Stephanie Pesakoff has lived in many desirable neighborhoods since arriving in New York City from her native Charlotte, North Carolina, 30 years ago. The founder of Illustration Division, an agency representing 42 illustrators worldwide, counts among her former residences the Meatpacking District, Park Slope, Boerum Hill (twice), and Chelsea. She’s currently ensconced in Sutton Place, where she lives with her dachshunds, Bea and Bird, just one block from the first apartment she rented as a newcomer to the city.
“This neighborhood is classic New York City, with a continental European flair,” she explains. Although she describes the enclave as “very residential, within a block of my apartment there’s a butcher, a cheese shop, a health food store, a dry cleaner, and a hardware store— things that are increasingly hard to find in the city. “When I come home, I want to relax, and this is a very relaxing neighborhood. I feel like I’m in a different era here, in the best possible way.”
—by Rima Suqi
Pesakoff gravitates to old-school restaurants that have stood the test of time. Le Relais de Venise Son Entrecôte (590 Lexington Ave., 212.758.3989) is the New York outpost of a 60-year-old Parisian establishment that serves a set menu of salad, steak frites, and dessert. “They’ll keep bringing you more steak, with that fantastic secret sauce,” she says. Deux Amis (356 E. 51st St., 212.230.1117) is “so charming you feel like you could be at a bistro in Paris. They serve classic French comfort food—beef bourguignon, hangar steak, endive salad.” P.J. Clarke’s (915 Third Ave., 212.317.1616) “is a classic club pub and looks like it’s been there for a hundred years, because it has,” she says. “Get the burger.” Pesakoff is a fan of chef Pino Luongo’s Morso (420 E. 59th St., 212.759.2706), with an interior clad in vintage Italian advertising posters from the 1950s and ’60s. “When you sit down, they bring you ricotta drizzled with olive oil and freshly baked popovers, and I’ve never had a bad pasta here.”
“When I come home, I want to relax, and this is a very relaxing neighborhood.” — Stephanie Pesakoff
Manhattan Art & Antiques Center (1050 Second Ave., 212.355.4400) is home to more than 100 galleries specializing in everything from the decorative arts to books to vintage jewelry. “It’s three floors of eye candy and it’s constantly changing.” Many don’t realize that de Gournay (243 East 59th St., 212.564.9750), a favorite source for A-list interior designers, is open to the public. “The store is magnificent and very inspiring.” Another favorite is T. Anthony (445 Park Ave., 212.750.9797), makers of luggage toted by presidents, royals, and celebrities. “I gravitate to the iconic canvas and leather pieces. If it was good enough for Marilyn and Jackie, it’s good enough for me.”
“It’s nice to be so close to the water,” says Pesakoff, who enjoys views of Long Island City and Roosevelt Island from the banks of the East River. “You get the famous view of the 59th Street Bridge from a tiny park at the end of 57th Street.” The Roosevelt Island tram offers “amazing views, especially at night.” Another hidden gem is Paley Park (3 E. 53rd St.). “It has a 20-foot-high waterfall that cascades into a pool and is a great place to sit and take a break.”