Simon Guindi Cohen dresses as strikingly as he speaks, known in business and social circles as a Happiness Habilitator, a term which is a breath of fresh air in our sometimes downtrodden society, Cohen believes that positive energy is transformative and focuses upon putting good vibes into everything he does. Testament to this is his brand, Spenglish (ñ) a sustainable and ethically sourced, unisex clothing label that first took form in 2006. Of Syrian-Mexican descent, Cohen embodies New York’s spirit of multiculturalism, a sentiment that’s key to the universal appeal of Spenglish (ñ). Using his brand to uplift and celebrate his heritage whilst spreading positive messages through millennial-friendly, humorous puns and word-play, the garments are produced in countries like Peru and Turkey, guaranteeing a level of luxury yet deeply retaining the Latino touch.
A firm fixture on New York’s thriving social scene, from Saturday afternoon brunches at hotspot, Bagatelle, to long bike rides along the Hudson River and the secret speakeasies that only a true New Yorker can uncover after 12 years deeply invested in their community, here Cohen shares the happiest ways to spend the days in the diverse melting pot that he calls home.
Why NoLita is home.
I’ve been living in this neighborhood for 12 years and seen it develop and grow; I really feel a part of its community and cultural fabric. Location-wise it’s right next to SoHo, the East Village and the Lower East Side, and it’s just a few minutes from Williamsburg by car or as I prefer, bike. It’s one of the few areas in Manhattan with less high-rise buildings, which means you get the most sunlight. I might be biased but it also has the coolest looking people in town!
Grab a coffee.
Gimme! Coffee in NoLita is my all time favorite although, in reality, a true New Yorker has to have a coffee spot in every neighborhood. What stands out to me about this little unique coffee shop is that they have remained loyal to their brand and concept, offering sustainable and seasonal blends and the best cold brew.
The best breakfast.
In New York we don’t breakfast, we brunch! For this my ultimate spot is Cafe Felix in West Broadway. On a regular Sunday Funday, there’s a lighthearted and energetic crowd of international people who gather there to start their afternoon of parties early, expect plenty of socialising and fun!
It all depends on the weather. If it’s nice outside I like to make the most out of it so I look to a spot with a superior outdoor sitting. My personal favourite is Sant Ambreous in Lafayette, you can sit outside and people-watch for an entire afternoon. Grand Banks is another cool spot by the Hudson River in Tribeca, it’s a parked sailboat with an oyster bar and drinks! During winter you must go and spend Saturday at Bagatelle, the party starts around 2pm and finishes by 7, it’s by far the best brunch party in town.
Amazing Mexican food.
My personal favourite is a small joint in the Lower East side called Barrio Chino (which means China town), it’s decked-out out in traditional Chinese decor and if you didn’t know the place you’d think it’s a Chinese restaurant for sure! The food is authentic and the margaritas are made with fresh fruit. Their best plate? The Mole Enchiladas!
Sushi to savor.
Sushi ceviche all day, everyday! The best sushi right now is found at Sugar Fish, but I like to explore my small sushi joints in SoHo like Mottsu and Marumi in Greenwhich village. Seamore’s is a new seafood sensation that’s taking Little Italy by storm too!
Never been a fan of this, but when I have to I tend to go to SoHo House, although the new Public Hotel has an amazing public area where people from around the neighbourhood come to work and play.
Take a staycation,
Find a pool you love and stick to it! 1 hotel has a great pool with a view, and as a plus it’s a 5-minute cab ride to SoHo.
Escape from city stress.
Take a long bike ride along the West side highway by the Hudson River, it gives me a beautiful feeling of freedom.
Snap an Instagram-worthy shot.
The newest and coolest spots are in Brooklyn, because you can view the entire skyline and take in the magical sunset. For a sensational shot I would recommend the Westlight Bar at the William Vale hotel or the rooftop bar at the One Hotel in DUMBO.
For me the best shops are in NoLita, which means North of Little Italy, they have the coolest brands and styles.
Discover local art.
Bushwick has become a Mecca for emerging artists in NYC, you can find amazing galleries there with very original and compelling art.
Soak up some culture.
I love the exhibitions in Chelsea and in Bowery, it’s always a fun scene with great contemporary artists.
Three places to hangout with guests.
1. The Box
2. The Public Hotel rooftop
3. Sant Ambroeus SoHo
NYC has millions of secrets; every corner has its own story. I love the secret speakeasies and hidden restaurants like Apotheke or Freemans. You also have to check out The Little Branch for local beverages and amazing Jazz.