NYFW | coffee shop hot spots

every year the women of new york leave the past behind and look forward for the future. this is known as fashion week.

carrie bradshaw | sex and the city

labor day has come and gone, and like clockwork, fashion’s most stylish set have descended on to the streets of new york city.

whether you’re an editor, blogger, photographer or admiring from afar, here’s a list of eyd approved coffee near the home of so many of this season’s shows.

grab a cup on your way to a show, or take a seat to sift through emails aka insta. i’ve made it easy for you and denoted which shops will suit your needs.

coffee near sklylight clarkson sq

joe's coffee in the cadillac house | hudson square | near the skylight clarkson NYFW


joe coffee in the cadillac house | on hudson, btwn charlton & vandam

.3 mi from skylight clarkson sq

330 hudson street
new york, ny 10013

note: if you’re nearby go! super chic space with wifi and a beautifully designed seating area. indoor & outdoor. tables large enough to meet with 4-5 people.

la colombe hudson square, nyc | near skylight clarkson NYFW


la colombe | on vandam, btwn hudson & varick

.3 mi from skylight clarkson sq

75 vandam st
new york, ny 10013

note: no wifi, but it’s la colombe so we always let that slide. gorgeous as per usual and some of the best (&strongest) coffee.

coffee near milk studios

kobrick coffee - meatpacking districty, nyc - near milk studios NYFW


kobrick coffee co. | on 9th ave, btwn 13th & 14th st

.2 mi from milk studios

24 9th ave.
new york, ny 10014

note: darkly lit and good for day or night meetings. wifi & plenty of lush velvety seating.



blue bottle coffee | on 15th st, btwn 10th & 9th ave

.0 mi from milk studios

450 w 15th st
new york, ny 10014

coffee near pier 59 studios

under line coffee - chelsea, right below the high line at 20th street



under line coffee | on 20th st, btwn west st & 10th ave

.2 mi from pier 59 studios

511 w 20th st
new york, ny 10011

note: wifi & indoor seating. for outdoor seating, take it up to the high line. there’s an entrance just a hop & a skip from the shop’s front door.

intelligentsia, highline hotel, nyc


intelligentsia at the high line hotel | on 10th ave, btwn 21st & 20th st

.3 mi from pier 59 studios

180 10th ave
new york, ny 10011

note: wifi, indoor & outdoor seating. perfect place for a quick meeting. this space makes you feel as if you’ve travelled back in time.

coffee near spring studios – varick

maman in tribeca, nyc | near spring studios NYFW



maman tribeca | on broadway btwn white & franklin

.2 mi from spring studios

211 w broadway,
new york, ny 10013

note: one of the most enchanting spaces. no wifi, but you don’t come here for that anyways, you come for the coffee, food & ambiance.



everyman espresso | on broadway, btwn canal & grand st

.2 mi from spring studios

301 w broadway
new york, ny 10013

note: wifi & some wonderful window seating for people watching while you scroll through that insta feed.


coffee near skylight at moynihan station


culture 36 | on 36th st, btwn 7th & 8th ave

.3 mi from sklylight at moynihan station

247 w 36th st
new york, ny 10018

note: wifi & indoor seating. get the cookie.

bean and bean coffee - chelsea, nyc - NYFW close to skylight moynihan station



bean & bean | on 8th ave, btwn 26th & 25th st

.4 mi from skylight at moynihan station

318 8th ave
new york, ny 10001

note: super large space with wifi and plenty of places to sit. a little loud, but a good place for a quick meeting.

pushcart coffee - chelsea, nyc - near NYFW skylight at moynihan station



pushcart coffee | on 25th, btwn 10th and 9th ave

.5 mi from skylight at moynihan station

401 w 25th st
new york, ny 10001

note: wifi, spacious and low key. doesn’t get as packed as other shops, so you can really hunker down and get to work here.


the 7 | brooklyn outdoor coffee shops edition

brooklyn. home of girls, iconic street art, the bk bridge and copious amounts of coffee. with coffee shop vibes that rival portlandia, and vast open spaces that feel more la than nyc, brooklyn knows how to do coffee. editing down my favorite brooklyn outdoor coffee shop spaces meant having to play favorites amongst a list of 20+ spaces that are each special in their own right.

i used my usual scientific method, which is kind of konmari-esque now that i think about it. i took a deep breathe before i visualized the space on my list, and i thought back to how it made me feel at first sight. i only included places that quite literally took my breathe away.

in no particular order, here are my lucky 7 brooklyn outdoor coffee spaces.

(note, if you’re looking for manhattan spaces, click here.)

i call them lucky, because visiting one on a warm afternoon can turn a lackadaisical day into the most magical experience. coffee sessions in these outdoor spaces almost always result in the greatest of aha breakthrough moments, or epic life talks with friends.

i’m not a 100% sure why our hearts are apt to feel so open in these spaces.

maybe it’s the expansive, peaceful haven of space brooklyn offers, or the heart aching intention behind the design of each space?

whatever it is, a visit to any of these 7 spots will leave a lasting imprint of summer lovin’ on your heart.

sweatshop, a coffee shop in williamsburg, brooklyn

one. sweatshop

williamsburg, brooklyn
232 metropolitan ave, brooklyn, ny 11211
m – f  7am – 6pm
s – su 8am – 6pm

tiny, but mighty. the outdoor seating area of this shop is small, but is strategically laid out to accommodate a sizeable amount of people. much like the interior of the shop, its exterior carries out its chic minimal industrial design. lush green plants line the crates-turned-tables and sleek black aluminum benches. everything about the space feels so creative, from its decor to its inhabitants, you’ll feel inspired the entire time you’re here.

oh and i can’t forget about their epic, “don’t look for love look for coffee,” signage. makes for the perfect photo back-drop.

black brick coffee, williamsburg, brooklyn - outdoor space

two. black brick coffee

williamsburg, brooklyn
300 bedford ave, brooklyn, ny 11211
m-f 7am – 8pm
s-su 8am – 8pm
fyi, cash only

want to know what it would feel like to step out into an upscale
and impeccably edited junkyard set? visit black brick coffee in williamsburg and you’ll wonder no more.

the backyard space feels like a legitimate movie set. rich in color and texture, you’ll try to photograph the space, but photos won’t do it justice. black brick manages to make a mish mash of outdoor furniture from the past 100 years feel incredibly current and heart achingly good.

the vale collective | a williamsburg brooklyn boutique and coffee shop

three. the vale collective

north side williamsburg, brooklyn
113 n 7th st, new york, 11211
m – su 10am – 7pm

part clothing boutique part coffee shop, the vale collective is a fashionista’s dream. in addition to its vibrant coffee shop bar and interior decor, there’s a perfectly manicured backyard space that’ll have you longing to host an afternoon tea. its marble tables, perfectly trimmed hedges and floral arrangements are perfect for a girls day spent chatting and sipping on an iced latte.

freehold, brooklyn, williamsburg - coffee shop & bar

four. freehold

williamsburg, brooklyn
45 s 3rd st, brooklyn, ny 11249
m – w 7am – 2am
thu – sat 7am – 2am
su 7am – 2am

when i first moved to new york city, freehold was one of the first coffee shops i worked from. back then it was called “the den,” and it was just a coffee shop front with oh so many dreams behind its construction doors. its expansive windows let in the most beautiful sunlight and i felt so at home amongst the chatter of meetings and keystrokes.

now it’s a vibrant entertainment space that lives up to its meet-work-play tagline. co-work during the day and enjoy its grassy courtyard late into the evening.

kave, bushwick, brooklyn - backyard space

five. kave

bushwick, brooklyn
1087 flushing ave #121, brooklyn, ny 11237
m – su 8am – 8pm

known for its iconic street art, bushwick is making moves in coffee culture scene. i make the hour trek from the upper east side to bushwick just because the coffee scene is that good.

nestled inside an urban strip mall, you’ll find kave at the end of the most vibrant emerald green hallway. after you’re done gawking at the space’s impeccable details, make your way into this clandestine coffee shop and place your order at the coffee bar. grab your drink and make your way outside to the patio space.

yes, it’s huge. and yes, it’s got twinkle lights. come in the late afternoon with some friends and stay until the sun sets. i promise you’ll have a magical time. it’s impossible to not.

father knows best, bushwick, brooklyn - coffee shop, cafe and bar

six. father knows best

bushwick, brooklyn
611a wilson ave, brooklyn, ny 11207
m – su 8am – 2am
productivity in the am. promiscuity in the pm. now that’s a tagline.

the backyard at father knows best will leave you feeling like you’ve escaped to a tropical island. seriously, you can sip on your coconut drink while you lay in a hammock that sits next to a baby palm tree.

tekoa, a coffee shop in cobble hill, brooklyn

seven. tekoa

cobble hill, brooklyn
264 clinton st, brooklyn, ny 11201
m – f 7am – 5pm
s – su 8am – 5pm

tekoa is the perfect place to take out-of-town visitor to. located in cobble hill, its close proximity to historical brownstones, the brooklyn heights promenade and dumbo make it the perfect location to kick off a day of exploring.

or if you’re a local its set of outdoor seating, and it being adjacent to the cutest historical park, sets the tone for a splendid day of the leisurely lounging. i can’t pinpoint exactly what makes this place so zen, but go, and you’ll see what i mean. its rich red exterior and corner location gives you all the right kind of weekend feels.



the 7 | nyc backyard living edition

saturdays soho | coffee in a backyard oasis

dearly beloved
we are gathered here today
to get through this thing called life

the beat drops. my eyes open.

my alarm’s gone off (yes, it’s prince). i reach for the phone and slide right.

it’s a saturday in july, and for a lot of new yorkers that’s become synonymous with workout, iced latte & backyard coffee shop chill time.

my ideal situation would be workout, iced latte & pool, but i live in nyc now and those pools are way too hard to come by. so, i’ve adapted to a new, and slightly more productive, summer living routine.

now back to that coffee shop backyard life. in nyc, on our lucky non-thunderstorm/hazy days, the sun’s warm rays, light outdoor breeze, and hustle and bustle of a coffee shop compound into a form of cosmic seasonal magic. it’s the type of energy that puts you in the zone, and you become inspired, present, productive and entranced at exactly the same time.

whether you’re on a solo mission, or you march in with your squad, it’s hard to leave an outdoor coffee sesh without feeling as if something special transpired.

it’s a chance to change up your scenery, recharge and just be.

it’s summertime and the living is easy, so here are my 7 favorite backyard spots – manhattan style.

enjoy that backyard life.

(don’t fret my friends, the brooklyn 7 will be coming very soon)


greecologies outdoor space in the springtime

one | greecologies, soho

greecologies is the spacious oasis you could spend hours on end in. this beautes industrial-esque seating, set against the lush green ivy covered walls, is quite enchanting. while an iced beverage is a must, their made-in-house greek yogurt options complement the space’s earthy scenery perfectly.

lounge in the back and listen closely. you’ll notice that beyond the chatter of friends, the location of this backyard is able to somehow block out the city’s noise. this space is magic. so much so that there’s a whole post dedicated to its magic.

cooper design museum garden, upper east side

two | cooper hewitt museum garden, upper east side

living on the upper east side, the arthur ross terrace and garden at the cooper hewitt has become a go-to destination. its prime location on museum mile, right on fifth and across from the reservoir, makes it the perfect place to simultaneously people watch and let your daydreams run wild. unlike other backyards, this garden isn’t surrounded by tall skyscrapers, and at times you’ll forget you’re in the middle of the concrete jungle.

with a cafe inside the museum, and free entrance to the grounds, you’re always welcome to spend hours and hours here.

saturdays soho backyard garden, nyc

three | saturdays, soho

if you prefer feeling like you’re on a sun-drenched tropical island, then may i suggest you visit saturdays in soho. the coffee is always incredibly rich, tasty, and served with a smile. this uber chic surf/coffee shop is definitely where you’ll find the beautiful people. amidst the clamor of conversations, coffee, and lush greenery, you’ll definitely style stalk and leave creatively inspired.

intelligentsia, highline hotel, nyc

four | intelligentsia inside the highline hotel, chelsea

intelligentisia. oh how i wish you had more locations in manhattan. the intelligentsia in venice is the coffee shop that pretty much birthed escapeyourdesk, so whenever i am yearning for that og feeling i head to the highline hotel.

the outpost within the historical highline hotel will leave you feeling as if you’ve traveled back in time. once a theological seminary, and the birth place of ‘twas the night before christmas,” the space’s rich history is something you’ll feel as you make your way through the hotel’s lobby. grab your cup at the indoor coffee bar, and make your way to the front or back patio. take a seat, and a moment, to just gaze at the hotel’s exquisite original brick exterior.

rapha cycling club backyard, soho, nyc

five | rapha cycle club, soho

rapha cycle clubs have been created to serve as an inspiring meeting place for road riders. in addition to riders, i think this space is also inspiring to anyone who appreciates a space designed with effortless intention. this curated shop and cafe come together to serve as the perfect creative meeting space. the steady influx of riders hanging up their bikes, chatting & picking up some coffee makes for the right amount of bustle you’d hope to find in a cafe.

what’s key about this location is its backyard. lots of seating, and with its location in soho, it’s a welcome reprieve from the high volume of foot traffic that line prince street on a busy weekend. and if you’re a rider, rapha holds regular rides, events and viewing parties of the season’s biggest races.

toms coffee roasting company, nolita, nyc

six | toms roasting company, nolita

tom’s is a brand that knows how to carry its experience beyond just the wares that it sells. they’re experience builders, and their expertise is showcased in the nolita space. much like its counterparts in venice and chicago, the nolita location is home to a tom’s roasting company and an eclectic outdoor gathering space.

designed to a t, this space feels as if you’ve stepped right into a tom’s ad. rich colors, textures and patterns are impeccably on brand, and when the sunlight hits this place just right its warm tones give it an ethereal glow. i love that the back yard never gets too busy and you can spend a few hours here working, or chatting away, completely undisturbed.

seaport district outdoor seating, nyc

seven | the coffee port, seaport district

the seaport district is for anyone who has ever wished they could go back to the early 19th century. back to the days when ships sailed into the ports of manhattan, and horses worked for the mta. lined with cobblestone streets, and some of the oldest architecture in manhattan, this neighborhood is bursting with historic charm.

coined as a modern-day entertainment district, it’s become home to a diverse mix of up-and-coming designers, shops and food destinations (aka smorgasburg). grab a cup of coffee from the design market’s coffee portal window and recline in one of the many hammock like seats.

west village trifecta

west village trifecta - chalait, dominique ansel kitchen, toby's estate coffee

224 west 4th street
new york, ny 10014

dominique ansel kitchen
137 7th ave s
new york, ny 10014

toby’s estate coffee west village
44 charles street
new york, ny 10014

sad news you guys 🙁
chalait, an og of the nyc matcha scene, is closing their west village outpost at the end of the month.

learning about chalait’s closure was particularly sad for me, because this space is a part of one of my favorite escapes – the west village trifecta.

with one piece of my beloved trifecta closing in a few weeks i debated publishing this piece.

should i post about a love triangle that will no longer be?

is two weeks enough time for people to enjoy the trifecta that will soon cease to exist?

ultimately, i decided to post this piece as an ode to this vibrant trifecta.
the one that i’ve loved so dearly and embodies so much of what it means to escapeyourdesk.

so long for now, west village trifecta; i thank you for your memories.

notice: you’ve got less than two weeks my friends.
less than two weeks to experience the complete west village trifecta.

chalait - iced matcha tea

thanks for the memories, chalait.

to ease the pain, chalait will be opening up two new locations: one in the nomad neighborhood (on july 30th) and another inside chelsea market (tbd). their original location, at the convergence of christopher and w4th, will no longer exist come august, but the space’s design and decor will live on as a classic example of #whywhiteworks.

i’ll surely miss this location, but as the age old saying goes, “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

disclaimer: the below was written prior to learning about chalait’s move. i decided to keep the story the way i originally wrote it, so that these memories would remain frozen in time.

the escape

to know the west village is to love the west village.

unlike the rest of manhattan grid, the west village is a magical maze of the most charming historical streets.
no lie, it’s quite likely that you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time.

if you’re in town for a visit and you’ve got the time, i suggest wandering with the intention of getting lost. between gawking at the brownstones, popping into the shops, eats and coffee, you’re bound to run into one of the village’s many hidden gems. walk along bleeker and greenwich and you’ll find your heart aching for its quaint charm, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled back in time.

the west village trifecta

i’m 99.99% sure that this trifecta was not established on purpose, but man oh man am i thrilled it exists.
if i’m in the mood to treat myself, i almost always hit up the trifecta.

what is the trifecta?

if you look on a map, you would see that chalait, dominique ansel kitchen and toby’s estate coffee neighbor one and another, and by cosmic chance their location points align in the shape of a triangle.

these three places are each spectacular in their own right, but if you enjoy them together they are the perfect escape.
the best way to describe the trifecta is as a serendipitous experience that engages and pleases each and every one of your senses.

there’s truly something for everyone, and i invite you to take a few hours and escape to the west village.

chalait west village exterior

first stop, chalait.

you’ll find your first destination, chalait, situated on the north west corner of 7th avenue and 4th street.

i’m going to go ahead and make the claim that chalait is probably the most instagrammed coffee shop in the west village.

the space is a dream.

first of all it’s on a corner, so hello to windows that let in an exorbitant amount of natural light.
the ultra light beams this corner experiences enhance the already appealing bright and white aesthetic of the shop. add in the contrast of black stools, and deep green matcha to the equation, and hello, you’ve got instagram heaven.

oh yeah, i can’t forget to give a shout-out to their open face sandwiches. each one of those is delectable to both the eye and palette.

every. single. one. is always ready for its close up.

no lie about the space’s gifted aesthetic. i’ve heard of people trekking to the shop with the sole purpose of taking a photo of a random stranger’s sandwich and matcha latte. #someonescaptiononinstagram

if you get anything matcha from here you won’t be disappointed. i am a big iced drink drinker, so for my first visit i naturally opted for an iced matcha fizz. i was not disappointed and get it each time i visit.

side note: i say get matcha here, because you’ll be getting your coffee fix in about two stops.

chalait, iced matcha

second stop, dominique ansel kitchen.

the second space, created by cronut brainchild dominique ansel, is a feast for all of your senses. whatever your preference, sweet salty or somewhere in-between, there is something for everyone. a lot of places like to make this claim, but da delivers on it.

they’ve got monthly creations that are always a must-try, but something to keep in mind as you order is – you can never go wrong with anything on the menu. no joke. it’s all delicious.
just go with your gut instinct.

dominique ansel kitchen, west village patio seating

my personal sweet favorite is the made-to-order chocolate mousse, and for something savory, the edamame avocado toast or garlic croissant hits the spot.

the kitchen also offers a selection of ready-to-consume items in case you need to grab and go, but i suggest opting for a made-to-order selection. there’s something so exquisite about enjoying a creation that was put together especially for you. the kitchen believes in “fusing together a retail bakery with a restaurant service kitchen, here more than 70% of the menu is finished, assembled, or baked right when you order them.”

another huge plus about this place is that the quality and taste of each item is consistent, and for the goods you’re consuming, everything is very reasonably priced.

dominique ansel burrata and balsamic soft serve ice cream

in the neighborhood on a summer weekend? well then you must try their soft serve. their soft serve marries items like burrata, potato crisps and chocolate together in the most delectable way.

not only is the food spectacular, but the man, the myth and legend himself is incredibly kind. on a recent visit, my sister and i brought our mom to the kitchen and she was able to check off a major item off her bucket list – meet dominique ansel. our mom is a super fan, and with each visit she makes, we always make sure to stop by one of his outposts. she’s always hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous creator, so she was thrilled to be able to have a nice chat and photo taken with him. he was incredibly gracious and patient with her – i’ll never forget that.

toby's estate coffee, west village - coffee bar reflection

your last point in the trifecta, toby’s estate coffee.

across the street from dominique ansel kitchen, you’ll find some of the city’s best coffee at toby’s estate.

i love each and every toby’s location (love note here), but their west village spot is something special. it’s corner location, on a quaint street of brownstones, sets the tone for some of the most relaxing coffee shop vibes.

sitting in this space will leave you feeling as if everyone around you is whizzing by at a 100 mph while you sit, at the windowsill, enjoying every sip of your coffee.

the space itself is light and bright, and while it’s on the smaller side, there’s quite a bit of seating. take a seat, and whether you’re solo or with a group a friends, let yourself get lost in the moment.

sip slowly and enjoy every last drop. this space was made for lingering.

these three places complement one and another in the most magical way,
so try to visit within the next two weeks to enjoy the fully intact west village trifecta.


greecologies lush outdoor backyard space in little italy, new york city


379 broome st

new york, ny 10013

region: little italy

hours: mon – fri 8 – 8

sat & sun 9 – 8

wifi: yes (no wifi on weekends)

outlets: yes

nearby points of interest:

little italy: pizza, bakeries and sidewalk restaurants

walk west on broome to take in some of soho’s best shopping

lower east side: orchard, ludlow and essex street for nightlife and eats

more neighborhood coffee: 

two hands, happy bones and nolita mart & espresso mart

the escape

in manhattan, a piece of spacious real estate is as elusive (and competitively hunted) as a pair of yeezy’s. due to these rife conditions, more often than not, you’ll find many of the city’s most popular coffee shops are nothing more than a barista and a standing room only coffee bar. we’ve grown accustomed to this lifestyle and know how to make it work, but every now and then a spot so palatial pops up it renders us speechless. greecologies is one of these manhattan gems that’ll leave you wide-eyed and gasping, “there’s more!?!?, ” as you make your way through the space.

the space’s outside facade is deceiving. at first glance greecologies looks like a cute little cafe serving up some greek yogurt, but once you step inside you can’t help but be taken aback by the sheer enormity of the space. after you come to, you’ll immediately fall in love with the velvety set of lounge seating anchoring the front of the shop and decide you’d like to take a seat – that is until you realize what awaits you at the back of the shop. make your way down the carefully curated hallway to find one of manhattan’s most coveted sights: a lush outdoor space.

the outdoor space – i could gush about this it forever. i am a serial repeat customer and love it so much i feel the need to tell strangers about it on the streets. its abundant jungle-like greenery, set against the weathered brick of the surrounding downtown buildings, makes for the most striking cityscape. take a seat at the industrial communal wood table, or pair off with your friends in one of its gorgeously designed nooks. everything in this space is so effortlessly intentional it’ll make your heart ache.

now onto the food and drink. what do you need to know? everything here is delicious.

yes, i’m partial to the space’s beautiful design and could move right in, but what they serve up is on-point. what makes this place unique is the quality of their greek yogurt; it’s exceptional, provides amazing nutritional value and is created without the use of industrialized farming practices. i call this a win-win situation.

greecologies outdoor space in the springtime

their story

“greecologies is founded on past generations of commitment, quality and tradition. our passion stems from small farm practices that are favorable to the environment, your palate and health.”

greecologies delivers on its brand’s mission. you can feel their commitment to creating quality through their design, food, and drink. everything about the space feels intentional, and rather than capitalize on the volume of customers they serve per square foot, they’ve designed a space that encourages their customers to stay and enjoy the complete experience.

greecologies outdoor work spacegreecologies counter top seating

good to know

if you’re in the neighborhood on a warm day you must stop by, get some vitamin d and hang out in its backyard space. i promise, this space is unlike any other in the city.

wifi and plenty of outlets (inside) make this a go-to work spot. but note, no wifi on weekends.

meet up with a group of girl/boy friends and chill amongst their strategically grouped sets of lounge seating.

this place was made for instagram. but seriously, you’ll take so many photos. #noshame

greecologies front lounge area

ap cafe, brooklyn

ap cafe, bushwick brooklyn, nyc

ap cafe

420 troutman st

brooklyn, ny 11237

nearby points of interest:

the bushwick collective (on troutman) – a street art mecca

region: bushwick

hours: seasonal, but usually 8 – 5 pm

wifi: yes (no wifi on weekends)

outlets: yes

the escape

rooted in deep minimalistic vibes, ap café continues to reign supreme as my favorite bushwick coffee destination. and yes, considering the amount of coffee served up in bushwick that’s a bold statement, but if you love a bright open space that embraces scandi design, you too will fall fast and hard for this place.

if someone asked me to pick a place that i would want to live in this would be it. the light in this place is exquisite, and between the airy ambiance its floor to ceiling windows and curated music selection creates, it’s highly plausible that you will fall into a deep soothing trance. i love to come in on a weekday, munch on the delicious kale pesto quinoa bowl, sip on my iced latte, and tap away on the laptop. during the week the crowd that gathers is focused on getting shit done, and that is infectious.

and now back to that kale pesto quinoa bowl. it is seriously one of the most delicious things i’ve ever eaten. it’s simple, but the flavors in this bowl complement one and another so well they create a distinctive burst of flavor. this bowl has single-handedly reignited my love for quinoa. trust – it’s on another level, and you should definitely get it when you go. if you don’t that’s okay, you won’t be disappointed by any of their food fare.

ap cafe - minimal and sleek modern design. seating areaap cafe modern seating area

the story of the space

on their website, ap café tell us not to, “get [too] distracted by the physical beauty behind our minimalistic architecture & design, what we have to offer runs deeper than surface level artistry.” they bill themselves as, “a group of creatives that collaboratively worked on bringing the community together by combining specialty coffee [from people who care] with good food [because we love to feast].”

if someone called on me in a town hall meeting and asked whether or not i support this statement i’d raise my hand and shake my head up down in emphatic agreement.

ap’s founders knew exactly what type of customer they were creating for and stayed true to their vision. concrete floors, wooden tables and crisp white chairs make this spot a minimalists dream. their details are subtle and achingly intentional – little succulents sit upon each table, and you won’t find a regular fridge keeping their grab & go cool, instead you’ll find a sleek white cooler in its place. you feel like you’re in an exceptionally curated showroom and you’re its productive (& chic) minion on display to those walking in & out for their cup of joe. you feel so great, you never want to leave.

good to know

no wifi on the weekends, so if you’re looking to work, pop in during the week. i have yet to visit on the weekend, but rumor has it that they serve up a pretty mean brunch menu.

the shop is quite spacious and offers quite a bit of seating in the form of counter tops, individual tables and a communal table bench setting along it’s westward facing wall. the wifi, and the numerous outlets along the wall seats, make this an ideal space to work from during the week.

while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the world renowned bushwick collective graffiti art.

ap cafe facade

museum mile | city guide

museum mile nyc city guide | the met museum & bluestone lane coffee

bound between 82nd and 105th street on fifth avenue, museum mile is home to one of the densest displays of culture in the world. the mile, which is actually three blocks longer than a mile, comprises eight of the city’s most coveted museums. a visit to the mile is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the arts, and a chance to experience the upper east side’s most beloved coffee, cafes, and sights.

if you’re a museum fiend, here’s a complete list of museums on the mile:

with so many wonderful things to do and see along the mile, i thought i would share my favorite scenic route – which includes both hidden gems and must-see tourist sights. filled with coffee, food and art, this guide will keep you busy for an entire day!

conservatory garden crab apple trees

getting to museum mile

start your morning with a cup of joe.

96th and lexington is where this guide kicks off (the 6 train will drop you off here). i recommend you start your day around 9 – 10 am, so that you’ve got enough time to spend at each destination.

after you’ve popped out of the subway station, start heading west towards madison avenue. on madison and 96th, there are two places i love to frequent for a cup of joe and morning treat: de capo and le pain quotidien.

de capo: on madison in-between 96 & 97th, this classic italian shop serves up an authentic shot of espresso and some indulgent treats.

le pain quotidien: located on the north-east corner of 97th & madison, le pain offers a full and self service french countryside experience. if you’re in the mood for simple, delicious and healthy food this place is perfect.

central park conservatory garden in the spring and summer

the conservatory garden

aka the secret garden

after you’ve fueled up, keep walking west until you dead end at central park. the entrance at 97th and fifth ave will lead you right into the park’s east meadow. being farther north, you’ll find a much more serene central park – think less vendor carts and more nature.

start heading north while you’re in the park and make sure to stay close to the eastside. the entrance to the grand conservatory garden borders the east side of the park on 105th & fifth, and if you walk too far west you’ll find yourself in the midst of the baseball fields. now, you could enter the garden through the park entrance, or you could walk out onto fifth and make use of its magnificent main entrance, vanderbilt gate, which is between 104th and 105th street. the grandeur of the main gate will render you speechless. the iron gate, made in paris in 1894, originally stood in front of vanderbilt mansion on fifth avenue and 58th street. it’s all kinds of old world nyc vibes.

spread across six acres, the conservatory garden is central park’s only formal garden, and it’s divided into three smaller gardens each with a distinct style: italian, french and english.

step through the garden’s main entrance and you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into the secret garden (think mary lennox). this italian inspired garden’s massive lawn, 12 foot high fountain, and perfectly trimmed hedges will literally take your breathe away.

walk to the north-side of the garden and you’ll find its french influenced floral and sculptural elements. depending on the time of year you visit, you may find spring tulips or korean chrysanthemums in the fall.

to the south, you’ll find an intimately set english-style garden. with five mixed borders of trees, shrubs and perennial plants, you will find some of the most serene privacy available within central park. icing on the cake- a sculpture that pays homage to the book ‘the secret garden’.

designated an official quiet zone, the conservatory garden is the perfect place to relax and reflect. my favorite time of year to visit the park is of course, the spring. it truly is a sight to be seen. being able to find a place that makes you feel as if you’re in the countryside, in the middle of the most bustling city, is part of that only in new york city magic.

jackie kennedy onnasis resevoir view | central park, nyc

that jackie o view

with some of the most breathtaking views of the park and surrounding cityscapes, visiting the jackie kennedy onassis reservoir is an absolute must. if you’re a runner, wear your sneakers and run the 1.58 mile-track, or if you’re in it for the views you can take some spectacular photos at its main entrance on 90th and fifth avenue.

additional stop: if you can fit it into your day, the cooper design museum in-between 91 and 90th on fifth avenue is a beautiful museum. they’ve also got a lovely cafe inside where you can pick up a latte and a panini. 

time to eat

brunch at bluestone lane

after all that walking you’re probably pretty hungry, and bluestone lane is the perfect spot to satisfy all your senses. located in-between 90th and 89th on fifth avenue, it’s situated within a beautiful dome of the church of the heavenly rest. feast on the fare and some of the most impeccable decor on the upper east side. seriously, the design of the shop is phenomenal.

i recommend ordering a flat white and their famous avocado smash. you might be thinking okay, it’s just avocado toast i’ll pass, but i promise you it is the best in the city. side note: i’m not the only one that thinks so – see here. if you’d like a non-caffeine option my best friend, who is a hot chocolate connoisseur, thinks their cup is rich perfection.

it’s the perfect light brunch to take in before you make your way through the heavy hitters – the famed museums.

other coffee & cafe options: russ & daughters (inside the jewish museum), dean & deluca, via quadronno, eli’s essentials and café sabarsky.

the met steps

the museums

guggenheim museum

now that you’ve fueled up for the rest of the afternoon it’s time to visit the famed frank lloyd wright designed guggenheim museum. deemed one of the 20th-century’s greatest works of architecture, this building has become as famous as the art it was designed to display. if you’re a fan of modern and contemporary art, you’ll certainly enjoy the artwork and architecture the guggenheim has to offer. walking up and down the museums circular walkway is in itself an experience unlike other; it also makes for the perfect instagram shot.

the metropolitan museum of art

after you’ve spent an hour or two at the guggenheim, start making your way down fifth to the metropolitan museum of art. i’m 99% sure you’ll stop in your tracks the minute you spot it in the horizon. its monumental size, unforgettable façade, and striking steps make it one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city.

note: you will need to budget a few hours for the met. as one of the world’s largest and finest art museums, its collection spans across two million square feet, it contains over two million works, and is divided amongst seventeen curatorial departments. yes, you read that correctly – two million!

depending on your taste in art your must-see list may differ from mine. but, if you love to feel completely immersed in what you’re experiencing, i have a feeling you’ll enjoy my go-to sections of the museum.

the temple of dendur | the sackler wing of the museum is home to the actual temple of dendur which dates back to 10 b.c. the temple is displayed within what is arguably the most beautiful area of the museum. with floor to ceiling glass windows that overlook central park, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the realms of your childhood imagination.

roman sculpture court | the leon levy and shelby white court is home to an opulent collection of sculptures created under roman patronage. set within a skylit dome, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported in time to a grand court of the roman era. come on a sunny day and be prepared to take in some of the loveliest light. if it were socially acceptable, and the security guards would allow it, i would lay down in the middle of the court and just stare up at the sky.

the charles englehard court | as you can probably tell i’m a big fan of museum settings that incorporate natural light and vast open spaces, and the american wing of the met delivers on this type ambiance. filled with a collection of american monumental sculpture, architectural elements and stained glass, the charles englehard court provides a mesmerizing entrance to the american wing.

oh, and one last suggestion – don’t forget to head up to the met’s rooftop! it’s open from may – october.

the metropolitan museum of art rooftop | central park views

museum mile is one of the most satisfying escapes in the city and with so much to see, you should dedicate full day to exploring all the sights. whether you’re a local or a tourist, immersing yourself in the lost art of museums, nature, and cafes along this stretch of manhattan is like nothing else in this city.

portola coffee lab

portola coffee lab, santa ana, california |specialty coffee roaster and shop

portola coffee lab

3313 hyland ave, suite b2
costa mesa, ca 92626

mon – fri 6 – 9
sat – sun 7 – 9

wifi: yes

outlets: yes

nearby points of interest:

oc mart mix farmer’s market (saturday)
south coast plaza
the lab | indoor/outdoor anti-mall
the camp | a green communal shop & eat space

additional locations:
tustin, santa ana, old towne orange, huntington beach, mission viejo

the escape

while living in orange county, portola coffee lab’s flagship location at the oc mart mix was my go-to spot. it was one of the first specialty coffee shops i ever visited, and to this day i believe it is one of the best places to grab a cup in in orange county. while the flagship is incredibly stylish and oh-so photogenic, it’s the love and care the owners put into developing the complete coffee experience that keeps me coming back time after time. there’s an undeniable sense of positive energy you’ll feel anytime you visit their mart mix location, and it’s always provided the reboot i needed during my mid-week slumps.

if portola hadn’t come into my life in 2011 i don’t think i could have sustained working from home for very long. the space’s beautiful design and delicious coffee kept me inspired, and the space served as the perfect home-office escape for more than 3 years.

with friendly baristas and plenty of other digital nomads setting up shop in the mart mix, i felt understood and at home. orange county isn’t exactly the mecca of freelance activity, so finding a place with all the right vibes really impacted the quality of my productivity.

portola coffee lab, costa mesa, ca | speciality coffee shop and roaster in orange county

the space & story

the brand’s lab theme is tastefully carried out throughout the entire experience (nothing cheesy to see here). visually, you’ll pick up its cues amongst the glass filled beakers and tubes that make up their mad scientist coffee lab, and you’ll taste those scientific methods at work in their impeccably sourced and roasted coffee. their “pursuit of perfection,” is no joke. you feel the passion of portola’s owners, jeff and christa duggan, every time you step in & sip in their shop.

since this space is nestled inside the oc mart mix you’ll literally find an optimal mix of single and communal seating areas. there are table & counter top seats right next to the shop’s coffee lab (think outlets & productivity galore), couches (friend talk) and other communal tables throughout the space. with a myriad of local boutiques and speciality food spots, this place is perfect for working, eating and meeting.

portoloa coffee lab, costa mesa, ca | coffee and croissant

good to know

the soco farmer’s market takes place in the oc mart mix parking lot every saturday from 9 – 2 pm.

ikea is down the street. may i suggest a day of perusing and coffee?

birdie has some of the most amazing healthy treats. think acai bowls and pressed juices.

portola’s sister shop theorum, located right next to the main lab, provides a one-of-a-kind coffee experience. “theorem is a walk-up bar where select baristas are given the creative freedom to develop personalized coffee menus that showcase amazingly creative coffee drinks.”

shuck oyster shop. stop here if you love oysters. that’s all you need to know.

want a sweet treat? look no further than susie cakes

trying to be a little healthy. go to greenleaf, a gourmet chopshop

intelligentsia, venice

intelligentisa abbot kinney, venice | sleek, modern & industrial design and coffee shop seating

intelligentsia abbot kinney, venice

1331 abbot kinney blvd

venice, ca 90291

region: venice

mon – thu 6 – 8
fri 6 – 10
sat 7 – 10
sun 7 – 10

wifi: yes

outlets: yes

nearby points of interest: 

the entire city of venice! j/k that’s a lot, but really take the time to explore abbot kinney; there are so many local boutiques and eats along this classic cali street.

venice canal historic district

abbot kinney favorites: gjelina, urbanic, alternative apparel, salt and lemonade

the escape

it was april 2012, and with my sister in tow we made the drive up from the oc to venice for a day of exploration. i was smack dab in the middle of my restless (and uninspired) working from home period, and as fate would have it had the epiphany i didn’t know i was looking for on this day.

intelligentsia is the first coffee shop i posted on the @escapeyourdesk instagram account and was the catalyst to this passion project. while i didn’t post the photo to instagram until 2014, it was on this fateful day that a new way of life and being was born, and the escape your desk mantra came to life.

i still remember the visit like it was yesterday…

with luck on our side, we find a free parking spot a block away from abbot kinney (if you know la you know this is major!). we make our way up california st and make a quick right onto the famed abbot kinney. of course the first thing i spot is the shiny intelligentsia emblem i’d bookmarked on yelp eons ago. i can’t believe we’re finally here (eeek!).

i start to pick up the pace; we stop at the entrance and my heart can’t help but skip a million beats.

we make our way through the gates and are entranced by what could arguably be the epicenter of california coolness. the walkway is everything; it’s lined with lush greenery and a wall of chic, but ever so industrial-esque wooden bleachers. only adding to the space’s vibe is the fact that its seats are filled to the brim with angelenos who embody the elevated surfer chic look to a t: slim fitting sweats, texturized hair and the perfect messy tuck of an alexander wang tee.

we get in line (which is of course out the front door) and i feel a whole another rush of dopamine hit as i fixate on the details inside of this shop. the meticulous design makes it all feel so effortlessly intentional: glass mini coffee carafes, wooden trays, and of course, white ceramic mugs with the classic intelligentsia red ring bottom.

nothing is overlooked, and i quickly decide that i want to mirror my life after this type of effortlessly intentional vibe.

as we approach the front of the line i glimpse at the menu and look up. and, just wow. the skylight is letting some of the most beautiful sunlight i’ve ever seen into this lofted open space.

a perfect mix of grand and delicate touches engulf you as you enter the shop, and its quite clear the shop’s creators thoughtfully designed its layout to present the layers of experiences they hope to create for their customers.

i place my order and the line breaks; i’m guided along one side of the counter to watch my barista prepare my iced latte – i love that you become a part of the process. the seating is just as curated as the ordering experience, and i realize this space is perfect for it all: meeting friends, coming to work or picking up a quick cup of coffee.

as i walk out the front gates, i know i’m home.

and my friends, this is where the constant chase for daily escapes all started.

intelligentsia abbot kinney, venice | modern industrial coffee shop design

the space

“intelligentsia hired ana henton of mass architecture & design to execute the venice coffeebar. the idea is for a barista to create an individualized experience for every customer, regardless of how many are being served.”

intelligentsia executed this vision and was one of the very first to truly craft a creative and carefully curated coffee shop. from the moment you place your order, you become a part of the experience. being able to watch your barista carefully prepare your drink whilst you wait, without crowding around you, is unique to this location. the space was designed to move traffic along both sides of the bar, and it’s good use of space makes it easy to spread out throughout the shop with your beverage.

intelligentsia abbot kinney, venice | barista brewing area of coffee shop

good to know

this place gets crazy packed on the weekends, but weekdays in the late afternoon are a great time to come in if you’re looking to get some work done.

there’s an entrance in the back of the shop, so you’re able to make a clean entrance and exit to and from your parking spot.

free parking along the street behind the shop. come for the coffee, but stay for the ambiance. trust, this place is worth fighting the crowds for.

toby’s estate coffee

tobys estate coffee shop, williamsburg | curated shelving decor close up

toby’s estate coffee, williamsburg

125 n 6th st

brooklyn, ny 11249

nearby points of interest:

williamsburg water front at the west end of n 6th st

coffee | devocion, sweatshop, blue bottle & sweetleaf

shopping | space ninety 8, maje and artists & fleas

region: north williamsburg


m – f 7 – 7

sat – sun 8 – 7

wifi: yes

outlets: none

additional locations | west village, flatiron & vanderbilt urban space

tobys estate coffee shop, williamsburg brooklyn | afternoon light

the back-story

toby’s estate in williamsburg will forever be one of my favorite coffee shops. the way the space makes me feel each time i visit represents the types of emotions/vibes i hope to feel each time i visit a new escape.

the first time i walked up to toby’s i was immediately engulfed by its expansive windows and couldn’t help but stand in front of the shop in complete awe. i know i looked like a total tourist, but i’m pretty positive you will too on your first visit. being from the mecca of chains (aka the suburbia that is the oc), i was not accustomed to this type of styled grandeur. toby’s embodied so much of why i yearned make the cross country move to nyc. its chic urban surroundings, effortlessly intentional design, and all the coworking vibes i felt made me feel so alive. every time i’d visit nyc i’d make it a point to work out of toby’s at least once, and visiting the space now as a new yorker makes me feel so grateful for how far i’ve come.

the escape

toby’s estate coffee in williamsburg is the one-of-a-kind shop you always take out-of-towners to when you’re aiming to provide the complete brooklyn experience. there’s a bit of magic to the space, and the combination of its loft-like ceilings, grand shop window, and its prime location on n6th come together to catch the most spectacular light on even the gloomiest of days.

toby’s was designed with a clear and meticulous vision. its precise layers of décor draw your eye in, and you find yourself viewing the space with fresh eyes each time you visit. they got the coffee shop equation just right, and there’s something for everyone here. whether you’re a coffee connoisseur, design aficionado, digital nomad or avid people watcher, visiting toby’s will make your heart flutter.

brought to life with effortless intention, toby’s serves up an exceptionally curated experience for all your senses. part of the space’s magic is its ability to create a different experience each time you visit. when i sit on the couch along the shelves i become entranced by the crowds and can’t stop daydreaming up new ideas. alternatively, when i sit at the communal table, the infectious energy of the co-working around me pushes me to pump out those tasks i’ve been putting off forever, and for me these feelings have always been enough to brave the crowds that flock to this toby’s outpost.

tobys estate coffee, williamsburg | front of coffee shop at dusk

for working

while i love working from here, some things to keep in mind are: it’s always busy, there are no outlets, and you’ll most likely have to share a table. that being said, you should still make the trek. it’s always worth it. there’s always a nook you can take a seat in until a more desirable spot opens up.

the energy here is quite special. if your schedule is flexible – my favorite time to frequent this spot is during the late afternoon as you’re most likely to find a spot, and the light that comes in from the floor to ceiling windows during & post sunset is true afterglow.

for exploring

if you’re visiting the area for the first time i highly recommend walking down n6th to the water and taking in the views of manhattan. the waterfront area is spectacular. there’s a pier, views galore (manhattan, queens & south brooklyn skyline) and so many places to sit and ponder life.

if you like hardcore workouts, make sure to check out brooklyn bodyburn. it is hands down the best and most challenging workout ever! their motto of, “you don’t need more time, you need more intensity,” couldn’t be more true.

if you want to grab a bite to eat i love reynard at the wythe hotel, bakeri and maison premiere. to sip on some coffee and work: the freehold, kinfolk, devocion and sweatshop are my go-tos.

tobys estate coffee, williamsburg | outdoor seating summertime