NEW YORK NEIGHBOURHOODS
Vibrant and eclectic, New York offers a different experience wherever you go. Discover Soho, the East Village, Meatpacking District and Brooklyn.
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Vibrant and eclectic, New York offers a different experience wherever you go. Discover Soho, the East Village, Meatpacking District and Brooklyn.
A city of firsts, a place where things begin and thrive, and then become fashionable everywhere. From arts and fashion to music and food, the world relies on New York for inspiration. NYC is made up of many equally fascinating areas, so start exploring.
For first timers, Manhattan will seem like the busiest and brightest place in the world, packed with things to do and places to see. But once you’ve seen the iconic sights and ticked off Times Square and Central Park, perhaps venture out into Manhattan’s less iconic areas. Explore the distinct neighbourhoods of Greenwich Village or Tribeca. Browse boutiques in the Meatpacking District or rummage through flea markets in Chelsea. Then visit Harlem, home to great jazz clubs and soul food. Escape Manhattan and you’ll find other areas similarly teeming with artists, musicians and foodies. Brooklyn has many exciting restaurants and bars, especially Williamsburg’s hip pop-up bars. Coney Island’s fun fair and boardwalk cafés excite the child in all of us. And Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo bring millions of visitors each month. Don’t be afraid to indulge your curiosity and head off the tourist trail, as you are sure to find something new and exciting.
This month gets off to a high-octane start, as the Super Bowl fills New York’s sports bars with excited football fans. If you can be tempted to a tipple, the Winter Wine Festival and Beer Week will quench your thirst. Then make way for the It Crowd, as New York Fashion Week sets autumn’s trends.
It’s perhaps the biggest event in the USA’s sports calendar… Super Bowl 50 kicks off in the first week of February. Catch the thrilling football action and soak up the buzzing atmosphere at any sports bar in the city.
Wine buffs unite…The NYC Winter Wine Festival is your opportunity to sample a choice of over 250 wines. A selection of delectable hors d’oeuvres and live jazz sounds compliment this superb wine showcase. At the Best Buy Theater Times Square, on 6 February.
The Big Apple is always a beacon of style, but never more so than during New York Fashion Week, from 11 to 18 February. Even if you’re not lucky enough to bag tickets to one of the coveted catwalk shows, the buzz and celebrity-spotting opportunities around Manhattan make this an exciting time to be in the city.
Celebrate the most romantic day of the year – Valentine’s Day – on 14 February with an intimate meal at restaurants all over the city. Or make the ultimate declaration of love to that special someone in Times Square. Last year, thousands of couples renewed their wedding vows or popped the question on a big screen in New York’s epicentre.
Calling all dog lovers… Don’t miss the amazing array of parading, performing pooches at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on 15 and 16 February. Daytime sessions will take place at Pier 92/94, with the evening events – including Best In Show – at Madison Square Garden.
If you’re partial to a craft beer then this is the event for you – New York City Beer Week unites beer brewers, traders and of course, drinkers, for 10 days of tastings, beer dinners, tours, lectures and more, from 19 to 28 February.
Get ready for a dazzling dance extravaganza, as world-class competitors from around the globe vie for the top trophy in the New York Dance Festival. The opulent surrounds of Madison Avenue’s Roosevelt Hotel are the perfect setting for this spectacular showcase of Latin and ballroom dancing. From 25 to 28 February.
Then don’t miss Meet the Music! Albert and Wolfgang at the Lincoln Center on 28 February. Blending the work of two geniuses – Einstein and Mozart – this musical adventure also features sonatas by Bach and Adolphe.
March is an exciting month in New York, starting with film festivals and sport before St Patrick’s Day parties and finally Easter Sunday. NYC’s cultural highlights also seem to be starting again in earnest, with many plays, exhibitions and concerts starting their runs in late February throughout March.
The film world has taken to the skies, literally, with many new filmmakers using drones to make movies that soar above the skyline. The second annual NYC Drone Film Festival celebrates this new platform at the Directors Guild of America Theater from 4 to 6 March.
Head over to Madison Square Garden on the 5 March to see New York Knicks versus Detroit Pistons, in what should be an exciting battle between two basketball giants. Be sure to book early as the Knick’s are New York’s most popular team.
Possibly the most famous Abstract Expressionist, Jackson Pollock is known for his dripping technique and action painting. The Museum of Modern Art’s concise but brilliant Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey finishes on 13 March. Featuring around 50 exhibits, including paintings, prints and rare sketches, this will give an insight of his boundless creativity.
The annual Orchid Show at New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is a must-see for those with green fingers. Taking place throughout March at the Haupt Conservatory, these elaborate, beautiful flowers are diverse and varied, and should be seen in their full glory.
Arthur Miller’s allegorical masterpiece The Crucible starts its limited Broadway run in April, but previews go on throughout March. With a stellar cast including Ben Whishaw and Saoirse Ronan, this tragic story of witchcraft, betrayal and paranoia is sure to be a sell-out success. Playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre in the theatre district.
On the 17 March, New York’s Irish immigrants (and everyone else) celebrate the patron saint of Ireland’s feast day. Traditionally a day free from the strictures of lent, food and drink is allowed for the party. The famous New York St Patrick’s Day Parade sees Fifth Avenue come alive with people dressed in green and bagpipers galore.
One for the petrolheads, the New York International Auto Show takes place 25 March to 3 April, and is the largest and oldest in the USA. Fans of motorsports will enjoy this huge exhibition of the world’s newest motors – from gas guzzling trucks to innovative electric buggies. Head down to the Jacob Javits Convention Centre next to the Hudson River for high-octane fun.
And finally, Easter Sunday brings another parade to Fifth Avenue, the Easter Parade dates back to the mid-19th century. The well-to-do of Manhattan’s Upper East Side paraded their stylish fashions to the more impoverished New Yorkers and it became an annual event. Now each Easter Sunday (27 March) people don bonnets of their own making and parade for all to see, a fun family-friendly event.
NYC’s cultural highlights seem to be starting again in earnest, with many plays, exhibitions and concerts beginning their runs in late February. St Patrick’s Day and Easter Sunday feature in the exciting March line-up. Then spring’s arrival sees the baseball season swing into action in April, while the outdoor festival scene begins to flower.
For a quintessential Big Apple experience, catch baseball star squad the New York Yankees in their season-opening game versus the Houston Astros. At the iconic Yankee Stadium on 4 April.
Then enjoy unlimited tastings coupled with open bars from over 50 celebrated New York restaurants, at Taste of the Lower East Side on 6 April. Proceeds from this fund-raising event, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, will go to local social services charity Grand St. Settlement.
Enjoy a taste of Scotland in the heart of the Big Apple, as the New York Tartan Day Parade makes its way up Sixth Avenue on 9 April. Listen to the rousing bagpipes and cheer on the thousands of kilt-clad marchers and dancers as they parade past from W45th to 55th Street.
Or a must for film buffs – the Tribeca Film Festival sees hundreds of independent films showcased at venues across the city from 13 to 24 April. Alongside screenings of feature-length, short and narrative films will be live music, workshops and celebrity speakers. Confirmed attendees this year include Tom Hanks and Tina Fey.
Don’t miss the electrifying Cirque du Soleil in PARAMOUR, a breathtaking fusion of circus performance mastery and musical theatre. PARAMOUR – at the Lyric Theatre from 16 April onwards – weaves the spellbinding tale of a young actress torn between love and fame, set in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Then it’s time to think green, as Earth Day New York takes over Union Square on 17 April. With the aim of raising eco-awareness and support, this event sees exhibitors promoting environmental campaigns and lifestyle products, along with live performances and children’s activities.
Be sure to visit the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden from 30 April to 1 May, when Sakura Matsuri - the BBG’s annual cherry blossom festival – sees over 60 events celebrating Japanese culture. Traditional Japanese dance, music, martial arts and more feature in this packed programme.
Then while away a leisurely hour or two perusing the sidewalk stalls at the Spring Crafts on Columbus show from 30 April to 1 May. Pick up everything from ceramics and jewellery to photography and sculptures, at this art show on Columbus Avenue.
If New York is the Big Apple, then its core has to be Midtown, where you will find the essential city experience. Home to the iconic Empire State Building, grandiose Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station’s majestic architecture, this is Manhattan as you imagine it. Stay at the luxury InterContinental New York, with panoramic views of the bright lights of bustling Times Square. Shopping options are in great supply with Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s on the doorstep, and you can find some great bargains at Century 21. Don’t miss out on MoMA, where you can also eat fantastic gourmet cuisine at The Modern.
Downtown AKA Lower Manhattan is a melting pot of culture, cutting-edge style and multicultural indulgences. Visit the East Village, where student-friendly cafés and elegant cocktail lounges co-exist peacefully. West Village is a great area for bars, as it surrounds the NYU campus – have a beer in a dive bar along McDougal Street. Go further west to Greenwich Village where cool bookshops and laidback restaurants await the more relaxed crowd. Or enjoy the urgent vibrancy and fantastic food of Chinatown, and browse the imitation-designer goods on sale. Eat traditional pizza or meatballs in Little Italy, before going south toward the Financial District’s flashy bars.
Whilst technically Lower Manhattan, these areas are at the bottom of the island and deserve more explanation. The Lower East Side is a chic and fashionable area with a long history. You can find the legendary Katz’s Delicatessen here, a classic Jewish deli offering towering pastrami sandwiches. A welcome newcomer to the neighbourhood is The Ludlow, a charmingly original boutique hotel. Then, head east toward the recently-developed cultural hub of the Seaport District, where red brick warehouses house enlightening museums and historic artefacts. Once in the Financial District, make time to gaze in awe at the One World Trade Centre. It is a fitting tribute to the pride and resilience of New York.
The perfect spot for a luxury break in NYC. Known from the 60s to the 80s as artistic havens, Soho and Tribeca are now stylish, up-market districts showcasing haute couture brands such as Chanel and Prada. Soho’s cast iron industrial façades have become iconic, with many bars and chic restaurants taking the place of artist galleries long since moved to Chelsea. Tribeca is currently home to New York’s rich and famous, such as Robert De Niro – who also founded the area’s eponymous film festival. The luxurious Trump Soho is ideally placed for exploring the area, with a chance for some celeb spotting too.
Cobblestone streets, converted brick warehouses and a colourful, eclectic atmosphere is what to expect in the Meatpacking District – a centre of New York nightlife. On the west side of Manhattan, the district has been a hub of fashion and culture since the deluxe Gansevoort Hotel took root in 2004. More recently, creative trendsetters live and work alongside the admittedly diminished market businesses, creating a buzzing, friendly community. Visitors to the area will enjoy the wide variety of quality bars and cafés, and the High Line Park (formally an elevated train line) is a definite must-see.
Uptown Manhattan consists of the beautiful Central Park, Upper East Side and Upper West Side, with stark contrasts between the two sides. Central Park may be the most celebrated park in the world, with iconic ice skating in the winter months. The Upper East Side is full of great museums and galleries, like the Guggenheim, and of course Fifth Avenue. But for a quintessential Manhattan experience, head over to the Upper West Side. The Natural History Museum, the Theater District, and iconic brownstone architecture can be found here. For a cheaper option, Days Inn Hotel, on Broadway, is only a few minutes’ walk away from Central Park.
Harlem begins with the student area of Columbia University, where Ivy leaguers while away their time in the cool bars and cafés. Then onto Harlem proper, whose streets were made famous by the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Slowly becoming gentrified, the bars, restaurants and shops are definitely changing with the times. For example, the Red Rooster Harlem is a perennially packed soul food joint, where chef Marcus Samuelsson focusses on contemporary comfort food. And don’t miss out on a trip to the Apollo Theater. This 80-year old concert hall has roots deep in jazz and soul music, and where Ella Fitzgerald serenaded crowds in the 30s.
Brooklyn is the new fashionable place to go out and be seen, but be aware it is a very large borough, city-size in itself. Hang out with the hipsters in Williamsburg and Prospect Park, or go to Coney Island to try out the gritty funfair. Marvel at the Brooklyn Bridge and the alluring Manhattan skyline in Downtown, or be amongst the art crowd in Red Hook. For a great night out, head to Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Williamsburg, an Austrian-inspired raucous venue with plenty of beer and cool people. Afterwards, saunter back to Downtown’s stylish boutique Aloft Brooklyn to sleep it off.
The sprawling, suburban area north of Harlem known as The Bronx is the only borough of New York on the US mainland. The Grand Concourse in the South Bronx is home to Yankee Stadium and is where hip hop music was born. In season, take in a game of baseball and afterwards relax in a homey restaurant, which sells delicious soul food. North of Grand Concourse in Fordham, you can find the world-famous Bronx Zoo, which is a great trip for all the family, and over the road, the New York Botanical Gardens. The Bronx is a great place to visit in the autumn, with the leafy parks undergoing a colourful foliage change.
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Regular transatlantic theatre visitor and critic Mark Shenton shares his top ten tips for getting the best out of your Broadway experience you’re in New York.