Ruth Styles eats her way through the Big Apple, stopping off at some iconic sights and cultural gems en route.
0700-0900. Start with an early morning walk or jog along The High Line, the two-and-a-half-kilometre-long aerial greenway built on a section of the old elevated freight railroad spur which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan. The park runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, passes under the André Balazs’ trendy Standard Hotel, and ends at West 34th Street. If you get off at the end of Section 1, you’ll be across the street from Cookshop (156 10th Avenue, 212 924 4440), whose breakfast offerings include grapefruit brûlées with crème fraiche and killer Bloody Mary’s. Or try Le Grainne Cafe (183 Ninth Avenue, 646 486 3000) and its delicious French toast served with home fries, grilled ham and fruit salad.
0900-1100. Take a stroll round Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets) – a food complex that takes up an entire city block. Originally the National Biscuit Company Bakery (where the Oreo cookie was invented), it’s now home to dozens of speciality food shops and is open daily. If the queue’s not too long, get a coffee at locals’ favourite Ninth Street Espresso. Also worth checking out is the Fat Witch Bakery, which specialises in utterly moreish chocolate brownies. Chelsea is the art capital of New York and boasts more than 200 galleries. Two of the most famous are the Gagosian Gallery (555 West 24th Street, 212 741 1111) and the Matthew Marks Gallery (523 West 22nd Street, 212 243 0200).
1100-1300. Head down to the Bowery, once New York’s skid row, filled with flophouses and brothels, and now transformed with smart restaurants, luxury hotels and swish condos. The New Museum (235 Bowery Street, 212 219 1222) is a must-see. Styling itself as an anti-mainstream museum specialising in new and undiscovered artists, the seven-storey building designed by Tokyo-based firm Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA and the New York firm Gensler, is, depending on your attitude, an architectural wonder or a wonky stack of silvery white boxes. It houses three main gallery levels, a theatre, a café and roof terraces.
1300-1500. The coolest new addition to the Bowery’s roster of hip places to eat is the Bowery Diner (241 Bowery Street, 212 388 0052), recently launched by Belgian chef, Mathieu Palombino. A Francophone version of the classic greasy spoon, the menu is a mishmash of bistro and diner fare, lovingly prepared under Palombino’s eagle eye. His rib-sticking riff on the classic Reuben sandwich is made from home-smoked corned beef and comes piled high with melted Swiss cheese and tangy sauerkraut. Another belly-buster worth a visit is Veselka (9 East First Street, 212 387 7000), a hip offshoot of the East Village restaurant which is open 24 hours and famous for its burgers and Eastern European staples including kielbasa, pierogis and goulash.
1500-1700. The Tenement Museum (103 Orchard Street, 212 982 8420) is possibly the best museum in New York at putting the city’s history into context. It tells the stories of immigrants who lived in 97 Orchard Street, a tenement built in 1863 on the Lower East Side. If history isn’t really your cup of tea, then head to MoMA (11 West 53rd Street, 212 708 9400). Arguably the coolest art destination on the planet, it has a permanent collection that includes major pieces by the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and even Nick Cave (of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fame), and also offers daily screenings of classic films.
1700-1900. Move onto the National 9/11 Memorial (212 312 8800), which occupies three of the six hectares at the World Trade Center. Its twin memorial pools sit in the footprint of the two towers and were unveiled on the 10th anniversary of the attack. Several thousand visitors are allowed in each day but you need to reserve free advance passes for a specific date and time through the Memorial's online reservation system. Nearby is the 9/11 Museum, which hosts an extensive collection of photographs, audio and artefacts left over from the disaster, and aims to raise awareness of the role of firefighters and others who came to help that day. It’s haunting and not a little distressing but humanises 9/11 in a way that no news report ever could. Get some light relief with a walk around Battery Park, which started as a fortress to guard early settlers and ended up as the largest open space in downtown Manhattan. Its beautiful gardens include the Garden of Remembrance – a tribute to the survivors of the attacks – and it’s a great place to linger and take in the fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty.
1900-2100. Manhattanites stream over to Brooklyn for dinner. Arguably its best restaurant is the double Michelin-starred Brooklyn Fare (200 Schermerhorn Street, 718 243 0050) which is an über-deli by day and in the evening seats just 18 at its kitchen counter at 7pm for a tasting menu consisting of 18 to 20 small plates. The Chef’s Table is BYOB and it takes bookings by the week: on Mondays at 10.30am precisely it takes reservations by phone for a week, six weeks in advance. It’s less pricey and easier to score a table at Fatty ‘Cue (91 South Sixth Street, 718 599 3090), a smokehouse offering South East Asian barbecue – try the “Bobo” chicken with red onion, chilli, peanut and palm sugar, and wash it down, if you dare, with Thai iced coffee made with condensed milk. For more traditional oriental fare, try Momofuku Ssam bar and restaurant (207 Second Avenue, 212 254 3500) which offers a pleasing combination of high-tech cocktails and award-winning, slow-cooked Korean pork shoulder. Currently hovering at 37th place in San Pellegrino’s rundown of the world’s top 50 best restaurants, it’s so popular that queues start forming outside at 6pm – even on a Monday. As you can’t book, get there early and stay until closing time at midnight.
After 2100. New Yorkers have a thing about punch. To see what all the fuss is about, squeeze into The Drink (228 Manhattan Avenue, 718 782 8463), a rustic nautical themed bar in East Williamsburg, where concoctions such as ‘The Perfect Storm’ (Jamaican rum, lime juice, ginger and green tea syrups and Angostura Bitters) are served in dainty tea cups. Huckleberry Bar (588 Grand Street, 718 218 8555), which promises “the fancy without the fussy”, also has punches on its cocktail menu, and a good selection of local beers. Alternatively, there’s Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Avenue, 347 335 0446), an oyster house and cocktail bar which boasts the largest collection of absinthes in New York and a dollar-an-oyster happy hour during the week. And possibly the most painful hangovers.
Book now and make your own 24 hour adventure, with our flights from London to New York
Written by World Travel Guide.