DESTINATION FOCUS • May 2019
Home to more than 8.5 million people and spread over 300 square miles, the ‘city that never sleeps’ offers up a new experience depending on your neighbourhood of choice. Writer Kate Thorman spreads the news on the Big Apple’s liveliest locales right now
Why: You won’t find any elephants in this waterfront Brooklyn neighbourhood (the acronym stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), but you will find converted warehouses, trendy boutiques, chic cafés and arguably the best views of Brooklyn Bridge – all just five minutes from Lower Manhattan.
Stay: Book a room with a view at eco-luxe 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and you’ll be rewarded with floor-to-ceiling windows framing panoramas of the iconic bridge itself, the Manhattan skyline and the East River.
Eat: Sip orange wines, share Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired plates, and catch sunset through the pillars of Brooklyn Bridge at Celestine (pictured), a gorgeous new neighbourhood favourite from the team behind another local favourite, Grand Army.
Do: Ditch Brooklyn Bridge Park’s crowds and climb the hill to Brooklyn Promenade, whose higher vantage point makes the Statue of Liberty feel almost close enough to touch. On Sundays from April to October, wander beneath the Manhattan Bridge Arch and peruse the colourful stalls of Brooklyn Flea, an iconic market and street food fair.
Why: Venture to the south-eastern reaches of this storied downtown neighbourhood and the flagship mega stores will start to disappear in favour of artsy boutiques, galleries and the last vestiges of the area’s Little Italy and Chinatown roots.
Stay: Step off the noisy streets and into a haven of sustainability and Danish design at 11 Howard (pictured). Not only do the higher-floor rooms make you feel as if you’re living in your restored warehouse fantasy, but in-house restaurant Le Coucou is one of the hottest tables in town.
Eat: For a taste of Chinatown, slurp Cantonese-style cheong fun at Joe’s Steam Rice Roll, a Queens favourite that recently opened an outpost in Canal Street Market. Or, cross Lafayette Street into the remains of Little Italy for unpretentious Galician tapas at buzzy Tomiño.
Do: Delve into the neighbourhood’s history at the Museum of Chinese in America, which celebrates immigrant stories and the Chinese-American culture integral to Lower Manhattan.
Why: Long a destination for office workers on lunch breaks and tourists seeking its namesake building, this tiny neighbourhood in the middle of Manhattan has come into its own in recent years as a food lover’s hotspot.
Stay: Ian Schrager has transformed the landmark Met Life Tower and its St Mark’s Campanile-inspired clock tower into one of the city’s dreamiest hotels, The New York EDITION. The elegant rooms, overlooking Madison Square Park, are designed to feel like your own billionaire’s pied-à-terre in NYC.
Eat: In Flatiron, you could easily have several of the best meals of your life without venturing more than a few blocks. Sample Chef Enrique Olvera’s locally sourced Mexican haute cuisine at Cosme or a Korean take on a New York classic at Michelin-starred Cote Korean Steakhouse (pictured).
Do: Soak up the art installations in leafy Madison Square Park then stroll into Eataly, the overwhelmingly sprawling Italian grocer, eaterie and brewery. Come for the food, but stay for the hands-on cooking classes, designed by renowned chef Lidia Bastianich.
Why: Between Wall Street and the soaring skyscrapers, the Financial District will always be the city’s business hub, but lower rents have transformed the neighbourhood into one of Manhattan’s latest cool spots.
Stay: Time-travel to Gilded Age New York when you check into the Beekman, a gorgeous design hotel set in a painstakingly restored landmarked Victorian tower. The breathtaking nine-storey atrium and its wrought-iron balconies, overlooking the lobby lounge, foreshadow the plush rooms.
Eat: Venture to Manhattan’s southern tip and into a former shipping storehouse with the somewhat foreboding name of The Dead Rabbit. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best bars, this convivial watering hole has just debuted a new cocktail menu, a larger taproom and expanded food offerings.
Do: Starchitect Santiago Calatrava’s soaring, spiny Oculus at the new World Trade Center would be a destination in itself, even if it didn’t house dozens of curated shops and eateries. Underground passages connect it to another shopping and dining destination, Brookfield Place, whose waterfront pavilion is the perfect spot to bask, picnic and watch the boats on a sunny day.