Meet the author Ellen Swandiak in New York

the author of the 500 Hidden Secrets of NY
Ellen Swandiak

Ellen Swandiak is a lifelong resident of New York. From her days living in the far west village while attending Parsons School of Design, to her move to a Gramercy high-rise with a winning view of the Empire State Building in 2005, she has always been enamored with the city. Her blog Hobnob Magazine ( reports on all her loves: food, drink, style, fun—and parties. Ellen can often be spotted, camera in hand, at stylish restaurants and bars, tasting events, and art openings, with her designer eye on the lookout for all that is clever. She is the co-author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of New York

What Ellen loves most about the city

"New York City is a place that’s always changing, so there is always something new to look forward to. I love staying abreast of new restaurant openings, art shows, the latest in cocktail preparations, and design, design, design. It’s also a great walking city, which is a great way to soak up the vibe and get around town quickly."

"I love staying abreast of new restaurant openings, art shows, the latest in cocktail preparations, and design, design, design."

Ellen's perfect day in the city might look like this

The beginning of my perfect day would start with downing a few coffees (made with special beans from the local coffee shop), then I would head over for a mid-morning gyrotonic session at Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon. Since my muscles are often tight, I love working out on the gyrotonic machines here, which not only provide a workout, but also they stretch as you go. I always leave feeling invigorated and happy.

After a quick shower and outfit change, I would catch up with one of my good friends for a healthy, interesting lunch at abcV, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new veggie-focused restaurant and start off with their famous kabocha squash dip.

houses at West Village NYC
West Village, NYC

Après lunch, would head uptown to view the latest exhibit at Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is so much to see in this museum you could never tire of its collections. While there, I would make sure to stop and view one of my favorite paintings, Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage, and stroll through the ancient jewelry section once again.

On my way back home, I would make a pitstop into Murray’s Cheese, at the Grand Central location, to pick up some goodies for three friends that are coming over to my apartment, and load up on some nibbles: cheeses, charcuterie, nuts, figs, olives, a nice baguette. The store is in the Grand Central Market, which has everything you could ever want—so one stop shopping! The snack is meant to tide us over till dinner, but first we are all headed to see the latest dancer performance at the Joyce Theater.

Afterwards, a late dinner at Beatrice Inn would make a fantastic sequel. We’d order a bunch of dishes to share, like the IPA Battered Dates with smoked wild boar, whole grain mustard or Savory Plum Tart. For the shared entree perhaps the Applewood Smoked Rabbit For Two. The perfect ending to the day would be enjoying a nightcap at Dear Irving, seated at the bar with TomR. They specialize in well-prepared cocktails, and will invent something to your tastes upon request. They’re open late, so we can take our time, hang out at the bar and maybe make a few new friends.