There's something magical about the last long days of summer in New York City. The restless bustle is in flux as many residents stay, while others choose to spend weekends at the beach in the Hamptons or our in New England. This might be the best time in New York City. The long sunny days end with cool nights and there's something crisp in the air that you can almost feel.
When it comes to choosing where to stay, SoHo is our top pick. It's cobblestone streets and short buildings makes this village feel like a residential nook within the vast metropolis. Coupled with the many flagship stores for fashion brands across the globe, quaint cafes, delectable restaurants and accessibility to greater New York City, SoHo is by far and away our favorite neighborhood to spend time in.
Where to Stay
The SoHo Grand is an amazing hotel located right on West Broadway in the heart of this bustling neighborhood. Famous for establishing itself as Manhattan’s first luxury downtown boutique hotel, you'll find this gem alongside world renowned art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. The luxurious rooms, fine dining, balcony views and locale are among some of our favorite highlights. Walk out the front doors and head north a block to find famous Parisian restaurant and pastry shop LaDuree, head up to Lure Fishbar for fresh oysters and wine, make your way east and stumble upon a high end fashion photo shoot or accidentally run into a screening for major motion picture or hot new TV show.
While we adore the location of this chic hotel, we can't say enough about the service. The helpful staff will always point you in the right direction. They seemed to anticipate all of our needs. Though the hotel was nearly full, they took our bags upon arrival and called us when our room was ready. We found the check in staff very helpful, and bellman to have plenty of tips for the area. The bartender at the Grand Bar & Lounge was really nice and made a seriously mean old fashioned cocktail!
Where to Eat
New York City is not only the city that never sleeps, it is the city of perpetual eating. With hundreds of new restaurants every year turning over, there is always something fresh and fun to excite your taste buds. When we go to NYC, we're always torn between stopping into our old haunts, the quintessential New York classics, or trying out the new fad spots in town. This trip we did a mix of it all. From Kats Deli to new Japanese ice cream shops, we certainly made the most of this trip where food was concerned!
Katz's Delicatessen is a New York staple, and was on our list of must-do's whilst in the big apple. This kosher deli serves up cured, smoked and carved meats, delicious pickles, deli salads, knishes, french fries and of course, matzo ball soup! Established in 1888, Katz's is family owned and operated and world famous. If you're headed to New York, be sure to stop by and try their classic reuben - it might be as good as Meg Ryan intimates in 'When Harry Met Sally'.
A few other favorites that we had to stop by included:
What to Do
There are literally thousands of things we could recommend. Since we were only there for a long weekend (and honestly, how much can you fit in around all the food you plan on eating, right?!), we'll drop in some of our favorite ways to spend a long weekend in NYC.
Take a Stroll Through Central Park
Cliche or not, Central Park is truly one of a kind. We love starting our park stroll at Columbus Circle and making our way northeast through the rocky area where you can get a pretty good view of Manhattan, up through the main thoroughfare choked full of painters and vendors, to the Loeb Boathouse and to the model boat sailing pond - hitting all of our favorites. Bonus - going this route will put you out on the Upper East Side near J G Melon. Go on, you've earned it!
Stop Off at Pier 66 for a Drink on the Hudson
The Frying Pan is generally more a place we find local New Yorkers, but we're happy to share the secret of this amazing restaurant and boat bar with our readers! Built in 1929, Lightship #115 Frying Pan guarded its namesake, Frying Pan Shoals, 30 miles off of Cape Fear, NC, from 1930 to 1965. Today, it is permenantly docked at Pier 66 in the west side of Manhattan and is open to the public for you to enjoy. Stop in at sunset and grab a bottle of wine. The buzzy atmosphere and always beautiful coastline views are impressive.
The Oculus and 9/11 Memorial
New construction turned the once devastating site of the Twin Towers to a moving monument to commemorate the 9/11 attack on America. Though it can be hard for many to visit, this memorial is beautifully moving, and was erected as a place of remembrance. Two beautiful fountains stand where the skyscrapers once stood, serving as the country's principal place to pay homage to the lives of those who were lost is at the heart of the 9/11 terror attack. Stop by to pay your respects via the subway and you can also take a look at the brand new Oculus adjacent to the memorial and museum.
Ride the Staten Island Ferry to See the Statue of Liberty
While Staten Island may not be an obvious tourist spot, the ferry that takes residents to and from the island is. Why? Because it's boats some of the greatest views of the Statue of Liberty, and best of all, it's free! Hop on for an impressive glimpse of lady liberty on the ferry, which leaves lower Manhattan several times throughout the day. The city has often discussed taxing tourists for use of the ferry boats, but for now at least you can still take a ride for nothing at all. You're welcome.
Shopping in SoHo
Practically synonymous with SoHo is SHopping. From major fashion retail brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, DVF and many others to high street brands like H&M and Zara, plus sample sales galore, SoHo is the absolute mecca for our shopping lovers out there. Meander the cobblestone streets of SoHo like a true New Yorker with bags full of luxurious finds a la Sex & the City. We promise, it's the best shopping on the East Coast.