Epicenter of the arts. Dining and shopping capital. Trendsetter. New York City wears many crowns, and spreads an irresistible feast for all.
One hundred years ago the torch-wielding icon, clad in copper greens, welcomed the ‘tired, poor, and huddled masses’ – she was quite the sight for sore eyes after a long journey from the other end of the globe. Today, Lady Liberty stands guard over a modern set of human pursuits. New York has become so much more than the gateway to opportunity – it’s a city of triumph, a capital of exploration and experimentation; it’s a place where one is truly free to be themselves. So come as you are, shed your apprehensions, let it all hang out and join the fray.
A New York Minute
Although the city may present itself as rather straightforward – especially when one navigates the relentless stripes of perpendicular gridiron – New York is infinitely complex; it’s intricate parts twisting in tandem like the cogs of a clock. This feels particularly fitting in a place that has its own standards for telling time. Sand passes through the hourglass much faster here – change is constantly afoot, as locals hunt down the latest and greatest with alacrity only to shift gears the following week in search of the next big hit. So it really doesn’t matter when you visit – today, tomorrow, or in a year’s time – New York will always be ahead of the curve.
With its compact size and streets packed with eye-candy of all sorts – architectural treasures, old-world cafes, atmospheric booksellers and curiosity shops – NYC is an urban wanderer's delight. Crossing continents is as easy as walking over a few avenues in this jumbled city of 200-plus nationalities. You can lose yourself in the crowds of Chinatown amid brightly painted Buddhist temples, steaming noodle shops and fragrant fishmongers, then stroll up to Nolita for enticing boutiques and coffee-tasting among the craft-minded scenesters. Every neighborhood offers a dramatically different version of New York City – from the 100-year-old Jewish delis of the Upper West Side to the meandering cobblestone lanes of Greenwich Village. And the best way to experience this city is to walk its streets.
There's never been a better time to dine in New York. The city has become a hotbed of seasonal and locally sourced cuisine – with restaurants raising vegetables on roof gardens or their own upstate farms, sourcing meats and seafood from sustainable outfits nearby, and embracing artisanal everything – from coffee roasting and whiskey distilling to chocolate- and cheese-making. Bars have also taken creativity to new heights, with pre-Prohibition-era cocktails, served alongside delectable small plates – indeed gastropubs are some of the most creative places to get a meal these days. Though of course, you can also hit the gourmet food-truck scene, or dine more traditionally at one of NYC's 20,000-plus sit-down restaurants.
It's Up to You...
…New York New York. Fred Ebb’s lyrics (as made famous by Frank Sinatra) really do embody the essence of the city. New York is a choose-your-own-adventure kinda place where a left turn reveals glitzy lights and after-hours cabarets, while a stroll to the right unveils brownstones carved from thick brick and sweet cafes set along cobbled lanes. It’s a city of happy accidents where the further you fall down the rabbit hole the greater the gains become. Set your sights as high as the skyscrapers and extend that to-do list as long as Broadway – New York is yours for the taking, and it will gladly welcome you in if you’re daring enough to explore.
Why I Love New York
By Regis St Louis, Author
I've lived in NY since 2001, and I'm excited about how green the city has become in recent years. The Brooklyn Bridge Park in my neighborhood, the High Line, the Hudson River Park, the growing number of farmers markets around town, the new CitiBike program, Bloomberg's plant-a-million-trees campaign: New York is no longer 'the concrete jungle' of yesteryear. Culturally speaking, it's an exciting time to be in New York, with the arrival of new theaters, cultural centers and sporting arenas (Theatre for a New Audience, BRIC, Barclays Center). I also feel fortunate to be here during the Brooklyn renaissance, when there's so much creativity in the air.
Nexus of the Arts
The Met, the MoMA and the Guggenheim are just the beginning of a dizzying list of art-world icons. You'll find museums devoted to everything from fin de siècle Vienna to immigrant life in the Lower East Side, and sprawling galleries filled with Japanese sculpture, postmodern American painting, Himalayan textiles and New York City lore. For a glimpse of current and future greats, delve into the cutting-edge galleries of Chelsea and the Lower East Side, with their myriad exhibition spaces, and festive opening-night parties (usually Thursday night if you want to join in).
Take A Bite of the Big Apple
The Big Apple is, more than anything else, a wildly diverse urban ecosystem, and there’s no better way to access the city’s cornucopia of cultures than through the dinner plate. NYC’s eating scene is a parade of superlatives culminating in a constellation of Michelin stars. From the Caribbean kitchens in Harlem to modern iterations of new American comfort cuisine downtown, New York offers endless opportunities to stamp your palate’s passport.
The Night Is Young
When the sun sinks slowly beyond the Hudson and luminous skyscrapers light up the night, New York transforms into one grand stage. Well-known actors take to the legendary theaters of Broadway as world-class soloists, dancers and musicians perform at venues large and small across town. Whether high culture or low, New York embraces it all: in-your-face rock shows at Williamsburg dives, lavish opera productions at the Lincoln Center, and everything in between. This is a city of experimental theater, improv comedy, indie cinema, ballet, poetry readings, burlesque, world music, jazz and so much more. If you can dream it up, it's probably happening in NYC.