New York – Overview
Still the most exciting city in the world, New York is a great, heaving hulk of a place. Steam rising from manhole covers, ridden over by the fastest bike couriers on the planet, who are themselves trying to avoid getting run over by taxi drivers who think they’re IndyCar racers, ambulances doing that weird thing they do with their sirens. But so many visitors get stuck in midtown Manhattan and do the same old tourist routine, completely unaware of the delights up in Harlem or Brooklyn, or even further afield. Wander far and wide, and find the real New York.
New York – Hotels
Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Avenue
T. +1 (212) 920 3300
Stunning bohemian-luxe boutique hotel in a beautiful neighbourhood. Cribs, roll-away beds can be organised no problem, and babysitting can be arranged given a bit of notice. Hyper-switched-on staff are on-call to co-ordinate family excursions if required. The location couldn’t be better, with the East and West Villages, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho and Nolita all within easy walking distance.
Four Seasons Hotel
57 East 57th Street
T. +1 (212) 758-5700
Full marks for making a parents life easy at this magnificent Midtown hotel. Cots and roll-away beds are complimentary, as are kids-sized bathrobes and welcome kits, bottle warmers and even strollers – now that is impressive. They can organise babysitters too, and there are children’s menus available both in the restaurants and via room service. Your children receive a Kids Book on check in, with details of all sorts of places that they can then persuade you to take them to, and colouring books, crayons, board games and a kids DVD library are also available.
The Standard Hotel
848 Washington Street
T. +1 (212) 645-4646
We love the Standard Hotels, and their NYC offering is simply awesome. A stunning modernist building straddling the High Line – the old freight railroad line that is being transformed into an elevated green space – parked up in the now-hip Meatpacking District alongside the Hudson and with the most amazing views. They can organise cribs, babysitting services and generally try hard to accommodate parents and families. Dads will love the rooftop bar, the Standard Grill restaurant and the glass-box gym.
80 Wythe Ave. at N. 11th
T. +1 (718) 460 8000
This has got to be one of the coolest hotels to open recently anywhere in the world. The Wythe is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – ten minutes from Manhattan in a taxi and with fantastic views of that skyline. They can organise child-sized blow-up mattresses for any room, and the impressive Historic Corner King rooms can be connected to Bunk rooms, so if you have older children that would be a great option. In-house feasting at the Reynards restaurant.
New York – Eating and Drinking
Bubby’s Pie Co.
120 Hudson Street at North Moore Street
T. +1 (212) 219 0666
1 Main Street at Plymouth Street
T. +1 (718) 222 0666
24 hour diner serving delicious, simple American favourites – along the lines of matzo ball soup, romaine caesar salad and bacon-wrapped meatloaf. The kids menu features dishes like macaroni cheese, chicken fingers and spaghetti with meat sauce. The Tribeca branch was the original, and has since been joined by the larger Bubby’s in Brooklyn, which is impressively nestled next to the Brooklyn Bridge with great views across to Manhattan.
The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th Street at Greenwich St.
New York 10014
T. +1 (212) 620-0393
No reservations and groups of 6 or less, but it’s still worth accepting the risk of a bit of a wait at this West Village legend. Chef April Bloomfield is ex River Cafe and has managed to combine that uber-seasonality with a hearty dose of St John-style carnivorissimo! Yum.
113 West 166th Street
T. +1 (212) 280 8779
Home-style Southern cuisine! This is the place to get your smothered waffles, jerk shrimp, Harlem gumbo shuffle and sweet potato pie! Breakfasts are great and totally set you up for the day. Then you can wobble down to Central Park North and the Museum Mile to start working it off.
Marlow & Sons
T. +1 (718) 384 1441
Run by the same guys behind The Wythe, Marlow & Sons has also adopted a no reservations policy, and again, you really ought to put your over-organisational hat to one side, affix your “there’s sure to be a table but I don’t even care if there’s not because I am free from any scheduling anxiety whilst we’re on our hols” hat firmly upon your head, and head down to Marlow for all manner of oysters, cheeses, amazing meaty delights and excellent French wine list.
225 E. 60th Street near Third Avenue
T. +1 (212) 838 3531
Outrageous sundaes, lemon ice box pie and chocolate blackout cake are some of the sweet delights on offer (alongside savoury options including Eastside Western omelette and foot long hotdogs) at this delightfully wacky (in a good way) coffee shop / Victoriana installation.
Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan Street near West 3rd Street
T. +1 (212) 677 3995
If your kids (or even you) are in any way partial to a spot of peanut butter then you could do worse than pop along to this West Village sandwich shop which specialises in the magical paste. From the vaguely healthy Ants on a Log (celery sticks topped in peanut butter, studded with raisins) to the mighty Elvis (a peanut butter sandwich stuffed with bacon, honey and banana) it’s a fun and good value lunch option.
New York shopping – Dads
Against Nature Atelier
159 Chrystie Street
T. +1 (212) 228 4552
The spirit of old school Saville Row transported to the Lower East Side, and named in honour of Joris-Karl Huysmans’ novel A rebours, which you really ought to read on your flight back home. It is the home of a quartet of designers, each with their own speciality – bespoke suit-making, bespoke jeans-making, hand-made leather goods, ties, shirts, and silver and brass cufflinks and bracelets. The kind of place you find things that you keep for the rest of your life.
By Robert James
74 Orchard St
T. +1 (212) 253 2121
Natty NYC ctyle, designed in the studio upstairs, and manufactured not too far away either. Tailoring, shirts, casual, t-shirt and ties. Defintely worth a visit if you’re in or around the Lower East Side.
250 Hudson Street near Broome Street
T. +1 (212) 627 7222
Edgy, faintly goth-inspired menswear from Amazingly well-cut leather jackets a speciality. Dads with impressionable children will probably not find room in their wardrobes for black nylon skirts and knee-length t-shirts.
New York shopping – kids
557 Broadway (Between Prince & Spring Streets)
(Stroller Entrance: 130 Mercer Street)
T. +1 (212) 343 6166
Huge kids bookshop run by the eponymous publishing house. Books galore, plus all sorts of toys, games, software and interactive goings on. Easily enough to keep them busy for an hour or two. Clued up staff, and easy stroller access.
Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.
372 5th Avenue
New York 11215
T. +1 (718) 499-9884
Not-for-profit store set up by author Dave Eggars – everything is for sale, including capes, tights and other essential superhero accoutrements. All the cash goes to the 826NYC organisation, which is a charity dedicated to supporting 6 to 18-year-olds with creative writing, via drop-ins, after-school workshops, etc.
Little Marc Jacobs
298 West 4th Street
T. +1 (212) 206 6644
The home of the awesome kids wear range from the legendary designer. Some of the coolest (and not overtly branded) childrenswear out there.
426 7th Avenue (between 14th and 15th Streets)
New York 11215
T. +1 (718)-369-9096
Great Brooklyn toy shop stocking a range of kid’s delights that are carefully sourced and a cut above what’s on offer at some of the bigger kids superstores. Young and helpful staff too.
169 Seventh Avenue at 1st St.
Cool little kids clothing store in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Loads of graphic t-shirts, bright colours and cute threads in general.
849 Union St.nr. Seventh Ave.
Another kids clothing store popular with the Park Slope yummy mummy brigade. Also stocks some toys, puzzles and general accessories.
New York activities – kids
11 West 53rd Street
T. +1 (212) 708 9400
The Museum of Modern Art is not only one of the finest galleries anywhere in the world, but they also run a superb learning programme for children between 4 and 14, and a sperate programme for older teenagers. These include artist talks, workshops and gallery tours. See their website for details.
New York activities – Day Trips
Access: Bus – Hampton Jitney
The rural North Fork of Long Island is home to plenty of vineyards and has also got a reputation as a focus for foodies, with the Greenport Farmers Market a particular attraction, along with some great restaurants. Check out the following places:
Eastend Seaport Museum
T. +1 (631) 477 2100
Bruce’s Cheese Emporium & Cafe
208 Main St
T. +1 (631) 477 0023
La Capricciosa Pizza
135 3rd St Ste 24
T. +1 (631) 477 1625