Jamie Ritchie’s perfect weekend in New York

The British-born head of Sotheby’s global wine business oversaw a record $100m-worth of wine sales last year at auctions in London, New York and Hong Kong. He has lived in New York with his family since 1995

Jamie Ritchie by the Hudson River with his Brompton bike
Jamie Ritchie by the Hudson River with his Brompton bike | Image: Stefan Ruiz

“I’d love to be the sort of person who has a lie-in at the weekend, but I’m usually up by 7am whether I like it or not. I’ll check my emails and then go for a run in Central Park. I often listen to a podcast – Desert Island Discs or FT Start-Up Stories, programmes about engaging people doing interesting things.

On the way back I’ll buy breakfast from Miss Madeleine, a little family-run place around the corner from our apartment. My wife Manou loves a pain au chocolat, my daughter Ella likes a baguette, my son Archie has chouquettes – puffed pastry balls with sugar on top –and I have the standard croissant. 

Then we’ll all go for a bike ride – I take my Brompton – down the West Side Highway, which runs right along the Hudson River. It feels like all of New York is hanging out there. One of my favourite spots for lunch is Grand Banks, a seafood bar on an old wooden schooner. I’ll have something simple, like a lobster roll and a glass of sancerre. I’m often running an auction on Saturday afternoon. Ella – who does a lot of acting, like I did when I was young – will sometimes come and do a lot. Being an auctioneer is a performance.  

It’s not a very “American” thing to do, but Manou and I love having dinner parties and I’ll go to Di Palo’s deli in Little Italy for cheese, olive oil and prosciutto. It’s run by two brothers and a sister who insist that you sample everything. It can be tough to get good fruit and veg in Manhattan, so I’ll make the effort to go to the Greenmarket on Union Square. 

I get my wine from Sotheby’s wine store at our HQ on the Upper East Side, or Chambers Street Wines – it’s run by smart people with interesting stuff. I’ll serve champagne to start – either Krug or Louis Roederer. Then it’s two wines per course, served blind initially – it’s such a great way to find out what you actually like. I’ll finish with dessert wine and a Partagás Serie D No 4 cigar, so it’s late by the time we go to bed.

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On Sunday morning, we might all play tennis in Central Park, or I’ll play Real Tennis at the Racquet & Tennis Club on Park Avenue. Real Tennis courts are smaller, with sloping roofs, and you play with a heavier ball and racket. It’s one of the few games where you get better the older you get – it’s all about strategy.  

I often eat at extraordinary places for work, so I like simple food at the weekend. We’ll go to Pasquale Jones for wood-fired pizzas and a glass from its inspired wine list. Then maybe we’ll go to an exhibition – we love the American art collection at the Whitney – then walk the nearby High Line to the end. You always see something that’s quirky or makes you smile. 

My memories of Sunday nights in England are all about feeling sad and eating miserable things like scrambled eggs. So for me it’s important that Sunday night is enjoyable. If Manou and I are going to a restaurant, we like to be a bit more casual and sit at the bar. The best place for that is Michael White’s Italian restaurant Marea on Central Park South, which does fantastic crudo and pasta. 

After dinner, I’ll watch sport on  TV. I was a tennis and cricket scholar at Millfield School, so I love the tennis but I’ll watch NFL, golf – whatever’s going. I’ll check in with the markets in Hong Kong. I might read for a bit – I’m currently reading AA Gill, who makes me cry with laughter. When my head hits the pillow, I’m gone.”

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