3 Days* in NEW YORK CITY
There are cities, and then there is The City, as New Yorkers refer to their vibrant, pulsating, beloved rock of concrete. Few places on earth can rival New York’s diversity, cultural expansiveness or downright kickassery. But the sheer volume of can’t-miss activities can overwhelm even the most ambitious visitor. So here is a 3 Days* itinerary with a curated sampling of the best things New York has to offer. Ready your walking shoes and dust off your bike riding skills – these will be your best modes of transportation in the Big Apple.
Day 1* in NYC
Arrive with fresh eyes at one of New York’s most ubiquitous institutions: The Met. Rotating exhibitions are routinely impressive and one can spend days wandering the permanent collection and barely scratch the surface. Highlights include: the Asian collection, the costume department, and rooftop summer installations. Entrance fees are suggested ($25 for adults), but visitors are allowed to pay what they can afford.
When your brain is full, hop on a City Bike and glide into Central Park. Designed by landscape architect/ urban wizard Frederick Law Olmsted, the park is a bath for the senses with gently curving pathways, grassy fields and quiet ponds. Pedal down the eastern pathway heading south – you can stop at The Lake for a paddleboat ride or a nap in Sheep Meadow, or you might opt to keep moving and enjoy the breeze.
After exiting the park, keep heading south toward to Eataly, Mario Batali’s Italian food bazaar in the Flatiron district. Inside you can choose from a variety of food stations, stalls and restaurants – don’t miss the seasonal bruschetta at veggie-driven Le Verdure or the homemade ale on the rooftop beer garden.
Round out your afternoon with some shopping in Soho and the Lower East Side. I like to start on Elizabeth just below Houston at Love Adorned (distinctive jewelry & home goods) and work my way (expensively) south toward Edith Machinist (vintage mecca) on Rivington and Ludlow.
When you’re ready to nosh and imbibe, stumble into any of the impossibly cool watering holes in the area. I recommend Barrio Chino for party people who appreciate good tequila and guac, ‘inoteca for excellent wine and small Italian plates, or Schiller’s Liquor Bar for a boisterous ‘see-and-be-seen’ vibe.
Day 2* in NYC
A pilgrimage through the (notorious?) birthplace of hipsterdom is a good way to spend day two; the pace in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods is slightly more relaxed and provides a nice contrast to the crowds of Manhattan. Again, a bike is the best way to cover ground and explore these neighborhoods.
First, caffeinate at Toby's Estate-the coffee is delicious and strong enough to jet-fuel a day of Brooklyn explorations. You’ll find the best shopping on Berry, Bedford and Grand. Pop into the ubiquitous Catbird for delicate hipster jewelry and gifts.
Also check out Sprout Home on Grand for cool terrariums and artsy urban gardening ideas. If you have time, bike over to The Brooklyn Kitchen home of the much-touted Meat Hook butchery and fun recreational cooking classes like Thai street food and pickling with McClure’s.
Now, prepare yourself for sandwich nirvana: Saltie on Grand is run by a trio of local chefs and will blow your socks off with carefully sourced ingredients and crunchy, chewy focaccia bread. Take your order to go, grab a fistful of napkins and head to East River State Park for a sloppy picnic lunch in the shadow of the Manhattan skyline. If it happens to be Sunday, you’re perfectly positioned to delve into Brooklyn Flea, which hosts over 150 vendors of vintage loot, antiques and artisanal food.
From there, bike north into Greenpoint, once a Polish immigrant enclave, now one of the hippest neighborhoods in BK. Stop by From The Source for décor inspiration, a cavernous furniture outlet specializing in raw, reclaimed wood pieces. Then make your way to Transmitter Park – walk down the pier for an incredible view of both Brooklyn and Manhattan.
When you’re ready for a drink, tuck into some craft cocktails at nearby Ramona. I can say from personal experience, every cocktail on the menu is truly lovely. Think: house-made grenadines and syrups, small batch booze and fresh herb infusions. Once you’re sufficiently tipsy, mop up the fumes with some of the city’s best pizza at Paulee Gee’s across the street. All of the wood-fire gourmet pies are outstanding, but I am partial to the Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me and the Hellboy. There is also a ‘Secret Pizza’ menu that features a cold butter crust. Yup.
Day 3* in NYC
Final day wanderings should include the West Village and meatpacking district. Begin the morning at the new Whitney Museum on Gansevoort where you can browse the best 20th and 21st century American art or just take in the Renzo Piano-designed building and grounds. One short block west you’ll find The High Line, an old elevated section of railroad tracks that’s been redesigned as an aerial park running about 1.5 miles along the west side. Seasonal plantings and comfortable lounging areas line the walkway. You can pop down to Chelsea Market and grab a lobster roll or hand-pressed tacos to go. Or snag a table at Terroir for wine and small plates.
After lunch, head south into the winding web of Greenwich Village. High-end boutiques and cafes abound. For clothing and accessories don’t miss Castor and Pollux and Albertine. A visit to the original Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker is also worthwhile. You can sample your way through their extensive selection gooey brilliance and leave with some stinky souvenirs.
Ingest your final meal at Rosemary’s, an airy, rustic trattoria that serves fresh, sustainable Italian fare mostly sourced from their rooftop garden. The fresh bread and floor-to-ceiling windows make up for the slightly priggish attitude. Bring your New York City adventure to a close with a nightcap at the White Horse Tavern, a famous Bohemian literary haunt that’s been around since 1880.