Once New Amsterdam, because of the Dutch settlers, New York got its name with the take over of the English in 1664. The metropolitan of the East coast of the United States, the city with so much history, the city that never sleeps…the city that is ever evolving, developing new »it« neighborhoods and offers exploring of the hidden gems.
NYC & COMPANY, the official guide to NYC, hosted us in the city that welcomes you always, with the amazing tour around New York City’s newest hot spots.
Everyone knows the Times Square, 5th Avenue, Financial district and Central Park, but not many know of the newly developed Hudson Yards – residential, touristic, cultural and shopping area on the West side of Manhattan. Hudson Yards is writing a history with being the largest private real estate development in the States ever and when completed, it will host the highest outdoor observation deck on the western hemisphere. Hudson Yards has two iconic structures, »The Vessel« and »The Shed«. The Shed is the art center of Hudson Yards for all audiences, hosting everything from music, film and theater to painting. Now, The Vessel is what truly amazes you with its shiny bronze cylindrical structure. As the visitor you get to climb around 2.500 stairs of the 154 interconnected flight of stairs to enjoy the views of the city.
On the lower and Eastern part of Manhattan, the Seaport District is also a part that started with a transformation 3 years ago. What used to be New York’s original commercial hub and the fish market of New York, is now developing into an entertainment and cultural district with a very dynamic culinary offer. It’s never dull on Fulton market, live music is played from Tuesdays to Sundays and there are weekly events at the Rooftop, which include Monday’s movie screenings and Tuesday’s sports activities. The commercial fashion shops are being replaced with boutique stores, one of them being opened by Sarah Jessica Parker. And to top it all of, this historic neighborhood never seizes to amaze with the stunning views of the famous Brooklyn Bridge, which is the most mesmerizing at sunset.
A true New York tourist knows that New York’s not only about Manhattan. But, not a lot of people actually know about the hidden gems the city has to offer. An hour train ride from Manhattan, all the way through Brooklyn, there is this coastal gem of Coney Island, a very strong small community, which is developing more every year. Having the old-school amusement park, the island is also the perfect getaway to the beach in the hot summer days. But don’t think enjoying on the beach or riding the roller coaster is all there is. Coney Island is the home of the original Nathan’s Famous hot dog and they also have their own brewery. Coney Island Brewery started its business 8 years ago and is in the process of expanding to a bigger capacity. This is a brewery that brews by hand and produces most of its beer right there in the heart of Coney Island. With their most known, the Mermaid Pilsner, they have their limited releases of beer all year round.
Back to Manhattan and hop on the short ferry ride, which leads you to another hidden gem, the Governors Island. This ice cream cone shaped island is a true hidden gem of New York, as it is something new even for the New Yorkers, with many never even being there yet. This is the island, which played a huge role in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, serving as the former military base in New York. Nowadays it is the oasis for recreation and events, open from May to October. The relaxing setting is perfect for cycling around the island, picnics, glamping and has great views at New York’s lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Liberty Island, a short ferry ride from Lower Manhattan, is the home of one of the most famous New York City’s landmark, the Statue of Liberty. In May the Statue od Liberty Museum opened its doors for the visitors for the first time since September 11 of 2001. The museum offers an unique experience with a walk through the history, where you even get to see the original torch from the Statue, which was replaced in 1986 due to its many modifications. Needless to say, climbing the 215 stairs up to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, rewards you with the breathtaking view of New York City’s famous skyline.
All this exploring around »New Amsterdam« sure makes one hungry and one of the perfect places to dine at is »The Public Kitchen« at the Public hotel on the Lower East Side. The modern cuisine of the renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has a cross-cultural menu, inspired by traveling around the world and uses organic and fresh products directly from the market. The Public Kitchen definitely satisfies each visitor with its dishes and the ambient.
And as much as a 3-day trip around the City excites one, you definitely wish for a well rested sleep. The perfect hotel to give you an experience you never knew you needed, is the boutique hotel on the upper side of Manhattan, »The Benjamin«. With its origins going way back to 1927, being one of the most recognized works by the architect Emery Roth, The Benjamin Hotel represents the early evolution of New York’s skyscraper design. The hotel was fully redesigned and restyled in 2012 to create this special ambiance of both relaxation and sophistication. The hotel is known for its unique Rest & Renew program, created in partnership with sleep expert, Dr. Rebecca Robbins, that makes sure you have the best sleep of your life and your bedtime becomes »a dream come true«. The sleep program features bedtime bites and a pillow menu with ten different types of pillows, from water filled, lullaby, anti-snore and many more.
And to make your experience at The Benjamin even better, »The National Bar & Dining Rooms« restaurant takes care of you from breakfast to dinner. The cuisine is a modern American one and the restaurant gives the feel of a contemporary NYC Grand Café. With chef Geoffrey Zakarian in charge, the restaurant is one of the 50 New York’s finest.
PHOTOGRAPHY by JANA LETONJA
This article was originally written for Numéro Netherlands by Jana Letonja.