, brands, books, music and the like.​

NYC Journal: A Kiwi’s guidebook to the city that never sleeps.


My love for New York runs deeper than just the easy access to pizza and the melting pot of cultures... this place gives me the feels.

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I can say with uninformed confidence that New York is quite possibly one of the best cities in the world. But, considering that it’s only the second one I’ve lived in, take that statement with a grain of salt. My love for New York runs deeper than just the easy access to pizza and the melting pot of cultures... this place gives me the feels. Good feels, bad feels, and everything in between. Once New York has your heart, quite frankly, there’s no going back.

FYI: Having a time limit on the city you live in (due to a visa) does wonders for one's adventuring. Therefore, with confidence, I can at least bring you a well-informed guidebook to the city that never sleeps (she says whilst writing this at 4am...)


The Subway

Just do it. It’s part of the experience. Grab yourself a flimsy MetroCard – the $32 weekly pass is great if you're going to be using it a lot. Plan your trip at each stop – all stations now have free wifi! Finally, say sayonara to your personal space in favour of getting somewhere a few minutes earlier. Or, you know, you could always wait for the next train, they’re never too far away. Pro tip: Don’t get on the empty subway car of a packed train. You don’t want to know why.


Get Informed

In New York, it’s not hard to find something to do. To be up to date with the latest, and often more touristy attractions, download the Time Out app and set your city to NYC. For more hipster style events, subscribe to The Skint’s email newsletter. You’ll get a daily email with the ongoings of that day.


And I would walk 500 miles…

I’m pretty sure I have. New York is a walkable city, which means you will be doing exactly that… walking. This is not the time for Louboutins ladies, Blair Waldorf is A) a fictional character and B) has a driver. Break out those sneakers or well–worn leather boots, you will thank yourself later. I highly HIGHLY recommend Allbirds Wool Runners, because, well, what’s better than walking on a cloud? Walking on a merino sole, that’s what.


Do something out of YOUR ordinary

What would you never be able to do at home? I guarantee you will be able to do one of those things in NYC. For me, it was going to the exclusive album launch for The Shins. Or seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in the limited run of ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ on Broadway. Or having pizza and drinks with Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister and Walsh. Keep your eyes open, these things are happening all the time, and make sure you’re a part of it.


Bluestone Lane

Not gonna lie, America, in general, has terrible coffee. Quite often I find myself saying ‘wait, I PAID for this?’ Well, that is where Bluestone Lane comes in. Never more than a subway ride away, this Australian-born chain has your Flat White covered. I highly recommend the Aussie Iced Latte - complete with a dollop of ice–cream (Question: is it really still coffee then, or more of a dessert?)


Leave space on the agenda for spontaneity

New York is a packed sardine tin of international cultures and activity. Take advantage of this and leave room for spontaneous wandering around and serendipitous encounters. For this, I recommended areas outside of midtown, like Soho, Chelsea, the East Village, Brooklyn or even Hoboken (across the Hudson in New Jersey). Bursting with shops, parks and the best food in town, an afternoon lost in New York really is the best way to experience it.    

Thanks for reading – I hope you found that useful, and if not, at least mildly entertaining. These are only some aspects of what makes NYC great to explore. 

What’s the best part about the city you live in? I’d love to know, might find myself there one day.