2.12.2016

Raising the Bar at Three NYC Hotels

Hotels have always played an important role in the history of New York City, and their restaurants and bars have often assumed starring roles. Think of the clever company at the Algonquin Hotel or the entertainers at the famous cafe at The Carlyle. Yet even those with lesser wits and talents can enjoy the glamor of New York's many great hotel bars and lounges. Classics include the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis and the Bull and Bear at the Waldorf Astoria, but in recent years, the bars at newcomer hotels such as the Ace Hotel and the NoMad Hotel have become popular. Yet, it's always good to expand the repertory. Neighborhood taverns provide the necessary comfort most of the time, but for special occasions, a visit to a hotel bar can feel like a vacation.  

For those planning a visit to NYC or for residents looking for new ideas, the following 3 bars at relatively new hotels should make a good start. The exterior views, shown here, will mark the spot, while the hotel websites should satisfy curiosity about the interiors. To get into the spirit of the place, consider ordering one of the specialty cocktails.  

The New York Edition 
Address: 5 Madison Avenue, entrance on W. 24th St.
Area: Madison Square/Flatiron District
The Bar: Gold Bar, 2nd floor.
About: During New York's Gilded Age, the hotel scene revolved around Madison Square. So, fittingly, the bar tour begins here, within the stately Met Life Building, the one with the familiar clock tower. The Clocktower Restaurant on the second floor offers dining in three rooms, as well as a billiard room and the shimmering Gold Bar. Over five hundred photographs of New York scenes, movie stars, musicians, and celebrity artists - all set within gold frames arranged salon style - tie the rooms together with content-rich sophistication. Sipping cocktails in the Gold Room surrounded by pictures of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, John Chamberlain, Alfred Leslie, Jasper Johns, and all their friends is particularly fun.  Be sure to ask the bartender for a look at the guide to the pictures. If not as raucous as the original Ab-Ex Cedar Bar, the drinks and decor provide creative inspiration.
Website: http://www.editionhotels.com/new-york
Recommended Walks in the Area: Madison Square, Gramercy Park, walk down to Union Square, walk up to Herald Square.

2.08.2016

A Winter Walk in Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters

Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan has one of the most beautiful and dramatic promenades in New York, and walking there is particularly enchanting and picturesque after a snowfall. Yes, Central Park makes a beautiful backdrop for a snowy day in the city, but Fort Tryon Park offers the extra advantages of elevated vistas and long views of the Hudson River and The Palisades. The walk from Margaret Corbin Circle, named after the first woman to fight in the American Revolutionary War, north to The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to medieval art and architecture, is just a little over half a mile.

Fort Tryon Park Cottage

Climbing up Fort Tryon can make you feel like a kid again, but on snowy days with slippery surfaces, the subway and the bus may be the best ways to get there. Take the A train to 190 Street and then the elevator up to the park. From there, the walk should be mostly flat, with just a few steps here and there. Before heading north, take time to inspect Fort Tryon Park Cottage (above) just inside the entrance at Margaret Corbin Circle.

The cottage is a remnant of tycoon C.K.G. Billings's once lofty Hudson River estate, an ostentatious 1907 mansion with turrets, bowling alleys, stables, and a yacht landing. The arched loggia and terrace, originally designed as part of the estate entrance, not only remains but also serves as a breathtaking point of interest in the park.

The Heather Garden under deep snow, with views of the Hudson River and The Palisades.

1.24.2016

Walking Through the Snowstorm: 10 Scenes from Northern Manhattan

In New York City, the snow came down steadily, even relentlessly, all day on Saturday. It was a day waking up to snow falling outside the window and then falling asleep as the snow was ending.

Saturday 8:25 a.m. Cat oversees the city's plowing operations.

As the winds never sustained blizzard force for very long, it was possible to venture outside for a few minutes.