Five of our New York editors who call the Big Apple home break down their perfect day in the City that Never Sleeps.
Lois Levine - Editor-in-Chief
What shall I do this weekend? It’s a question that is laughable in this city of endless eateries, museum palaces, tranquil parks, bargain shopping and so much more.
But everyone has their personal favorite list tucked in their urban pocket and I am no exception. After my morning coffee (and some work, of course), I move on to a treasured hobby: eating. That’s when I think about my own Fab Four: Danny Meyer, Daniel Boulud, David Burke and Tom Colicchio, four great restaurateurs whose varied, haute but always approachable restaurants are the epitome of fine dining, whether formal or casual. My favorites of each? Meyer’s Union Square Cafe, Boulud Sud, Burke’s Townhouse and Colicchio’s Craft.
A walk in the park for me is always a walk in the park (Central Park, that is): rent a rowboat on the lake at the Loeb Boathouse, catch some rays in the Sheep Meadow, feel a somber John Lennon moment at Strawberry Fields, take a ride on the carousel or talk to the animals at the zoo.
When it comes to shopping, I employ Woody Allen’s line from The Front: “In my family, the biggest sin was to pay retail.” With that in mind, I head over to Loehmann’s, Century 21, Roundabout or H&M for chic designers, one-of-a-kind items and gentle prices. What to do this weekend? Are ya kidding me?
Francis Lewis - Executive Editor
This native New Yorker is an inveterate bookworm. And no doubt about it, NYC is my kind of book town. I love that, three blocks from my apartment in Greenwich Village, Mark Twain settled for a time at 14 W. 10th St. A plaque marks the spot. Unlike most people, I actually look forward to going to the dentist: My guy’s office is on the elegant north side of Washington Square, deep in the heart of Henry James country.
Obviously, I treasure things that are made with, on and for paper. My day begins with “America’s oldest continuously published daily newspaper,” the New York Post. I go to the theater a lot, read Playbill from cover to cover and never throw it away. I have stacks. My favorite drawings—thousands of caricatures of theater luminaries past and present—hang on the walls of Sardi’s, where steak tartare prepared tableside is my dish of choice.
When it comes to books, I’ve always been of Polonius’ opinion: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” That said, I revere the Beaux Arts splendor—inside and out—of the main branch of the New York Public Library system on Fifth Ave. and 42nd St. As to my own library, Strand Books fills its shelves with new tomes bought at half-price, out-of-print art monographs and modern first editions, often with dust jackets. I never leave empty-handed. Paper: An Elegy by Ian Sansom is among my latest acquisitions. Appropriate, no?
Troy Segal - Senior Editor
I can see the Empire State Building from my apartment, and the sight of it never fails to lift my spirits, day or night—especially night, when this Art Deco emblem of NYC is illuminated in vivid hues. Of course, this city is filled with world-famous icons, which may be why New Yorkers love to collect secret places.
Many of mine deal with old things: used books, CDs and Blu-rays for $1 at Book-Off. Classic movies, shown in pristine new prints, at revival house Film Forum. Clothing from the 1940s-70s, much of it never worn, at vintage store Rue St. Denis.
Eating out is a way of life here, but you can get something close to a homestyle meal at Le Relais de Venise, which serves only one thing: steak and frites. Eataly, a gigantic food hall created by celebrity chef Mario Batali, offers Italian and Italian-style goodies—pear gelato, baby!—to consume on premises or to go. Afternoon tea tastes incredibly good on mismatched crockery at tiny Tea & Sympathy; it’s run by an expat Brit, so you know the sandwiches and scones are authentic. Conversely, some of the best BBQ in town is at Daisy May’s, dished up by a classically trained chef. What could be more New York than that?
Carly Pifer - Assistant Editor
I’m in the business of stealing neighborhoods. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say adopting. Basically, I’m all over the place.
I feel perfectly at home exploring the many gems tucked away on the numbered streets of the East Village. I’ll stop by Verameat to survey delicate Gothic-style jewelry, or meander over to Abraço Espresso, which, if they feel compelled to open shop that day, serves one of the best cups on the island.
Of course, I eventually cross the East River to my apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, enjoy the usual (gin gimlet) at my actual neighborhood cocktail bar Blueprint and finish the night at one of the great dining spots along the tree-lined streets off Prospect Park—Dale Talde’s eponymous Asian restaurant, Talde, is one I return to again and again.
And, if I’m feeling nostalgic for one of my former Brooklyn ’hoods, I visit Café Moto near my old Bushwick stomping grounds, a moody bar and restaurant featuring nightly performances. It’s tiny, in a sketchy neighborhood and easy to miss, but totally worth it.
William Frierson - Associate Editor
Anything is possible in New York City—even a traipse through time. Call me old-fashioned, but this boy likes to view our grand metropolis in black-and-white and sepia tones. What some call an old soul, I simply call it good taste. Cue “Rhapsody in Blue,” maestro.
First things first: I need to dress. Vintage is the only way to go—Williamsburg’s 10 ft. Single by Stella Dallas (718.486.9482) carries everything from 1950s bow ties (yes, please) to lightly broken-in leather wingtip shoes (together, my uniform).
Once in my best, a cocktail is in order. Prohibition-era kicks can be had at the swanky, underground “speakeasy” Little Branch (212.929.4360), a West Village haunt with an unmarked door and all the deviant charm of a 1920s watering hole—without the threat of incarceration. If it’s whiskey I crave (and it often is), off to The Flatiron Room, a swinging, parlorlike pad with live jazz and more than 700 bottles of amber-hued goodness. Then a quick crêpe at the Russo-French Anyway Café before taking in some classical music (Elgar, anyone?) at the eternal Carnegie Hall.
After a smoke from Nat Sherman’s nostalgic Fifth Ave. flagship, the timeless glory of this city makes time stand still.