Out & About
Inspiration is to be sought after, not just something that happens, and so we here at Spring Street Social Society go looking in as many places as possible. Here, we'll be sharing where we go, who we run into, what we experience, and more.
In the millennial world of “do what you love, love what you do,” the line between work and personal time is easily blurred, especially when your business partner and primary collaborator is also your friend. This is absolutely the case for Spring Street cofounders Patrick Janelle and Amy Virginia Buchanan. In order to maintain a balance, and allow for spontaneous creative juices to flow, they occasionally make a point of hanging out strictly for friendship purposes, but because so much of their work involves event planning, sometimes it’s nice to just kick off a day and see where it takes you. This is precisely what they did on a recent lazy Sunday in Soho...
Like any fully functional New Yorker, they began their day with coffee. Finding a great cup of coffee in the city can be surprisingly difficult, but not if you know the right places to go. A personal favorite of both is the NoLita gem, Cafe Integral. The owner, Cesar Vega, is a pal of theirs, though rarely in town, what with Integral outposts in Chicago and LA and visits to partner farms in Nicaragua. Fortunately, he was both around and able to step out for a quick coffee and a chat. Cesar is kind and quiet, easy to talk to and great to laugh with. As they caught up, two older women in furs paused nearby, looked over inquisitively, and asked “Is the coffee any good?” to which Cesar demurred and Amy said with a wink in her voice “Yeah, it’s pretty good.”
If you start your day late enough, then it’s easy to go straight from coffee into brunch, since most brunch spots worth going to open around 11:30 am. The day before, Patrick had checked in with Amy to gauge what she was thinking in terms of food, and she texted back “I want green burnt bread burrata,” which meant Estela, just a short walk from Cafe Integral. Getting there right when they open means snagging the best seat in the house, at the bar over by the window. They’d briefly met assistant general manager Peter Larue when he helped chef Susan Kim at the Industry City Secret Supper, however in the chaos of hosting, hadn’t had the opportunity to bond with him. So Patrick and Amy had a chance to spend some real time getting to know him; turns out that not only is he skilled in the kitchen, he knows his way around a wine list. With the meal finished, he sneaked them back into the kitchen for a moment with chef de cuisine Ryoko Yoshida. In any good New York restaurant, the most is made out of the least amount of space, and Estela is no exception. The foursome barely fit into the teeny kitchen, which makes their dynamic and diverse menu all the more impressive.
If you happen to find yourself in Soho, as the duo did, you might as well shop. Now, shopping does not necessarily mean buying. There are so many incredible shops in the neighborhood, with so many beautiful pieces in them, that bouncing from store to store can suffice as a very satisfying “viewing experience.” Patrick wanted to stop into the new Roman and Williams space, Guild, to see what the famed interiors firm had to say from a retail perspective. Surprise surprise, it was perfect. Thoughtful, well designed, luxurious, and covered in rabbit fur. Amy had recently passed a shop called Samuji and had declared in an Instagram story her love for the brand, without having actually experienced any of its offerings, so obviously that was next on the list.
While the clothing hanging neatly along the wall was what had drawn her inside, it was an oversized white knit stocking cap that spoke to her in the moment (which went well with her oversized glasses (and personality). Then the pair scooted off to a mutual favorite, Save Khaki, situated right next to the cafe that started it all, Gasoline Alley. Save Khaki is consistent in its quality as it offers the best of the basics in menswear, but Amy loves it for the incredibly reasonably priced cologne.
At this point in the day, a nap might be calling your name. But if you are determined to continue hanging out with your friend (and it’s a nice enough day) stopping by Washington Square Park to have a sit with your eyes closed for a moment is practically the same thing. Washington Square Park is one of those perfect places where you can be entirely alone while also existing in a sea of people, all looking for the same solace and peace of mind that only a scrap of nature and the absence of traffic has to offer. The park is full of so many characters. NYU theatre students taking a “movement class.” The guy with the mouth harp who plays the steel drum. Couples carrying armfuls of groceries. And the man with the bubble net, who has an impeccable ability to consistently produce a stream of massive bubbles that are ripe for the popping. Children and adults alike stop in their tracks to catch a few moments of the magic that pours from his net, a solid reminder that New York is full of people looking to make the world a better place in whatever small ways they can.
One of the many great things about this city is that there is always something new to check out. Some new bar or restaurant or show, you name it. To find it, all you have to do is look. In this case, it is a hotel. The Freehand. It beckoned Patrick and Amy just a few subway stops uptown to see what the hubbub is all about. Designed by Roman and Williams (so hot right now!), the interior is exquisite. But no more window shopping, they were there for the drinks. The George Washington Bar, one of the property’s three outlets from the Happy Cooking Group, is a dark and cozy little room, which manages to pull off being both fancy and relaxed at the same time. Freehand’s Director of Culture, Cooper Cheatham, joined the party to smash a glass and talk about the new programming they’ll be rolling out over the next few months, and let’s just say it will be absolutely worth checking out. With perfect deviled eggs and a drink menu for days, this was a spectacular finale for a lazy Sunday. And to think they hardly talked about work the whole time. See? Friendship achieved.