We’re calling it now—Downing, our classic, fits-every-face frame, will be the go-to pair of sunglasses this summer. They’re a little polished, a little quirky, and very versatile. Translation: they’re perfect for any occasion.
Just in time for the sunny season, we’re releasing them in two limited-edition hues: Striped Indigo and English Oak; the new styles are offered alongside current colors, Walnut Tortoise and Jet Black.
Believe it or not, spring has actually sprung—and that means New Yorkers are no longer restricted to shiver sprinting from point A to point B. We can now lounge like lizards on sidewalks, stairs, stoops, or any other semi-permissible places of chilling.
Sure, there are the obvious places to soak up the sun—Central Park, High Line, Rockaway Beach—but why trek all that way for a few minutes of overcrowded bliss time?
It’s time to reclaim every inch of the city as a possible beach chair.
Armed with only sunglasses, a few members of our creative team recently set out to locate the city’s best-hidden spots to take five. And here they are.
The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields
Secret gardens: not just for beloved British children’s novels anymore! This stealthy patch of gardens is enclosed within brick walls in the West Village—shielded from cabs and cars but open to the grazing public. Shaded by blossoming trees and rich with horticultural wonders, it is an ideal spot to eat lunch or zone out for a cool minute.
Don’t be deterred by the fanciness of the word “esplanade” (it’s a great word, isn’t it?)—this locale is low-key through and through. It meets our admittedly low-maintenance requirements for a hashtag chill zone: There’s water (and boats off the pier! Can’t forget the boats), lush patches of grass, and plenty of similarly tuned-out folks reclining in one of the many chairs provided on the deck. But if you are looking to take in a little culture, there was a ballet class taking place during our jaunt. Fancy.
Let’s just go ahead and say it: there’s a legit 25-foot waterfall in Midtown East—and it’s really nice. Besides the nap-inducing main attraction, you’ll find lush plants, dozens of wire chairs—which are more comfortable than they look—and wooden tables, plus a small café. It’s the perfect spot for drowning out planes, trains, and automobiles. Also: this.
Our 25th president, William McKinley, was a man known for his actions, not his charisma. He was neither a brilliant orator (like Lincoln) nor a master strategist (like Johnson). But the man got things done. And we’re glad his legacy includes this modest playground in the East Village. It’s a no-nonsense square of sunshine filled with benches (for relaxing) and nearby bodegas (for refreshment).
Greenstreets Park (between Broome Street, Thompson Street, and Watts Street)
This triangle patch of benches is like a mini little island, just without the water, a hot second away from our offices. Cop a squat and start ogling the flowers. Sure, there is traffic but once you grab an iced coffee from a nearby cafe and start absorbing all that Vitamin D, you’re golden. Who cares about noise ordinances now?
During the past couple hundred years, this historic site has been home to farmhouses, country retreats, and a tactical fort during the Revolutionary War. Now it’s a picturesque, fairytale land (see that Peter Pan sculpture?) that is equal parts public park and grounds for the Gracie Mansion, which is the official residence of our mayor. (Neat!)
According to the Internet, there are 14.9 acres of property—meaning there is an abundance of space for napping, reading, chilling, drooling, eating, whatever.
Okay, as you can probably guess, “personal pier” is not the official name of this bite-sized hangout. We actually have more questions than answers: “Why were you built? What’s your purpose? Were you a mistake? Why are you so perfect?”
We may never get to the bottom of it. However, if you’re ever looking for a venue that can hold a small get-together (say, like, one to five people—max), this is your spot.
These new frames are a bit different than the rest. You’ll notice when you put them on that they’re satisfyingly light, but also quite sturdy—that’s because each of the five new styles is constructed from premium Japanese titanium.
They were inspired by a handful of artists and icons from the early 1970s; the designs range from a vintage navigator and a circular teashade frame to a handful of classic aviators. You’ll also find three new colors in this collection: Heritage Bronze, Antique Gold, and Brushed Navy.
Pretty interesting group, huh? See the full array here.
Not to our surprise, we’ve completely fallen in love in the neighborhood—so much so that we wanted to share a list of our favorite local gems.
1) Wynwood Walls
Just a light stroll from our shop is Wynwood Walls, a street art mecca that houses some of the most impressive graffiti murals in the world. (Make sure your phone is charged, because there are some solid Instagram photo ops here.)
Another tip: Wynwood Walls doesn’t technically open until 11 a.m., but you can sneak in early if you grab a bite to eat at jugofresh (more on that a bit down).
2) Panther Coffee
After hearing quite a lot of buzz about this place before we even landed in Miami, we can now attest that Panther Coffee is among the top coffee shops in town. Their cold brew is very tasty, and their empanadas are out of this world.
Chilling tip: If you’re a freelancer type, their patio has plenty of outdoor seating and electrical outlets—perfect for working (on your base tan).
What goes better with a pair of new glasses than a newish book? Not much, we’d assume. That’s why we love Bookleggers, a mobile library that’s stationed just a few blocks from our store. We would say more, but the photo above is worth a thousand words.
4) Rubell Family Collection
Unassuming from the outside, the Rubell Family Collection houses one of the largest private contemporary art collections in North America. The space was formerly used as a Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated goods facility, which means it’s massive enough to host some pretty great works (think Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, etc.) in a pleasant, roomy environment.
It turns out that Miami is a hot place. Luckily, jugofresh offers cold-pressed juices, feel-good foods, joyous green walls, 90s hip-hop playlists, and a wall of fans. It is a blissful zone.
Local tip: We suggest getting there early and grabbing a table out back, where you have a firsthand view of Wynwood Walls.