17 Aug 2014

Visiting New York City? Here are my suggestions

So this is not a PR related topic, but then again it could be! Visiting NYC … Here are some suggestions...

  1. Drinks are expensive in NYC, so expect around $12-15 per glass of wine in good restaurants. Bars offer happy hour from 5pm-9pm so get wasted before dinner :-)
  2. Get a weekly subway pass (unlimited rides for $31)

Show: Queen of the Night - http://queenofthenightnyc.com/ f you can get in - it's well worth it! (ticket price $170 including drinks & dinner i think)

Show: Fuerza Bruta - http://fuerzabrutanyc.com/ - Amazing (ticket price $100)

Exhibition: Body Worlds (Discovery Time Square) – http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/prelude.html

Tick these touristy things off:

·         Go to “Top of the Rock”, the top of the Rockefeller Center (better views than up the Empire State in my opinion ….. get to see Central Park) – Price: $28 If I remember correctly

·         Walk through Central Park

·         Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (maybe Subway back OR via boat to Midtown) – Once in Brooklyn, visit the DUMBO Neighbourhood, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and have a glass of wine at Brooklyn Café located under the Brooklyn bridge) – All walking distance

·         Have a look at Wall Street and Financial District I guess …. (once there go and have lunch or dinner at Stone Street Historic District – excellent food and atmosphere)

·         Do a double-decker bus trip, the “Uptown Loop”

·         Get crushed in Times Square

·         Visit World Trade Centre site (Ground Zero)

·         Walk on The High Line (public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of west side Manhattan (2 klms long, so not much)

·         Visit Coney Island

Times Square, bus trip, Rockefeller Center etc are all in the midtown area.  Apart from doing these things stay out of MIDTOWN. Mainly a business district and tourist trap. Lots of shopping in the area (5th, 6th Aves and Madison Avenue) but all the “big name” shops.  The big department stores are here though Saks 5th Ave (corner 50th & 5th), Barneys (Madison & 61st) and Bloomingdales (Lexington & 59th).

Must also visit Eataly NYC for a glass of wine and Nutella shots (200 5th Av, at W 23rd St.)

Regardless if you are staying in the Midtown area or not, you will want to spend most of your time downtown. And I mean meals and everything.  When I say downtown I am talking about 14th street south. Probably as south as Chinatown (the heart of which is Canal Street which runs across the city).  The neighborhoods I talk about below are all downtown.


·        HURRICANCE CLUB (Park Avenue South & 26th St).  Polynesian restaurant and Tiki Bar.  Very new, popular at the moment.

·         THE BRESLIN (Broadway and 29th St).  Great gastro pub, inside the ACE Hotel.


·        ACE HOTEL (Broadway and 29th St).  Either in the Breslin as above or the hotel lobby bar. Both popular.

The downtown neighbourhoods to check out:

Soho / Nolita

The shopping area.  Get a map and draw a rectangle with these streets as the borders:  HoustonBroadway – Canal - West Broadway.  Go up and down and side to side on all the streets within this rectangle and you will have covered Soho.

Soho is to the west of Broadway.  If you go over to the east of Broadway (rectangle this time is bordered by Houston – Broadway – Kenmare - Bowery) this becomes Nolita (stands for North of Little Italy).  This Very cool area much more boutique type shops and cool little cafes and stuff.  Mott and Mulberry Streets are great (if you go down Mulberry past Kenmare you are in Little Italy.  You could take a look but it’s a bit of a tourist trap and I wouldn't eat there.)


·        BALTHAZAR (Spring St between Crosby and Broadway).  Famous french bistro always packed great for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
·        CAFE GITANE (corner Prince & Mott).  Brunch or lunch.  really good.
·        LA ESQUINA (corner Kenmare & Lafayette).  Mexican.  looks like a real shitty hole in the wall but great mexican tacos for say lunch.  You wouldnt believe it but behind a door inside (which I think from memory says “employees only”) are stairs that go down through the kitchen under the street into a restaurant.  one of the hardest places to get into in new york though.  booked solid.  sometimes you can get lucky with a cancellation try them for dinner one night +1 646 613 7100.
·        PUBLIC (Elizabeth near Prince St corner).  one of the best brunches in town.  funnily enough it has some sort of new zealand connection (I think peter gordon had some involvement).  its mainly a dinner spot so only opens for brunch on weekends at 11am.
·        LOMBARDIS (Spring & Mott Sts).  Best pizza on town.  Can be long waiDRINK THIS:

·        SPRING LOUNGE (corner Spring & Mulberry).  Popular Saturday afternoon dive bar.

 And if you have dinner here one night …. GO NUTS AFTERWARDS HERE:

·         SOUTHSIDE (Cleveland & Broome).  Nightlclub just around the corner from La Esquina.

West Village & Meatpacking District

Not as easy to just wander around the west village cause its spread out.  Good place to start is to walk down Bleecker Street from say 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue.  Few things going on down this part of Bleecker Street including the Marc Jacobs shops (don’t ask me why I know female visitors seem to love it ….).

Meatpacking district is one of the main (and therefore busy) areas to go out at night.  Heaps of bars, restaurants, clubs). Although in saying that there are a bunch of shops in the area now as well.

Get in a cab and go to the corner of 9th Avenue and Little West 12th Street.  You are in the heart of the meatpacking district here.


·         PASTIS (right on corner of 9th Ave and Little West 12th).  Sister place to Balthazar another bistro.  Extremely popular a bit of a meatpacking district stalwart never waivers.  Don’t book they take walk in but might need to wait 30 mins at the bar. PR Ö

·         BUDDAKAN (9th Ave & West 16th).  Modern Asian type place.  Pretty cool interior.  Will need to book here +1 212 989 6699.

·         SPOTTED PIG (corner west 11th street and Hudson).  They don't take reservations.  Gastro pub and great food and atmosphere. Same people as the Breslin mentioned earlier.


·         GANSEVOORT HOTEL (9th & West 12th).  The hotel over the road from Pastis.  Go up to the rooftop bar.  Great in summer as has a retractable roof but still good to check out in winter.  A bit expensive though would just go for a couple.

·         STANDARD HOTEL (Little West 12th St and Washington).  This is a relatively new place and has a massive big garden bar downstairs that is enclosed in the winter. Perfect for a Friday night or early evening session on a Saturday.

·         BRASS MONKEY (10th Ave and Little West 12th). 3 level irish pub.  More low key than the rest of the meatpacking!  And you can always get in here if you get the brush from everywhere else ….

 And if you have dinner here one night …. GO NUTS AFTERWARDS HERE:

·         SL (14th and 9th Ave). Under the Abe & Arthurs restaurant is real popular (also hard to get in).

·         RDV (9th Ave & 13th).  Underneath a restaurant/club called Bagatelle.

Lower East Side

This time draw a rectangle around Houston St - Orchard Street - Rivington Street - Clinton Street (Houston is pronounced “house” – “tin”).  Norfolk and Suffolk don't worry about they are predominantly residential. Do all the ups and downs and side to sides.  Skip Essex Street nothing on there.  Orchard doesn’t have much between say Rivington and Delancey but if you continue south on Orchard down to say Grand Street there are some cool shops.  There is also a weekend market on Hester and Essex if you are in this area during day on weekends.  I am not sure if it will still be operating in the winter but worth checking out.


·         STANTON SOCIAL (Stanton between Orchard & Ludlow streets).  One of my favorites.  Amazing TAPAs. +1 212 995 0099.  Try and book or you can just turn up and go to the upstairs bar where you might get lucky with bar seating.  Also fantastic for brunch on weekends.

·         THE MEATBALL SHOP (Stanton between Allen and Orchard).  As the name suggests they specialize in one thing.  A new place and really popular at the moment.  No bookings.

·         SCHILLERS (corner Rivington & Norfolk Streets).  Another one from the Pastis and Balthazar family.  Bistro place and one of the most popular spots in the area for brunch/lunch/dinner. Stays open late for dinner.  This is the heart of paddy country.  This is my corner you may see me eating breakfast at the bar on Saturday.

·         KATZ (Ludlow & Houston).  One of the most famous Jewish kosher style deli’s.  Big pastrami on rye sandwiches etc. Was on the movie when Harry met Sally.

·         FREEMANS (End of Freemans Alley between Chrystie St and the Bowery).  Great for brunch.


·         SPITZERS (corner Ludlow & Rivington).  Pub with good food.  Nice big windows good to sit down and watch the goings on.

·         DRAFT BAR (Ludlow and Stanton).  Sports bar.  Go here on a Sunday afternoon if you want to see a bit of NFL football.

·         PIANOS (Ludlow and Stanton). Great bar with live music out the back.

·         LIVING ROOM (Ludlow and Stanton).  Same as above.

·         MERCURY LOUNGE (Ludlow and Houston).  Live music spot.

And if you have dinner here one night …. GO NUTS AFTERWARDS HERE:

·         BACK ROOM (Norfolk between Rivington & Delancey).  Don't go until later than say 10.30pm.  Its on Norfolk St between Rivington and Delancey.  No sign on the door just a little gate leading to some stairs down off the road.  The bar out the back is great and serves drinks in tea cups prohibition time sort of feel.  Actually this place isn’t too crazy it’s a good spot for drink after dinner.

·         DARKROOM (Ludlow between Stanton & Houston).  Late night dark scummy club (but great ….).

East Village

East village is loosely the area north of Houston Street up to about 14th Street.  Sideways from the Bowery/2nd Ave across to Avenue D.  The area around Ave A/B/C/D is called “Alphabet City”.  The park there Tompkins Square Park is the sort of center.  Quite famous as in days gone by this was apparently real dodgy area.  Lots of crime etc and riots in the 1980’s.  Good now.


·         BLUEBIRD CAFÉ (1st Ave and 1st St).  They do shit coffee in the US but here you will get a good one.

·         LUKES LOBSTER (7th St between Ave A and 1st Ave). Lobster funnily enough.  Lobster rolls to be exact.  Bit pricey but good.

·         ABRACO (7th St between 1st and 2nd Aves but near 1st Ave).  Another great coffee spot.  Tiny so don’t miss it.

·         MOMOFUKU (1st Ave and 11th St).  Noodle shop of famous NYC chef David Chang.

·         OFRENDA (113 7th Ave S (Christopher Sq.) Good Mexican but a bit loud


·         BUA (St. Marks Place between Ave A and 1st Ave).  Pub.

·         DEATH & CO. (6th St between Ave A & 1st Ave).  Cocktails.

·         PDT (St. Marks Place between Ave A and 1st Ave).  Cocktails. Stands for "Please Don't Tell".  Look for Criff Dogs (good hot dogs have one).  Go inside the Criff dogs place.  To the left is a phone booth. Go in.  Pick up the phone.  Someone will answer and if they have room they may let you in (or may not!).  It’s tiny so not much room in there.


·         DBGB (near Bowery & Houston Corner).  Sausage & beer bistro from Chef Daniel Boulud.

·         GEMMA (Bowery & 3rd).  Italian restaurant in bottom of Bowery Hotel.

·         PEELS (Bowery & 3rd).  Same people as Freemans.  Great for brunch.


·         MADAM GENEVA (Bleecker & Bowery).  Out the back of restaurant Double Crown (which is also good).  Get in from Bleecker St side or secret door at back of Double Crown.



·         BRASSERIE COGNAC (1740 Broadway – between W 55th & W 56th Avenue)

·         SARABETH’S RESTAURANT (40 Central Park S (Between 5th & 6th Av.) – Good to combine on the day you visit Central Park