From a new skyscraper hotel and a Michelin-starred food tour to an exhibition of rarely seen paintings by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, New York never fails to thrill with new experiences, places to stay, dine and drink. Armed with a New York CityPASS, which offers free entry to many of New York’s top attractions and a seven-day subway pass for $33, you can do a remarkable amount, making new discoveries along the way.
New hotels in Manhattan
Chic boutique hotel Modern Haus in Soho is a design marvel, with 114 unique rooms and suites. Each guest room has a carefully thought out color palette, reclaimed wood floors, custom furnishings plus one-of-a-kind sculptures and paintings from artists like George Condo, Jean Dubuffet and Hans Hofmann. The top suite is the penthouse at 1,315 square feet, with views of the Freedom Tower and the East River. Key to comfort in all guest rooms are Le Labo bath amenities and high thread count cotton bed linens by Frette. If you’re keen to take home some of these luxuries, the hotel has a shop selling hoodies, caps, robes, slippers, toiletries and candles.
Dining and drinking options are excellent, from all-day eatery, Jumpin Jacks, on the second floor, the sophisticated Veranda restaurant from chef George Mendes, and for awesome sunset views and great cocktails, the rooftop pool bar, Jimmy. Modern Haus doesn’t have a spa but it does have a partnership with AIRE Ancient Baths, five minutes from the hotel. Housed in an 1883 textile factory, six thermal baths set at different temperatures, a jet bath and salt water bath offer a truly relaxing experience.
New to midtown is the Ritz-Carlton New York NoMad, near Madison Square Park. The 50-floor building, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, has 219 luxurious guestrooms, including 31 suites. The top Ritz-Carlton Suite is spectacular. Covering 2,100-square feet with stunning 360 degree views, the suite features a private wellness room, separate living and dining areas, a media room and a massive walk-in closet.
All rooms and suites have Frette 400-thread count linens while terrazzo marble bathrooms have fancy bathroom amenities by French brand Diptyque. A Spa and a well-equipped gym, is below the lobby. The food and drink offering includes the Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge upstairs on the 36th floor, chic Zaytinya with a Mediterranean mezze menu by award-winning Chef José Andrés and Nubeluz, the just opened rooftop bar on the 50th floor.
The buzzy, 446-room Hard Rock Hotel opened earlier this year on Music Row, paying homage to the recording studios and music stores that once lined 48th Street. For music lovers, this hotel is paradise with live music across all its public spaces plus guests can enjoy Crosley record players and Fender guitars in their rooms. Music-inspired memorabilia is everywhere from a classic leather motorcycle jacket owned by Joey Ramone to a pair of silver patent leather boots worn by Lady Gaga.
The hotel’s top suite is the luxurious 1,600 square feet Rock Star Suite, a two-story penthouse with open-plan living and dining space, bar, a private terrace, plus VIP direct access to RT60 rooftop bar and lounge. Food and drink is on the 34th floor RT60 Rooftop bar and lounge with great views. Downstairs is an excellent steakhouse, NYY Steak while farm-fresh seasonal cuisine in a musical setting is offered at Sessions.
New Restaurants And Food Tours
Visit New York City’s top restaurants, including hard-to-book, Michelin-starred establishments, on a decadent food tour of the Flatiron district with Avital. A three-course Michelin experience visits three top restaurants with plenty of history and fascinating anecdotes thrown in from the ebullient guide Sophie Brubaker. A food and culture tour with Avital offers an excellent gourmet eating experience in the Flatiron area, including restaurants with tough to get reservations like buzzy, Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote, Red Snapper ceviche at Italian seafood specialist Scampi finishing with Cioccolato paired with Vintage port at Fifth Avenue favorite Ai Fiori. All three are excellent but the star of the tour was Chef David Shim and Simon Kim’s hotspot Cote an inspired combination of a classic steakhouse and Korean tabletop barbecue spot. The menu features USDA Prime and Japanese and American wagyu cuts and delicious sides like egg souffle and kimchi stew.
Themed historical walking and foodie tours from Devour Tours are brilliant. While Little Italy may have the name recognition, many of Manhattan’s Italian immigrants have actually called Greenwich Village home over the years. The tour features a comprehensive insight to Italian history and culture that has shaped the area, with stops for tastings at nine family-run eateries in Greenwich Village. Meet the owner of neighborhood pasta shop and see the pasta machine her family has used for over a century. Discover the birthplace of New York’s first cappuccino and. enjoy a slice of what has been judged New York’s best pizza.
Arva at the new Aman hotel, under the direction of Executive Chef Dario Ossola, pays homage to Italy’s rustic, cucina del raccolto tradition (harvest cuisine) while sourcing the majority of its ingredients locally, partnering with initiatives such as Grow NYC and Our Harvest, which together represent over 750 farmers and 100 farmer’s markets in and around New York City. Fulton Fish Market provides the seafood.
James Beard Award-winning Chef José Andrés oversees the food at the Ritz-Carlton Nomad, including the buzzy ground floor Zaytinya which serves a delicious mezze menu inspired by Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisines.
The top exhibition in New York this year has been extended to 1 January 2023 due to popular demand. Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure, a brilliant show of unseen works by the late great artist opened this spring and has been extended due to popular demand. Organized by the artist’s family, this thoughtfully curated exhibition features over 200 never-before-seen and rarely shown paintings, drawings, music, film and ephemera, telling the story of Jean-Michel from an intimate perspective, intertwining his artistic endeavors with his personal life, influences and the times in which he lived.
Artlovers can also use a New York Citypass to jump the queues at major museums like the Guggenheim and MOMA. Current big shows are by painter Alex Katz and photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. The photography museum Fotografiska New York is also a must, with its current show of works by David LaChapelle.
Uptown, there’s a glamorous new jazz club in the basement of the Aman Hotel with the same sound system as at the Lincoln Center. Enter this glamorous speakeasy through a discreet staff entrance at the side of the hotel. The current owner of the hip West Village club Fat Cat (now called Cellar Dog) oversees The Jazz Club at the Aman. In the same area is tiny basement Japanese restaurant Tomi where you’ll likely have to queue but inside they host excellent live jazz every night.
Head downtown to Cellar Dog in the West Village and some of the other world’s best jazz clubs. Arthur’s Tavern, one of the oldest, opened in 1937 and has been thrilling jazz lovers with top live jazz and blues music ever since from the likes of Charlie Parker and Roy Hargrove. Smalls, a petite basement bar, is simply brilliant. It’s a true labor of love, running on a shoestring budget, showing emerging talents and international acts. Smalls, along with nearby Mezzrow’s, is run by jazz pianist Spike Wilner who keeps the admission charge affordable for keen jazz fans. Also essential for jazz lovers, is the legendary Village Vanguard where many of the greats have performed and recorded albums including John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon and Wynton Marsalis.