There is SO much to do in New York City, that when I wrote about five great dates, it turned into ten. Here are the next five. Your Saturday night will never be the same!
- Joe’s Pub/ The Public Theatre and Dinner. The Public Theatre is a great venue to see a show. Its intimate spaces promise a unique, up-close experience, and the team here showcases new and edgy productions. This past spring we saw the play Dry Powder featuring Clare Danes, which we loved. Joe’s Pub features more music-oriented performances with a healthy dose of cabaret, vaudeville, and burlesque (!) for good measure. This is the venue where Hamilton got it’s start, so it will forever have the reputation as the space that spawns legends. The Lafayette/Bowery area is suddenly teeming with great food choices: Indochine for French-Vietnamese; Bergen Hill for amazing fish in a cozy atmosphere; the nearby Standard Hotel (not the West side one, the East side one) which features Narcissa; the busting and amazing Il Buco Alimentari; and many other new spaces that have opened on the hip stretch of Bowery north of Houston and below the Coopers Union.
- Top of the Standard Hotel. The Standard Hotel is a great destination. There’s so much from which to choose at this Meatpacking district spot, from shopping to dinner to the lively ground level biergarten. Plan a late afternoon stroll on the HighLine and end with a visit to the must-see new Whitney Museum– then hit the Standard Roof for cocktails and jazz. I love this place. Offering gorgeous downtown and sunset views, chill music, lite bites, and killer cocktails, the venue has it all. The decor and vibe are upscale supper club, so be sure as always to dress to kill, Well after dark, the space transforms into the “Boom Boom Room”. Be prepared to dance- and drink- the night away, but prep the hangover helper.
- MOMA and the Modern. The Museum of Modern Art (The “MOMA”) is a beautiful museum through which to wander, showcasing an impression collection of 20th century masterpieces. On a nice day you can also visit their outdoor garden space and see some great sculpture pieces. While the MOMA closes at 5:30pm most days, on Fridays it’s free after 4pm and stays open until 8. When you’ve satisfied your need to ruminate on the amazing Picassos and Pollacks (plus whatever great exhibition is being featured), hit The Modern for drinks and dinner. On a nice evening there’s outdoor seating in the MOMA garden to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail in a chill, sophisticated setting. Dinner strikes a winning balance between edgy and refined; Danny Meyer delivers yet again in sumptuous fashion. Be sure to start with the stellar Tarte Flambé as a shared starter.
- Upper East Side Sophisticated: Hotel bar drinks and dinner at San Ambroeus. My love of hotel bars borders on obsession. The bartenders are professional, the crowd usually sophisticated and attractive, the decor dark and elegant. Two of my faves are on the Upper East Side: Bar Pleiades at The Surrey, and the Lobby Bar at the nearby Mark Hotel. My pre-dinner drinks of choice are a great glass of champagne, a Kir Royale, or the always pleasing Vodka-Soda-Fresh Lime juice (I like a LOT of lime juice). Both of these bars deliver and help set the tone for a fun, adult night out. When the need for feed kicks in, head over to San Ambroeus on Madison Avenue for refined Italian dining and an amazing fish, Veal Milanese, or pasta (bolognese perhaps?). They have one of my all-time favorite starters, the artichoke laden carcioffi salad. Post entree, maybe you’ll try the amazing tiramisu or the velvety gelato selection pair with a nice Moscato?
- Eataly and Madison Square Park While there are many places to enjoy a meal or a knosh in Italian mecca Eataly, I have 2 favorites. If you love seafood, Il Pesce is a must try destination located near the center of the main floor. The menu changes daily, which means the fish is super fresh. Often Il Pesce offers a sautéed razor clam dish which is my favorite item on their menu- if it’s offered you must give it a try. The dishes are great for sharing, and a crisp glass of one of the great Italian whites is the perfect complement to any meal here. Favorite #2- pizza at La Pizza & La Pasta, which in my opinion is one of the best in NYC (which is a bold and likely controversial claim in a city teaming with great pie). Go early if you don’t have time to wait 20-60 minutes for a table- it’s been discovered and it’s hugely popular. Better still, put your name on the waiting list, find a glass of wine at one of Eataly’s many bars, and wander the aisles of this sumptuous Italian emporium. When your table is ready, be prepared for a Classic, Neopolitan-style pizza that nails the delicate balance between a slightly charred, crunchy crust and a slight chewiness of texture. There will be no leftovers. After dinner- whether you are strong-willed enough to resist Eataly’s Il Gelato or give in to the indulgence- walk across 5th Avenue into Madison Square Park. This little oasis at the base of Madison Avenue is well into its 2nd decade of rejuvenation and is my neighborhood park. There is usually an art installation worth seeing on the park’s central lawn; the current exhibition is a forty foot high sculpture by Martin Puryear. Beware- a walk to the southeast corner of the park may re-stoke your internal furnace with the enticing smell and sight of the original Shake Shack. Go for it- the burgers are amazing ! Just double up on Soul Cycle the next day.
What are some of your favorite spots?