Hailing from Melbourne's northern suburbs, celebrity hair stylist and perfumier Lazarus Douvos left his Brunswick Street salon to see New York City. "Life was picture perfect in Melbourne: I had the boyfriend, the dog, the country house. But I had the immediate feeling that I belonged here," he says of his arrival in NYC, almost 13 years ago. A former stylist for the late Joan Rivers and Gucci, Lazarus's latest perfumed hair care range is The Love Note collection (see lazarusdouvos.com, agencedeparfum.com.au).
I love the decor and the amazing collection of interior and design books at Rizoli Bookstore. It's in the Flatiron District, which is the coolest part of town right now. Albertine is another amazing bookstore set in an old townhouse overlooking Central Park. Specialising in French-English books, the mansion has a marble entry, statues and columns by Jacques Garcia, who also designed the NoMad Hotel here in New York City. I take people there because no one knows about it, See rizzolibookstore.com, albertine.com
When you hit the end of my street, East 34th Street, you're at the East River and its walking track. Here, you can see the helicopters land and the ferries that take you from the city to the Boroughs. When the warm weather starts in April, I'm up early to take a long park bench and do a meditation while looking at the river, then walk along the water's edge.
Matto Espresso has vegan donuts and muffins, and really great croissants, and everything is $2. It's a local's place, everyone is just straight in and out. New York has crappy coffee, so if you want to get a really great coffee with Melbourne quality, that's the place. See matto.com
I don't drink alcohol anymore, but my favourite spot in the afternoons is The Lobby Bar in the Ace Hotel for an almond-milk cappuccino. It's very quiet – people go there to have meetings or a low-key drink. Before five, it has a very relaxing, local vibe, with book-lined walls, oversized tub chairs and personalised service. After five, it's for guests only. See acehotel.com
Don't think you'll fall in that Upper East Side circle of old money and bloodlines. Forget it. It has to be your destiny.
You don't move to New York for romance and love; it's a very transitional city. Instead, the focus of coming to New York is to "make it". There's no tall poppy syndrome here, New Yorkers love all your experience and give you the opportunity, but it's up to you to do the rest.