Ian Schrager’s New York
The Studio 54 co-founder-turned-hotel collector
I wake up somewhere between 5.30 and 6am, depending on when my son Louis, three, gets up. Everyone else is still asleep and I spend an hour or so alone with him. It’s a special time for us. Around 9am, he’ll go out for a walk with the nanny, and my wife Tania and I will have a cup of coffee before the Schrager Shuttle Service begins. We have four girls aged between 16 and 19, and they all have to be in different places. I’ll usually have a SoulCycle spinning class for 45 minutes at 10.30am, then Tania and I will hit the streets. We might visit the Union Square Greenmarket or walk down Broadway to Soho, the East Village and Tribeca. It’s not about shopping so much as visually drinking everything in.
For lunch we’ll go to one of the cool new places in Williamsburg. I grew up in Brooklyn so I feel at home there. In New York there’s a war as to who makes the best pizza, but Roberta’s is definitely up there. It’s very makeshift, raw and spontaneous. Franny’s is another one: it’s humble, bright and loud – the antithesis of chic, but the food is fantastic.
My wife used to be a ballerina so on a Saturday evening we might go and see some dance – the New York City Ballet or something at The Joyce Theater. She has also introduced me to the New York Philharmonic.
If we’re not seeing anything, we’ll go out for dinner with friends. We like trying new, unlikely places; there’s so much energy coming out of the food world right now and we like to tap into it. I went to a cool, new Chinese restaurant recently called Han Dynasty, and had some great spicy Sichuan tofu. The whole world has been taken over by a handful of superstar chefs, and I try to avoid them. It’s fun to get a feel for real New York away from the scene and the people we know, although I’ll make an exception for Jean-Georges – it’s modern and unstuffy and the food is exceptional. We’ll get home around 11pm and then have to wait for the girls. They start meandering in at 1am.
On Sunday morning, come rain or shine, we’ll take Louis to Key Park in the East Village. I might pick up a Starbucks on the way, which I rarely get to finish. Or we’ll drive up to Westchester, where we’re looking to buy a little love shack in the country. We’ll be back late morning for a big brunch with the girls, which is mandatory, regardless of boyfriends and homework. Either we’ll get a chef to come over, or we’ll go to Pastis or Balthazar. I love what Keith McNally does; he’s one of the two people in the world I really respect (Jean-Louis Costes in Paris is the other). Balthazar is always bustling. It feels like Le Procope in Paris did 10 or 15 years ago. We also like Lafayette, a new French brasserie with Roman and Williams interiors. It’s a block from our house, so Tania and I consider it our neighbourhood restaurant.
When everyone’s gone their separate ways, I might walk by the galleries around 22nd Street in Chelsea; I love the energy there. I don’t buy much unless a friend tells me to see something specific. I prefer to just look, so I can focus on the work. Paula Cooper and Dia [pictured] are good ones. I might also pop in to Commes des Garçons or Balenciaga while I’m there.
For dinner, either we’ll stay in or go across the street to Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, a great local spot and sister to the great and quirky Il Buco. We won’t stay out late. I like to recover from the week so that I’m ready to go to war again on Monday morning. I cherish downtime, which is the opposite of how I used to be. The King of Nightclubs likes a very quiet, provincial weekend.
Balenciaga, 542 W 22nd St (+1212-206 0872; www.balenciaga.com).Balthazar, 80 Spring St (+1212-965 1414; www.balthazarny.com). Commes des Garcons, 520 W 22nd St (+1212-604 9200; www.comme-des-garcons.com). Dia Art Foundation, by appointment, 548 W 22nd St (+1212-989 5566; www.diaart.org). Franny’s, 348 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn (+1718-230 0221; www.frannysbrooklyn.com). Han Dynasty, 90 Third Ave (+1212-390-8685; www.handynasty.net). Il Buco, 47 Bond St (+1212-533-1932;www.ilbuco.com). Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, 53 Great Jones St (+1212-837-2622; www.ilbucovineria.com). Jean-Georges, 1 Central Park West (+1212-299 3900; www.jean-georgesrestaurant.com). The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave (+1212-691 9740; www.joyce.org). Lafayette, 380 Lafayette St (+1212-533 3000; www.lafayetteny.com). New York City Ballet, David H Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza (+1212-496 0600;www.lincolncenter.org; www.nycballet.com). New York Philharmonic, Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza (+1212-875 5709; www.nyphil.org). Pastis,9 Ninth Ave (+1212-929 4844; www.pastisny.com). Paula Cooper Gallery,534 West 21st St (+1212-255 1105; www.paulacoopergallery.com). Roberta’s,261 Moore St, Brooklyn (+1718-417 1118; www.robertaspizza.com). SoulCycle,384 Lafayette St (+1212-860 1300; www.soul-cycle.com). Union Square Greenmarket, Union Square Park.