How to Do NYC Like Aerin Lauder
Let’s face it: We New Yorkers tend to be creatures of habit (looking at you, negronis at the same bar every weekend). Which is in part why we love hearing the NYC routines of certain fellow city dwellers. One particularly inspiring New Yorker? Aerin Lauder, founder and creative director of the lifestyle brand AERIN (and granddaughter of the legendary Estée). On the heels of Lauder's Manhattan boutique opening, we took the opportunity to chat top-notch cheeseburgers, the magic of Central Park and more.
ON THE CULTURAL INSTITUTION SHE NEVER TIRES OF
Neue Galerie, NYC's museum dedicated to early 20th-century German and Austrian art, isn't the biggest name on museum mile—but with its collection of Klimts set against stunning architecture, it's definitely one of the dreamiest. “I have such fond memories of visiting [Neue Galerie] with my parents,” says Lauder. “The exhibitions never disappoint, the store has wonderful art books and Café Sabarksy is one of my favorite places in the city for a morning coffee.”
ON HER GO-TO SPOT FOR A GLAMOROUS NIGHTCAP
Tucked into the festive streets of the Lower East Side, you’ll find one of Lauder’s favorite hidden gems: ZZ’s Clam Bar, the cozy, reservations-only crudo spot which boasts talking points like pearl-handled utensils and a seriously elevated drinks menu. “I love the pineapple cocktail,” says Lauder. “The presentation is so original.”
ON THE BEST MEAL SHE’S EVER HAD IN NEW YORK
“Definitely the hamburger from J.G. Melon,” insists Lauder. This quintessential Upper East Side bistro (now with additional locations in the village and UWS) is known for its preppy clientele, checkered green-and-white tablecloths and the lengthy (but totally worth it) wait time for its famous burgers.
ON THE ONE DECOR ESSENTIAL SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
What else? Fresh flowers. (We also swear by them for an instant mood lift.) For both her personal blooms and for entertaining, Lauder turns to both Zeze Flowers and Raul Avila (the floral mastermind behind casual fetes like the Met Ball). As for which flowers never disappoint? “Peonies and gardenias,” she says.
ON THE BEST SPOT FOR A BUSINESS MEETING
Lauder is a devotee of Sant Ambreous, the cheerful chain of cafés that came to NYC via Milan (where it first opened up shop in the 1930s). The Italian approach to service carried over stateside: Meals are never rushed, food is thoughtful and mixing business and pleasure is encouraged. To say nothing of Lauder’s weekday go-tos? The “delicious bread and cappuccinos.”
ON THE BEST WAY TO DECOMPRESS AFTER A LONG DAY
“Nothing is more peaceful and invigorating than a walk around Central Park in the fresh air,” Lauder says. “I never listen to music, I just like to think and be inspired by my surroundings.” Her favorite perch of all? “The Alice in Wonderland sculpture,” she says. “It’s where I used to take my boys to play when they were little.”
ON WHERE TO SHOP FOR FOOLPROOF GIFTS
Lauder, admittedly, is a bit biased here, but her newly opened AERIN NYC boutique (designed by Jacques Grange and housed in the AERIN headquarters) is a treasure trove of little luxuries for every occasion. For giftables, she loves “jewelry from Irene Danilovich, stationery from Isla Simpson, and, of course, our timeless AERIN staples, like the gold heart picture frame, which makes an easy, elegant gift.”
ON THE SECRET WEAPONS THAT ARE ALWAYS IN HER PURSE
Turns out, Lauder is a girl after our own gummy-loving heart: In addition to an escapist fragrance (for instant pick-me-ups), she keeps her favorite candy on hand. “I always have an AERIN rollerball in my purse—I like to switch fragrance based on location. And I always carry Swedish Fish—it’s one of my guilty pleasures and my favorite snack.”