There’s no such thing as a definitive ‘to do’ to NYC – isn’t that the whole point? But these are a few suggestions to get you kick-started…
A PERFECT MORNING… Begins with breakfast. We’re slow starters in the am (leaping out of bed with guidebook at the ready by o-eight-hundred is not really our strength) so, we favour a painless segue between caffeine kick-starter and the day’s activities.
If you wake up in the arty Meatpacking district: Start your day with one of the world’s great newspapers at Pastis, a New York style French brasserie, crazily popular for brunch. If the sun is shining, hope for a table outside.
Alternatively, the more economically priced Cafe Gitane (inside the Jane Hotel) will serve you up a decent fruit-juice, coffee and avocado toast for about $10 in a crumbling-Havana style atmos. (Note, the original Cafe Gitane branch at Nolita, 242 Mott Street, makes for a good coffee stop if you’re mooching around the New Museum and Bleeker St area.)
Much loved and even more hyped The Highline makes for a great morning stroll (it gets increasingly crowded in the afternoon) that simultaneously raises interesting ideas about the conversion of dis-used urban spaces into wildlife-friendly parks. Get on at the Standard Hotel and walk all the way up to Chelsea, past the new Frank Gehry building.
As your sugar levels plummet, have lunch at Cookshop, a buzzy slow food restaurant with a contemporary take on Americana cuisine. (Book in advance.)
If you wake up amid touristic-blockbusters Uptown: Wood-panelling and furnishings by Adolf Loos – is there a better accompaniment for a perfectly boiled egg? Muse it over with the elegant set breakfast at Cafe Sabarsky, the old-school Viennese dining room at the Nueue Gallerie. It’s busy on weekends, but jetlaggers might have the advantage, if you arrive early enough you might even score a booth. (Nb: The gallery and cafe are both closed on Tuesdays.)
Alternatively, skip across the road for a walk through Central Park which is always fabulous, regardless of the season. Invariably a busker will be playing jazz covers, providing that all important –”I’m in a Woody Allen movie”– kind of ambiance. If it’s sunny, it’s a nice place to settle down with a book (or given we’re in a classic kind of mood why not a short story from The New Yorker?).
Like Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye, we’re very fond of the beautiful nature dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History – thank God they haven’t been transformed into interactive exhibits (though there’s no shortage of those either).
If you’re all high-cultured out, you might consider getting lunch from one of NYC’s’ very reasonably priced and – sometimes delicious – food vending carts! The so-called ‘Vendies’ are described as “the Oscars of food for the real New York“. You’ll find a list of the recent Vendy Recipients here, offering gourmet bargains throughout the city. Keep an eye on their site for developments.