We could not be more excited to be opening up our Flat Iron store this week in New York City! While we have had stores in New York in the past, our newest store represents a return of sorts for the brand – did you know our first store was in New York City? So in some ways, our Flat Iron store (12 West 20th Street at 5th Avenue) is a homecoming, but with a city as dynamic and vibrant as NYC, it pays to have friends in “the know” and help navigate its terrain. So we asked one of our most stylish and knowledgeable friends, photographer Kelly Marshall to give us a tour of her New York. Kelly’s commercial and fine art work are interwoven as she explores inherent human belief systems; how they construct our lives, our physical homes and in essence our everyday reality. We wanted to see through Kelly’s unique gaze and understand why she continues to call this city home.
The Puck Building
In many ways, the Puck Building is the gateway to the Nolita neighborhood. Holding down the corners of Lafayette and Houston streets, it was the original home to Puck & Spy Magazines and has been featured in many television shows and movies. Its iconic representation of Shakespeare’s Puck never stops to amuse me. It so captures the ‘ world is a stage’ that New York City so fully embodies.
Housing Works Bookstore Café
I am a book junkie above all else, and feel very lucky to live in a neighborhood with not one, but three incredible resources for the literary inclined. (With McNally & Sons and The Public Library steps away). Despite its prime location and well-attended Moth StorySlams, it’s still one of Nolita’s best-kept secrets. The Housing Work fascinating array of used books abounds, and the café is not to be missed. Housing Works is an advocacy organization run completely by volunteers, and all proceeds go to those living and affected by HIV/AIDS and homelessness.
Jersey Street is my eye of the storm and only one block long. I walk through it nearly everyday. It ’s a mysterious and quiet cut in the hustle and bustle of the city, and aids in calming me down from a long day or acts as that buffer as you enter it. Quite and serene, it’s my gateway to and from home.
Prince Street vendors outside The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Cathedral
If the Puck Building is the front door to the neighborhood, then the basilica is the heart of it. After living in Europe I grew used to having churches be places of respite and contemplation despite affiliation to faith. It sits there and watches us live our lives, generation after generation, and gives much-needed shade to the vendors who adorn her southern walls from May through December.
My view from my terrace (fire escape)
Outdoor space is a premium in NYC. In my mind I have a terrace, but in real life my fire escape serves as picnic ground zero for summer rosé soirees and morning coffee ruminations. I live at a crossroads and there is no better sightseeing than New York awakening in the morning and coming alive on it’s way out in the evening. People watching at it’s best.
My hood is a hotbed for mural projects. Everywhere you turn it colors the streets and stops you in your tracks.
I am a serious magazine enthusiast. In this digital age I crave the tactile nature of page turning, flipping through pages casually and taking the time to really see the images. Iconic Magazines is my source for fashion, design and international publications. It has all the ‘zines’. I still pull tear sheets from as many sources as possible and keep notebooks filled at home for future reference and inspiration. It’s just not the same on an iPad or phone. Once I swipe a device the image feels like it disappears never to be seen again.
Elizabeth Street Garden
This is the soul of Nolita and my personal happy place. Despite Nolita’s charm and lovely amenities, we have no real green space. Elizabeth Street Garden saves us day after day from losing our minds! Sadly it is in battle with the city to be turned into low-income housing. We continue the fight!
Supposedly inspired by the historic Mexico City lunch spot where Fidel Castro and Che Guevara planned the Cuban Revolution, this always-crowded Cuban-Mexican restaurant has been an iconic mainstay for 18 years. Food at Cafe Habana is always on point and the staff equally stunning.
Mural on Bowery & Houston
The corner of Bowery & Houston Streets is committed to the mural arts. I don’t know who commissions these incredible murals or when it started, but when a new one goes up it’s always a show and a crowd-pleaser. It continues the tradition of both arts and fashion being center stage in this hood.
Prince St Pizza
Home of the Soho Square! Gentrification has pushed out most of the original Italian businesses but Prince Street Pizza remains! One look at this photo and you can see why. It’s a jungle in there but worth the frenetic elbowing, ordering and heat for the sweet taste of success!
Lastly, there would be no story about ‘home’ without including Estela. Especially since it is literally my home. I live upstairs. The building tenants and restaurant have a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Restaurants are microcosm unto themselves and it’s a rhythmic dance from day-to-day, one that is never without a surprise, such as President Obama & FLOTUS coming for a surprise dinner!
We can’t thank Kelly enough for sharing her New York with us! We love how the City is so many things to so many people and we are excited to help our new neighbors and customers make their homes in NYC that special and personal oasis in the chaos! Be sure to swing by the new Flat Iron store on 12 West 20th Street this weekend for a host of fun activities and events to celebrate the opening!
Photographer Kelly Marshall is a self-proclaimed “globe trotteuse,” she communes with the places & people she documents by relating to each locale as her personal homeland and by using an empathic approach. “We are more alike than we are different and we are global citizens.”