THE BOWERY BALLROOM | Seeing live music is my very favorite thing to do in New York City and the Bowery Ballroom is hands down my very favorite venue. It is small and intimate and looks like a 1950′s gymnasium–the height of Americana. Most days you can buy tickets to that night’s show right at the door (though I like to get mine in advance). Tickets are so inexpensive that even if you don’t know the band playing, it’s worth the twenty dollar gamble–if nothing else you get to spend a few hours in a stunning venue// official site.
The Ides at Wythe Hotel| Williamsburg, Brooklyn is tremendously easy to get to from Manhattan when you’re visiting the city. You simply take the L train from 14th Street just one stop out of Manhattan. The neighborhood always feels alive in a very particular way–and is worth seeing for that alone. (Whenever I visit at night, I feel like I’m in a beach town. Does that make any sense? Everyone’s out and about, the streets are full, you can’t turn around without spotting a new restaurant, and their is a festiveness in the air–vacation or some such. That some such is probably just a lot of hormones, if you catch my meaning). The Ides at Wythe Hotel is the higher end of Williamsburg. Still home to the hipster–just a more refined, slightly grown-up version of the hipster. Located on the sixth floor this bar has incredible views of Manhattan and a ridiculously beautiful outdoor deck. If you’re going at night, come early so as to avoid a long line to get in. My favorite time is a early Sunday evening when couples sit next to each other in silence drinking beer and doing crossword puzzles–there’s something about it that really is the epitome of cool.
Central Park| New York City is filled to the brim with parks. You can’t go far without running into one. And Central Park is the largest and best-well-known. It is expansive–a marvel of tranquility in the madness that is Manhattan. I suggest renting a bike for one or two hours and getting a feel of the land. When on foot there are some landmarks that must not be missed: The Jackie Kennedy Reservoir in the middle of the park provides a view that is not to be missed, The Conservatory Garden–with an entrance at 105th and 5th Ave–is oft overlooked but is without a doubt the most surprising and lovely area of the park. Also in the park is a small zoo–don’t miss the penguins–and a good old-fashioned carousel (photo op!). When the weather is good grab some food to go from the Whole Foods’ salad bar at Columbus Circle (at the Southern entrance of the park) and picnic on a bench// official site.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade // This small stretch of park on the very eastern edge of Brooklyn Heights provides the very best view of lower Manhattan. And when people ask me where to lose a few hours in Brooklyn the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights is the very first thing to come to mind–cobblestone streets, original carriage houses, and history at every turn–the first afternoon I spent any time in this neighborhood I could feel my heart actually breaking for all the beauty (if that makes any sense at all)// site.
Fort Tryon Park +the Cloisters + New Leaf Cafe | I lived in New York for five years before I saw Fort Tryon. As soon as I did, I declared it one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen–certainly the most beautiful thing I’d seen in Manhattan, no question. And I stand by that. The park boasts views of the George Washington Bridge, the Hudson river, and the New Jersey Palisades–bare bluff, which is, okay, yes, just rock, but…there’s something about it that the eye wants to devour again and again. Few people visiting New York will venture up to this park because it’s so very high on the island (about 190th street) and I would guess most Manhattanites don’t even know it exists, but if you take the A train all the way up, it’s worth it. Make a day of it. See the park, visit the Cloisters (the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that houses Medieval art and is located here), and then have lunch or dinner at New Leaf Cafe–one of my favorite restaurants in the city.
The Guggenheim | I know the MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) is all the rage, but I’m a big fan of the Guggenheim–it’s not tremendously large so it doesn’t overwhelm and their classics are amongst the most beautiful out there. Plus, the audio tour is great–and this from a girl who very, very rarely picks up the audio tour accessories.
Green-Wood Cemetery| 478 acres of green space in Brooklyn, this bit of land is a bit off the beaten bath and totally worth it if you’re up for the challenge. It’s really quite beautiful (especially in the spring and summer when the trees are in full bloom). It’s the site of the Battle of Brooklyn (the Revolutionary War) and as that spot is 200 ft above sea level it provides a pretty great view of southern Manhattan// official site.