James Whyte
Financial District, Manhattan, NY.  February 2020 
Seneca Briefcase Backpack
Seneca briefcase backpack on top of matching cognac coloured suitcase, led by man in black blazer with dark dress wearing Rolex.

James Whyte and his Seneca Backpack, Manhattan, New York. 

After submitting prototype sketches to our artisans in Italy, we started receiving initial product samples in December 2019 and January 2020. We then decided there was no better way to put them to the test than to send them out to friends, coworkers, and clients. This is a crew of entrepreneurs, doctors, DJs, lawyers, real estate moguls, writers, and music producers to name a few. We sent our good friend James, a stockbroker/financial advisor from Toronto a Seneca Briefcase Backpack as a birthday gift. After a few months, we asked him to give us his brutally honest thoughts. Following a work trip to Manhattan's financial district, James got back to us with the following message:

"I've been using the briefcase you sent me for a few months and thought it was beautiful but didn't really understand the backpack aspect. I loved the design and classy, Italian look as a briefcase, but honestly didn't think I would ever "knapsack" it. I didn't say anything negative because you are my friends and I didn't want to belittle your project or seem like a stupid North American who just didn't "get it" even though you asked me to be completely honest. But after this trip to NY where I only brought bare necessities for the three-day trip, I now completely understand. I had a free day in between meetings and decided to explore in the form of bar-hopping while working on my presentation for the next day. This is where the Seneca was perfect. I was able to easily shift between briefcase and backpack mode: briefcase if I wanted to look classy walking into a bar in case I saw any clients or friends, and backpack for when I had a longer distance to walk to the next establishment. When you are carrying your stuff a longer distance, the backpack makes it comfortable to carry all your work shit instead of awkwardly holding a briefcase. I love this bag now. Please send me the official one when ready, I'll pay for it! Also thank you Lesley for the awesome recommendations, how are not a travel blogger?"

 Lesley's List: Manhattan Financial District 

9/11 Memorial. You are in New York, and the 9/11 memorial is in the financial district so you may as well tick this important one off the list before you have some wine or cocktails and get emotional or angry depending on if you believe the official story or not. 

Panineria Cucina and Wine Bar. Next, head to Panineria Cucina and Wine Bar in Greenwich Village for the "best Italian Sandwich in New York" to get some food in you and prepare you for the drinks you will inevitably be consuming throughout the day. I loved the Burrata Sandwich. Mike got the Supermario (obviously, since its full of meat) 

 images via @paninerianyc

Dead Rabbit. One of Mike and I's favorite bars. The atmosphere is just so Ireland and it has a kick-ass story to boot. One of the owners, Jack Mcgarry has won international bartender of the year. The other, Sean Macmoon hails from one of the best cocktail bars in the world in Belfast. Mike stole my favorite drink at this one. We both love the Con Artist. Both for the name and the ingredients. 

 Images via @deadrabbitnyc

If you have time and care for such things and it's your first time in NY, make sure to walk through Times Square and hit the New York Museum of Modern Art. Then go drink and eat more at:

La Noxe. This place is a true speakeasy bar, with the door being found on the landing of a staircase that leads down to the 28th Street Subway station (1 Train Platform) and is almost hidden. The 15-seater operates as a counter coffee shop during the day and a cocktail lounge at night. The Acapulco El Dorado Ceviche is delicious and I had the Secret Garden ("of course," according to Mike), and Mike the Expresso Martini as he was being a tired boy by this time followed by some others ("of course".. HA). 


Images via @lanoxnyc 

Still hungry and need to pack it in to be ready for tomorrow? Soak up the booze with a Felafel or Swarma from: 

Mamoun's Falafel. Also in Greenwich village, Mamoun's Felafel is just delicious. Open late and super inexpensive, its the perfect place to finish off the day before passing out in your hotel (unless you are with your partner and still have energy for sexy times, Mike... ahem... did NOT)

Images via @mamounsfalafel/