Yes, the lobby is ridiculous, but the Ace still remains the coolest option for lodging south of 34th street. Rooms are well-appointed, but small, and have Pendleton blankets and the occasional record player. The restaurants are decidedly meat-centric, except the No. 7 Sub—which slings a mean broccoli hero.
20 West 29th Street
From $329 per night
The rooms at the Refinery have fashion drawings on the wall. (Courtesy: The Refinery)
Old School Stay
Hit the Lowell on the Upper East Side and you’ll find yourself in a quiet neighborhood with all the creature comforts of home, as long as your home is in Greenwich, Connecticut. The rooftop is a lovely respite; dig the views from the bathtub in the larger rooms, the cushy furnishing, and the sumptuous bedding.
28 East 63rd Street
From $720 per night
Cross the River
Want a sweet view of Manhattan? The Wythe—from the team that created Brooklyn sensation Marlow & Sons—has all the rough luxe touches you’d expect from Brooklyn’s hottest hotel, located in Williamsburg, naturally. The rooftop here is mobbed on weekend nights, if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for.
80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn
From $325 per night
Under the Radar
A new addition to the NoMad area, the Refinery doesn’t have the name recognition of some of the bigger brands in the area, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent for guests. Playing on its Garment District roots, rooms feature fashion drawings on the wall, Wi-Fi, and all the mod cons.
63 West 38th Street
From $339 per night
Raw shellfish is a speciality at Charlie Bird. (Courtesy:Charlie Bird)
You have to respect a restaurant that prints a menu with a photo of the Wu-Tang Clan. Italian boîte Charlie Bird has become a downtown darling, thanks to a clamorous-yet-fun atmosphere and Italian-inspired dining. Go at off hours to avoid a wait; the steak and razor clams are must-haves.
5 King Street
Unlike Peter Luger, where there’s a bit too much attitude, Keens offers similarly beefy delights without the guff. There are hard-boiled eggs on offer at the bar, crudité in the form of carrot and celery slices with your meal, and a famed mutton chop on the menu that could fell a Teamster.
72 West 36th Street
Thanks to a heavy influx of Manhattan ex-pats, Park Slope is home to all sorts of restaurants that can work with precocious (or less so) palates. Celebrating a decade, Franny’s has wood-oven fired pizza to please the young ones, a respectably wine list for grownups, and is within walking distance of the Barclays Center.
348 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn
To sample the forefront of the Lower East Side dining experience, hit up Contra, which is doing brave things without the sticker shock of other tasting-menu-style restaurants. $55 will get you five courses of whatever tickles their fancy (usually something tasty, yet high concept, like pigeon served Peking duck style).
138 Orchard Street
A view of Manhattan taken from the Staten Island ferry. Photo: Melody Dunbar
Take a Cruise
The Circle Line is for suckers. Hit up the Staten Island ferry, which you can ride for the low low price of $0, gives you stellar views of downtown Manhattan and lets you peep the new ferry terminal at Whitehall. Some of the ferries are also known to sell beer.
Take the 1 train to South Ferry or the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green
A map of the different Brooklyn Flea Market locations.
It’s a classic for a reason; the American Museum of Natural History is going to please just about any dino-fan. There’s also butterflies and the Planetarium, with a show narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Is there anywhere in space he isn’t?
Central Park W and 79th St
The Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg offer aspiring hipsters a chance to sample a cornucopia of tasty treats—everything from lobster rolls to homemade pop tarts—along with tchotchkes of varying vintages. The ‘burg is on Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Brooklyn Bridge Park; the Flea spends Saturdays in Fort Greene.
East River State Park, Brooklyn
Sleek Nails done in sleek style at TenOverTen. (Courtesy: TenOverTen)
Treat Yo Self
TenOverTen may be New York’s sleekest mani-pedi locale. While it’s only a nail salon in title, each chair is custom made and customers even get their own iPad while they get their nails done. The salon also hosts events.
112 Reade St.
5 Things to Know
1. If you are flying into JFK, the AirTrain is a great alternative to a cab if you don’t mind the subway. Take it to Jamaica and transfer to the LIRR to Penn Station.
2. Keep to the right on the sidewalk unless you’re moving at a New York pace. If you’re struggling to find your way, you can always ask new Yorkers for directions; they love to show off.
3. Restaurant servers usually get 15-20 percent of the total bill in Manhattan. Bartenders get at least dollar a drink, even if it’s just a beer. In cabs, round up to the nearest dollar and add a few bucks on top.
4. Most locals wouldn’t be caught dead ordering a hot dog from a cart, but pizza by the slice is a totally different story. Duck into any spot for a decent slice; the joints on Bleecker Street are generally considered the pinnacle of the new York pizza pantheon.
5. Even in New York, it can be tough to find the perfect bagel. For a truly authentic experience, make the trip to Russ & Daughters (179 E. Houston St.) on a Sunday morning for an everything with lox—or caviar cream cheese.