Guest Contributor: Dylan Connor
- Ultimate Value Driven Destinations within a 20 block radius.
- The Transport: By car from Boston; Walking.
The Morgans Hotel – Madison Ave
Located at 237 Madison Ave., the Morgans Hotel is the original jewel in Ian Shrager’s boutique hotel empire. The instinctively modernist interiors are timeless and were created by the emissary of Parisian chic:Andre Putnam. This hotel is full of thoughtful luxury including rainfall showerheads, down duvets and pillows, Malin & Goetz bath amenities and complimentary breakfast, complete with homemade granola and classic New York bagels. It remains a best kept value secret in town with an unbeatable location.
The Meatball Shop -9th & 22nd
The Meatball Shop – 9th and 22nd streets (one of five locations). They’ve got balls and a not so secret weapon in chef Daniel Holzman, who hails from Le Bernadin. He and business partner Michael Chernow have created an irreverent and nostalgic haven of affordable comfort foods with a best in class aura. Locally sourced meats (Heritage Pork, Creekstone Farms Beef and Murray’s Chicken, which they grind themselves) are transformed into an innovative menu that is frugal in its pricing yet high in style and flavor. Dig in to the Meatball Smash – two balls on a Brioche bun with sauce and cheese or a purely simple slider. Wash it down with a Shop Specialty Cocktail: the Fool-Aid Punch ( brandy, rum, citrus and grape sugar) or a Homegrown Classic: Moscow Mule: Brooklyn Republic (vodka, lime and ginger beer). Whiskey lovers should check out the whiskey grid. Have it neat or cleverly disguised in a Whiskey float with Vanilla (citrus liqueur, root beer and vanilla ice cream). And finally, we suggest The Sweet Ending: an ice cream sandwich concocted with house-made ice cream and freshly baked cookies. Our favorite? Chocolate chip with brown sugar ice cream. That’s just the surface of a comprehensive menu that does not disappoint.
Virgil’s BBQ-44th right off Times Square
Located on 44th Street, Virgil’s real barbecue is right off Times Square in the heart of the Theater District. Classic Roadhouse décor sets the tone in an atmosphere that is casual and welcoming. The streamlined service is a fast and friendly group of aspiring actors. Stick with Virgil’s favorites and you can’t miss. Two genuine Southern Pride Smokers churn out the tastiest Carolina Pulled Pork and BBQ Chicken in the North. Split an order of Trainwreck fries or BBQ nachos. (These are not for the faint of heart in portion or calories.) Beer aficionados may rejoice in choosing a flight of “Three of Your Choice,” or indulge in Virgil’s Own Ale, Coney Island Lager or Skrumpies Cider.
THE RAMBLE — Central Park
The Shakespeare Garden
Central Park is 843 acres that were curated by preeminent landscape architect Frederick law Olmsted in 1858. With daily official guided or self-guided tours, we have three scintillating suggestions and they’re free!: Brush up on your Shakespeare! Don’t miss The Shakespeare Garden, named for the famed English poet and playwright and includes four enchanting acres of scattered quotes, flowers and plants all drawn from his illustrious works.
The Chess & Checkers House
For the gamer in all of us- compete in The Chess and Checkers House—BYOC or borrow Chess, Checkers or Backgammon and Dominos.
The Carousel—Legend has it that the original ride was powered by a live mule or horse hidden beneath the carousel platform. Today’s vintage carousel was found in an old trolley terminal on Coney Island. It was crafted in 1908 by the Brooklyn firm Stein & Goldstein and is considered one of the finest and largest examples of American Folk Art in existence. With its 57 majestic horses, it is the fourth to stand in Central Park since 1871.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch- Starring John Cameron Mitchell
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” starring writer/creator John Cameron Mitchell, at the Belasco Theatre. The Tony-winning revival has been updated and revamped from the original Off-Broadway and film versions, which serves the larger-than-life character of Hedwig well. Mitchell is a true manifestation of stage charisma, and the music seamlessly bridges rock’n’roll and musical theater. The Tony-winning lighting design by Kevin Adams rounds out a glamorous, hilarious, and heartfelt experience. Day-of lottery tickets provide great seats for a very low price.
Finding Neverland — with Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer
“Finding Neverland,” starring Matthew Morrison, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Kelsey Grammer, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Directed by the incomparable Tony-winner Diane Paulus with fantastic music by first-timers Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, it is also a first for Harvey Weinstein as a Broadway producer. It is a surprisingly sympathetic turn from Morrison, complemented with grace by Kelly, and rounded out by Grammer’s panache. The simply designed set perfectly frames Paulus’ elegant staging and the stunning choreography from Mia Michaels of TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance” fame. An overall excellent adaptation of the 2004 film, while still establishing its own style and take on the story of J.M. Barrie and his inspiration for “Peter Pan.” Stand in line a few hours before the box office opens, and experience the spectacle from amazing seats for an incredibly affordable price.
THE SCENE — Broadway. (Nomad, Midtown, Times Square) A theater extravaganza.
THE MUSTS — Ultimate destinations — within 20 walking blocks
THE EATS — DAY ONE: The Parlour at the Nomad- Brunch – Featuring the ‘ne plus ultra’ of chicken sandwiches masterfully crafted by chef/owner Daniel Humm with buttery brioche, fois gras and black truffle. Pair it with a glass of Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Bourgogne blanc from Burgundy France 2011. (One of the many fine wines by the glass sourced from around the world). For dessert: Milk & Honey- a deconstructed sweet with shortbread, brittle and ice cream. Finish with a glass of Sauterne and a white Peony tea. Truly a flawless dining experience. Ask for Rudy – a dedicated artist in customer service.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar— Dinner: at 51st and 7th (located across the Galleria from Le Bernadin)- This restrained and discreet Wine Bar is the casual love child of star Sommelier Aldo Sohm and renowned Le Bernadin Chef/Owner Eric Ripert. It is a marriage of fine small plates and some of the best sourced wines of the world. Like Le Bernadin, the professional staff hits the right note in service. Unlike Le Bernadin, no reservations are needed. In fact, they are not taken at all. Musts are the Truffle Pasta with aged Parmesan – a decadent delight – both delicate and dynamic, the roasted, spiced carrots and the grilled chorizo manchego Panini. Wines by the glass never tasted better than in their super fine crystal stemware from Zalto (a collaboration with Mr. Sohm). Try the 2013 Vouvray Domaine Huet by Le Mont, and the 2012 Cotes de Nuits-Villages Les Essards by Antoine Lienhardt. Perfection.
DAY TWO: Stumptown Coffee OutPost at The Ace Hotel – a neighborhood favorite. A simple, smooth cup of java. Authentic Doppio Macchiato. Get it to go and be a ‘flaneur’.
Eataly–Lunch:at 23rd and 5th Avenue- Mario Batali’s– Authentic Italian Mecca delivers sensory overload. A Harrods food court for Italian foodies. With a curated Alessi outpost to satisfy the discerning designer. La pizza & la pasta served in an insalata de Finocchio – arugula, fennel, shaved parmigiano with lemon vinaigrette and a chewy/ crispy pizza with prosciutto & mozzarella. Molto bene. Simply satisfying.
THE SHOPPING — MOMA Design Store at 5th AV and 53Rd – get your artistic culture on. This is curated like the Museum with some hi -lo design objects heavy on the functional luxury. Some perennial favorites include the Sky Umbrella and the Yanagi flatwear.
Fishes Eddy—889 BROADWAY, Purveyor of American Sturdy ware. Hotel ware reimagined – Many items with humorous anecdotes. Dare you NOT to leave with a smile
THE SHOWS — “The Audience”: (Matinee) Starring the incomparable Helen Mirren at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre at west 45th St. A transformative tete a tete with the Queen and her successive Prime Ministers. Intelligent, witty and touching glimpse of the royal weekly behind the scenes meetings. This restrained and elegant production is directed by Stephan Daldry (“An Inspector Calls,” “Billy Elliot”) and designed by Bob Crowley (“Once,” “Glass Menagerie”).
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre at West 47th St. A mystery (it’s title is taken from a Sherlock Holmes quote) with brilliant perspective from the eyes of 15-year-old protagonist Christopher Boone—who describes himself as a mathematician with behavioral difficulties (identified as Asperger’s Syndrome). If anything, the play is about being an outsider, about differences. It is based on a novel by Mark Haddon, winner of 17 literary awards. The playwright is Simon Stephens (“A Doll’s House,” “The Cherry Orchard”). Alex Sharp, a 2014 Julliard graduate makes his extraordinary Broadway debut.
Honeymoon in Vegas: (Matinee) Starring Tony Danza at the Nederlander Theater at West 41st St. – Based on a screenplay by Andrew Bergman, with a rousing score by Jason Robert Brown- (a fine story teller like Stephen Sondheim – only funny, with the angst of Woody Allen). This has everything a Broadway musical needs – a splashy opening number with a catchy tune (Betsy), humor, shtick, romance, and flying Elvis’. And, yet, it has a surprising restraint, due in part because of a charming performance by Mr. Danza.
THE SCENE The Upper East Side. A luxury streamlined visit.
THE MUSTS: Ultimate destinations – all within 10 blocks.
THE EATS – Day One: Rev your engine with – Ralph’s coffee at the Polo Store 5th & 55th – THE best cup in the city – An exclusive blend of Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Columbian beans. Pair it with a cured salmon sandwich on country bread with watercress and preserved lemons, and an all American chocolate walnut brownie (A secret recipe from Mr. Lauren’s mother-in-law.)
Day Two: Breakfast- La Viand Coffee Shop at 61st & Madison – real authentic diner for locals – can’t beat the eggs over easy, bacon, rye toast and hash browns – in and out in 20 minutes!
Dinner- Le Bilbouquet at 61st between Madison & Park – chic neighborhood spot –order the signature endive salad with granny apple, candied walnuts and Roquefort and the Branzino –practice your French with the uber charming maître d’s.
THE COCKTAIL – Sirios at the Pierre – sip the “PEAR SE” –grey goose pear, alchemia ginger vodka, pear puree, solerno, lemon juice or the “Bitter Love” – a potion of Greenhook Ginsmith gin, Campari, strawberry puree, lime juice.
THE SHOPPING – Bergdorf’s on 5th Ave for Old world experience, Barney’s on Madison Ave for New world experience, and Ralph Lauren Women’s store on Madison for a combination of the two– The Beaux Art Hotel Particular Style Building is a recent addition to the street – All three are a part of the true luxury retail fabric of New York.
THE SHOW – “The River” – Starring the charismatic Hugh Jackman at the Circle in the Square at 50th –get “hooked” on this darkly romantic tale about a fisherman in a remote cabin and the 2 women he entertains there. 1 hour 25 minutes with no intermission.
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