9 Coolest Things to Do in NYC This Summer
Summertime, and the living’s never been easier in NYC, when hot new restaurants open their doors, museums kick off some of their most exciting exhibits of the year, and rooftop bars get back into their groove. Below, nine new spots worth your time this season.
EAT: The Bari
Koreatown is no longer the end-all for quality Korean food in Manhattan. This season, the talk of the town revolves around The Bari, a new Japanese-influenced Korean spot down in Noho that is being hailed as the next Indochine. The sleek, sexy interior—curvaceous white walls, amber lighting—sets a neutral stage for what comes out of the open kitchen: steamed bone marrow with kimchi and bread crumbs, soju-braised pork ribs with Korean miso, and the signature bari—“bowl” in Korean—filled with uni king crab, ebi, ikura, and sashimi over rice. Wash it all down with a round of sake or lemongrass-lime soda.
EAT: Una Pizza Napoletana
New York’s foodie world crumbled when pizza-making virtuoso Anthony Mangieri announced his departure from the East Village food scene back in 2009. This year, he’s back with the debut of Una Pizza Napoletana, on the Lower East Side. Expect all his signature pies—Ilaria (smoked mozz, cherry tomatoes, arugula), Apollonia (eggs, salami, buffalo mozz)‚ along with a new combo. Like his previous restaurants, Mangieri will still make every pie himself—but now with the added help of partners Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske Valtierra (two LES chef-owners behind Contra and Wildair), who will be in charge of the small plates (like beef carpaccio), desserts (like strawberry panna cotta), and wine list.
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The phrase “when one door closes, another opens” could not be more fitting for restaurateur Joe Campanale’s beloved Park Slope institution Franny’s, which shuttered last summer in anticipation of his next venture. The place is still Italian, and the wood ovens may remain, but Fausto has nixed pizza-making for something much more well-rounded. Chef Erin Shambura drew inspiration from her travels for the hyper-seasonal, rustic menu, now loaded with house-made pastas, veggie-based antipasti, and small-town wine labels using hand-harvested grapes. If the food does not transport you to the streets of Rome, the setting—a massive wine cellar, a dining room done up with terrazzo tiling, Carrara marble, and 1940s post-war décor—surely will.
SEE: “Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii” at New York Botanical Garden
"My idea of nature has not been beautiful enough,” iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe wrote to her husband in 1939, during a nine week-sojourn exploring the Hawaiian Islands. Her vivid paintings from that period—of mountains, waterfalls, flowers, and plants, formerly held in private homes and various museum collections—are now on display together for the first time in "Georgia O'Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii," now on at the New York Botanical Garden. However, it’s not just her paintings that deserve the trip from midtown. The garden’s greenhouses, including the glass-domed Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, has been growing an exotic world of Hawaiian flora that she would have seen during that time—lantana flowers, red hibiscuses, palm trees.
Through October 28, 2018.
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SEE: “Heavenly Bodies” at the Met and the Cloisters
Don’t let those endless Met Gala photo galleries of Rihanna’s papal hat and Katy Perry’s angel wings distract from the real news: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” New York’s big-ticket fashion exhibit this year, is now showing at the Met and the Cloisters. Some 40 priceless ecclesiastical pieces lent by the Vatican, as well as 150 designer outfits dating back to the 1900s, are placed seamlessly (sometimes starkly) beside medieval and Byzantine artifacts. The link made between the Catholic Church’s power and wealth and its influence on the fashion world is nothing if not controversial—but also beautiful, powerful, and imaginative. Among the highlights are riffs on cardinal cloaks, dresses echoing chapel frescoes and cathedral altarpieces, and nun’s habits by designers like Gianni and Donatella Versace, Thom Browne, Dolce & Gabbana, and Christian Lacroix (all Catholics themselves).
STAY: Freehand New York Hotel
You’ll find style, substance, and a whole lot of affordability at the new Freehand—the latest from the Sydell Group (behind the city’s venerable NoMad Hotel)—whose flexible room layouts, from standard queens to “Three’s Company” rooms with an added twin-size bunk, mean every kind of traveler will find their niche. Original building details like terrazzo floors and millwork in the lobby remain, while other design touches are more “modern” (framed vintage editions of The New Yorker; original wall and ceiling murals by Bard College students; green-tiled bathrooms with Asian-esque wood paneling). There’s also a mezzanine-level lounge that’s fast become a neighborhood social scene, the already-acclaimed restaurant Simon & The Whale, and up on the roof, one of the hottest new bars in town.
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The upper reaches of Manhattan’s Art Deco-era Beekman Tower have been lovingly transformed into an elegant aerie for Upper East’s style set. The name “Ophelia” is a subtle homage to the popular women’s name of the 30s, from which the bar draws inspiration (vintage flapper hats, antique forks, and era-appropriate tarot cards are just a few of the oddities you’ll find hidden in nooks and crannies.) Red velvet upholstery, black-and-white tiled floors, and experimental cocktails incorporating ingredients like activated charcoal, cedar-scented smoke, and edible golden flakes do their best but cannot distract from the staggering East River and skyline views—best taken in on the outer terrace’s two balconies, which wrap around the rooftop’s edges.
DRINK: Broken Shaker
What was originally conceived as a pop-up bar at the Freehand Miami is making waves at Freehands across the country, including the one in Chicago and the newest branch in New York. Design firm Roman and Williams (behind Le Coucou and The Standard) were given free artistic reign over the hotel’s 18th floor. The result: two tropical-themed indoor bars and outdoor space exploding with patterns and color, from the hexagonal ottomans to the woven straw chandeliers, wicker armchairs, and custom ceramic tiki cups. Looks aside, the inventive drinks are equally outstanding and pair well with the Caribbean-meets-Middle East small-plates menu (think Yemenite bread with dips, arepas, and saffron shrimp).
A few ideas for what to throw on for a day (and night) in the big city.
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