Iris Apfel Devours New York
The inimitable style icon on her relationship with the city—and to how to experience it as only a fashion maverick can.
How to do the Upper East Side, Iris-style.
The stomping grounds for 95-year-old self-described “geriatric starlet” Iris Apfel? The Upper East Side. Despite its staid reputation, the neighborhood has a thriving arts scene, quirky shops and exceptional restaurants. We put together a daylong itinerary inspired by Apfel’s love of this “great and delicious” city and her uptown-meets-downtown style.
11am – Brunch
If you’ve slept in, as Apfel does, have a late breakfast at the divine Café Sabarsky, a Viennese-style restaurant in the Neue Galerie museum. The marble-topped café tables and Josef Hoffmann light fixtures will bring you to 19th-century Mitteleuropa, as will the Bavarian ham and apricot confiture crepes.
Café Sabarsky: 1048 5th Ave.; 212-288-0665
12:30pm – Shopping
Start at Blue Tree New York, actress Phoebe Cates’s magical shop in Carnegie Hill. It’s filled with just the type of “marvelous nonsense” that Apfel adores. Where else could you find 18-karat wolf-shaped earrings, a beaded necklace adorned with zebra heads and a solid brass ice cream scoop?
Next hit, up Doyle, an auction house with a delightful mix of antique jewelry, 20th-century art and Deco pieces. It has rotating exhibitions and sales throughout the season.
Finally, fans of Apfel’s signature frames should make a beeline to Selima Optique, a Madison Avenue optician with a variety of colorful and uniquely shaped glasses. Owner Selima Salaun designed Apfel-inspired frames for Bon Marché in Paris last year.
3:30pm – Metropolitan Museum of Art
Apfel is a huge fan of this grand museum. Head straight for the Met‘s galleries 301 and 302 to check out the Late Roman and Byzantine jewelry collections, then stop by the Costume Institute, which featured several of Apfel’s own clothes and jewelry in 2005.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1000 5th Ave.; 800-662-3397
7pm – Dinner
Finish the day with a meal at one of Apfel’s favorite haunts, Antonucci Café. This charming neighborhood standby features an extensive wine list and rustic, northern Italian fare, like slow-braised short ribs with a potato puree.
Antonucci Café: 170 E. 81st St.; 212-570-5100