NYC hotels: The best Manhattan hotels, from cheap to luxurious

Find the perfect place to lay your head in Manhattan with our guide to NYC hotels, from boutique and designer spots to luxurious stalwarts.

Manhattan still offers the most comprehensive range of NYC hotels. Growth areas include the Financial District, which is getting a new lease on life as the World Trade Center site's redevelopment nears completion. In summer 2010, upscale chain W Hotels debuted its flashy new property, which includes residences as well as a hotel, directly opposite the WTC, and stylish Hilton offshoot Conrad New York took up a riverside spot in Battery Park City in spring 2012.

RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to Manhattan

Hell's Kitchen is popular with a trend-seeking gay clientele—the city's first gay "urban resort," The Out NYC, opened in 2012—and anyone who wants to be near the Theater District. The British team behind capsule-hotel brand Yotel recently introduced a supersized variation on the concept in the neighborhood. Hip mini chain Ace Hotel colonized an area at the northern edge of the Flatiron District, which is emerging as a hotel (and restaurant) hot spot—the long-awaited NoMad Hotel, from the same developer, debuted in spring 2012 with a restaurant helmed by high-profile chef Daniel Humm. There is now more choice in boutique hotels in desirable areas like Nolita, Chelsea and Greenwich Village, with the arrival of the Nolitan, Hôtel Americano and the Jade Hotel, respectively.

Best NYC hotels in Manhattan

The Witch

There are confident first features, and there’s The Witch, the exhilaratingly scary debut in which writer-director Robert Eggers tramples over the cowardice of the genre he’s just grabbed by the throat. Reverentially adapted from a ghoulish piece of Puritan folklore (much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim from 17th-century documents), The Witch is one of the most genuinely unnerving horror films in recent memory because Eggers has the guts to earn your fear.  A family of fundamentalist pilgrims is banished from their walled New England settlement as punishment for an undefined conflict. They're forced to resettle in a gray stretch of field that lies on the lip of some truly sinister woods. Fresh off the boat from England and already outcasts in their adopted country, William the woodcutter (Ralph Ineson) leads his wife (Kate Dickey) and five children to the rotten clearing where they will begin again, isolated in their struggle against the elements, a fallow harvest and—most urgent of all—the paralyzing grip of their supposed sins. Before William’s brood can get comfortable and re-establish a link with the lord, their newborn is snatched into the forest with supernatural speed.  In most films, this would be the beginning of a coy flirtation with the audience, the monster remaining masked by shadows and cacophonous jolts until a grand finale arrives. Yes, there are a few jump-scares—and they’re calculated with the precision of a Swiss watch—but The Witch understands that th

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ABC Kitchen

Critics' pick

While plenty of New York restaurants have lately made the environment a priority—sourcing their ingredients locally and crafting dining rooms from salvaged materials—none have done so with quite as much visual and gastronomic panache as chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new ABC Kitchen. The chef’s “hippie” restaurant, as he’s taken to calling it—a joint venture with his home furnishings landlord—is a stunner, as artfully merchandised as the shop that surrounds it. Everything, including the antique armoires, reclaimed-wood tables, porcelain plates and chandeliers entwined with flowering vines is gathered from area artisans. Though the restaurant’s sustainable ethos is outlined on the back of the menu like an Al Gore polemic, the cooking, based on the most gorgeous ingredients from up and down the East Coast, delivers one message above all: Food that’s good for the planet needn’t be any less opulent, flavorful or stunning to look at. It’s haute green cuisine. One can only imagine Vongerichten and his chef de cuisine, Dan Kluger, gleefully conjuring dishes from his seasonal bounty, some of it laid out like a Greenmarket still life on a massive table at the edge of the dining room. Perhaps there were beautiful veal scraps to play with from a small farm upstate, and so miniature meatballs were fashioned with sour cream, lemon zest, pecorino and herbs; delicate orbs tossed with house-made bow-tie pasta as fragile as silk handkerchiefs, crispy kasha and copious crme frache—kasha varn

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Gramercy & Flatiron

"Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs"

Critics' pick

The explanatory text on the wall at the beginning of MoMA’s blockbuster of around one hundred of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs notes that these well-known works attempted to resolve the “eternal conflict of drawing and color.” Epic though that reconciliation may have been, it feels faraway and quaint these days. Despite his immense popularity, Matisse’s emphasis on formal innovation and aesthetic pleasure may make him the modern master most alien to the dry, over-intellectualized “conceptual” maneuvers that fill so many New York galleries. Thus, this rather glorious exhibition feels tonic. Matisse first took scissors to paper in the 1930s to work out figural compositions for murals and theater curtains, representing dancers with schematic forms alternately sinuous and angular, and counterintuitively achieving a remarkable feeling of movement and gravity with ostensibly unwieldy materials. During World War II, he used the technique to create the great artist book Jazz (1947). The book’s circus theme, bright hues, and delightfully recognizable flat shapes evoke picture books for children, masking its suggestions of wartime violence: Starbursts in red and yellow on and around bodies evoke open wounds and exploding shells. The 20 maquettes, all of which are on view, appear wonderfully handmade compared to the final stenciled pages, a fact noted by the artist himself, which led him to consider the possibilities of the cut-outs as independent works of art. During the decade before his d

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Midtown East Until Tuesday February 10 2015

The Book of Mormon

Critics' pick

If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high q

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Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

"El Greco in New York"

Critics' pick

Romantics and Modernists alike treasured the old master El Greco (1541–1614) for the skewed perspectives and strangely distorted figures that fill his paintings—that is, when they weren’t blaming those aesthetic quirks on drugs, madness, or astigmatism. For the 400th anniversary of his death, three New York institutions have gathered their substantial holdings of the painter’s works—at 19 paintings, more than anywhere outside of the Prado in Madrid!—in two concise exhibitions. While “El Greco at the Frick Collection” comprises three canvases, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “El Greco in New York” features contributions from the Hispanic Society of America, as well as its own collection. The larger Met show allows us to trace the artist’s trajectory. Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in Crete, then a Venetian possession, El Greco painted Byzantine icons before leaving to study in Italy. The early Christ Healing the Blind, ca. 1570, a fairly typical late-Renaissance religious scene, shows the influence of his artistic training in Venice in its impressive if imperfect approximation of the modes of artists such as Veronese. In 1577, El Greco moved permanently to Spain. Subsequent devotional pictures show the artist’s increasing mastery of Renaissance idiom. Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1580–85 (watery-eyed, but with a perfect manicure), and The Holy Family, ca. 1585 (the Madonna charming, with an up-do and a gauzy mantilla; the nursing baby Jesus beady-eyed, with an oddly shaped h

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Upper East Side Until Sunday February 1 2015

Cosme

New York is a rough town for newbies—whether it’s bright-eyed hopefuls yearning for a Swiftian utopia that doesn’t exist or an out-of-town chef who’s proven his culinary clout in the global arena, only to be chewed up and spat out by Gotham’s surly dining public. This city has devoured the best of them: Spain’s Dani García, Toronto’s Susur Lee and, most glaringly, France’s Alain Ducasse. Enter Enrique Olvera, the megawatt Mexico City talent behind Pujol, regularly ranked one of the 20 best restaurants in the world. His stateside debut Cosme, a bare-concrete Flatiron dining room, wasn’t met with the disregard that crippled his carpet-bagging comrades. Instead, the opposite: a bellow of buzz that hit before doors were even hinged, let alone opened. That’s because this is the Mexican restaurant New York has been missing. Olvera’s elegant, high-gear small plates—pristine, pricey and as market-fresh as anything coming out of Thomas Keller’s kitchen—more than fills that gap in New York dining. It steamrolls right over it. Tacos make a solitary appearance on the menu, in an atypically generous portion of duck carnitas ($49), cooked to the sinful midpoint of unctuous fat and seared flesh. But Olvera’s single-corn tortillas pop up frequently, from a complimentary starter of crackly blue-corn tortillas with chile-kicked pumpkin-seed butter to dense, crispy tostadas ($17) dabbed with bone-marrow salsa and creamy tongues of uni. Those soft corn rounds accompany the cobia al pastor (

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Boyhood

Looking at it one way, Boyhood represents a spectacularly cheap way of saving on actors’ salaries: To capture his rambling yet absorbing Texas family drama, director Richard Linklater (Bernie, Before Midnight) received agreements from several performers—including his eight-year-old daughter, Lorelei—to shoot a movie with them over 12 years in dribs and drabs. Teenage voices drop, waists thicken and, in one turn nobody could have predicted, moppet Ellar Coltrane, playing the younger child of a divorced couple, develops into a magnetically internal student and heartbreaker. Cool as it sounds, this long-game gimmick doesn’t automatically guarantee profundity. Linklater, the least pretentious and most relaxed of American filmmakers, would probably say so himself. But amazingly, depth is what he achieves, by letting the years play out in an uninterrupted three-hour flow, and lingering on moments that most films would cut for pace. Boyhood feels unprecedented in its intimacy; the process is quietly radical (with a hat tip to François Truffaut’s 20-year Antoine Doinel series that began with The 400 Blows in 1959), but the unassuming script even more so. We’re introduced to the clan in impressionistic bursts. Olivia (Patricia Arquette), a single mother heading back to college, preps her kids for relocation to Houston, while cool dad Mason (Ethan Hawke) shows up in a muscle car on weekends for trips to the bowling alley. You root for their reconciliation, but the plot has other plan

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Now Showing

The NoMad

Critics' pick

In the golden age of robber baron New York—we’re talking turn of the last century—there were hotel restaurants like the NoMad all across the city, their grand dining rooms buzzing with beau monde patrons morning till night. The recent return of the all-day hotel clubhouse began with hip reinventions of the form at the Standard, Ace and Gramercy Park Hotels. But the NoMad, with its rich mahogany bar and dining rooms shrouded in red velvet curtains, is our first truly opulent throwback. The luxurious setting, flawless service, and preponderance of foie gras and truffles call to mind an haute cuisine titan like Jean-Georges Vongerichten or Daniel Boulud. But with its fashionable crowd and cool, voluptuous vibe—the decor is by hot Parisian designer Jacques Garcia—there are clearly some young Turks behind the wheel. The NoMad is the sophomore effort from chef Daniel Humm and front-of-house partner Will Guidara, who’ve been in cahoots at Eleven Madison Park since 2006. Last year they inherited the lease and the reins of 
the place from their former boss Danny Meyer, capping a meteoric rise through New York’s fine-dining ranks (following a James Beard Award and maximum star ratings from the Times and the Michelin Guide). Their slightly more accessible follow-up features plush armchairs around well-spaced tables and a stylish return to three-course dining. Humm and Guidara— rejecting zeitgeisty restaurant tropes like pass-around plates, counter seating and spare Greenmarket cooking—h

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Chelsea

Cabaret

Critics' pick

[Note on this review: Emma Stone has replaced Michelle WIlliams as would-be femme fatale Sally Bowles (through Feb 15), and is terrific in the part.] Cabaret. Studio 54 (see Broadway). Book by Joe Masteroff. Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Directed Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall. With Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. Cabaret: In brief A decade after closing their hit revival of the Kander and Ebb classic, the Roundabout and director Sam Mendes reopen the Weimar-era Kit Kat Klub. Alan Cumming reprises his sinister-slinky turn as the Emcee and Michelle Williams plays nightclub crooner Sally Bowles. Linda Emond, Bill Heck and Danny Burstein costar. Cabaret: Theater review by Adam Feldman Cabaret is on Broadway again: Willkommen home, you magnificent beast. Originally staged in 1966, then brought to a sordid cinematic life in Bob Fosse’s (heavily adapted) 1972 film, the Kander and Ebb classic was revived and reconfigured anew in Roundabout Theatre Company’s triumphant 1998 account. Now that version has returned with its original star: the supreme Alan Cumming as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub, a decadent nightclub in Berlin’s Weimar period. Why so soon? A better question might be: Why not? This Cabaret is a superb production of one of the great Broadway musicals of all time—an exhilarating, harrowing masterpiece. In Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s staging, Cumming is the corroded soul of the show; he haunts it and intrudes on it,

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Studio 54, Midtown West Until Sunday March 29 2015

Eleven Madison Park

Critics' pick

The best restaurants in the world—their own worst critics—are forever reinventing themselves, upping the ante year after year. On the international battlefield of glorified gastronomic destinations, Eleven Madison Park has racked up enough glittery accolades—from Michelin, the James Beard Foundation and World’s 50 Best Restaurants—to rival a five-star general’s bedazzled chest. It was already at that fine-dining pinnacle in 2010, when it tossed the traditional à la carte menu in favor of an abstract grid of ingredients meant to provoke conversations between diners and servers. Then three months ago, it scrapped that tack, too. Chef Daniel Humm and impresario partner Will Guidara—who bought the place from their old boss, legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer—are masters of reinvention, taking big gambles with bold shake-ups, instead of making gradual tweaks. And once again, they’ve ditched a winning formula, this time for a 16-course Gotham-themed meal—marked by stagecraft and tricks—that departs from the city’s upper echelons of old-world dominated fine dining. It’s a roll of the dice, with a $195-a-head asking price, but it pays off. With the new menu, a whimsical feast of nostalgic tastes and the absolute finest regional ingredients, the restaurant is as locavore-minded as Noma in Denmark—celebrating its particular urban locale—as theatrical in its own way as Britain’s wildly inventive Fat Duck. You won’t find a more purely entertaining New York dining experience outside dinne

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Gramercy & Flatiron

The NoMad Hotel

Critics' pick

A block south of hipster hub the Ace Hotel, the NoMad heralds what may finally emerge as a bona fide ’hood: North of Madison Square Park. The properties share a developer, and like the Ace, the NoMad is a self-contained microcosm encompassing destination dining—courtesy of Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, of Michelin-three-starred Eleven Madison Park—and the first stateside outpost of Parisian concept store Maison Kitsuné. Struck by the Haussmannesque facade of the 1903 limestone building (a former corporate HQ), owner Andrew Zobler enlisted Jacques Garcia, known for designing celebrated rue Saint-Honoré A-list crash pad Hôtel Costes to create the opulent interiors. Original features in the public spaces, such as elaborate ceiling moldings and mosaic tile floors, have been meticulously restored. After seeing a photograph in a design book of a Paris apartment Garcia occupied in his twenties, Zobler encouraged him to bring the same lived-in bohemian style to the hotel’s guest quarters. Vintage Heriz rugs soften the weathered maple floor, salvaged from a 1905 factory. In keeping with the residential aesthetic, the wall concealing the loo and shower cubicle is dressed up as a damask “screen.” Many rooms feature old-fashioned claw-foot bathtubs, and the exclusive argan-oil products were supplied by provençal perfumer and lifestyle brand Côté Bastide. Each room has its own art collection, built on the theme of travel around photographs, sketches and correspondence amassed from French

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Chelsea

Mistress America

Noah Baumbach’s films are consumed with the terror of becoming, hence the reason why college has played such a large part in them. For the overeducated but developmentally stagnant characters who populated Kicking & Screaming, Baumbach’s 1995 debut, school was a place where you didn’t have to worry about being anyone, and graduation meant a cruel banishment from that protective embrace. In Mistress America, which begins on the first day of freshman year as Tracy (perfectly cast rising star Lola Kirke) moves into her Barnard dorm, college is a place where kids are soworried about being someone that they barely have time to learn. Frances Ha on Adderall, Mistress America finds Baumbach working with a manic screwball energy that has more in common with Preston Sturges or Howard Hawks than it does any of his previous films. Things begin with a running start as Tracy crushes on the first boy she meets (Matthew Shear) and yearns to be accepted into her school’s pompous literary society, but it’s not until Brooke (a gloriously hysterical Greta Gerwig) enters the picture that the film takes flight. Tracy’s mom is due to marry Brooke’s dad, and so the two girls are forced into a manufactured but mutually beneficial sisterhood.  They’re perfect foils: Tracy is paralyzed by the choices offered by her new life in the big city, and Brooke—a restauranteur-designer-musician-SoulCycle instructor who’s sustained by the sheer inertia of her schemes—has seemingly made all of those choices at

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The Babadook

Who would bring a children's book called Mister Babadook, rife with illustrations of toothy terrors peering around bedroom doors, into their home? The answer to that is left deliciously vague in this slow-building, expertly unsettling horror film, but it's probably safe to assume that it wasn't the broken Australian family at the heart of the story. Amelia (Essie Davis), a tired-looking caregiver working in a nursing home, grapples with single motherhood in the wake of a car accident that killed her husband while he was driving her to the maternity ward. Samuel (Noah Wiseman), the surviving child, now six, is stuck in his shrill phase, has a hyperactive imagination and is obsessed with building weapons. These are precisely the wrong people to be reading dark bedtime stories, yet mysteriously, there's the book on the shelf. And there goes your peaceful night's sleep. Maybe the better question is: Who thinks up a film like The Babadook? Actor turned debuting feature director Jennifer Kent has the narrative chutzpah to show her entire hand in the pop-up story and then make us squirm as foretold events come true. Even more impressively, Kent (expanding richly on her 2005 short, "Monster") doesn't shy away from Amelia's off-putting mental state, an internal battle between parental love and palpable resentment. (Young Sam will always be a reminder of her marital loss.) The Babadook is female-centric in ways that other horror movies, while often dominated by tough "final girls," ra

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Now Showing

TBA Brooklyn

Critics' pick

This intimate party space, helmed by scene stalwarts Mehmet "Memo" Erkaya and Gio Gulez, is dedicated to the underground end of the house and techno spectrum.

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Williamsburg

Verboten

Even to newcomers of New York City's electronic music scene, local party organizer and latest Brooklyn techno haven Verboten is widely (and globally) renowned. The club opened its doors in March, but the organization itself dates back more than seven years ago. From the early days of unforgettable parties in warehouses and secret hole-in-wall spots, to the steady flow of top-notch bookings at 54 N 11th St, it's safe to say that Verboten has hosted a good percentage of the world's top 100 DJ's—from legendary Chicago house music boss Carl Craig to “Bugatti”-boss Tiga and the Electric Deluxe crew. The Verboten club has joined the north Williamsburg nightlife scene, with tons of house, techno, bass music and live gigs filling the 750-person-capacity spot. The main room features an expansive dance floor and Martin Audio sound system, while the side room serves as a restaurant and lounge; both have a modern-industrial feel, or as the crew behind the club puts it, “the brick-and-mortar realization of Verboten's dystopian aesthetic.” Trouble & Bass, Bespoke Musik, Push the Night and PopGun all join Verboten in curatorial duties, and Carl Craig, Matthew Dear, Davide Squillace, Ida Engberg, Matt Tolfrey and Lee Curtiss are among the notables claiming residencies. As if the lineups every week weren't impressive enough (which, they are)—Verboten just recently launched a brand-new, 7-channel panoramic video wall spanning the area of three of the four walls in the main “Control Room.” Th

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Williamsburg

Still Alice

Alzheimer’s disease is a Greek tragedy: Preordained by genetics (if not the Fates themselves), the neurodegenerative disorder is an unfathomably cruel death march down a tunnel that disappears behind you and gets darker with every step. Still Alice, adapted by married couple Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland from Lisa Genova’s 2007 novel of the same name, is the rare film possessed with the courage required to shine a light into that abyss knowing full well that down is the only way out. For illustrious Columbia University linguistics professor Dr. Alice Howland (an astonishingly controlled Julianne Moore, whose career-best performance lacks so much as a hint of stagy artifice), the first symptoms are subtly ominous. Just 50 years old, Alice is too young to assume that a momentary lapse might be an early sign of dementia. And then, over the length of a single devastating close-up, Alice learns that the rest of her life will be devoted to what she later refers to as “the art of losing.” After that bombshell diagnosis, there’s only one direction in which Still Alice can go, and the film directly confronts the inevitability of its story. Profoundly moving but never exploitative, the script homes in on the mundane exchanges that form the foundation of our closest relationships—the particulars of a Pinkberry order, the shorthand of a text, the delay before a hug—and demolishes that bedrock in a series of masterfully precise explosions. Perhaps owing to the fact that Glatzer

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Now Showing

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Critics' pick

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Walter Kerr Theatre (see Broadway). Book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman. Music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. Directed by Darko Tresnjak. With Jefferson Mays, Bryce Pinkham, Lauren Worsham, Lisa O’Hare. Running time: 2hrs 20mins. One intermission. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: in brief The mercurial Jefferson Mays (Tony winner for I Am My Own Wife) plays multiple members of an aristocratic clan in this new musical by Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, based on the same novel that inspired Kind Hearts and Coronets. A distant and disinherited member of the D'Ysquith family slays his way to the earldom. Darko Tresnjak directs. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: review by David Cote Since it turns on the niceties of aristocratic succession, why not start the coronation early: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is the new undisputed king of musical comedy. Filled with lunatic sight gags and the wittiest, loveliest show tunes in years, there’s not a weak link in the lively cast, and Darko Tresnjak’s antic, cartoonish staging is ideal. But without a doubt, the jewel in GGLM’s crown is an eight-faceted gem: Jefferson Mays as a gargoylish gallery of doomed twits, snobs and prigs, members of the seriously inbred and outré D’Ysquith clan. These various scions and heirs must fall so that distantly related and mostly disinherited Monty Navarro (Pinkham) can rise. Mays is a bloody comic genius (with an ace backstage costume crew

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Walter Kerr Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Birdman

“Most of the successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings.” said Marlon Brando. But what happens when their 15 minutes are up? It’s not like failure suddenly transforms former megacelebs into humble human beings who can pick up their own Starbucks. That’s Michael Keaton’s problem in this savagely funny, strangely sweet, sad and utterly brilliant NYC–set comedy from Mexican writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu, better known for his gloomy, state-of-the-world dramas Babel and 21 Grams. Keaton is Riggan Thomson, a free-falling jerk who raked in the cash in the early 1990s as a lame, pre-Avengers superhero in a blockbuster franchise (a clear nod to Keaton’s own days as Batman). He hasn’t made a Birdman film in years—but Birdman is still part of him, quite literally: There’s a booming comic voice in his head (“You’re the real deal”), and it gives him superhuman powers. Is Birdman a figment of Riggan’s imagination? Whatever it is, Riggan has problems. He’s trying to reinvent himself as a Serious Artist, remortgaging the house in Malibu to write, direct and star in an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story on Broadway. But Birdman won't have it, telling Riggan to make a reality-TV show instead of this “piece of shit.” Birdman is hilarious simply as a film about putting on a show, but it’s even better as a metawork. The action is shot by Emmanuel Lubezki in a jittery handheld style that favors long takes. Emma Stone, in ripped tights and bleached hair, is

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Carolines on Broadway

Critics' pick

Even comics who are regulars at the city’s other stand-up rooms have to work extra hard to get stage time at this venerable institution. Carolines is the best place to see marquee names, including sitcom-ready stars, familiar faces from the ’80s comedy boom, Friars Club–style spritzers and cable-special ravers. You’ll never see anything less than professional. Show times vary.

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Midtown West

Comedy Cellar

Critics' pick

Claustrophobes, beware: It gets crowded down here, especially on weekends, thanks to the immense popularity of this Village standby. Big names from Louis CK to Aziz Ansari will just drop by for a set and on any given night, you can expect to see other local greats whose acts are more X-rated than at other clubs (and who will distract you from your bachelorette-partying neighbors).

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Greenwich Village

A Matter of Life and Death

You’d never guess, until perhaps the final, magnificent ‘trial’ scene, that Powell and Pressburger’s post-war film grew out of the Ministry of Information’s desire for a film celebrating British-American relations. RAF pilot Peter Carter (David Niven, below) falls in love with Boston-born radio operator June (Kim Carter) at an unfortunate moment: just as he’s plunging to the ground in a burning plane. It’s after he hits the ground that the conceit kicks in: colour disappears and we’re in a black-and-white heaven, where clerks are waiting for Peter  –  only he got lost in typically English fog and has met up with June and fallen in love. What to do? Especially when a village doctor is prepared to fight Peter’s case at the highest levels of justice. When the camera pulls back from the celestial court towards the end to reveal an audience of thousands –  most of them combatants – Powell and Pressburger apply the weight of six years of war to this loopy love story.

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Love Is Strange

New York-based filmmaker Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On) creates a special kind of urbanity: softer and more inclusive than Woody Allen's, openly gay but family-focused, alive to the city's tensions and lulls. His latest movie also features a Chopin piano score, adding an exquisite sense of proportion to, what in the hands of most other directors, might have felt like a cautionary tale about the perils of gay marriage. Instead, Love Is Strange emerges as a total triumph for Sachs and his co-leads, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, who, despite lengthy filmographies, turn in career-topping work. Chatty painter Ben (Lithgow) and his music-teacher partner of nearly four decades, George (Molina), tie the knot in an idyllic, understated ceremony. The afterpary that follows—both men at the piano laughing, lasagna and heartfelt toasts being served—steers the movie economically onto accepting territory. But the outside ramifications are harsh: George's Catholic academy is forced to fire him and, only weeks after celebrating, the two find themselves cash poor, unable to maintain a mortgage and out of their elegant apartment. "Are you guys getting divorced already?" jokes the assembled clan when they break the news and ask for temporary shelter. Ben goes to his nephew's family (and a teen's bunk bed) while George crashes on the couch of a younger gay cop's boisterous party pad. The film is too intelligent to turn into a sitcom of chafing sexual lifestyles. Rather, Sachs's nuanced theme

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Daniel

Critics' pick

Even in the worst of times, a world-class city needs restaurants offering the escape of over-the-top coddling and luxurious food, with a star chef who's not just on the awning but in the kitchen and dining room, too-—in short, a place like Daniel. The most classically opulent of the city's rarefied restaurants, Daniel Boulud's 15-year-old flagship emerged from a face-lift last fall, looking about as youthful as a restaurant in a landmark Park Avenue building realistically can. The sprawling dining room no longer resembles the doge's palace in Venice. Instead it's been brought into the 21st century with white walls, contemporary wrought iron sconces and a centerpiece bookshelf lined with vibrant crystal vases among other curios. The redesign, by longtime Boulud collaborator Adam Tihany, couldn't have come at a better time. With even neighborhood regulars keeping an eye on their budgets, now more than ever the place needs to cultivate a new clientele. Despite Boulud's ever-expanding reach—he'll soon launch his tenth restaurant, on the Bowery—the chef still prowls the dining room here most nights, charming fans and sending extras to his special guests. While the setting has been revamped, the food—overseen since 2004 by executive chef Jean Franois Bruel—hasn't taken a radical turn. Still, presentations overall seemed much more up-to-date. The tiered silver tower cradling an overkill of miniature bites that used to kick off a meal has given way to a less-is-more amuse-bouche on a

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Upper East Side

Gone Girl

Transformed into the kind of wickedly confident Hollywood thriller you pray to see once in a decade, Gillian Flynn's absorbing missing-wife novel emerges—via a faithful script by the author herself—as the stealthiest comedy since American Psycho. It's a hypnotically perverse film, one that redeems your faith in studio smarts (but not, alas, in local law enforcement, tabloid crime reporting or, indeed, marriage). No secrets will be revealed here, apart from an obvious one: Director David Fincher, also the maker of Seven, Zodiac and The Social Network, is more than just your everyday stylish cynic. Five years of matrimony haven't been kind to the Dunnes, a pair of formerly dazzling NYC writers rocked by layoffs, family illness and a resentful move to a Missouri dead zone. We learn this early on, after the disaster that kicks off the movie: Nick (Ben Affleck, never better) stops home after a neighbor phones him about his cat that's slipped out the front door. Inside, he finds shattered glass everywhere but no Amy (Rosamund Pike, delivering a ghostly yet dominant turn that's the year's biggest surprise). Has she been snatched? Cops gather, along with news trucks, Amy's snobby Manhattan parents and a dawning sense of media frenzy in need of a culprit. Nick, who's a touch too aloof, comes in handy in this regard. Toggling between the developing investigation and flashbacks to the couple's happier days in a Brooklyn brownstone (as did Flynn's original structure), Fincher brews an om

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Now Showing

Carbone

The Italian-American supper clubs immortalized in mob movies and sepia-toned photos were never as dreamy as they seemed. And the red-sauce classics still served behind curtained windows at clubby holdouts like Il Mulino and Rao’s are rarely as inspiring as our memories of them. The young guns behind Carbone, though, have moved beyond sentimentality in their homage to these restaurants by flipping the whole genre onto its head. The new spot, from tag-team chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, is a Godfather hangout on steroids, more fantastical set piece than history-bound throwback. Like Torrisi and Parm, their earlier projects together, it’s a hyped-up spin on a vanishing form, a restaurant where, bread sticks to bowties, everything looks, tastes and feels like much more of itself. Under brass chandeliers, on navy walls, hangs brash modern art on old-school Italianate themes, curated, like the food here, by a downtown tastemaker (Julian Schnabel’s son Vito). The waiters, a seasoned crew plucked from powerhouse dining rooms all throughout the city, have the smooth steps and cool banter of celluloid pros. But Zac Posen designed their wide-lapelled burgundy tuxes. And the moneyed swells blowing their bankrolls in the entry-level front room or more sedate VIP inner sanctum—out back near the kitchen—aren’t capos or dons but young bankers and food-obsessed hipsters. Whether you know a guy who knows a guy or simply scored your seat on OpenTable, you’ll feel like an insider as you p

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Greenwich Village
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Romantic NYC hotels in Manhattan

Balthazar

Critics' pick

Not only is the iconic Balthazar still trendy, but the kitchen rarely makes a false step. At dinner, the place is perennially packed with rail-thin lookers dressed to the nines. But the bread is great, the food is good, and the service is surprisingly friendly. The $99 three-tiered seafood platter casts the most impressive shadow of any dish in town. The frisée aux lardons is exemplary. The skate with brown butter and capers and a standard-bearing roasted chicken on mashed potatoes for two are both délicieux. Don’t hate the patrons because they’re beautiful; just join them.

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Soho

The NoMad

Critics' pick

In the golden age of robber baron New York—we’re talking turn of the last century—there were hotel restaurants like the NoMad all across the city, their grand dining rooms buzzing with beau monde patrons morning till night. The recent return of the all-day hotel clubhouse began with hip reinventions of the form at the Standard, Ace and Gramercy Park Hotels. But the NoMad, with its rich mahogany bar and dining rooms shrouded in red velvet curtains, is our first truly opulent throwback. The luxurious setting, flawless service, and preponderance of foie gras and truffles call to mind an haute cuisine titan like Jean-Georges Vongerichten or Daniel Boulud. But with its fashionable crowd and cool, voluptuous vibe—the decor is by hot Parisian designer Jacques Garcia—there are clearly some young Turks behind the wheel. The NoMad is the sophomore effort from chef Daniel Humm and front-of-house partner Will Guidara, who’ve been in cahoots at Eleven Madison Park since 2006. Last year they inherited the lease and the reins of 
the place from their former boss Danny Meyer, capping a meteoric rise through New York’s fine-dining ranks (following a James Beard Award and maximum star ratings from the Times and the Michelin Guide). Their slightly more accessible follow-up features plush armchairs around well-spaced tables and a stylish return to three-course dining. Humm and Guidara— rejecting zeitgeisty restaurant tropes like pass-around plates, counter seating and spare Greenmarket cooking—h

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Chelsea

Wicked

Critics' pick

This musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz addresses surprisingly complex themes, such as standards of beauty, morality and, believe it or not, fighting fascism. Thanks to Winnie Holzman’s witty book and Stephen Schwartz’s pop-inflected score, Wicked soars. Currently, the cast features Christine Dwyer as Elphaba and Jenni Barber as Galinda.—David Cote

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Gershwin Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Friend of a Farmer

That farmer must be raising fowl. No less than seven poultry entrées are on the menu at this comfortable spot, including turkey meat loaf and a chicken breast stuffed Christmas-goose style and served on a slice of lemon bread. On your way to the dining room, take a gander at the pastry case: chocolate-peanut-butter pie, brown Betty, fruit tarts. Daily specials feature fresh fish and pasta dishes like portobello-mushroom lasagna. Daily breakfast and a popular weekend brunch keep the farmer’s hens a-laying.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Buvette

Critics' pick

Over the past decade, Jody Williams has established a serious food-industry following. Mario Batali, with whom she worked at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, has called her one of his favorite American chefs; in 2007 restaurateur Keith McNally tapped her to open Morandi, his first trattoria. But not every great chef is hardwired to be an empire builder. Instead of leveraging these votes of confidence into a cookbook deal, a food show and an outpost in Vegas, Williams chose to cater to an increasingly diminutive audience. At her last project, the precious wine bar Gottino, she served serious small plates in a space no bigger than a walk-in closet. At her latest, the equally tiny, Gallic-themed Buvette, she's got just enough space to feed a neighborhood following. Indeed, with so little room for gastro-groupies, rhapsodic reviews may be the last thing she needs. Williams thrives in this intimate setting. As at Gottino (which still operates a few blocks away without her), the approach is small but exacting. She's filled every nook with old picnic baskets, teapots and silver trays, among other vintage ephemera. There's a bouquet of old rolling pins behind a glossy red Berkel slicer, antique nutcrackers on the marble-topped bar beside baskets of walnuts and almonds in their shells---much of the design here is both striking and practical. Even the bottles of wine seem to have been chosen as much for their aesthetics as their drinkability. The food is just as thoughtfully curated,

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West Village

Ushiwakamaru

Critics' pick

It’s no surprise that Japan-philes flock to this austere restaurant: Those new to the cuisine might not know what to make of the tiny cube of green-tea tofu that’s served as an amuse-bouche, or the shrimp heads floating in the miso soup. Entrées feature classic maki (no Elvis roll here), sushi and sashimi, and little else. Put yourself in the hands of chef-owner Hideo Kuribara and you’ll be richly rewarded. A special might include sushi pieces topped with burstingly fresh salmon roe, the choicest slice of fatty tuna or a generous mound of shredded, fresh crab. Kuribara’s attention to quality and detail is ferocious: The wasabi is real (a rare luxury), and the intensely flavored, almost bitter, green-tea ice cream is house-made.

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Greenwich Village

Gallow Green

Critics' pick

There is an argument to be made that New York’s best shows are staged not in theaters, but in restaurants and bars. Like the 19th-century opera audiences who trained their binoculars on each other’s boxes, each night we seat ourselves en masse in darkened watering holes and restaurants to preen, size each other up and—almost as an afterthought—eat or drink something, too. So when a venue incorporates a layer of theatricality to the performance already being staged by its patrons, how do they react? That’s the question raised by the dreamy, overgrown rooftop bar just south of Hell’s Kitchen called Gallow Green, which sits atop a warehouse that operates as the “McKittrick Hotel” for the wildly popular interactive theater performance Sleep No More. In the early evening, the height affords a regal view of gleaming West Side buildings and the cloud-streaked horizon. A floor of pebbles and slate, trellises woven with flowers and weathered wooden tables recall an upstate country home left adorably to seed. But as the sun descends over the Hudson and darkness encroaches, something stranger occurs. Christmas lights encircling small trees and the rafters overhead blink to life. A brass band waltzes dizzyingly through a funereal tune. An attractive waitstaff in virginal white uniforms materializes out of the shadows, while actors borrowed from the show downstairs weave in between tables, talking to guests in faux-British accents and lending the place the feel of a garden party lost in t

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Chelsea

Raines Law Room

Critics' pick

There is no bar to belly up to at this louche lounge. Drinks are prepared in a beautiful but half-hidden back room surrounded by gleaming examples of every tool and gizmo a barkeep could wish for. From this gorgeous tableau comes an austere cocktail list, which includes classics like the Manhattan and Negroni, and variations thereof. The Old Cuban (rum, champagne, mint and bitters) smacks of a mojito with something to celebrate. And the velvety Japanese, powered by brandy and orgeat (almond-and-rosewater syrup), is so strong it could serve itself. Who needs a barstool anyway?

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Chelsea

Kyo Ya

Critics' pick

The city’s most ambitious Japanese speakeasy is marked only by an open sign, but in-the-know eaters still find their way inside. The food, presented on beautiful handmade plates, is gorgeous: Maitake mushrooms are fried in the lightest tempura batter and delivered on a polished stone bed. Sushi (we tried the salmon) is pressed with a hot iron onto sticky vinegared rice. The fish is topped like a still life with its own microgreen forest. The few desserts—including an extra silky crème caramel—are just as ethereal as the savory food. Hurry in soon; word’s getting out.

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East Village

The NoMad Hotel

Critics' pick

A block south of hipster hub the Ace Hotel, the NoMad heralds what may finally emerge as a bona fide ’hood: North of Madison Square Park. The properties share a developer, and like the Ace, the NoMad is a self-contained microcosm encompassing destination dining—courtesy of Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, of Michelin-three-starred Eleven Madison Park—and the first stateside outpost of Parisian concept store Maison Kitsuné. Struck by the Haussmannesque facade of the 1903 limestone building (a former corporate HQ), owner Andrew Zobler enlisted Jacques Garcia, known for designing celebrated rue Saint-Honoré A-list crash pad Hôtel Costes to create the opulent interiors. Original features in the public spaces, such as elaborate ceiling moldings and mosaic tile floors, have been meticulously restored. After seeing a photograph in a design book of a Paris apartment Garcia occupied in his twenties, Zobler encouraged him to bring the same lived-in bohemian style to the hotel’s guest quarters. Vintage Heriz rugs soften the weathered maple floor, salvaged from a 1905 factory. In keeping with the residential aesthetic, the wall concealing the loo and shower cubicle is dressed up as a damask “screen.” Many rooms feature old-fashioned claw-foot bathtubs, and the exclusive argan-oil products were supplied by provençal perfumer and lifestyle brand Côté Bastide. Each room has its own art collection, built on the theme of travel around photographs, sketches and correspondence amassed from French

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Chelsea

Minetta Tavern

Critics' pick

For three decades Keith McNally’s New York restaurants have defined effortless cool, generating the sort of overnight buzz—and long-running exclusivity—institutions are made of. His hot spots have become pop culture touchstones—Odeon, Nell’s, Caf Luxembourg in the ’80s; Pravda, Balthazar, Pastis in the ’90s—delivering intangible pleasures that go far beyond food. McNally’s Minetta Tavern, a West Village relic reborn, may be the first iconic restaurant of postmillennial recession New York. The lovingly restored dining room is as nostalgic as the '21’ Club’s—and getting in the door as difficult as penetrating Graydon Carter’s Waverly Inn. But unlike the Vanity Fair editor’s celebrity canteen, Minetta’s prices are reasonable, and the food is as much of a draw as the scene. In recent years, Minetta Tavern—which began as a speakeasy in the 1920s and later attracted all types of luminaries—had become a museum piece, notable only for its time-capsule interior. McNally hasn’t tampered much with the setting. Black-and-white snapshots and caricatures of bygone notables still hang above brand-new, artfully scuffed red leather banquettes. The back-room murals have been buffed to their original splendor, and the place—with an unlisted number for insiders—is as buzzy now as it must have been in its heyday. McNally, who has a sociologist’s gift for reading and responding to the cultural moment, has unveiled a power restaurant for the newly modest New York, a place where jeans and T-shirts a

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Greenwich Village

El Quinto Pino

New York’s first true Madrileño tapas bar offers its Spanish nibbles in cramped quarters, with only a few barstools and ledges for plates; the idea is to graze, drink and chat before heading elsewhere for dinner. An adventurous party of two, up for such challenging dishes as a miniature wasabi-kissed sea urchin “panino,” could quite easily eat every single thing off of the short menu without feeling too gluttonous. Don’t miss the silky salt-cod nuggets in thick beignet batter, the beautifully plump garlic shrimp and the fine selection of Spanish wines by the glass.

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Chelsea

Mondrian Soho

Designed by Benjamin Noriega Ortiz, who created cool cribs for Lenny Kravitz and gave the Mondrian Los Angeles a glamorous makeover in 2008, Mondrian SoHo has a distinctly un-Gotham vibe. An ivy-covered passageway leads to the 26-story glass tower, set back from the Crosby Street. Inspired by Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête, Ortiz has created a fanciful interior in which lobby coffee tables have talons and floor lamps are shaded with petite parasols. Trippy, saturated-blue hallways lead to rooms that combine white minimalism with classic elements such as china-blue arabesque-print upholstery and marble-topped vanity sinks that perch outside the bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows give rooms on higher floors spectacular vistas, especially in suites, where double banks of glass provide a panoramic sweep. Going one better than Wi-Fi, every room is equipped with an in-room iPad that also connects to hotel services. The Italian restaurant, Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar, offers seating in an adjacent greenhouse, fitted out with crystal chandeliers, ferns and ficus trees, while the dimly lit, cushion-strewn bar, Mister H, looks like a 1930s Shanghai opium den by way of Casablanca. Rooms: 270.

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Soho

Experimental Cocktail Club

You don’t have to look too hard to see the influence that Americans have had on the Parisian cocktail scene. Back in the early 1900s, the legendary Harry’s New York Bar established itself as the de facto clubhouse for a growing expat community in Paris, including luminaries like Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart. And the recent mixology boom in the City of Light has been largely engineered by three French drink-slingers—Olivier Bon, Pierre-Charles Cros and Romee de Goriainoff—who were inspired by their trips across the pond. When they opened their inaugural bar, the Experimental Cocktail Club, in 2007, they took direct cues from Gotham trailblazers like Pegu Club and Death & Company. Now, after launching a collection of boîtes back home, as well as a successful ECC spin-off in London, the trio have brought their brand of refined boozing back to the source, opening an NYC outpost in the Lower East Side neighborhood that they’ve long considered a spiritual home. Parisians rooting for a subversive coup—the student becoming the teacher, if you will—shouldn’t hold their breath. Perhaps not surprisingly, the import seems vaguely out-of-date, closer in feel to the decadent, speakeasyish parlors that kicked off NYC’s tippling renaissance than the more democratic joints that have defined its recent evolution. Still, it doesn’t lack sexiness or flair: The baroque cocktails are wildly creative even when they don’t quite hit the mark, and the sumptuous setting—complete with pressed-ti

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Lower East Side

Gramercy Park Hotel

New Yorkers held their collective breath when hotelier Ian Schrager announced he was revamping the Gramercy Park ­Hotel, a 1924 gem that had hosted everyone from Humphrey Bogart to David Bowie. They needn’t have worried: The redesigned lobby, unveiled in 2006, retains the boho spirit, with red banquettes, a working fireplace and an enormous Venetian chandelier designed by Julian Schnabel. The hotel's blue-chip art collection includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Richard Prince and Damien Hirst. The eclectic elegance continues in the spacious rooms, with a jewel-toned color palette, tapestry-covered chairs, hand-tufted rugs, mahogany drinks cabinets and iPads. Have brunch on the 18th-floor Gramercy Terrace, which features a retractable roof, or sip cocktails at the Schnabel-designed Rose and Jade bars. Danny Meyer’s trattoria, Maialino, recently bumped up the attractions. Rooms: 192.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

Central Park

Critics' pick

For your stroll, head to the 38-acre wilderness area on the west side of the park known as the Ramble. The area has a storied history (as a gay cruising spot dating back to the turn of the last century, among other things), and it was even proposed as a recreational area in the mid-'50s. Thankfully, the winding trails, rocks and streams seemingly remain waiting to be discovered.

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Central Park Free

The Cloisters

Critics' pick

RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions Set in a lovely park overlooking the Hudson River, the Cloisters houses the Met’s medieval art and architecture collections. A path winds through the peaceful grounds to a castle that seems to have survived from the Middle Ages. (It was built less than 100 years ago, using material from five medieval French cloisters.) Be sure to check out the famous Unicorn Tapestries, the 12th-century Fuentidueña Chapel and the Annunciation Triptych by Robert Campin.

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Washington Heights

Annisa

Critics' pick

Last summer, Anita Lo’s ten-year-old West Village flagship, Annisa, was shut down following a fire. Earlier that year, its casual spin-off, Bar-Q, had opened and closed after a critical drubbing. Meanwhile, Lo’s Rickshaw Dumpling Bar chain had contracted to a single location. Sometimes, bad luck is the creative kick in the pants one needs. Stripped of distractions, Lo has spent the past year rebuilding Annisa—recently reborn from the rubble—into a restaurant once again worthy of citywide buzz. The understated jewel box, as sparely appointed as a Japanese rock garden—with a brittle branch in one corner and a few tropical fronds in another—isn’t any flashier than it used to be, but the food is more exciting than ever. Lo’s menu, a mercifully brief and balanced departure from the zeitgeist, isn’t lopsided with pork, or burdened with extraneous side dishes or snacks. The compositions, often inspired by the chef’s own eating adventures (in 2009 she was crisscrossing the globe), are so intensely personal, they seem to exist in a vacuum. While her colleagues, in collective retrenchment, all appear to be stuck in the same comfort-food rut, Lo takes a singular stand for old-fashioned refinement. While a few signature items predate the inferno—her Sino-French spin on soup dumplings, with molten foie gras in the center and seared foie on top, are too dazzling to retire—most of the menu is entirely new. Lo’s food, complex and audacious, is unlike any other you’ll find in New York. A tuna

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West Village

Mas (farmhouse)

Critics' pick

This fashionable spot with clean lines, chocolate tones and a warm golden glow arrived in the Village with an instant scene, courtesy of chef Galen Zamarra (formerly of Bouley Bakery). But look past flashy diners for the real excitement: a menu that focuses on seasonal and organic ingredients. A salad of sweet Maine crab and portobello benefits from a tinge of citrus, and a black-trumpet-and-chanterelle stew is topped with a delicate lasagna noodle. Organic hen, cooked with saffron and truffle, deboned and served sliced, is deeply moist, and the bigeye tuna, which is given a delightfully meaty edge by brown butter and crisp shallots, is swoonworthy. Even strange-on-paper dessert combos, such as warm rhubarb tart with black-olive ice cream, work wonderfully.

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West Village

Pegu Club

Critics' pick

The far-reaching influence of New York's reigning queen of mixology, Audrey Saunders, is hard to measure. Her storied cocktail lounge, the Pegu Club, begat many of today's standard-bearers, including Death & Company, PDT and Mayahuel. Pay a visit to the urbane barroom, a second floor sanctum on bustling Houston Street, and explore Saunders’ eminent opus, which includes new classics such as the Gin-Gin Mule. She first served the drink—a vivacious elixir of homemade ginger beer with Tanqueray gin, fresh mint and lime juice—at the Beacon Restaurant & Bar in 2000. Equally renowned is the Earl Grey MarTEAni, a frothy and fragrant nod to English teatime traditions made with loose-leaf–infused Tanqueray gin, lemon juice and an egg white.

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Soho

Salinas

Before Casa Mono, Boqueria and Bar Basque---among the better spots in New York for contemporary Spanish cooking---there was a Tribeca restaurant called Meigas. For a couple of years, starting in 1999, the place had its moment. And then it was gone, banished to Norwalk, Connecticut, where you'll still find it today. More than a decade after leaving the city, its opening chef, Luis Bollo (he's since been biding his time at other Spanish restaurants in New Haven and Princeton, New Jersey), is back with Salinas, another hot Iberian number. The flashy venue, a former dog spa in Chelsea transformed into a posh restaurant, is a buzzy limestone grotto with a water wall and a candlelit garden beneath a retractable roof. The place feels like a party most nights, with brightly hued cocktails and velvet-rope prices to match. The best stuff on the menu captures the boisterous spirit of authentic tapas-style dining. The small plates here are boldly flavored and actually portioned to share. There are deep bowls of crispy monkfish and sepia "frito," tossed with steamed clams, fresh fennel, pickled peppers, potato and spicy aioli---a rambunctious and delicious mess. Miniature brussels sprouts and Greenmarket cauliflower, fried crisp on the edges, come drenched in citrusy yogurt, with smoked paprika and toasted pine nuts---a vivid confetti of hot, cold, nutty and smoky components. Bollo isn't of the minimalist school of traditional Spanish cuisine---potatoes, chorizo, aioli, let's call it a da

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Chelsea

The Bourgeois Pig

Critics' pick

There’s nothing bourgeois about the industrial metal steps down to this East Village wine-and-fondue spot. But inside, ornate mirrors and antique chairs give the tiny red-lit space a decidedly decadent feel. Trendy locals snack on tasty bruschette or bubbling cheese fondue—the raclette is extremely good—served with heaps of assorted breads, crudités and fresh fruit for dipping. The brief wine list is well chosen and prices are halved during the weekend happy hour (5–7pm) and all night on Mondays and Tuesdays. At those prices, it’s easy to make a pig of yourself.

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East Village

Union Square Cafe

Critics' pick

Danny Meyer’s groundbreaking bistro has been serving many of the same signature dishes for 23 years. But chef Carmen Quagliata’s updated bill of fare offers some new classics. A seared tuna loin entrée is topped with basil pesto and fanned over chickpea puree. His pastas include pork-and-rabbit-filled ravioli drenched in butter, with a sprinkle of sweet corn. Like the rest of the meal, desserts straddle menus past and present. Somehow, the perennial “USC” sweet—a salty caramel-crusted banana tart—still feels fresh.

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Gramercy & Flatiron

The London NYC

This 54-story high-rise was completely overhauled by David Collins (designer of some of London’s most fashionable bars and restaurants) and reopened as the London NYC in early 2007. His sleek, contemporary-British style pervades the rooms, with attractive signature touches such as limed oak parquet flooring, embossed leather travel trunks at the foot of the beds, hand-woven throws and inventive coffee tables that adjust to dining-table heights. But space is perhaps the biggest luxury: The 350–500-square-foot London Suites (the starting-priced accommodations) are either open-plan or divided with mirrored French doors, and bathrooms feature double rain showerheads. Upper-floor Vista Suites command city views. The London is, appropriately, the site of two eateries from Britain’s best-known celebrity chef, the eponymous Gordon Ramsay at the London and the less formal (and less expensive) Maze. The chef also oversees the room service menu.

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Midtown West

Sushi Azabu

Critics' pick

When you arrive at Sushi Azabu’s address, you’ll initially curse Apple Maps for steering you astray. Alas, you’re at the right place—hidden in the basement of Tribeca’s unassuming Greenwich Grill lies this Michelin-starred sushi speakeasy, which opened in 2008. The subterranean lair rightfully prides itself on its adherence to Japanese sushi standards—more than 70 percent of the fish is imported directly from Japan, four times a week; soy sauce is house-made, infused overnight with mirin, kelp and dried bonito; and even chopsticks are diligently sourced from Hokkaido. Japanese businessmen snag coveted seats at the nine-seat chef’s counter for edomae-style sushi, an old-school technique in which fish is salted and cured to keep from spoiling. As tradition-minded as Kuruma, this hideaway lets the food speak for itself: A slice of salmon is seared to heavenly heights, with a flaky crust and slight glaze courtesy of a quick blowtorching, fatty meat still raw underneath.

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Tribeca
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NYC hotels in Manhattan by area

Times Square

Bed down in the heart of NYC with this guide to hotels near Times Square in New York. 414 Hotel This reasonably priced hotel truly deserves the boutique title. Nearly everything about it is exquisite yet unshowy, from its power-blasted brick exterior to the modern color scheme in the rooms that pairs gray headboards and red accents. Rooms are equipped with fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, the bathrooms are immaculate, and a working gas fireplace in the lobby is a welcoming touch. Twice as big as it looks, 414 consists of two townhouses separated by a leafy courtyard, which in warmer months is a lovely place to eat your complimentary breakfast of fresh croissants and bagels. The location in a residential yet central neighborhood makes it even more of a find. Rooms: 22. Dream Hotel Vikram Chatwal—the mastermind behind the color-themed Time and the Night hotel, inpired by "modern gothic Gotham"—turned the old Majestic Hotel into a luxury lodge with a trippy slumberland theme in 2004. The lobby, dominated by a two-story tubular fishtank and an enormous statue of Catherine the Great, sums up the surreal aesthetic. Rooms are more restrained, with ethereal blue lighting effects offsetting white minimalism, but scuffed furniture is showing its age. The hotel's popular Italian eatery, Serafina, has a Fellini-esque interior crafted by David Rockwell, and Ava, the rooftop bar, wows drinkers with its panoramic views of the city. The onsite Ayurvedic spa was conceived by none

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NYC hotels in Manhattan by neighborhood

Chelsea

Hotels in Chelsea run the style gamut from cool minimalism to luxurious opulence—and there's no shortage of new spots to spend a memorable night. Currently undergoing renovation, the bohemian landmark Chelsea Hotel (officially named Hotel Chelsea) will eventually reopen under the auspices of King & Grove, and boutique accommodations in the neighborhood have multiplied in recent years. Among the best hotels in Chelsea are hipster crash pad Ace Hotel, surreal party base Dream Downtown, the minimalist Hôtel Americano and the elegant NoMad Hotel.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Chelsea, New York Ace Hotel Bourgeois hipsters tired of crashing on couches will appreciate the New York outpost of the cool chainlet founded in Seattle by a pair of DJs. The music influence is clear: Many of the rooms in the 1904 building boast playful amenities like functioning turntables, stacks of vinyl and gleaming Gibson guitars. And while you’ll pay for the sprawling loft spaces, there are options for those on a lower budget. The respectable "medium" rooms are outfitted with vintage furniture and original art; even cheaper are the snug bunk-bed setups. Should you find the latter lodging stifling, repair to the buzzing hotel lobby, where DJs or other music-makers are on duty every night; have a drink at the bar, sheltered within a paneled library salvaged from a Madison Avenue apartment, or sip coffee from the Stumptown café—the first in the city from the artisanal Oregon coffee roasters. Guests can also s

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West Village

The Jane Opened in 1907 as the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors Home, the 14-story landmark was a residential hotel when hoteliers Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, of the Bowery and the Maritime, took it over (some long-term residents remain). The wood-paneled, 50-square-foot rooms were inspired by vintage train sleeper compartments—there’s a single bed with built-in storage and brass hooks for hanging up your clothes, but also iPod docks and wall-mounted 23-inch flat-screen TVs. If entering the hotel feels like stepping on to a film set, there’s good reason: Inspiration came from various celluloid sources, including Barton Fink’s Hotel Earle for the lobby. The "ballroom," decorated with mismatched chairs, oriental rugs and a fireplace topped with a stuffed ram, evokes an eccentric mansion. Rooms: 208. Abingdon Guest House A charming option in a charming neighborhood: Rooms in the Abingdon’s two converted town houses are done up in plush fabrics and antique furnishings and sport homespun details like original 1950s pine floors, hooked rugs, and four-poster or sleigh beds. Although all have private baths, they may not be inside the room. The Ambassador has a kitchenette, while the Garden Room has a small private courtyard. Rooms: 9.

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Lower East Side

Hotel on Rivington When the Hotel on Rivington opened in 2005, its ultra-modern, glass-covered façade was a novelty on the largely low-rise Lower East Side. Now, with condos popping up on nearly every block, the building (designed by NYC firm Grzywinski+Pons) seems less out of place, but it remains one of the few luxury hotels in the neighborhood. Rooms are super-sleek, with oh-so-hip black-and-white decorative touches, like velvet-covered lounge chairs, and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer views of Manhattan and beyond (even in the shower stalls). A stylish crowd congregates in the hotel’s two new restaurants, Coop Food & Drink, which serves sushi alongside modern American fare, and Viktor & Spoils, a contemporary taqueria and tequila bar. Rooms: 110.

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Little Italy and Nolita

Find the best hotels in the locale, whether you’re on a tight budget or looking to splurge on a more luxurious stay. Nolita hasn’t been known for accommodations, but recent hotel openings mean you can spend the night in the stylish enclave, which is also a convenient base for exploring Soho and the Lower East Side. Here’s the lowdown on the best hotels in the area.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Little Italy and Nolita The Bowery House Two young real-estate developers have transformed a 1927 Bowery flophouse into a stylish take on a hostel. History buffs will get a kick out of the original wainscotted corridors leading to cubicles (singles are a cozy 35 square feet, and not all have windows) with latticework ceilings to allow air circulation. It might not be the best bet for light sleepers, but the place is hopping with pretty young things attracted to the hip aesthetic and the location (across the street from the New Museum and close to Soho and the Lower East Side). Quarters are decorated with vintage prints and historical photographs, and illluminated by lightbulbs encased in 1930s and ’40s mason jars; towels and robes are courtesy of Ralph Lauren. The immaculate (gender-segregated) communal bathrooms have rain showerheads and products from local spa Red Flower, while the guest lounge is outfitted with chesterfield sofas, chandeliers, a huge LCD TV and an assortment of international style mags. There’s a 1,800-square-foot roof terrace, and a ground-floor restaurant is in the wo

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