The New York on My Mind team (of two!) just got back from its annual New York summer break, hitting the road from Brighton, England and we thought you might like it if we share some of our travel planning notes…
I stumbled on the beautiful Gardens of St Luke in the Fields one day when I was walking along Hudson Street from Tribeca to the West Village, back to my hotel after shopping. One minute I was dodging the crazy SoHo Saturday shopping crowds; the next I found myself exploring a hidden world, filled with flowers and sunlight – and home to 100 rare birds. Had it not been for a lovely, friendly man sitting at a donation table inviting people in, I may have walked right past as I’ve done before, assuming it closed to the public. Although in theory they are private gardens belonging to the next-door Church of St Luke in the Fields, they’re very much open to the public each day from dawn until dusk.
I’ve read many good things about Frankies Spuntino and recently learned about their second restaurant on Hudson Street very close to the area I love staying in. It was one of the restaurants high up on my list of those to try out on this trip, and it didn’t disappoint. The food was fresh, delicate, authentic and delicious, the waiters entertaining and the atmosphere really buzzy. It’s easily one of my favourite New York restaurants.
I highly recommend this fun activity at the city’s famous Murray’s Cheese emporium on Greenwich Village’s Bleeker Street hosted by the witty Dan Belmont. There’s so much more to the session than just plain old simple cheese tasting, with a few surprises thrown in, lots of interesting facts, as well as refills of fizzy and red wine. I’ll be writing more on this very soon. Stay tuned!
Madison Square Park makes a nice stopping-off point if you’re walking around the city, heading uptown from downtown, or vice versa. It hosts public installations each year, and it was fun to experience this year’s project called Fata Morgana by New York-based artist, Teresita Fernandes, which involves walking underneath beautiful canopies of golden mirror-polished disks designed to look like foliage that are suspended above the pathways around the park’s central Oval Lawn.
I don’t usually start lunch with a milkshake but when you get the chance to skip the line at the world-famous Clinton Street Baking Co and Restaurant thanks to its co-owner – the fabulous Dede Lahman – you have to try everything! Of course, this included the classic extra thick shake made with The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory flavours. Heaven. Followed by the Clinton Street omelette, fish tacos, the biscuit with butter and jam, coffee…
Every year from May to October, the Met Museum features an amazing exhibit on its rooftop. There’s always so much hype around it, so I was intrigued to see Pierre Huyghe’s installation I’d heard to much about. But mainly I just loved taking my time to hang out, have a glass of wine (there seems to be a theme throughout this post…) and look at the mesmerising view across Central Park. This has to be on your next visit hit list. It’s definitely on mine.
Luckily for us, the new One World Observatory had just opened a couple of days before our planned trip up the Empire State Building on our first night, which meant the queues were a lot shorter than they sometimes are. It was still busy, but nevertheless, it was great to relive this old family tradition which really got me into the city mood, peering down onto the tops of skyscrapers and the avenues. Getting a discount on entry with our CityPASS was also handy.
OK, so I mentioned that the weather turned as soon as we hit US soil? We had to reorganise this sunset sailing trip due to the rain storm I wrote about above. Unfortunately the day we rearranged it to was overcast and quite cold, but we braved it anyway and had a great time. Even though we didn’t actually see the sunset, the crew onboard the Schooner Adirondack were brilliant, plying us with lots of lovely wine, local Brooklyn beers while sailing us on the Hudson to the Statue and Liberty and back from Pier 62. Another highly recommended activity I’ll be writing about soon.
We were a bit nervous at first, wondering whether we’d blend in among New York’s art crowd or immediately stand out as gatecrashing tourists, but I’m glad we didn’t let our doubts stop us from enjoying what was one of our best nights in New York. You literally work out a plan and hop around galleries for a couple of hours, enjoying a glass of wine in each one!