New York can be a little overwhelming—to put it lightly—every time we visit there’s a new slew of must see and dos. To make your next Gotham sojourn little easier, our WLU correspondent on the ground has rounded up some of the best (mostly downtown) places to dine, drink, stay and explore in the world’s most frenzied, roiling metropolis.
At 11 Howard. Voted by British Vogue as the best boutique stay for “a lighter conscience,” this chic downtown lodging has partnered with the Global Poverty Project, and donates a portion of your room rate if you book direct. After a long day shopping, unwind in their in-house infrared spa, HigherDOSE or visit Le Coucou, one of NYC’s most loved (and hard to get into) restaurants for a drink or a bite to eat.
Lunch is done best at Loring Place (you’ll find it on 8th Street in Greenwich Village), helmed by former ABC Kitchen chef Dan Kluger. Take it from Grub Street whiz Adam Platt and go all out: “frittatas piled with crispy fried oysters, great hubcap-size stacks of Cheddar-laced waffles garnished with smoked ham.” Divine. In the evening, make a reservation at the casual-chic (and deliberately elusive) 49 Monroe, a greenhouse-like haven serving Southern European and Mediterranean fare in Two Bridges. It’s the latest venture from the team behind Division Street’s Kiki’s and Forgetmenot.
Spend hours scouring the city’s best purveyors of rare art, fashion and photography literature (nothing feels as wonderful as packing your suitcase with books). In the East Village, head to Mast Books on Avenue A for new and secondhand gems, be it Mark Borthwick’s latest photobook, or a history-in-cuttings of Joy Division and New Order. Nearby—down a discreet flight of stairs—is Dashwood Books, New York’s only independent bookstore dedicated entirely to photography. They import limited press runs from Japan, Germany and The Netherlands, as well as self-published artist titles. If you’re still hungry for exceptional art-in-print, the iconic Printed Matter, now on 231 11th Avenue, is your best bet.
For a simple, Instagram-worthy morning feast, try the wildly-popular Atla in NoHo, which serves heartwarming brunch fare until 4pm—from mussels a la tumbada to guacamole goat cheese toast. At lunchtime, descend the winding black-marble staircase at Satsuki on 47th Street off sixth avenue, a ten-seat upmarket dining counter serving classic delicacies like sliced clam and eggy tamago. In the evening, keep it timeless: take a ticket and wait for a tiny table at cheap-and-cheerful dim sum parlor Nom Wah (or its newest, less busy version: Nom Wah Tu).
Few cities do great museums like New York, and New Museum on Bowery—which recently celebrated 40 years with 40 talks by the city’s art greats, old and emerging—is one of its finest. Coming soon is a solo show by LA-and-Amsterdam-based Nathaniel Mellors, abounding with new works in his trademark absurdist satire. Afterwards, head to LES’ ever-experimental Canada NYC, or to David Zwirner’s spaces on 19th, 20th and 69th street.
At The Whitby, a contemporary art and design hotel two blocks from Central Park, and close to MoMA. (So good it deserves two nights.) Each of the 86 bedrooms and suites has been individually designed by Kit Kemp, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows, ideal for soaking up Manhattan’s skyline.
Embrace traditional American fare with a diner breakfast—our pick is Remedy on East Houston, where fluffy pancakes are stacked high, and no-fuss cups of black coffee are refilled before you can ask. (If you’re in the mood for bagels, Manhattan’s best are still found close by at Russ & Daughters. Make sure yours is smeared with caviar cream cheese.) Round off a bread-filled day with dinner at Meir Adoni’s new Middle Eastern-style on East 20th: Mur. Don’t leave without tasting the black bass chraime.
For furniture, the very new Roman and Williams Guild New York on SoHo’s Howard Street is unmissable—a breathtaking interiors showroom meets Parisian grand café.
In the evening, head to cosy East Village bar Rue B, where the jazz is live and raucous from 9pm until midnight, then catch a cab to East Williamsburg haunt Honey’s—renowned for its cocktails— where you can snuggle in a booth and sample the city’s best kvass on tap, an ancient Russian beverage fermented from chunks of toasted dark sourdough rye.