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The Best Things to Do in NYC This Spring

When it comes to springtime in NYC, there's never a dull moment. From sleek new stays and maritime-inspired restaurants, to cutting-edge museum exhibits and seductive subterranean cocktail dens, here's everything worth seeing and doing in the city.

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STAY: Mondrian Park Avenue

Last fall, NoMad ushered in its newest style-setting sleep: sbe’s much-anticipated Mondrian Park Avenue, minutes from Madison Square Park and the Flatiron District. Inside, 189 rooms are plush and sophisticated, with floating desks and leather armchairs—though it’s the rest of the space you’ll want to spend your time in. At Cleo, chef Danny Elmaleh dishes out modern takes on Mediterranean dishes like tandoori chicken kebabs, “masabacha-style” hummus, and lamb tagine with saffron rice, apricots, and apples. After properly indulging, choose your social scene at one of its two bars: the rooftop lounge dubbed Fifteen Stories features a wraparound outdoor terrace and elevated cocktails, while the sexy, subterranean Yours Truly is accessed via a secret entrance.

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Photos by Eric Medsker, Adrian Gaut

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EAT: Simon & The Whale

Normally, Jetsetter would be gushing over a hotel debut—in this case, the new Freehand New York in Flatiron—but the real venue making headlines is its 62-seat fine-dining restaurant Simon & The Whale. The gorgeous, airy space, decorated with subtle maritime motifs (warm wood-paneled ceilings and walls; brass detailing), is already attracting New York’s social scene, but people-watching aside, it’s the menu they’ve really come for. The selection scans the globe from France to Japan; go for the zeppole and arctic char or the pork collar Milanese with aioli and apricot.

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EAT: Pheasant

This tiny neighborhood newcomer in East Williamsburg has all the makings for a grand night out with close friends: the space is intimate, limited to just a few tables and seats at the bar; the Mediterranean menu is full of shareable palette-pleasers (mussels; yogurt-drizzled chicken wings; kielbasa-topped burgers); and the wine list is pleasantly more affordable than you’d expect. What’s not to love?

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EAT: Manzo at Eataly

As a “love letter to the city,” Eataly NYC Flatiron has introduced its From New York to New York guest chef series at their Manzo restaurant. Each month, a local chef will create a new dish using ingredients sourced from nearby farms, and part of the proceeds will be donated to a charity of the chef’s choosing. While last month featured chef Daniel Boulud, March sees the spotlight turned on chefs Tim and Nancy Cushman of O Ya and Covina, who’ll be crafting their dish from husband-and-wife duo Raven & Boar’s whey-fed pigs. The proceeds from their brie-, truffled dijonaise-, and dash pickle relish-topped hot dog will go to Citymeals on Wheels. Join the chefs at their opening night party on March 7th, and you’ll get 50-percent off their dish while Citymeals on Wheels will receive a double donation.

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Clockwise from top left: Images courtesy of the Estate of Katherine Dumas; Harvey Wang; The Museum of Modern Art

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Manhattan's East Village was an epicenter for artistic experimentation and counterculture during the 70s and 80s, and it all began in the dim confines of a Polish church basement over on St. Marks known as Club 57. The no-budget space was a lot of things—a screening room, a bar, a theater lab, an art gallery—but for the artists of the day, including Keith Haring and Basquiat, it was a jumping-off point for their creativity and a home. MoMA’s homage to the space and the movement is also set up underground, where visitors meander their way down hallways lined with rarely-before-seen paintings, film stills, drawings, posters, and film loops that encapsulate life during those drug-infused, pre-digital-age years.

Now through April 1, 2018

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EAT: Brigitte

Slink downtown to where the Lower East Side abuts Chinatown and snag yourself a table at this new restaurant and bar. Opened last September, Brigitte’s menu is French-forward—Provençal, specifically—with a healthy dose of Brazilian and Mediterranean flair. Try the whole shrimp with brandy-fried basil and green onion, or if you’re searching for something more veggie centric, go for the green risotto asparagus with spinach, peas, leeks, reggiano, and balsamic caramel. While you wait for your meal, the space is feast for the eyes; beachy gallery walls meet a marble bar and lots of verdant greenery.

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Images courtesy of the The Morgan Library & Museum

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Twentieth-century playwright Tennessee Williams (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire) left an indelible mark on American theatrical history. Despite alcohol and drug addictions, the literary icon dug into his writing, winning two Pulitzer Prizes and a Tony in less than two decades. Now, you can explore Williams’ original drafts, private diaries, and personal objects at The Morgan Library & Museum’s No Refuge But Writing exhibit.

Now through May 13, 2018

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Photos by Gabi Porter

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DRINK: Bo Peep at The Rag Trader

If dark, seductive, and slightly mysterious is how you like your bars, head to Midtown West and give Bo Peep at the Rag Trader a go. The subterranean cocktail den and piano bar borrows its aesthetic from the tailor’s fitting room that previously occupied the space. Barmen tend to a backlit bar while drink-doting denizens cozy up on velvet banquette seats, beneath the dim glow of a tasseled pendant light. No surprise—elevated, innovative cocktails are the spot’s main calling cards. Go for the Zoot Suit Riot—scotch, yuzu, caramel, sesame, and egg white, or the Chinatown Mystery—plum gin, benedictine, cardamom, lime, cherry, and grapefruit soda.

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