Stuff to Do

AllNY.com's look at things to do in NYC written by New Yorkers for New Yorkers and serious New York tourists.


New York City: The Perfect City for Solo Travel

New York City was just voted one of the top cities for solo travelers. There are myriad reasons why this is the case. You’ll never be bored. You can pretty much talk to anyone here. Or you can simply blend in with the crowd and be as visible or as anonymous as you like. New York City is the king when it comes to being the melting pot.

New York Philharmonic

Personally, I find the many cultural options perfect opportunities to enjoy a solo experience. If you’re not quite ready to commit to a major play or opera as a single, look into the New York Philharmonic rehearsals, for example, an inexpensive and friendly way to test the solo waters at a cultural event.  https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/explore/open-rehearsals Also, a Wednesday or Saturday matinee on Broadway might feel less daunting than attending an evening performance by yourself.  Visit www.playbill.com for a full listing of Broadway and off-Broadway shows with matinee times.

Central Park

Meandering through the city’s myriad parks will let you observe, think, and relax all on your own time. And maybe you’ll find a casual food stand or restaurant there, where you can test your ability to dine alone.

I asked one of my favorite solo travelers, Shari Bayer, to share some suggestions of how to manage traveling solo. Shari is a pro when it comes to dining solo and traveling solo and can be heard sharing advice on her show, All in the Industry, on Heritage Radio Network, a weekly show about the hospitality industry.

  1. Location, location, location. When choosing where you stay, make sure it is in a central and safe neighborhood.  Check travel review sites, such as TripAdvisor. You can narrow your search to “solo” to see what other single travelers had to say about their experiences. Look for a consistency in the responses, as when many people post that it’s a “great location,” you can be confident that it will be.
  2. Plan your trip your way.  There is not one right way to travel, and when you’re going solo, you can do whatever you want without compromising your itinerary. You can sleep late and skip breakfast. Go to a museum for several hours, or only for a quick walk-through.  It’s up to you.
  3. Don’t think you have to do everything solo on your trip.  You can partake in group outings, city tours, food crawls and fun adventures where you will meet other travelers and have unique experiences together.  If you want some companionship, you can find it.
  4. Keep connected with technology. Nowadays, our smart phones can be our best friends and very useful for soloists.  From researching top city attractions to utilizing maps and posting on social media, you may forget that you’re alone with so many tools are your fingertips.
  5. Be confident in your decision to be traveling solo and don’t let anyone invade your time or privacy.  Ignore naysayers who many question why you are alone. It’s none of their business. Some people who haven’t traveled solo for themselves may not understand it, but it’s not your job to explain it.  Live and let live.
Bookmark and Share

More than 1000 Cars and Lots of Surprises at 2018 Car Show in NYC

There are some pretty sweet cars and experiences waiting for you at this year’s New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center, Manhattan. From all-electrics, concept cars, and sportier SUVs, to new reveals, and virtual reality and robot simulators, you can spend many hours immersed in the world of automobiles from March 30-April 9.  You can buy your tickets here. Then, hop in your car, and drive to the nearest drive-in, Sonic Hamburgers in North Bergen, New Jersey. I’m still searching for one in New York City.

That’s just what I did today on the intro media day filled with press conferences, demos and car intros.

Here are some of the interesting reveals that you can expect to see at the show.

Camaro:  It’s the 50th year of Hot Wheels and Camaro is celebrating it.

Essentia:  Genesis unveiled its groundbreaking Essentia Concept. The all-electric, high-performance concept elevates and re-imagines Genesis’s “Athletic Elegance” design.

Toyota RAV4: The all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 gets a sporty re-do that’s both attractive and practical for the this small sports utility vehicle, the creator of the small SUV segment.

Cadillac XT4: Cadillac unveiled its new XT4, an all-new compact luxury SUV, powered by an all-new 2.0L Turbo engine.

Nissan Altima: Nissan revealed a newly designed, very stylish version of its popular Altima, the first Nissan sedan to have available Intelligent All-Wheel Drive in the U.S.

Acura RDX: The 2019 Acura RDX debuted a sportier version of its SUV, the RDX A-Spec sport with larger wheels, gloss black accents and distinctive interiors including an available two-tone red and black interior.

Hyundai Kona Electric: For the eco-minded driver, Hyundai unveiled its new U.S. version of the Kona Electric crossover.

Audi RS 5 Sportback: This new Audi arrives in the US with distinctive styling and a distinct sound from its V6 biturbo engin

Mercedcs-Benz-AMG: The ever-popular C-Class shines with the addition of C 63 now  available in sedan, coupe and cabriolet versions with extended individualization options.

Alfa Romeo: Expanding the Giulia and Stelvio lineup, Alfa Romeo’s new Nero Edizione package seductive and striking dark exterior accents.

BMW introduces a sleeker version of its X1 small luxury SUV, the new X2 with more angled lines and slightly smaller interior space.  (No, that’s not the X2 in the top photo, but I can still dream).

Bookmark and Share

12 of the Sweetest Treats and Special Menus in New York City This Easter

Evelina, the charming Italian restaurant in the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, offers a special lunch menu to celebrate Easter created by Executive Chef Lanfranco Paliotti (Daniel, Boulud Sud). Highlights include braised Salt Meadow lamb with parmesan grits, flash fried squash blossom with buffalo mozzarella, rabbit loin porchetta, and ricotta, lemon, and vanilla pancakes with orange flower.

Nearby Miss Ada gives  you both a charming outdoor space and a holiday brunch menu with sweet and savory dishes inspired by the streets of Israel. Featured are include Yemeni such as the jachnun, a flaky dough coated with a date honey that has been slow-cooked in an oven overnight and topped with brown egg, tomato and schug; malawach, a layered pan-fried bread paired with a hard-boiled egg, tomato and schug; and ziva a flaky pastry with layers of the malawach filled with sweet potato, fontina cheese, asiago and mushrooms.

Another Brooklyn favorite, Greenpoint’s Sauvage – from the team being the wildly popular Maison Premiere in Williamsburg — will be serving a special brunch menu for Easter with dishes like the decadent almond French toast with persimmon, coconut and mascarpone; or an egg white frittata with tomato confit, spinach and raclette .Melding the outdoors with the indoors in a manner true to its “wild savage” name, the restaurant is a lush profusion of planted herbs and botanicals with large windows facing nearby McCarren Park.

Add a little taste of Paris by visiting Le District, the French market place located in Brookfield Place. At atmospheric Beaubourg, you’ll enjoy Sunday brunch outside on the terrace with beautiful views overlooking the Hudson River, while sipping on mimosas and enjoying entrées such as Fresh Ham Benedict, with smoked tomato, poached eggs, béarnaise, and baby field greens. In keeping with the French esprit, a pastry basket with assorted croissants, a cookie plate and a cocktail are included.

For a Spanish-inflected Easter brunch, Basque-inspired Ortzi by Jose Garces in the new LUMA Hotel Times Square will offer a 3-course Easter Brunch with dishes including tortilla Española, a Spanish potato omelet with spinach, roasted peppers and tomato jam; and Spanish shrimp Eggs Benedict with asparagus, English muffin, and Nora Chile hollandaise. Dessert treats include Crema Catalana with cinnamon and citrus custard, topped with brûléed sugar.

Feeling like something sweet for the holiday? Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer’s Easter CrazyShake The Peeps Shake is a cherry shake with a vanilla frosted rim with Easter M&Ms, topped with yellow chick Peeps, whipped cream, Easter sprinkles and a cherry.

The Palm Court at The Plaza will be having an Easter Grand Buffet that mixes sweet with savory, seasonal favorites. Choose from holiday specials such as strawberry spring salad with dry aged goat cheese, pine nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette, a carving station with herb-roasted rack of lamb with mint chimichurri sauce and bourbon, and apricot-glazed ham with violet mustard. Don’t miss the special holiday dessert, a Gianduja chocolate egg with a banana cream center and hazelnut sable.

All-day brasserie Bowery Road from Chef Ron Roselli (Locanda Verde, The Standard Hotel Meatpacking) takes its inspiration from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, serving up a seasonally appropriate Easter special of Green Eggs ‘n Ham with salsa verde and spring pea deviled eggs alongside LaQuercia prosciutto.

For Easter at Marco Canora’s East Village restaurant Hearth, guests can celebrate brunch and dinner by arranging a medley of small dishes or choosing the “Family Easter Feast.” Starters spotlight spring flavors like the stracciatella with ramps and shoots, or sourdough bruschetta with peas, Feta and chile. Also featured are charred Norwich Meadows carrots with lemon confit and sunflower, and gnocchi sardi with pancetta and peas. The family dinner skews more traditional with roast lamb leg roulade, potatoes, spring vegetables and broccoli casserole.

Riverpark offers brunch with views of the East River. Tom Colicchio brings out the best of spring with brunch specials such as grilled bread and ricotta with rhubarb and thyme; smoked brisket hash with fingerling potatoes, spring onions, asparagus and poached egg; and Nashville hot chicken with skillet corn bread, honey butter and house-made pickles. Desserts are ingredient-driven as well such as the restaurant’s signature “Cereal & Milk” with chocolate ganache cake, caramelized rice puffs and vanilla malt.

Temple Court in the Beekman Hotel features old and new classics, reinvented with Colicchio’s signature, seasonal touch. This Easter, guests can enjoy a two-course brunch with family-style appetizers such as doughnut holes with banana caramel or citrus-cured salmon with bagel crostinis, followed by mains including pork belly hash with roasted Brussels sprouts, apples and eggs; or a breakfast sandwich with egg, bacon , gruyere, spicy aioli, arugula and a roasted tomato on a poppy seed roll.

The exclusive Polo Bar in midtown will serve a classic Sunday brunch to celebrate Easter with dishes such as popover Benedict with poached eggs, creamed spinach, ham and gruyère; Ralph’s corned beef hash with sunny-side up eggs, sautéed kale and cayenne hollandaise; and challah French toast with fresh berries and Vermont maple syrup. Reservations must be made by phone.

Bookmark and Share

Time to Book Your Dinner Reservations: Here are The James Beard Awards Nominees for 2018

The James Beard Foundation today announced the finalists for its restaurant awards of 2018. The ceremony will be held in Chicago in May.

New York City, the location for restaurants representing more international cuisines than another city, offers a solid list of high-profile restaurants among this year’s JBF nominees.  Below is the list of finalists, followed by the longer list of semifinalists that were announced last month. Now’s the time to book your reservations, as these restaurants will become even “hotter” after the James Beard awards are conferred.

Ignacio Mattos

BELOW, THE LIST OF FINALISTS FROM NYC:

Best Chefs in NYC

Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy

Ignacio Mattos, Estela

Missy Robbins, Lilia

Alex Stupak, Empellon Midtown

Jody Williams, Buvette

Outstanding Baker

Dianna Daoheung, Black Seed Bagels

Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit

Outstanding Restaurateur

Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (High Street on Hudson and Philly restaurants)

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Clare de Boer, King

Best New Restaurant

Empellón Midtown, Alex Stupak’s latest

Outstanding Restaurant

Balthazar, the seminal French brasserie in SoHo from Keith McNally

Gabrielle Hamilton

Outstanding Chef

Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 75 seats and under

De Maria, The MP Shift, Amy Morris, Anna Polonsky, and Julie Nerenberg

Daily Provisions, Rockwell Group, David Rockwell, Greg Keffer, and the Rockwell Group Design Team

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 76 seats and over

abcV, ABC Carpet & Home, Paulette Cole, Amy Ilias, Maya Nakano, and the ABC Home Creative Team

HERE’S THE WHO WHO’S LIST OF SEMIFINALISTS ANNOUNCED EARLIER:

Greg Baxtrom

Best Chefs in NYC

Greg Baxtrom, Olmsted
Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit
Rawia Bishara, Tanoreen
Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
Charles Gabriel, Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken
Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko
Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, Shuko
Ignacio Mattos, Estela
Carlo Mirarchi, Blanca
Joe Ng, RedFarm
Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn
Missy Robbins, Lilia
Justin Smillie, Upland
Rita Sodi, I Sodi
Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske, Contra
Alex Stupak, Empellón Midtown
Alex Raij and Eder Montero, Txikito
Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, Uncle Boons
Jody Williams, Buvette Gastrothèque
Helen You, Dumpling Galaxy, Queens, NY

Best New Restaurant

Cote, the Korean steakhouse in Flatiron from Simon Kim and chef David Shim
Empellón Midtown, Alex Stupak’s latest

Outstanding Baker

Dianna Daoheung, Black Seed Bagels
Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit

Bargoto Photo by Daniel Krieger

Outstanding Bar Program

Bar Goto, the LES Japanese cocktail den from Kenta Goto
Clover Club, the Cobbe Hill mainstay
Dante, the more than 100-year-old negroni specialist in Greenwich Village

Outstanding Chef

Andrew Carmellini, Locanda Verde
Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Natasha Pickowicz, Flora Bar
Stephanie Prida, The Pool

Balthazar

Outstanding Restaurant

Balthazar, the seminal French brasserie in SoHo from Keith McNally
Frankies 457 Spuntino, popular Carroll Gardens neighborhood Italian
Momofuku Noodle Bar, David Chang’s eclectic East Village ramen restaurant

Outstanding Restaurateur

Andrew Tarlow (Diner, Marlow & Sons, Reynard, and others)
Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (High Street on Hudson and Philly restaurants)

Outstanding Service

The Red Cat, Chelsea restaurant open since 1999

Outstanding Wine Program

Corkbuzz, wine bar near Union Square

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional

Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, Evil Twin Brewing
Jordan Salcito, Ramona

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Clare de Boer, King

Bookmark and Share

Celebrate International Women’s Day at the Women’s Travel Fest – Mar. 9-11

Just in time to celebrate International Women’s Day, the Women’s Travel Fest returns to New York City with a terrific line-up of programming and networking opportunities.

Women's Travel Fest 2018

The Fest kicks off with a networking pre-party downtown at The DL, 95 Delancey Street, on Friday March 9 at 7pm.

The full line-up of seminars takes place over two days, on Saturday March 10 and Sunday March 11. Speakers from a wide array of travel-related disciplines will share their knowledge with attendees over the course of the Fest which takes place at the Angel Orensanz event space on 172 Norfolk Street, New York City.

Saturday programming begins at 10am with an introduction by Kelly Lewis, founder of the Women’s Travel Fest and Go! Girl Guides.

Other Saturday highlights include:  Learning how to use points and miles to travel free.  This session is followed by a panel on sexism in travel with Kae Lani Kennedy of USA Today, Nikki Vargas, and Lilit Marcus of CNN.

The Saturday program concludes with a session on following your dream and a panel about adventure travel with three speakers known for their expertise in adventure, Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton of WHOA, and Kathleen Rellihan of Adventure.com.

Networking continues into the early evening with an after-party on Saturday evening.

The closing day begins with a key note by Oneika Raymond, host of two Travel Channel series, “Big City, Little Budget” and “One Bag and You’re Out.”

Professional development sessions follow with a focus on how to work with brands, led by Kristen Sarah, travel videographer and YouTube video creator.  A session on the best apps and gear for travel will help travelers get the most out of their travel experience. For those interested in travel writing, the afternoon workshop, led by Anneliese Sorensen, will help you hone your storytelling skills.

Travel as it relates to volunteering is also explored in a session about volunteering while traveling abroad.

Purchase tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-travel-fest-2018-tickets-39851671422?aff=es2#tickets.  For more information, http://womenstravelfest.com/schedule/.

Bookmark and Share

It’s an Indoor Block Party in the Meatpacking District – March 8

Love Downtown? Here’s a delicious event to put on your calendar.  The Meatpacking District Business Improvement District will be holding their annual ‘indoor block party’ and fundraiser, Open Market, at Highline Stages, 441 West 14th Street, New York City on March 8, 2018 from 6:30pm – 10:30pm to celebrate the local business community.

The event is all about shopping, dining  drinking and community… all under one booth.  Open Market raises funds that go towards the sanitation and beautification of the Meatpacking District.

By Beyond My Ken - Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12417702

You can expect 25+ area restaurants and bars, sample sale shopping from high-end retailers, entry into the silent auction, and music by Coco and Breezy.  Fashionistas can purchase VIP tickets offer early access to shop the sample sales, an exclusive hospitality experience by SoHo House, a buy-it-now option for the silent auction, a gift bag filled will brand products, and guaranteed access to the VIP after party at TAO Downtown.

Four area VIPs serve as co-chairs for Open Market: Diane von Furstenberg, Founder and Co-Chairman of DVF; Andrew Rosen, Founder and CEO of Theory; Gary Kline, Co-Owner and CEO of Highline Stages; and Mazdack Rassi, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Milk. In addition, they will be joined by a host committee that includes a who’s who of the Meatpacking District and its supporters.

Participants include:

TAO Downtown

Food & Drink: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Santina, Corkbuzz, Megu, Sixpoint, The Standard Biergarten, Bagatelle, Bodega Negra, Fig & Olive, Catch, La Sirena, TAO Downtown, Sherry B Dessert Studio, SoHo House, Bubby’s, STK Downtown and more!

Fashion & Retail: Theory, Rag & Bone, DVF, Alice & Olivia, Helmut Lang, Lilla P, The Kooples, Trina Turk/Mr Turk and more!

Technology & Lifestyle: Samsung, Lexus, Caudalie, Kikkerland, Chelsea Market Baskets, and more

General Admission tickets are $150 and include a $25 shopping credit value during Open Market. VIP tickets are available for $350 and include a $50 shopping credit. For tickets, openmarketnyc.com

Bookmark and Share

Planning a trip to NYC?