Local's guide to New York
Forget about strolling Fifth Avenue or heading to the Empire State Building. Experience the Big Apple like a real New Yorker.
Start with brunch
Does your perfect brunch start with a glass of something special? Then head for Sotto 13, a chic little West Village venue, where you can wash down your Tuscan poached egg on rosemary focaccia with a range of classic cocktails. Alternatively, order the DIY prosecco tray, which teams a bottle of prosecco with a range of mixers, from fresh juices to candied ginger.
Now that’s a civilised way to ease into the day. For a quintessential New York experience, head to Russ and Daughters Café for classic Jewish dishes from potato latkes to knishes, served in a classic diner environment. Over in Brooklyn, Juliette is the place to head on a sunny day. Its roof garden is the best place to enjoy the banana-stuffed French toast.
Got some spare time?
New York has some of the most compelling museums on the planet. While everyone has been to MOMA and the Guggenheim, there are plenty of other stellar institutions to explore. Try the recently opened The Met Breuer, a Madison Avenue outpost of The Metropolitan Museum of Art that concentrates on modern and contemporary art. (Your entry ticket will also get you same-day admission to The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters.)
Another underrated option is the Brooklyn Museum. Start with the Egyptian collection, consisting of 4000 separate items, before checking out works by Monet, Degas and Rothko, as well as Judy Chicago’s iconic installation, The Dinner Party.
Brooklyn has plenty of happening neighbourhoods. What sets Prospect Heights apart is the way it melds old-school historic Brooklyn with a healthy dose of hipster vibe. Start by exploring some of the area’s big-ticket attractions, such as the lovely Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the gorgeous Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library.
Stroll the elegant avenues lined with brownstones, explore some of the many quirky boutiques and cafes. Don’t leave without browsing the area’s best bookshop,Unnameable Books on Vanderbilt Avenue, and treating yourself to an ice cream from Ample Hills.
Sit down dinners
It is officially the best restaurant in the world, but a meal at Eleven Madison Park will take a seriously heavy hit on your wallet. Fortunately, the team also runs a more affordable outlet, NoMad, housed in the lobby of the NoMad hotel. The go-to dish is the roast chicken for two, with foie gras stuffed under its skin.
For a more casual night out, La Vara in Brooklyn serves Moorish-inspired Spanish cuisine. From fried skate to salads popping with pomegranate and orange flavours, everything is delicious. The New York dining trend of the moment is gourmet food halls. One of the best is long-time favourite, the Chelsea Market. Top picks include the tacos at Los Tacos No. 1 and the super-spicy cumin lamb soup at Very Fresh Noodles.
There’s nowhere in New York quite like the Campbell Apartment. This semi-secret speakeasy is hidden away through a side door in Grand Central Station and is a favourite with New Yorkers.
On the Lower East Side, the Ludlow Bar in the Ludlow Hotel is a funky friendly space with comfy seating, a hip soundtrack and a pool table. In the mood for wine?
The no-frills Four Horsemen in Brooklyn has an impressive wine list that ranges all the way from Slovenia to the Barossa Valley, while the small plates are simply superb.
Places to stay
In New York, it’s all about choosing a location to match your mood. If you want to channel a Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibe, you can’t beat The Pierre on the Upper East Side, which has elegant art deco architecture, Central Park views and wood-panelled lifts complete with uniformed operators.
For a more modern take on luxury, Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel remains one of the best boutique lodgings in town. Each of the generously-sized rooms is individually decorated. Other pluses include a ryokan spa and a tranquil courtyard where you can order meals from the super Locanda Verde restaurant.
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