A Local’s Guide to New York City

New York City is a place of extremes - an overload of diversity, energy, color, sights, sounds, smells, ideas, hopes and dreams. Though the city can be overwhelming, most people find themselves swept up by a huge rush of energy. Nowhere else will you feel this alive and inspired. I have lived in New York City for twenty years and each year I love it more. My favorite things? People watching and the endless variety of good food.

38 Mott St, New York, NY 10013, USA
The qi pao dress, also known as a cheong sam, is a long, form-fitting Chinese gown that became popular in 1920s Shanghai. New Age Designer on Mott Street in Chinatown sells off-the-rack dresses as well as custom dresses for weddings and parties. Founded in 1976 by Susan Ding, New Age Designer uses a team of Shanghai tailors to create the famous silk dresses with the dramatic high-cut openings. The store also sells ladies shirts and jackets, clothing for men and children, and items for the home (pillowcases, fabrics, curtains). Browse through racks of Chinese silk and brocade in a vibrant array of colors and beading to create a dress that is guaranteed to fit you perfectly. I should know - I changed into a custom red cheong sam at my wedding. Custom dresses take six weeks for delivery and start at $350. Hand-beaded dresses start at $600. 38 Mott Street, New York, NY
Baxter St, New York, NY 10013, USA
Flee the crowds in central Chinatown for an authentic and inexpensive Vietnamese or Thai meal on Baxter Street, which is lined with several eateries. Here on this quiet side street, no-frill restaurants are filled with locals enjoying flavorful “pho” beef noodle soup, summer rolls, barbecued pork and other specialties. The smell of mint, basil, and jasmine rice hits your senses when you walk in the door. Not much to say about the decor, but service is quick and a huge bowl of steaming pho noodle soup averages $6 or $7. Restaurants include Nha Trang One, Thai Son and Pho Pasteur. If you are looking for “xiao long bao” or savory “soup dumplings”, try Joe’s Ginger on nearby 25 Pell Street.
2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024, USA
Every New Yorker knows Zabar’s, an Upper West Side institution. The specialty food market was founded in the 1930s by Louis and Lillian Zabar; today’s store is nearly a block long and serves 35,000 customers weekly. Bagels, lox, smoked fish, gourmet cheese, bread, global coffees, knishes, chocolate rugalach, spreads and pates, seafood salads, prepared foods—it’s a true New York historical food experience with much more personality than newer upscale gourmet shops such as Dean & Deluca or Whole Foods. Grab a bagel, lox, and coffee to go, then walk two blocks west to a bench in Riverside Park for a picnic overlooking the Hudson River.
200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, USA
Simply walking into Global Table is a happy experience - you are greeted by a overflowing array of table top and home accessories in vivid colors, graphic patterns and clean, modern shapes. If you are having a bad day, this store is a wonderful antidote because you can’t help but have your mood lifted by the cheerful products on display. Nathalie Smith, a former fashion stylist and editor, handpicks items from around the world and from American artisans. Locals, stylists and interior designers flock to Global Table for its colorful glassware, hand-glazed ceramics, letterpress stationery, sea urchin votives, ikat pillows, maritime-themed plates, rosewood serving utensils and much, much more. It’s a perfect place to find beautiful, affordable and useful gifts. Global Table is located on the Upper West Side (pictured) and in Soho. 471 Amsterdam Avenue and 107 Sullivan Street www.globaltable.com
200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010, USA
There are now 35 locations of Eataly, the massive Italian food hall, around the world, with 18 of them in Italy itself. The New York City one at Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, which opened in 2010, was the first in the United States (it’s been joined by others in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as by a second outpost in Manhattan, near the World Trade Center site at 101 Liberty Street). For connoisseurs of all things Italian, this is a must-visit—or, more accurately, a must-shop and must-eat stop. Covering more than 50,000 square feet, Eataly NYC Flatiron includes five different restaurants (plus occasional pop-ups) offering opportunities to graze on antipasti, fish, pizza, and other dishes. A popular rooftop beer hall is open all year round (thanks to space heaters and a retractable roof). While you will want to eat your gelato on the spot, there are also a number of stores where you can buy gifts from biscotti to olive oils to take home a little bit of Italy via New York.
18 Cornelia St #1, New York, NY 10014, USA
Authentic, savory, seasonal Provencal bistro dishes. Warm and welcoming service from familiar faces. A cozy atmosphere in a jewel box of a dining room. These are the reasons why I have come back to Le Gigot again and again over the years. The restaurant is located on Cornelia Street in the West Village, close to cafes and lots of shopping (including Book Book and Murray’s Cheese on Bleeker Street). Cornelia is a quiet nook of a street in a busy neighborhood. Walk through the doors of Le Gigot, take a seat at the zinc bar or one of the velvet banquettes, and order a glass of wine. Immediate relaxation. It is a wonderful space for a quiet romantic dinner or a small family get-together, and the food is consistently excellent. Oysters, gigot d’agneau (leg of lamb), boeuf bourguignon, crab cakes, steak au poivre—it’s all good!
154 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014, USA
Three Lives bookstore in the historic West Village caters to serious book-lovers. The individually owned store and its employees are warm and full of character—it feels like you wandered into your best friend’s (large) library in which you could sit down and read in a quiet corner for hours. It’s literary and high-brow, yet humble, lived-in, and down-to-earth. In 1991, the Greenwich Village Historical Society recognized Three Lives as a “pocket of civility.” In the era of large chain stores and online sellers, Three Lives is the corner meeting place for local bookworms. The store also hosts intimate readings. The list of past speakers speaks volumes—Jonathan Franzen, Toni Morrison, Michael Cunningham, Julian Barnes, Maya Angelou, Kazuo Ishiguro, William Kennedy, and Raymond Carver to name just a few. The staff here is extremely knowledgeable. If you ask one of the sellers for a recommendation, chances are it will be original, thought-provoking and worthwhile. There is more than enough for any reader here—you’ll find the classics and the best of the latest releases.
Old Dock St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
You know a carousel must be quite special if it is the first to make the National Register of Historic Places. Jane’s Carousel, located in Brooklyn Bridge Park in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, is truly unique. The fully-restored antique carousel from 1922 with 48 beautifully carved and painted wooden horses and 1,200 lights sits on the edge of the East River, nestled between the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg Bridges. In addition, the Carousel is housed in a modern glass pavilion designed by Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel. The carousel originated in Ohio. In 1984, it was purchased and brought to Brooklyn for two decades of careful restoration before the pavillion opened to the public in 2011. The carousel is the perfect resting spot after walking over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan. Release your inner child with a ride on the carousel ($2/ticket) and marvel in the breathtaking 180-degree views of Manhattan. Afterwards, hit Grimaldi’s Pizzeria up the block or the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, located in a nearby landmark fireboat house. And on weekends in the warm months, visit Smorgasburg, a Brooklyn Flea Food Market with 100 vendors. www.janescarousel.com
115 South St, New York, NY 10038, USA
A curated collection of over 450 artisinal wines and spirits. Rustic chic decor created by a former interior designer with his wife, a former Martha Stewart Living editor. A Hurricane Sandy survivor in the South Street Seaport neighborhood. Pasanella was enjoying brisk business when Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012. Despite enlisting the help of an army of friends to move bottles upstairs to their apartment, Marco Pasanella and Rebecca Robertson still lost half of their inventory when the waterfront store flooded with over six feet of water. They reopened in January 2013, but in a devastated neighborhood where only a handful of businesses were able to survive. For locals and tourists, though, this wine store is absolutely worth a special trip. The knowledgeable and friendly staff are there to guide your selections. The store sells everything from small boutique labels to big name wines to bottles under $15. Pasanella has also created some fun themed shopping packages such as “Just Got A Raise”, “The Basic Bar”, “Wine Staples”, “Living Large” and more. I love the decor - simple, creative and beautifully styled. The centerpiece is a vintage Fiat. There is also a lovely tasting room in the back with 13-foot ceilings, wood beams, and exposed brick walls that opens up to a small, lovely garden for private events, weddings, corporate parties and seminars.
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Of the various abbreviations for different neighborhoods in New York, DUMBO wins the prize for cutest: It stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. It is a little off the beaten path, though you may find yourself here if you have strolled over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, or were just touring Brooklyn Heights and kept walking north. Its streets offer some iconic images, with the piers of the Manhattan Bridge looming at the end of streets lined with 19th-century warehouses. It is also home to St. Ann’s Warehouse (45 Water St.), one of the city’s most innovative theater venues, and a number of restaurants and bars. If you are exploring with kids in tow, you may want to stop at Jane’s Carousel, a restored 1922 merry-go-round in a pavilion designed by French architect Jean Nouvel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Afterward, stop at Jacques Torres Chocolate (66 Water St.) for a cup of his signature hot chocolate.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, New York, NY 10128, USA
Central Park is a perfect urban oasis that in many ways represents the heart of New York City. Convenient location, lush natural beauty, and the diversity of people and activities is why it is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. And if you are a runner, there is almost nowhere more exhilarating and fun to run than Central Park. Built in 1862 as a backup water supply for NYC, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1993. Today it is encircled by a 1.58-mile cinder pedestrian pathway - a favorite of runners, and also walkers, tourists and photography buffs. Featured in many movies and television shows, the reservoir offers perfect views of the Upper West Side, Upper East Side and Central Park South skylines. If you’re more ambitious try my favorite route - the 6-mile, paved Central Park “loop” that takes you through the entire park, passing by Tavern on the Green, Sheep Meadow field, the Time Warner towers, Central Park Carousel, Central Park Boathouse and the Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums. You can also experience the last four miles of the NYC Marathon by entering the loop at East 90th Street and running clockwise until you cross the “finish line” at Tavern on the Green. If six miles is too long, you can create shorter paths by cutting across various transverses in the park. There are water fountains and small food vendors in the park, too. Tip: try to run when the loop is closed to traffic (weekends and weekdays outside of rush hours).
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA
The Met’s rooftop terrace, open from May to late fall, is a delightful spot for a breath of fresh air. Visitors are treated to unobstructed panoramic views of NYC’s skyline and Central Park’s lush treetops. The cafe serves wine, beer, specialty drinks, coffee, soft drinks, light snacks, and desserts to pick you up after hours of art and culture. The terrace also features an annual single-artist installation. Past years have included art from Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Frank Stella, and Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi. To visit the rooftop, look for the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries.
89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, USA
The Grand Central Oyster Bar celebrates its 100th anniversary this year as a New York institution. Located in the lower concourse of Grand Central, it serves over 25 varieties of oysters daily. There is a huge menu of American seafood—chowder, fried clams, lobster rolls, clams casino—whatever you are looking for, they will have it. The Oyster Bar is also famous for its architecture—the beautiful arched tile ceilings are the hallmark of famed Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino, who left his unique stamp across NYC. Take your pick from three different seating areas: a series of old-fashioned, U-shaped counters which seem to be popular with tourists and locals; the oyster bar, which would be perfect for singles or those dining in pairs; and the saloon-type restaurant in the back, popular with the business crowd. Wherever you are sitting, it will be bustling with activity. While there are several other oyster bars in the city, the Grand Central Oyster Bar offers a piece of New York history. It’s like stepping back in time, a retro celebration of old Americana that generations of locals, tourists and travelers have visited over the years. My suggestion is to stop in for fresh oysters and cold beer at the bar.
119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019, USA
One of the best-kept secrets in NYC (secret from tourists, that is) is the Burger Joint. The entrance is almost completely hidden behind floor-to-ceiling, Oz-like velvet curtains in the lobby of the upscale Thompson Central Park hotel. The Burger Joint is the exact opposite of what you’d expect to find in a luxury hotel - this no-frills dive features graffiti covered wood paneling, cheap vinyl seats and a cluttered, shack-like environment. It’s a tiny, hole-in-the-wall spot for burger enthusiasts.

Go for the fun, offbeat experience of it and order their signature burger “with the works” and crispy fries. It’s a cheap thrill - burgers are about $8 - but go off-hours otherwise you’ll stand in line.

(Another alternative is to call ahead for pick up.)

Also, cash only! 119 West 56th Street
56 Beaver Street
Delmonico’s, which sits on a distinctive triangle-shaped corner near Wall Street, opened in 1837 as the first fine dining restaurant in the U.S. It was the first establishment to have a printed menu, separate tables, and tablecloths, and it was the first restaurant that allowed women to congregate as a group. It has invented famous classics such as Delmonico Steak, Eggs Benedict, Baked Alaska and Lobster Newburg. Entering from the streets of the financial district, you step into a different era. This is serious old-school dining in a landmark steakhouse. Mahogany coffered walls, fancy chandeliers and roaring 20’s-era murals seem to scream for a cold martini and a rare steak. Morgan, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller - they all passed through here in their time. It’s pricey, so save this for a special occasion and find a quiet time to visit. 56 Beaver Street www.delmonicosny.com
1 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040, USA
New Leaf Restaurant & Bar is an upscale eatery located in NYC’s Fort Tryon Park. Perched on one of the highest points in Manhattan, the 67-acre park features pristine views over the Hudson River. New Leaf is a wonderful dining option if you are visiting the park or its crown jewel, The Cloisters, the world-famous museum devoted to medieval art and architecture. The restaurant is housed in what was formerly a food concession facility from the 1930s. A renovation in 2001 enhanced the natural beauty of the cottage’s cobblestone exterior, 18-foot high ceilings and shaded outdoor patio. The food is fresh, seasonal and modern American cuisine - a top-notch Ceasar salad, plus Maryland crab cakes, hickory bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, ricotta ravioli and more. The non-profit restaurant benefits the New York Restoration Project - all proceeds support a cleaner, greener New York City. So feel good while eating well! www.newleafrestaurant.com
99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040, USA
The Cloisters, a museum devoted to medieval art and architecture, is a delightful respite from the hustle and bustle of NYC. This tranquil treasure is definitely worth a half day (or more) trip on your next visit. A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters opened in 1938 and is located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan. Perched on a towering cliff, the museum offers commanding views over the Hudson River to New Jersey and the George Washington Bridge. The buildings include elements from medieval sites from Europe (primarily France) and renowned artwork includes the Unicorn Tapestries and the Annunciation Triptych, but the heart of the museum is the cloistered garden. This lush space consists of an interior courtyard surrounded by covered walkways. The flowering garden within invites contemplation and appreciation of a different time. The Cloisters includes a broad terrace with expansive views across the Hudson. The view is so prized that in 1901, J.P. Morgan purchased 12 miles of the New Jersey coastline to protect it from excessive quarrying and in 1933 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated 700 additional acres of NJ to preserve The Cloisters’ view. Be sure to include time in your visit to explore beautiful Fort Tryon Park.
271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014, USA
I have eaten a lot of pizza in my time, but Kesté is different. It’s been been firing up serious, foodie-level delicious pizza on Bleecker Street since 2009. Owner Roberto Caporuscio was born and raised outside Naples, Italy, where he studied the art of pizza making with the masters. His pizzeria has won accolades from national food critics, as well as pizza lovers. The 950-degree oven turns out perfectly-cooked pizzas—with bubbling, chewy, slightly burned crusts—in less than two minutes. The wide-ranging menu covers traditional pizzas, gluten-free options, panini (lunch only), and creative pies, including: Pistacchio e Salsiccia (pistachio pesto, sausage, pecorino romano, homemade buffalo mozzarella, basil); Pizza del Papa (butternut squash cream, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, imported smoked buffalo mozzarella); and Sorrentina (imported smoked buffalo mozzarella, sliced lemons, basil). My favorite is Salciccia e Friarielli (broccoli rabe and sausage with imported smoked mozzarella). The slight bitterness of the greens, the hearty sausage, and the smoky, creamy cheese on their trademark crust smells, looks, and tastes heavenly.
Riverside, Dr To Broadway, New York, NY 10040, USA
Fort Tryon Park is a jewel. Much more off the beaten path for tourists and even locals, the 67-acre park is located in far northern Manhattan on towering cliffs with panoramic views of the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge, and the New Jersey Palisades. The park’s pedigree features impressive lineage. It was named after the last British governor of colonial New York and was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., whose father was the architect of NYC’s beloved Central Park. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the land in 1917 and gifted it to New York City in 1931. Due to its secluded location, there are far less crowds than other parks. Visitors can luxuriate in quiet corners and tranquility as they stretch their legs. This is the perfect spot for a (hilly) bike ride, run, stroll or walk. Be sure to visit the overflowing Heather Garden and the shaded views from Linden Terrace. The park also has two dog runs, world-famous medieval museum The Cloisters, and upscale eatery New Leaf Restaurant & Bar.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art—or, commonly, the Met—is one of the world’s great museums, alongside the Louvre, the British Museum, and a handful of others. It would be easy to devote an entire week’s visit to the museum alone, and realistically you probably won’t get far beyond a few exhibitions and galleries at one shot. The Costume Institute’s temporary shows are always popular, while others will (like the museum itself) focus on a range of regions and periods—at any one time there may be temporary exhibitions on an Italian Renaissance painter, miniatures from Mughal India, and Polynesian carvings. The Temple of Dendur, a roughly 43' x 21' x 16' temple that dates to around 15 B.C.E. and was given by the government of Egypt to the United States in 1967, is one of the museum’s most photographed (and Instagrammed) works. The 34 period rooms, including a 12th-century cloister, English parlor and a Shaker “retiring” room, are among the museum’s other highlights. On summer evenings, site-specific installations make the rooftop terrace is a favorite place for drinks. The general admission of $25 for adults, $12 for students, and $17 for seniors is a suggested one for New York residents, as well as students from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Whatever you pay also includes same-day entry to The Met Cloisters.
New York, NY, USA
Manhattan can, famously, feel like endless rows of apartment blocks and office towers for most of its length. At least above 14th Street, a regular grid of streets and avenues, bisected only by Broadway, has transformed the city into a dream for real estate developers. The green spaces interrupting the pattern—Union Square, Gramercy Park, Madison Square Park—are few and far between, with one enormous exception: Central Park. Running from 59th Street to 110th Street, and between Central Park West (Eighth Avenue) and Fifth Avenue, it is one of the world’s largest urban parks, measuring some 843 acres. It is the masterpiece of the 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted working in collaboration with Calvert Vaux. Inside its borders are stately allées and naturalistic scenes, ice-skating rinks (in the winter), an enormous reservoir, and a faux castle. The park is hugely popular, and so to call it an escape from the bustle of the city is often not accurate, especially on mild summer days and the first warm ones in the spring when thousands of residents head to its playing fields, bike and run along the road that loops the park, and enjoy picnics on the Sheep Meadow or one of its other lawns.
210 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA
For much of its history, the western edges of Manhattan neighborhoods like the West Village and Chelsea consisted of small manufacturing buildings and warehouses that served the piers on the Hudson River. Over time, those factories were replaced with residential developments, and shipping largely moved out to Brooklyn and New Jersey. What remained, however, was an abandoned light-rail line, located above street level. After 10 years of lobbying the city, state, and federal governments, the first section of the High Line park opened in 2009. It now extends for 1.45 miles, from Gansevoort Street in the south to 34th Street at its other end. An innovative design by James Corner Field Operations uses native species to preserve some of the feeling the old rail line had when it was overgrown with weeds. It has quickly become one of New York’s most popular attractions, both with residents and visitors who stroll the length of it, as well as a model for other cities attempting to find new uses for old infrastructure.
299 Broadway, Suite 620, New York, NY 10007, USA
If you are looking for a fun, buzzing eating scene in the Wall Street area, this is it. Stone Street is a narrow, cobblestone street lined with restaurants and bars and filled with outdoor, communal tables. During lunch on nice days, an energetic crowd of casual business types from the Wall Street area fill the alley with loud laughter and clinking glasses. And after work—especially on Wednesday and Thursday nights—it’s a busy social scene. Stone Street was the first paved street in NYC. It starts at Hanover Square (off William Street 2 blocks south of Wall Street). Look for the imposing brownstone India House with the famous Harry’s Bar in the basement and walk around the building. Directions may sound complicated, but once you get in the area, follow the buzz of the crowd or ask one of the locals. About ten years ago, this historic corridor had a $2 million restoration of its cobblestone streets and vintage lamp posts, which helped usher in the new restaurants and the young crowds. Popular eateries include Adrienne’s Pizza Bar, Vintry Wine & Whisky and Ulysses Pub. Also on this street is Harry’s; opened in 2006, it is a new generation offshoot of the historic Harry’s at Hanover, a high-profile eatery in the financial district from 1972 to 2003. Food festivals also attract a hungry crowd. Look for Stone Street Fest in May and the Oyster Festival in September.
476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, USA
The main branch of the New York Public Library is one of the country’s grandest Beaux Arts buildings, a temple to learning on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. At the end of the 19th century, John Bigelow, who oversaw the Tilden Trust, decided that as New York was becoming a global financial capital, it required a grand public library. When the Astor and Lenox libraries faced financial difficulties, he convinced them to merge and, with the Tilden Trust, underwrite the library that now stands next to Bryant Park. The firm of Carrère and Hastings was entrusted with the design, and construction began in 1902 on the building that would be the largest marble structure built up to that time in the United States. The elegant main reading room with its soaring carved-wood ceilings is the highlight of its interiors. The library hosts temporary exhibitions related to literary and cultural topics that draw on its extensive collection of books and other printed materials. The two beloved lions in Tennessee marble—Patience and Fortitude—have stood at the entrance to the library since it opened in 1911 and were created by sculptor Edward Clark Potter.
57 Stone St, New York, NY 10004, USA
Vintry is a small, cozy bar and restaurant in lower Manhattan. It provides a welcome counterpoint to the larger gathering spaces in the Wall Street area - it has the vibe of a discreet speak-easy. Vintry specializes in artisan producers of whisky and wine - they have carefully selected an interesting group of handcrafted libations. There are 80 wines from France, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. available in a “tasting” size, glass or bottle, plus hundreds of other wines by the bottle. There are also 100 whiskeys. Vintry’s specialties are cocktails from the house mixologist featuring homemade bitters and syrups. I don’t consider myself a whiskey drinker, but I absolutely loved the Gingerade, a shaken cocktail made with 13 Jameson black barrel Irish whiskey, fresh ginger extract, fresh squeezed lemon juice, fresh lime, Peychaud’s bitter, cane solution and ginger ale. It was ice cold, crisp, slightly sweet with a subtle twist of ginger and lime. DELICIOUS. This warm, dark, welcoming bar is easily the type of place where you can pass a good amount of time before realizing it. Vintry also has nicely prepared food - along the lines of veal meatballs and lamb ragu - to accompany its wine and whiskey list.
377 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024, USA
If you need a sugar fix after hours in Central Park or the Museum of Natural History with the kids, try Sugar & Plumm, a sweets store and bistro on the Upper West Side. Outside, the store beckons with its sweet colors and whimsical decor. Inside, it is a high-end mash up of Willy Wonka, Candyland and Dylan’s Candy Bar. Here you will find a varied choice of desserts, all of which are guaranteed to entice kids (and adults with a sweet tooth) - homemade French macarons, cookies, cakes, all-natural chocolates, ice cream, smoothies, sundaes and sorbets all made daily. There is a sit-down bistro, but your best bet is to buy something at the takeout counter and take a leisurely walk in the neighborhood - better for your wallet and your waistline! Sugar & Plumm’s flagship store is located on Amsterdam Avenue, with a smaller store on Bleeker Street in the Village. www.sugarandplumm.com 377 Amsterdam Avenue (at 78th Street) 257 Bleecker Street
31 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA
It is really hard to walk past a cute bakery like Ovenly without going in. Pretty decor plus shelves and glass jars filled with homemade treats just catch my curiosity everytime. Plus, there is something very comforting about biting into a scone with a just-right crust or a gooey cookie with a hint of salty and sweet. So imagine my delight when I discovered Ovenly, on a quiet, industrial street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I tried a Cheddar Mustard Scone baked with locally-made wholegrain mustard and sharp cheddar, a Chocolate Truffle Cookie enhanced with sea salt, and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. Next time I’ll be sure to try the Apricot Thyme Scone, Black Caraway Bread, and Spicy Bacon Caramel Popcorn, which sounds so wrong it must be right. Ovenly was just named Best New Bakery by Time Out New York. Owner/bakers Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin are young Brooklynites who infuse their treats with traditions from their Eastern European backgrounds. Grab some pastries, then stroll around the other independently owned boutiques and cafes in downtown Greenpoint.
103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA
These days, wandering the Lower East Side (the area between the Bowery and the East River, with Houston Street marking its northern border and Canal Street its southern one), it can feel impossible to recall that this neighborhood was once among the city’s most overcrowded, teeming with immigrants. Its streets were filled with Germans, Greeks, Hungarians, Poles, Slovaks, and other Europeans newly arrived in the United States, including a significant Jewish population. Today, boutiques and bars cater to gentrifiers, much of the population is Puerto Rican or Dominican, and the few traces of that earlier era are hard to find—the facades of Yiddish theaters and synagogues that have long since closed. The Tenement Museum on Orchard Street is dedicated to assuring that period of the city’s past is not lost forever. On each floor of the restored tenement building, the lives of some of its former occupants are brought to life, from the German saloon owners on the first floor to the Jewish immigrants who occupied the top one. Docents in character and costume help to make the stories of those immigrants personal. The museum also organizes walking tours of the Lower East Side and offers talks on the district’s history.
712 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019, USA
Henri Bendel is a small luxury department store located in what was originally three townhouses on Fifth Avenue. The building - which features Lalique windows, a grand circular staircase, high ceilings and marble floors - inspired Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to petition the city of New York to grant official landmark status in the 1990s. Founded in 1895 by Henri Bendel, the exclusive store has catered over the years to everyone from society ladies to young trendsetters. Whether you are in the mood to shop or just browse, Henri Bendel is a delightful riot of color and sparkle. You are greeted by fanciful fashion jewelry; candy-colored handbags; luscious candles; polished hair accessories; and high-end cosmetics, all displayed to perfection. Serious, over-the-top “eye candy”. Price points vary to suit almost all budgets. Wander to the second floor for seasonal accessories (beach wear or winter knits), more jewelry, plus an enormous array of scarves, sunglasses, coffee table books, and more handbags. Lingerie on the third floor. www.henribendel.com 712 Fifth Avenue (at 56th Street)
54 Pearl Street
Want to eat where a historic event of the American Revolution took place? Try Fraunces Tavern in downtown New York City. After defeating the British, it was here that George Washington gathered his officers for a farewell speech before heading back to his family home, Mount Vernon. Built by a French merchant family in 1719, Samuel Fraunces bought the building in 1762 and opened a tavern. The museum today includes four 19th century buildings, in addition to the original 18th century house. Fraunces Tavern is now a restaurant and museum devoted to pre-Revolution and American Revolution history. It is also an official NYC Landmark. Go to experience a unique piece of history, then enjoy a hearty meal or a single malt in the tavern or one of the newer buildings (above). www.frauncestavern.com 54 Pearl Street
2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022, USA
The King Cole Bar is about as legendary as any bar in New York. Located in the St. Regis Hotel at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, it has been the place to go for a cocktail since it opened in 1932—Salvador Dalí, John Lennon, and Marilyn Monroe are just a few from a long list of famous names who have dropped in for a drink. The bar sits off the St. Regis New York’s lobby and is presided over by the famous King Cole mural painted by Maxfield Parrish, with John Jacob Astor IV playing the part of the king, jesters to each side of him. Today it is still the ultimate setting to start a celebratory evening, or end one with a nightcap; it cemented its place on most lists of New York’s top bars with an extensive renovation in 2013. While the bartenders can prepare anything you might be in the mood for, you may want to order a Bloody Mary. The King Cole Bar boasts that it was the first spot where the drink (then known as a Red Snapper) was served in the United States (a claim, it should be noted, that is disputed by some other bars).
225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
The JP Morgan Library’s grand, old-world elegance immediately transports you to turn-of-the-century New York. And at that time, there was almost no one more powerful than financier JP Morgan. He launched U.S. Steel and even served as the unofficial central bank of the U.S. for a time. Though some considered him a national hero, his tight control of banks, corporations and railroads led others to label him one of the original “robber barons.” Morgan was an avid collector of art and books with holdings so vast they were housed at multiple locations in New York and England. Eventually, he decided to consolidate his holdings in a huge library next to his mansion in NYC. Designed by renowned architect Charles McKim and completed in 1906, the Italian Renaissance palazzo-style library holds a staggering collection of illuminated books, historical manuscripts, and old master drawings. The library is rightfully considered McKim’s masterpiece—a majestic, soaring space which is both intimate and warm. It features 30-foot ceilings, three tiers of bronze and walnut bookcases, stained glass, a huge marble fireplace and grand tapestries. Also visit Mr. Morgan’s study, with its red silk damask walls and antique wooden ceiling brought over from Florence. The library is off the typical tourist’s radar. Imagine yourself as Morgan in your private quarters, reveling in the power and wealth at your command.
1 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023, USA
The Leopard at des Artistes is more than a restaurant. It’s an Upper West Side landmark, a Manhattan treasure and genuine New York classic. It was once Cafe des Artistes, a restaurant where luminaries from the worlds of art, politics and publishing dined in secluded elegance, surrounded by naked nymphs - each one painted in 1937 by Howard Chandler Christy in the glowing murals that line the dining room to this day. A lot has changed in 97 years behind the doorway at One West 67th Street that now welcomes you into The Leopard. In 1917 the restaurant catered exclusively to artists who lived in the building above - Norman Rockwell, Rudolf Valentino and Isadora Ducan were among its original clientele. But after a renovation in 1975, Cafe des Artistes became a dining destination for the Who’s Who of media - Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Peter Jennings and more dined in the soft-lit, intimate restaurant on a regular basis. With the arrival in 2011 of new owners, Gianfranco and Paula Bolla-Sorrentino and Chef Vito Gnazzo, a new dining experience was introduced to One West 67th Street. Celebrity is no longer a must for a table in this illustrious space (although you will see many here). What you discover on the other side of a door framed by velvet drapes is a classic, elegant setting where the center of attention is you and Southern Italian cuisine prepared with joy and genius. Bossa Nova and jazz set the mood. This is a restaurant that whispers, “Welcome to the real New York.”
170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, USA
Storico is truly a hidden gem in New York City - a one-of-a-kind, beautiful eatery in a historic museum on the Upper West Side, just steps from Central Park. The newly-renovated New-York Historical Society is located on Central Park West and 76th Street (next to the Museum of Natural History). Chef Matthew Oetting and restaurateur Stephen Starr (Morimoto, Buddakan) deliver beautifully-plated, seasonal antipasti, cicchetti (small plates), handmade pastas, panini and hearty entrees. A recent menu included panzanella salad, pappardelle with duck ragu, frutti di mare bucatini, and roasted organic chicken with oyster mushrooms. Soaring 15-foot high ceilings, shelves lined with white antique dishes, abundant sunlight and bright yellow seating make this one of the cheeriest cafes I’ve seen. The decor and the flavorful food makes for a memorable meal. Eating at Storico does not require admission to the museum, but I highly recommend a few hours educating yourself on the remarkable history of New York City. The museum is a manageable size and not very crowded, which makes for an enjoyable, leisurely visit.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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