new-york-street

A transatlantic destination may seem an odd choice for a weekend getaway, but don’t let that give you pause. New York’s vibrant energy (this is the city that never sleeps, after all) and geographically compact layout (you’ll almost never spend more than 20 minutes in a cab) make for an incredibly efficient and entertaining few days away. And with direct return flights from London starting as low as £400, you have little excuse not to cross the pond for the weekend.

FRIDAY

An 8AM outbound flight from London will get you into New York by 11AM local time, allowing for almost an entire day of exploring the city. Just make sure to nap accordingly on your eight-hour flight.

Book a stay at the Freehand Hotel, the recently opened New York outpost of the boutique mini-chain that’s both stylish and incredibly affordable (nightly rates start at £98). The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the thoroughfare that is Union Square – home to a handful of crucial metro lines – making it an ideal base for your trip.

After checking in at the hotel, walk over to abcV for lunch. Helmed by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the vegetarian restaurant serves up the kind of wholesome and nourishing dishes that are ideal for a post-flight detox, all within a bright, modern setting.

After lunch, enjoy a walk on New York’s High Line, an above-ground train track that’s been converted by the city into an elevated park.

As you make your way back to the hotel, stop for a late-afternoon facial at Heyday. The shop offers affordable treatments with a distinctly millennial feel (you’ll be pampered to a soundtrack of Frank Ocean rather than the usual audio of rainforest and pan pipes). On your way out, pick up a few products from the storefront to take home; Heyday stocks a curated mix of skincare brands you won’t find elsewhere.

Following an afternoon of virtue comes an evening of indulgence. Dinner at Minetta Tavern is a hallmark of the Big Apple experience and the perfect spot to enjoy martinis and New York steak on a Friday night. Make sure to book in advance and be willing to take a table earlier in the evening to avoid the prime-time rush.

Complement this quintessential Manhattan dinner with some post-meal entertainment, either across the street at the Comedy Cellar, where you can enjoy the best stand-up performances the city has to offer, or downtown at The Django, a chic, subterranean jazz bar in Tribeca.

SATURDAY

Start your day with some culture at The Whitney, a downtown modern art mecca that provides something fresh for those who are tired of the MoMA, or simply averse to the large museum crowds you’ll find uptown. Fuel your visit beforehand with a coffee and doughnut to go from Chelsea Market.

After your art infusion, walk down to Soho for brunch at Sadelle’s (make sure to book in advance). The resplendent, red-brick restaurant offers a high-end take on the traditional New York bagel, with multi-tiered trays of salmon and accoutrements to accompany your freshly baked pastries.

Within walking distance you’ll find some of the best boutiques the city has to offer. Style yourself like a true Manhattanite at Reformation and Opening Ceremony on Howard Street (FYI, you’ll find excellent coffee and snacks at Smile To Go across the street), then pamper yourself at Glossier’s flagship showroom around the corner. If you need to get something for friends and family, head to Saturday’s Surf for hip men’s streetwear that you’ll inevitably end up appropriating for yourself or Taschen for a classic gift.

For dinner, book a table at Mission Chinese Food in Chinatown. The atmosphere is perfect for a Saturday night, and the food is equally spectacular, with dishes that offer a new spin on traditional Chinese comfort food. Within walking distance, you’ll find both upscale and low-key options for post-dinner drinks in the form of Apotheke and Mr. Fong’s, the latter of which has become a recent cult favourite among 20-something New Yorkers.

Of course, nights in New York City never end at a reasonable hour. Paul’s Cocktail Lounge or Acme are the favoured nearby spots for dancing the night away, but strict door policies will mean you’ll have to show up early, well-dressed and in as small a group as possible.

SUNDAY

Sundays in New York are ideally spent lazily wandering through Brooklyn. Springtime in particular calls for a walk through Brooklyn’s Prospect Park (far superior to the tourist trap of Central Park) and a visit to the stunning Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which blossoms to life in April.

Having worked up an appetite, head over to Emily in Clinton Hill for some of the best pizza in the city. Assuming that you’re still recovering from the night before, Emily’s signature colony pizza – featuring pepperoni, pickled jalapeño and honey – is perhaps the best hangover cure you’ll ever encounter.

As long as you’ve booked your flight back later in the evening, you should have a few more hours free to enjoy the afternoon. Royal Palms in Gowanus has become a favourite among New Yorkers to enjoy a game of shuffleboard (a game beloved by pensioners that’s a mix of curling and boules) with a cocktail in hand. If you’re feeling a little less active, then relax with a bottle of rose on the rooftop of the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, which attracts good-looking crowds of Brooklynites on weekend afternoons.

 

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City Guide: New York

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