Lucy Primrose transferred to New York just over a year ago with well-known international beauty brand, L’OCCITANE. After exploring the city she settled in Greenwich Village, which has quickly become one of her go-to areas to hang out. We spoke to Lucy about the process of transferring with her company to New York, and her favorite places to go to get out of the city when she needs a break.
What brought you to New York?
I moved to New York from Sydney in July 2015. I was fortunate enough to be offered an opportunity to work in the New York office of the company I worked for in Sydney, L’OCCITANE. Before I made the transfer I was working for L’OCCITANE Australia for just over five years as the Learning and Development Director and International Learning and Development Project Leader.
Can you describe the process of transferring to New York with L’OCCITANE?
Once I had signed my contract, it all happened really quickly. Before I knew it, I was packing my bags and moving to New York! L’OCCITANE coordinated and organized the visa for me and, due to the timing, I travelled to New York via Corsica in the south of France for a conference, followed by London where I had my interview with the US Consulate and received my visa.
As a professional working in New York, what differences have you noticed to working in Australia?
How quickly ideas become actions. From conception to execution, there is not a lot of time in the middle!
Where do you live and why did you choose that area?
I spent many weekends and evenings exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn by bike with my husband. We brunched, lunched and dined to get a feel of the different areas during different parts of the day. As my office is in Times Square, I wanted to find a pocket of calm that was close to great bars and restaurants and I found exactly what I was looking for in Greenwich Village. It’s the perfect area. I can walk anywhere, including to and from work.
What advice would you give someone going to Greenwich Village for the first time and looking to get a sense of the area?
If you walk and explore the streets in the area you will definitely get a great feel for the village atmosphere. You will pass lots of lovely houses, bars and cafes along the way if you walk down and around Waverly Place, the top end of Bleecker Street and Greenwich Avenue amongst many others. Explore by foot, find a café and watch the world go by!
What are your favorite bars and restaurants in the area?
I feel spoilt for choice! I am always discovering new restaurants and bars to go to in the area. My favorite restaurant at the moment would have to be Barbuto which boasts a great atmosphere. Gottino Enoteca e Salumeria is a pocket sized wine bar on Greenwich Avenue that prides itself on small plates, great wine and a back patio outdoor area. Wilfie and Nell is a West Village bar where you will find a lot of locals.
And of course there is also Smalls and the Village Vanguard, which are famous jazz bars. A short stroll away in the Meatpacking District is Le Bain, a rooftop bar on the top floor of The Standard Hotel. It is a great place to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset. And for a really impressive setting, I love The Top Of The Standard, inside The Standard Hotel. I have also enjoyed many balmy summer evenings at Hotel Hugo’s Azul On The Rooftop in nearby SoHo. Summer time and rooftop bars just seem to go hand in hand in New York!
What are some of your likes and dislikes about living in New York?
I love how friendly and open everyone is in New York. I also love that no matter what night it is, there is always something great going on: theater, dance, live music, and fabulous restaurants. And you will never feel underdressed or overdressed wherever you go. It really doesn’t matter. Nobody thinks twice! I also love seeing the trees in autumn – it’s spectacular – and in spring I am in awe of the blossoms on the trees. You just don’t see that in Australia.
There is not much to dislike about New York. I do however need to get off the island every now and then to enjoy some space!
Where do you go when you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city?
While I love the buzz of Manhattan, I also I love the outdoors, so the biggest challenge I have faced is living in such a densely populated city. I realized quite quickly that it can wear you down, so I try to get off the island when I have a spare Saturday or Sunday. There are amazing hikes only an hour outside of New York! It’s incredible to be so close to so many State Parks.
Hudson, just 2 hours from New York City, is a great town to visit. There is a wonderful strip of antique furniture shops and fabulous restaurants. Cold Spring, not far from Hudson, has some wonderful hikes with some outstanding views over the Hudson River. I also love the Dia Museum in Beacon. It houses a collection of art from the 1960s to the present and is situated on the banks of the Hudson River. It is a spacious hidden gem and makes for a wonderful day. If you are in Manhattan and need a day to escape the crowds, I would recommend going to the Noguchi Museum, designed and created by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in Long Island City, Queens. The sculpture garden there is tranquil. It’s a lovely place to go and relax, and the tour of the gallery is superb.
Can you tell us about an ‘only in New York’ moment?
Walking past the huge queue to get into Trader Joe’s on Avenue of the Americas on my way home from work. I’ve never known anyone to queue outside a supermarket before! Every day there is a moment of surprise, which is what makes New York such as special place.
What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting New York?
Walk everywhere! I can walk down the same street 30 times and still see something new. The city constantly unfolds and reveals itself to you.
Don’t plan your agenda too tightly. Let the day take you on an adventure.
You need as much time as possible in New York for the city to unveil itself. With each day I appreciate the city and everyone living in it even more.
What is your favorite New York brunch spot?
Jack’s Wife Freda in Nolita, the Mediterranean breakfast and Orange Blossom Pancakes are unforgettable!
What is your favorite New York cocktail spot & cocktail of choice
Bathtub Gin on 9th Ave between 18th St and 19th St. My favorite cocktail … now that’s a tough choice! I would have to say Blonde Ambition! It has the freshness of lime and cucumber with a twist of sweetness from the raspberries. Dangerously delicious!
What do you like most about being part of AWNY?
I have met so many fabulous people through AWNY events, some of whom have become very good friends.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about living/working in New York?
My aunty told me before leaving Sydney to say yes to everything I was invited to! If ever I don’t feel like going out, it pushes me to say yes. I’ve never regretted it!
What advice do you have for people moving to New York?
Keep an open mind and turn up to everything. It’s all about showing up!
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