Krystal Bick has made some serious life changes lately. In September, she made the difficult decision to leave her job — at Google nonetheless — to focus full time on her blog, This Time Tomorrow. Only a few months prior, the West Coast native had picked up and moved across the country to lay down roots in New York.
Bick now resides in the West Village with her corgi, Elvis, and her decisions have been validated — the pair couldn’t be happier. Each and every day, the style and travel aficionado makes new discoveries about her quaint neighborhood, and catalogs favorite finds on her 7-year-old blog.
“The nice thing about the West Village is that you can roam around and always be surprised by something. There’s always something new; there’s always some corner you didn’t notice before where the light hits just right,” she says. “It takes your breath away on a daily basis.”
In partnership with Sanpellegrino® Sparkling Fruit Beverages, we tagged along with the blogger to get a feel for her West Village. Read on for unique neighborhood discoveries, and keep the journey going with Delightways, a new app from Sanpellegrino® that’s curated thousands of similar local attractions to happily stumble upon.
We begin the day, appropriately, on a sugar high. With a delightfully sinful selection of artisanal baked goods and a liquor license to boot, Sweet Revenge, situated comfortably on a quiet Carmine Street block, is a West Village treasure. With bistro-like vibrations and an inviting storefront, this cupcakery boasting wine and beer pairings in the evenings has versatility and charm in spades.
It was a favorite of Bick’s before she even possessed a New York address. ”My good friend lives next door so whenever I’d come to visit her, we’d always stop in,” she says.
After indulging in a fizzy beverage and a divine citrus cupcake dubbed “The Tart” (lemon vanilla cake and curd filling topped with a rich buttercream), we’re properly energized for the day ahead.
Aedes de Venustas, the quasi-rococo perfumery on Christopher Street, is one of the Village’s most unique shopping experiences — and our next stop-in. Festooned in velvet with baroque wallpaper, intricate floral arrangements, and grandiose chandeliers, entering Aedes is like being transported to a peculiar version of 18th-century Europe, sans jet lag.
Aedes de Venustas first opened its doors in 1995 at a smaller location on the same street. Owner Karl Bradl starting gathering obscure fragrances during his travels. “I wanted to find niche brands — niche didn’t exist 21 years ago,” he says. Today, the shop houses an incredibly unique array of scents, and the decor, also gathered piece-by-piece through Bradl’s adventures, mimics the diverse product offerings.
The decadent hodgepodge is incredibly inspiring to Bick. “I love mixing and matching aesthetics, so luxurious with eclectic, a little bit quirky with timeless, structured yet still feminine, which I think the shop exudes a lot of,” she says. “You almost feel like you stumbled upon this little nook of a store in Europe, although it’s in a very modern neighborhood in a very modern city.”
A few blocks away on Hudson Street sits the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, as it’s sat for nearly 200 years. The cornflower-laden neighboring gardens, first planted in 1842, provide a peaceful reprieve from the trials of city life.
It’s favorite reading spot for Bick, and it’s a serendipitous find. “Oddly enough, when my mom came to visit during my first year in New York, she was roaming around the neighborhood by herself one morning and randomly stumbled upon the church. She begged me to go back with her.”
She’s glad she acquiesced. The seemingly secret garden, also discoverable via the Sanpellegrino® Delightways app, is hidden from the main street by a brick wall, is incredibly peaceful.
Nearby on a sleepy stretch of West 10th Street, you’ll find a pocket-sized shop called Madame Matovu. The vintage fashion and home accessories boutique brims with treasures from around the world: Handheld mirrors and glittering costume jewelry are perched next to antique lace gowns, and gilt-framed portraits of glamorous women adorn the wall space.
“I like that there are a lot of different flairs; it’s a very eclectic shop. I wouldn’t say it’s my personal style, but I like borrowing pieces from it to infuse,” says Bick.
Shop owner Rosemary Wettenhall is the virtuoso behind the entrancingly curious collection. Her approach? “It’s just an instinct. I buy what I like. I’m not so much concerned about the brand: I care about quality, style, and I listen to my clients,” she says.
The decision to open shop in the West Village nine years ago was a natural one for Wettenhall: “I lived in the area. I did it for the community. You give back,” she explains. “The West Village is really beautiful; it’s quaint and humble, it’s a village. We call each other ‘the villagers’ here,” she laughs.
We wander the narrow, brownstone-lined streets, enjoying the unadulterated magic that is spring in the West Village. We encounter a baby blue Vespa, and it’s clear this is a not-to-be-missed photo opportunity.
“I love how charming it is,” reflects Bick on her surroundings. “The cobblestones, the Vespas on every corner. There’s just a lot of personality here — it almost feels like Italy.”
Speaking of Italy, Gottino, a tiny wine bar with a robust selection of Italian-inspired small plates, is our journey’s end. With its white marble bar, a rustic back-patio, and cured meats en masse, stepping into Gottino truly feels like being transported to Europe.
This is partially why the eatery tops Bick’s list — she spent several months in Italy as a college student, and hopes to return. “I’m definitely planning a trip back to Rome soon,” she says. “But until then, this does the trick.”
We settle in the outdoor space and feast upon fig and ricotta crostini topped with honey and almonds, sample both sweet and savory crepes, and dabble in delightfully gooey panini. “What’s magical about Gottino, especially in the afternoon, is this little patio with greenery and string lights,” Bick says, gesturing to her surroundings. “You really can just lose track of time.”
And it’s true. By the end of our meal, a satisfying cap on an exceptionally delightful day, the hands on the clock seem to have sped ahead as if by magic.