Out of Bed: The Insider’s Guide To New York

Words by Jen Nurick

New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town—but marvellous as it may be, the city is prone to clichéd tourist recommendations and tired itineraries that fail to reap the finest fruits of the Big Apple. We concede that there are obvious and necessary attractions for the first timer to tick off, not limited to but including: at least one sold-out Broadway show, a ferry to Liberty Island, and a morning spent at the 9/11 Memorial.

Yet beyond this family-friendly schedule, divergences in preference for Joe’s Pizza or Artichoke, The Guggenheim or The Met, Barney’s or Bergdorf Goodman abound like the rats that storm the city’s subway stations. In short: navigating restlessly through someone else’s list can be as helpful as it is exhausting and exhausted—the thrill of the concrete jungle lies in making it our own.

Below, a considered itinerary of some of the best sites in New York that juggles between must-dos and haven’t heard ofs—you’re welcome in advance.

Where to shop

Concentrate on the Downtown area of Soho and the Uptown Avenues of Fifth, Madison and Lexington that run parallel to each other, where flagship stores fight for the best real estate and sale discounts are the most competitive in the world.

High street buyers should peruse Broadway in Soho, whereas those in search of high end luxury boutiques should keep to Broome, Greene and Mercer streets in the same area. One-stop shoppers will find refuge at Saks on Fifth Avenue or Barney’s on Madison—the reserves of Upper East and West Siders unfettered with Downtown’s streetwear and street style.

The minimal curator should collect a piece or two at The Apartment by The Line (76 Greene Street)—a retail experience staged as a shoppable apartment founded by Vanessa Traina, regular Chanel front rower and stylist to Altuzarra and Alexander Wang. The creative should peruse The Whitney Shop at the Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort Street) for contemporary coffee table books on works by Mary Corse to Donald Judd. For a unique gift worth splashing out on, pop by Dover Street Market (160 Lexington Avenue), where founder and designer Rei Kawakubo caters to fashion aficionados with immersive installations and wearable art.

Where to eat

Manhattanites will point to the original Russ & Daughters or Soho’s Sadelle’s for the best bagel and lox, but dare to diverge to Brooklyn and enjoy some schmear on an everything bagel at Frankel’s Delicatessen (631 Manhattan Avenue).

Should you find yourself in the West Village—the proverbial beating heart of Friends and Sex and the City, indulge in a caffeine break or pasta speciality at Italian eatery Sant Ambroeus (West 4th and Perry Street), where you may even happen upon a celebrity or two.

Conclude the day with a night cap worth waiting up for at The Standard Hotel’s infamous Boom Boom Room, where iconic views have become etched into the city’s fabric—even included in episodes of Gossip Girl and home to the afterparty celebrations of the annual Met Gala.

Where to ‘gram

Biased as we are to believe that every corner of the city is set for the stage and screen, there are certain areas in New York that are more photogenic than others—but these often come at a cost.

For an Instagram-worthy spot you can shoot for free, set up picnic at Brooklyn Bridge Park and watch the sun set over the Manhattan skyline like one can only do from across the river.

To take in the city from a height, remember to pit-stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cantor Roof Garden Bar after perusing the permanent collections. Once you are back on the Met Steps, head to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain in the middle of Central Park, where you can enjoy the painterly vistas of rowboats sitting pretty against the changing colours of the trees.

Rooftops and chill

Open during the summer months, the rooftops of New York City offer an easy to way to relax and Rosé when the bustle of the streets below proves too much.

For an expansive view of the Lower East Side, make your way to The Roof at Public Hotel (215 Chrystie Street), where you’ll have to splurge on as many drinks as hours you want to spend appreciating the view, but you’ll get great ‘grams in spades.

Take in the sights of Soho and Tribeca at Jimmy at the James (15 Thompson Street), where you’ll find the setting is more intimate but the proximity to the shops is even closer.

If you’re after sweeping views that stretch from the city’s skyscrapers—think Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building—to Central Park and beyond from an uptown angle, spend time at Bar SixtyFive at the Rainbow Room (30 Rockefeller Plaza), where you can drink and stage a photoshoot against the city’s skyline simultaneously.

Cultural Hotspots

The city's map is lined with cultural destinations that are all worthy of our time—but time in this city we can never get enough of.

For the individual that appreciates art but finds the Met or the MoMa too large, retreat to The Frick Collection (1 E 70th Street)—where you’ll find a personal art collection and setting as beautiful as they are digestible.

Should you seek refuge in the great outdoors from the concrete chaos, breathe in the flora and fauna at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (990 Washington Avenue), where the only crowds are those in bloom, and they exist in peace and quiet.

Those that thrive in the immersive environment of the city will adore MoMa PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue)—an art gallery-cum-live music set brimming with stylish collectives every summer weekend.

If Times Square is too discombobulating to take in a Broadway show, enjoy a gig at Terminal 5 (610 W 56th Street) or book a ballet at quintessential New York institution Lincoln Centre.

For more from Jen Nurick, follow her on Instagram @jennurick and read her work at JENNURICK.com.

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