From arty Manhattan to foodie Brooklyn, New York still fascinates.
One of the most picturesque cities in the world, it is a photographer's heaven.
Art in the city
Frieze NYC takes place in May and is a lot of fun. Secure tickets in advance and make it part of your trip. The 2015 edition was held in Randall's Island, north east of Manhattan, which required a boat ride and was part of the fun.
The new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District was designed by Renzo Piano (who also designed The Shard in London) and opened in May 2015. It displays an amazing collection of American art from 1900 to today. The roof top offers splendid views over the Hudson River. It is a must visit in the city.
MoMA is always a great art display. The Bjork exhibition was heavily criticised in 2015, quite rightfully I must say. But the temporary exhibitions or the permanent collections are always worth a visit. The Toulouse-Lautrec room being one of my favourites. Try also PS1, Moma's sister contemporary art center in Queens. Exhibitions there are more edgy and niche.
Chelsea and the Meatpacking District also host many small galleries worth a visit including the Gagosian and Pace Gallery.
Escape to Red Hook
Brooklyn is now at least as trendy as Manhattan. Crowds gather in Williamsburg for brunch and shopping but there are less known really cool neighbourhoods. Brooklyn Heights can be a fun stroll for views over Manhattan, shopping and food and Bushwick for hip coffee places and hidden restaurants.
But my favourite area out of Manhattan is Red Hook for its ambiance and a sense of authenticity. It feels really different from the commercial neighbourhoods that are invading NYC. And a free weekend water taxi ride is provided by IKEA Express shuttle from Manhattan Pier 11 to their Brooklyn store.
Two fun seafood shacks there are Brooklyn Crab, a 2-deck venue with views on New York harbour with lots of outdoor seating offering all things crab and lobster. It is perfect for a friends or family brunch on the weekend. The other shack is Red Hook Lobster Pound, a smaller joint famous for their lobster rolls. None of these are cheap, just so you know!
For your art fix, Pioneer Works housed in a huge brick building (a former 19th century machinery factory) pride themselves in being 'a center for research and experimentation in contemporary culture'. Think exhibitions, performances and a science lab through collaborative work by international artists and educators.
The High Line is a great walk and a way to discover west Manhattan as it runs from West 34th street all the way down to the Whitney Museum.
For foodie destinations, check my post here. There are so many dining options that one post is not enough. In addition to the spots I recommend in my page, here are a few more: The Breslin, one of chef April Bloomfield's restaurants, offers great burgers in the Ace Hotel (the tapas bar John Dory is fun and highly hip but prices are quite silly). Otto, one of many Mario Battali's dining concepts always has available seats, great pizza and quite delicious olive oil ice cream. La Esquina is a lovely joint for great ceviche
As for accommodations, I am lucky enough to stay with friends or prefer renting a flat when going in group. Hotels are very expensive but if you can afford it, I recommend Ace Hotel, Crosby Street Hotel, Bowery Hotel, all in lower Manhattan and Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn.
NEW YORK SHORTLIST
Frieze NYC / Whitney Museum of American Art / MoMa / PS1 / Gagosian Gallery / The Pace Gallery
Escapes / Red Hook
Brooklyn Crab / Red Hook Lobster Pound / Botanica / Cacao Prieto / Pioneer Works
The High Line / The Breslin / Otto / La Esquina
Ace Hotel / Crosby Street Hotel / The Bowery Hotel / The Jane Hotel / Wythe Hotel
The winter months are freezing (far below 0) whereas other seasons are quite lovely.
Also bear in mind that restaurant prices do not include tax and tip so you will have to add 25% to everything you order.