Sometimes you have only a short time to spend with a dear friend to show them your New York (because there is no one New York experience and the city is different for everyone!), and you don't want to monopolize their time. So if you come to visit me and ask me to show you my New York in two hours, here is one sampling of what we might do together--and feel free to use this brief (yet lovely, in my humble opinion) travelogue for yourself!
560 Broadway at Prince Street, #305
Price Range: Free!
The Staley-Wise Gallery is one of my favorite galleries in New York. It has a focus in fine art fashion photography, with the likes of legends Herb Ritts, Horst P. Horst, David LaChapelle and infinite others in their collection. There's currently a fabulous show on featuring images from the archive of Bert Stern, the photographer who did the legendary last sitting with Marilyn Monroe. I had the pleasure once of meeting Mr. Stern before he passed away, and you can read about that here. The gallery is beautifully curated and small but specialized, making it perfect for your mini-intro to my New York.
Walk 6 minutes to...
196 Elizabeth Street between Prince Street and Spring Street
Price Range: $9.50-$17
I found Lovely Day by accident while out for a walk one day with EH. We were going to try another joint, but there was a line out the door and no place to sit! I couldn't have been happier that this happened though after our meal at Lovely Day. The restaurant serves foods that infuse Thai cooking into a variety of international comfort foods, resulting in things like an egg white fritatta with shiitake mushrooms or buttermilk pancakes with lime palm sugar syrup for brunch. The space is small, with shabby-chic floral wallpaper, a lunch counter with red barstools, and red booths. The staff is friendly and when you ask if the man who was sitting next to you was Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, they'll say no, that wasn't him, but he does come here a lot and he did look like him, though. Lovely Day is an unpretentious neighborhood staple serving delicious, inexpensive, and unique dishes. I can't wait to take you there!
Walk 6 minutes to...
1 Bleecker Street at Bowery
We're just stopping to grab a coffee/tea at this branch of thoughtful, social and environmentally responsible, independently owned coffee franchise Think Coffee. I chose this branch because I will want to show you where legendary punk club CBGB-OMFUG used to be, right across the street at 315 Bowery. It's now a John Varvatos store but the location is important to be because the DIY, fuck-you spirit of the CBGB scene is one of the reasons I moved to New York.
Walk 13 minutes to...
101 Astor Place
There's nothing really special at this location besides the fact that it's a new plaza with lots of seating and great people watching. We'll sit and stare at the folks leaving St. Mark's. On the way here, I'll tell you about Cooper Union and the Village Voice office, about the horrible yuppy bars and what the East Village used to be like in the 1970s. Then we'll sit and talk and catch up and drink our coffee and/or tea. Shortly you'll have to leave--the 6 train is close by, and so is the N and the R, so you can get to the east or west sides of town with no problem. But it will have been so lovely to spend even two hours with you and share part of the city I love so much, and thereby part of myself, with you. Maybe next time you come back we'll be able to see each other for more time, but even if you don't I promise to have something just as lovely planned for you then, too! I'm always happy to see you, even if for a short while. Have a safe trip home!