New York is often thought of as a filthy, unfriendly city.
As a proud creative living in the city, I resent that depiction. What an outrageous, unfair, ignorant...
...Okay, it’s a little dirty. But I believe in the old adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” You see a rat, we see a furry friend. You see garbage, we see recycled artwork. Extreme? Maybe. That’s just how we roll.
But whether you’re distracted by the city’s grungier side or see the Big Apple through rose-tinted I <3 NY glasses, no one can deny that New York vibrates with energy and a thriving culture that no other city can replicate. Even if you have just 24 hours to explore, with an effective game plan, you can swiftly navigate these supposedly mean streets and see the city’s best.
Got a New York Minute? Let’s go.
8:00am: Break the rules and have dessert first. Paris Baguette artfully crafts semi-sweet pastries with unique flavors like red bean, green tea, sesame and sweet potato. PB is our go-to spot for sweetening up any office gathering. Pastries count as breakfast, right?
10:30am: Craving a caffeine fix? Look no further than Stumptown Coffee Roasters in the Ace Hotel. This cute café pours deliciously roasted lattes, cold brews, cappuccinos and more, all served up by friendly hipster baristas sporting vintage hats.
11:15am: Time to get your art gaze on. The modern architecture of the Whitney Museum of American Art is every bit as beautiful as the art it houses. Walk the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District until you come across a breathtaking site. Explore the diverse works, from drawings and paintings to photographs, films and sculptures. The Whitney dedicates its collection to living American artists, as well as works from past centuries. With rotating, seasonal exhibitions, there’s always something new to see.
1:00pm: Can’t decide on just one lunch spot? We got you. Here are a few of our favorites:
Expect a line, but it’s worth the wait when you can eat outside in the summertime. Try the shack burger, cheese fries and frozen custard.
This NoMad (North of Madison Square Park) café delivers fresh eats that are equally wholesome and delicious. This eatery has arguably the best avocado toast around, plus savory small plates, salads and sandwiches.
For the super indecisive, head over to Penn Station’s new upscale food hall. (Yes, you heard that right… Penn Station’s new upscale food hall). The update includes stalls from star chefs Marc Forgione, Mario Batali, Franklin Becker and Pat LaFrieda. Try the Vietnamese Banh Mi roll from The Little Beet (think of it as the cousin to original sushi burrito concept Sushirrito). Make sure to get lots of napkins, and maybe a fork too.
2:00pm: Now that you’re fueled up, take the scenic route as you head south to do some shopping. The High Line is an elevated path along the Hudson with beautifully lush landscapes, river views… and a look into super rich people’s apartments. The urban trail features small park spaces to relax, and happenings like stargazing and food carts in the warmer months. Tourists and locals alike enjoy the High Line on a sunny day in the city. Enter at 34th Street and exit at 14th Street.
2:30pm: Retail therapy time. Chelsea Market houses an eclectic array of shops and restaurants. Unlike your typical mall, you’ll find both familiar names and uber-specialty vendors all under one roof. Breeze through the winding hallways of diverse eats, and make a beeline for Artists & Fleas, located at the very outer end of the market. This old world industrial space features over 30 independent artist stalls, with distinctive, handmade trinkets and other artistic creations. From fashion to design to photography to vintage finds, this store is a shopping mecca for any creative type.
3:30pm: Keep the creative vibes going as you walk through historically nonconformist Washington Square Park. Known for its original beatnik counterculture scene and featured in many movies, this little park near NYU still attracts artists, street entertainers and musicians who perform free for the public. Spend time reading by the fountain, challenge a chess player to a match, or admire the beautiful Washington Square Arch (modeled after the Parisian Arc de Triomphe).
5:00pm: The Paris atmo got you feeling fancy? Beat the crowds and make like a European at Eataly’s rooftop beer garden, Birreria. On the menu are high-quality Italian meats, cheeses, coffee, and wine. Top it off with a picturesque sunset traversing across cityscapes and you have yourself a perfect evening!
7:00pm: Next, grab dinner and drink deals at Beecher’s The Cellar. Watch as artisanal cheeses are made in the industrial space upstairs, and then head downstairs for some gourmet mac & cheese. If heaps of hot cheese aren’t enticing enough, Beecher’s happy hour offers half-off food and $6 glasses of wine.
8:30pm: After dinner, venture out to discover Attaboy, an unassuming, hidden speakeasy with exceptionally creative cocktails. Knock twice on the nondescript door marked “AB” and tell the bartender your flavor preferences for a customized concoction.
10:30pm: Last-laugh it up at the Comedy Cellar. This Greenwich Village NYC institution showcases some of the funniest in the biz. With the cover charge and two-item minimum, you can expect an evening of incredible comedic talent for around $50 a person. That’s a far better deal than most Broadway shows. During my last Comedy Cellar visit, 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander was a guest act. Celeb comedians often drop by, so pray that Louis C.K. or Jon Stewart is in the neighborhood when you go.
Want more? Here are some HZ NYC–approved bonus ideas:
- Try Cajun crispy alligator at Bo's Kitchen and Bar Room
- Hide out from the city hustle at 1986 est. Wine Bar & Lounge
- Catch a Knicks or Rangers game at Madison Square Garden
- Take in the underground music scene at the Bowery Ballroom or Terminal 5
- Go Greek at Taverna Kyclades in Astoria (come hungry!)
- Brunch hard at Coppelias Cuban diner
- Try Korean donuts and hodduk—cinnamon sugar pancakes—at Grace Street
Note: I do realize the large majority of this itinerary consists of eating. The way I see it, you can’t live in a city as amazing as New York and eat a sad sandwich at your desk every day. Treat. Yo. Self. Ain’t nobody got time for regrets. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to make it in this city of big dreams and small pockets, and that’s the real fun of it.