Tag Archive | "Manhattan"

Sleeping Around NYC: Conrad New York (revisited)

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Conrad New York

Conrad New York

By Shari Hartford

One of the first hotels I visited for this column was the Conrad. And, I loved it. That was in early 2012 when the landscape of downtown was changing, but not yet changed. That was then.

With the opening of the September 11 Museum and Memorial, the opening of World Trade 1, the operation of the new Fulton Transit Center and the influx of thousands of visitors, residents and workers all converging on my once-was-a-ghost town ‘hood, I decided to see if the Conrad had stood up the past few years and was ready for what will certainly be her close-up.

It is with great glee that I report that not only has the Conrad survived Superstorm Sandy, last year’s polar vortex, the hoards at Shake Shack (only two giant steps away) but it has flourished.

Atrium at Conrad New York.

Atrium at Conrad New York.

The striking second-level lobby and reception area, with its sunlit 15-story atrium that complements the 13-floor-high Sol LeWitt painting, Loopy Doopy, is a place to chill out and relax. No dark and recessed corners here…it’s all about light and space and drama.

The soaring glass-enclosed elevators whisk guests to the 463 suites. I was impressed several years ago…and I’m still impressed.

After a certain amount of time, hotel accommodations begin to show a bit of wear and can appear a bit rough around the edges; a nick here, a tear there, a stain here. Not so at the Conrad. After reacquainting myself with the electronic lighting system in the suite, I could have been in a brand-new room. There was no hint that anyone else had ever been here. The furniture was pristine; the couch in the sitting area had narey a dip; the carpet pile was high and the bathroom fixtures gleaming. The bed and bath linens were snowy white and fluffy. Even the Nespresso machine looked untouched. Am I waxing poetic? You bet. This is the room standard that I want all hotels to match. And since I am a stickler for certain amenities, I can report that there was plenty of light where needed, lots of mirrors and electrical outlets right next to the bed where I want them. A minor criticism? The Wi Fi moved at a glacial pace. Oh well, had to find something.

Guest room at Conrad New York.

Guest room at Conrad New York.

If the standard sitting room and separate bedroom suite configuration is not enough, each floor has a corner luxury suite, with more square footage and a dining area.

For a true resort experience, the hotel also boasts a 24-hour fitness center, Atrio, a wine bar and restaurant featuring Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and, my favorite, Loopy Doopy, a rooftop cocktail bar with striking city views. Too cold for you? Grab a blanket from the basket near the bar and snuggle up with a hot toddy.

The phoenix has risen. Downtown is back…and with a vengeance! Come to lower Manhattan, stay at the Conrad and see why this neighborhood is now the hottest ticket in town.

Conrad New York

102 North End Avenue, New York, NY 10282

 

 

Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Sleeping Around: Sixty LES

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60lesbalcony

Balcony view from Sixty LES in New York City.

By Shari Hartford

In the not too distant past, the Lower East Side was synomous with immigrants and crowded apartments buildings that were cold in the winter and broiling hot in the summer. The fire escapes that draped the structures provided the only indoor/outdoor amenity.

That was then. The now of the Lower East Side is a trendy and gentrified neighborhood dotted with hipster bars and clubs, fine dining establishments and trendy stores. And hotels are popping up to accommodate the new masses that want to stay where they can see and be seen.

One such standout is Sixty LES. With 141 rooms, 10 being sumptuous suites, this new structure is continually evolving to bring guests the ultimate in neighborhood vibe. I recently paid them a visit and found an oasis in a community more known for bagels and lox, than 400-count linens and rain forest showers.

 

Guest room at Sixty LES

Guest room at Sixty LES

Arriving in the black and silver lobby you sense a luxury apartment house, rather than a mainstream hotel. I was quickly whisked away to my sleek black and gray home for the night, with its king bed, large windows, separate seating area and small but luxurious bathroom. I love the trend of hardwood floors rather than iffy carpeting in hotel rooms…these floors were beautiful shiny black planks that complemented the overall ambiance. But, will someone please remember that there are those of us who want plenty of light to read…reading lights please!! I did love, love, love the illuminated lighted headboard. Such a welcome change from the ubiquitous stagnant framed art usually found in mainstream hotels. And, an additional source of light.

 

The outdoor pool at Sixty LES

The outdoor pool at Sixty LES

But the room was not the best part of this hotel. Yes, it’s comfortable and functional and gorgeous, but wait, there’s more…an outdoor pool! This rarity in New York City is elegantly proportioned and decked out with plush chaise lounges, a tended bar serving specialty cocktails and small plates, shower facilities and even a media room. Sixty LES has now gone from being just another hotel-in-the-city to possibly a resort-in-the-city. In addition, there is a terrace lounge and opening this summer, a rooftop beer garden.

I don’t often partake in room service. Waiting an inordinate amount of time for overpriced fare that arrives lukewarm doesn’t get my mouth watering. Blue Ribbon Sushi, the hotel’s resident restaurant, had a tempting menu (with not only sushi) and I decided to give it a try. Another hotel triumph! I sampled the best turkey burger and crispy hot fries I have ever had…and I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre. It, along with a yummy house salad, arrived promptly, on a tray with every possible accoutrement and even tall glass of ice water.  When I was ready, the tray was retrieved in record time.

The moral of this story? This is not your grandparents Lower East Side. This is a destination for the hip…and the not so hip…among us. The welcoming concierge will set you straight with a neighborhood guide to shops, sites and eats. My personal recommendation? After your turkey burger, head off for your next meal to the iconic Russ and Daughters for the best smoked fish around and take home a bag of their dried fruit. Yes, dried fruit. You will thank me.

For more information, see sixtyhotels.com.

 

shari-1  Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Kurt Thometz’s Little Black Bookshop: Film by Oresti Tsonopoulos

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Thanks to filmmaker Oresti Tsonopoulos and Narrative.ly

Making Mozzarella at Murray’s in NYC

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Murray's Cheese on Bleecker Street in New York.

Murray’s Cheese on Bleecker Street in New York.

By Shari Hartford

Who doesn’t like gooey, stringy mozzarella on everything that is Italian? On pizza, dripping from lasagna and sliced over a just-picked tomato with a drizzle of excellent olive oil. Ah, the taste of Italy.

Murray’s Cheese Shop, a New York institution since 1940, is a one-stop shopping experience for all things cheesy. With hundreds of local and imported varieties to choose from, plus other delicacies such as charcuterie and specialty items, it’s a feast for the eye and the palate.

In addition to selling cheese, Murray’s really wants its customers to experience cheese, so my friend and partner in cheese, Gale, and I recently attended one of the many classes offered …mozzarella making.

I never gave those glistening white balls of flavor much thought. But as we learned in the 90 minute lecture and hands-on making, there’s a lot more to it than, “I’ll take a pound of that.”

The joys of making mozzarella at Murray's in NYC.

The joys of making mozzarella at Murray’s in NYC.

We started with cubed cheese curds. Warm water is poured around the sides – never over – of the curds as they warm and start to melt. This water was drained off, salt added and it became the brine the finished mozzarella would be stored in.

Now the fun began, hot water (and I do mean hot) was poured over the curds and we dug out fingers in to begin to pull and roll the curds to form a ball in the palm of the hand. No waiting for the water to become comfortable…if it doesn’t burn, you waited too long.

After watching our seasoned teacher, Anuradha, our group of about 20 soon got the ball rolling – mozzarella humor here. And when the entire process is accompanied by copious amounts of wine, the class couldn’t have been more fun.

Gale and I left with our handmade cheese carefully stowed and extra curds for trying it at home. This was way better than cookies in the “I made it myself” category.

For more information about Murray’s, their products and classes, see murrayscheese.com.

 

shari (1)  Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Aboard Zephyr in New York Harbor

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Zephyr goes past the Brooklyn Bridge

Zephyr goes past the Brooklyn Bridge

By Shari Hartford

When you’re standing at the crossroads of Times Square, it is easy to forget that this wondrous city is really an island. To gain a completely different perspective this summer, view the coastline from the water.

Once again, the luxury yacht, Zephyr, will be calling an “All Aboard” from its berth at Pier 16 at the South Street Seaport. While there are several theme tour options available, the Tuesday evening (promptly at 6:30) “Beyond Sandy—Keeping the Conversation Alive” excursion is of particular note.

The two-hour sailing gives guests a birds-eye view of New York and New Jersey’s working waterfront. The emphasis is on the rebuilding that has taken place (and is continuing to take place) after the devastating storm of last fall. As many people know, the areas hardest hit were those along the shoreline and the Zephyr’s narration explains what happened, the aftermath and plans for the future.

On a sultry summer evening, the water is the place to be, so get down to the Seaport, grab a seat on the upper deck, get an ice cold beer, watch the sunset and also learn about how this great island-city bounced back.

For more information, see circlelinedowntown.com

 

shari (1)     Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

One Night Stand: 6 Great Downtown NYC Hotels

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The jaw-dropping lobby of The Conrad in Lower Manhattan

The jaw-dropping lobby of The Conrad in Lower Manhattan

By Shari Hartford

Downtown New York City has taken quite a hit the past years…9/11, two hurricanes, Occupy Wall Street and a myriad of financial and building woes. But with the fighting spirit that has made this city, and this community, the center of the universe (at least to me) we have come back bigger and better than ever.

Nothing makes this more evident than the downtown hotel scene. Where once there was an occasional mediocre chain with floors of indistinguishable beds, there is now a vast selection of upscale and unique lodgings. And, 1100 more rooms are on the horizon. No just for the tired businessman, downtown is attracting discerning tourists and well-heeled financial types who want an “experience” rather than just a place to rest their head. With the wealth of transportation options – almost every subway line in the city for getting around the boroughs and a direct route to the new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn – lower Manhattan is no longer a distant inconvenience.

But how to choose? I’ve done the work for you…bounced on the beds, tested the pillows, used the remote controls, the Wi-Fi and otherwise done a one-night, test run at what’s new, what’s hot and what’s trendy. Since there is a bit of Eloise in me, this was not an insurmountable task. So, next visit to the Big Apple, continue on past Times Square and experience what downtown has to offer.

 

The Andaz Wall Street

The Andaz Wall Street

ANDAZ

After a nasty encounter with Superstorm Sandy, the Andaz is once again a beacon on Water Street. There is no traditional reception desk…instead the fashionably clad greeters armed with iPads completed the check-in process at record speed. The coolly lit halls were more high-end residence than hotel. And the cutting edge guest rooms were edgy and sophisticated, although I would have preferred less ambiance and brighter lighting. The electronic black out shades, modular seating, complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and snacks, free Wi-Fi and a soaking tub and shower room made my stay unexpectedly self-indulgent. Alas, the Spa is still under renovation but treatments are available in room. andazwallstreet.com

 

A room with an amazing view at The Conrad, in Lower Manhattan

A room with an amazing view at The Conrad, in Lower Manhattan

THE CONRAD

When Goldman Sachs moved into the ‘hood, just west of the WorldTradeCenter site, they naturally needed a memorable hotel for their visiting movers and shakers. So, the existing Embassy Suites Hotel was gutted and turned into the high-end Conrad [Hilton]. This new hotel festooned with huge pieces of art to rival a museum is fabulous! Ride the escalator up from street level to the sleek and modern15-story atrium lobby. The hotel, which has received Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, also boasts a rooftop seasonal bar, a wine bar and the renowned Mediterranean restaurant, Atrio.

As soon as I entered my suite (all accommodations have a two-room layout) I was in heaven. Larger than some New York City apartments, the interior design is sleek with muted tones and blonde wood. There are sliding glass panels that can close off the sleeping area, the living room or the mini bar. The desk is comfortable and functional with a wonderful lamp. In fact, the entire suite has terrific lighting – usually not the case and a personal pet peeve. But it was the bathroom that had me gasp. The separate rainfall shower was large enough for group bathing – and had the best-smelling body wash I have ever encountered. After sliding into my incredibly comfortable king sized bed I drifted off for a most restful night’s sleep. conradnewyork.com

 

Duane Street Hotel, Lower Manhattan

Duane Street Hotel, Lower Manhattan

 

DUANE STREET HOTEL

Tucked away on a side street in Tribeca sits this tiny gem of a hotel. With only 43-rooms, it epitomizes downtown – hip and stylish. Enter through the discreet front door and you feel like you are entering a private club: there is a small desk to check in, a bustling bar to the left and the highly rated Mehtaphor restaurant through that. My room was on the small size but had a black leather platform bed with matching headboard, with the only hint of color being a gorgeous red leather chair. The shining hardwood floors contributed to the charm, although there was a bit of an echo in the room with no carpet or rug to soften the noise. The room was equipped with all the modern amenities one would expect at a hotel such as this, including a fab walk-in shower, turn down service, Wi-Fi and luxury bath products. Need to stay in touch? Borrow an iPad for the duration of your stay. The ever present helpful staff insured that my brief staff was memorable. duanestreethotel.com

Millenium Hilton, in Lower Manhattan

Millenium Hilton, in Lower Manhattan

 

THE MILLENIUM HILTON

Overlooking Ground Zero, the Millenium took a direct hit on 9/11 and remained closed for renovation for about a year. But now, a decade later, it is long reopened, restored and with 569 guest rooms and suites it is one of the premier hotels in lower Manhattan. My room on the 54th floor had a magnificent panoramic view of the World Trade Memorial out one window and the Hudson River and the World Financial Center out another. The blindingly white bed linens and duvet were so inviting and the large bathroom well lit. My only complaint? No bathrobe. And in the morning when I woke to a predicted blizzard, the view from my perch was breathtaking. hilton.com

 

Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park City, New York

Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park City, New York

THE RITZ-CARLTON, BATTERY PARK

When you combine the grace and elegance of the Ritz-Carlton chain with bang-up water views, you get a premier destination at the entrance to historic Battery Park. From the time you enter the flower-filled lobby and are whisked away to your room (65% of the 298 guest rooms and suites have a water view—with a telescope for taking in the sights) you are transported to serenity. I found my stay at the Ritz to be the most tranquil of my one night stands – although the room was hardly the largest or the most modern. There was just something about the traditional furnishings and the beautifully made bed that was soothing. If your accommodation has Club Lounge accesses, please do pay it a visit. I sat for a glass of Champagne and a little hors d’oeuvres nibble and again the word “tranquil” keep coming to mind. The spa at the Ritz, while intimate, is relaxing and rejuvenating. ritzcarlton.com/batterypark

 

W New York Downtown

W New York Downtown

THE W NEW YORK – DOWNTOWN

Another new kid on the block is the W, located just across from the entrance to the 9/11 Memorial. This homage to glass, art and design is at once funky and sophisticated. Since opening in August, 2010, The W has earned its reputation as a both a destination for sleeping and also for hanging out. The 217 guest rooms have wonderful touches of whimsy – window shades that upon close inspection have tiny red “Ws” worked into the design, animal skin patterned wall paper, and such. Recessed lighting, lots of white and chrome complete the clean look. And once again, here’s that great walk-in rain forest shower! If the weather is nice, spend time at the Living Room Bar and Terrace for a snack or unique cocktail. It’s a bit of resort living in the heart of the Financial District. starwoodhotels.com

 

AND THEN THERE’S ALSO…

I couldn’t spend the night in every hotel in lower Manhattan, but some more notables are the Wall Street Inn, Mondrian Soho, Tribeca Grand, The Soho Grand, the Crosby Street Hotel, Gild Hall and the Smyth Hotel. We also have our share of Holiday Inns, Hampton Inns and Club Quarters. As you can see, there’s something for everyone.

 

 

shari    Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.

Active Travels: Manhattan’s Low Line

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The Low Line, Manhattan

By Steve Jermanok

One of my favorite topics to write about the last couple years is how urban designers and landscape architects have recently created parks from contaminated settings, landfills, abandoned manufacturing plants, and no longer viable space such as an elevated train track on the lower West Side of Manhattan, now the popular High Line Park. Former brownfields like a 9-acre parcel of land on Puget Sound, once dotted with UNOCAL’s oil tanks, is now home to Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Landschaftspark in Duisburg-Nord, Germany, is a former coal and steel plant that now features a high ropes course.

Time to add the Delancey Underground project, nicknamed the Low Line, into the mix. James Ramsey and Dan Barasch have already garnered public and political support to take a vacated trolley terminal in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and create a subterranean park. The rectangular space, about three blocks long, was the site where trolleys would turn around to cross the Williamsburg Bridge. Since 1948, it has laid dormant. Ramsey and Barasch not only want to take advantage of this wasted space, but use fiber optics to stimulate natural light and photosynthesis, where trees and plants can thrive. The pair has already started collecting funds on Kick Starter, if you’d like to support the project.
  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for OutsideMen’s JournalHealth, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily atActive Travels.

10 Reasons to Love the High Line in NYC

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The High Line in New York City.

 

By Bobbie Leigh

When Joshua David and Robert Hammond met for the first time  at a community board meeting in  1999,  they were dumbfounded.  Not one other person was there to  protest the destruction of  a decrepit,  elevated rail structure that snaked around the far West Side of Manhattan.  Abandoned for years, the rails were a dilapidated wreck some 30 feet above the street.  But David and Hammond were convinced  the rail structure could be something else, something wonderful, a friendly, quiet, urban park.  The chances of  this happening according to Hammond was “one in a hundred.”  Today  the High Line  is a superstar New York attraction,  a grassy park with wild flowers, park benches,  and  a busy calendar of community and art events. It now runs from Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street, thanks to a new section that doubles the park’s length, connecting three neighborhoods along the West Side. Another section is in the works.

 

First a bit of history.  The city owned  the land but was willing to have it rezoned for high-end development and  as parkland.  David and Hammond  created the nonprofit Friends of the High Line which had tremendous community support and lobbied for the park.  What made  it a reality is the city government investing  about $112 million, leaving  about $40 million  or more to be raised privately.   You  probably  couldn’t accomplish a similar feat anywhere else in the city except  perhaps Central Park. It takes deep pockets and high profile neighbors like Diane von Furstenberg and Chelsea art and boutique owners to get behind  a  project like  this.  But there was political will, social and celebrity  clout, and  bundles of money. The High Line is now a  public park where you can sit on the grass or on handsome  reclaimed  teak benches made from  abandoned  buildings in southeast Asia. The Friends  of the High Line  operates and controls every aspect of the park from  upkeep and maintenance to design  and  rules — no dogs, no bikes, no boom boxes.

10  Things to Love about the High Line:

1. It’s free and open from  7am to 11 pm  in summer.

2. In the two years since it opened, there have been no reports of any crime—no  muggings or robberies.  It’s spotless and graffiti free.

3. The views are glorious.  You can  see the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building,  snippets of the Hudson River and New Jersey to the west.

4. A temporary public plaza at 30th street is an art space, Rainbow City, with playful, crayon-colored inflatable sculptures, some 30 feet high.



 

5. Glorious plantings – wild flowers,  American holly trees, magnolia,  a patchwork of  wild grasses, bold orange butterfly milkweed,  purple prairie clover,  and  ornamental  white onion flowers.

6. Free guided walking tours every Saturday at 11 am.

7. Stargazing with amateur astronomers, Tuesday at dusk, usually 9:30 pm.

8. The panes of  glass installation, The River That Flows Both Ways. It is located at the Chelsea Market Passage on the High Line near 16th Street. From a tugboat drifting on the Hudson River, Spencer Finch  attempted to recreate the  shifting  color of water by photographing the river’s surface once every minute  over a period of 11 hours and 40 minutes.

9. Public  performances  at the wooden  seating steps in the  wide area between 22nd and 23rd streets.

10. The Falcone Flyover between West 25th and 26th Streets. This is  a metal walkway that rises eight feet above the High Line path, enabling  an elevated view of the plantings and the city. (Another viewing spur is at 30th Street.)

 

The High Line is open daily from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Summer hours continue through the fall. Evening is a great time to visit the High Line—the sunsets are spectacular over the Hudson River, and the lighting system designed by L’Observatoire International casts a gentle illumination on the spring plantings to create a warm and welcoming mood at dusk. Please check the High Line Web site or follow the High Line on Twitter for the latest information and operational updates.  And  keep in mind that  every Thursday  in August , there’s dancing and Latin Music  from  7-9 pm.

For more information, 212-206-9922; info@thehighline.org; www.thehighline.org; www.nyc.gov/parks.

 

Bobbie Leigh has written for many national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, and Departures. Currently she is a New York correspondent for Art & Antiques.

 

 

Active Travels: Bike Manhattan

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Bike Manhattan this weekend.

By Steve Jermanok

One of my favorite outings last spring was a ride around the perimeter of Manhattan with my 14-year old son and close friends. There’s no better way to see the city than to slow down and bike along the Hudson, East, and Harlem Rivers under historic bridges with the Statue of Liberty peering down at you in the distance. Most of the island is now lined with bike trails, far away from the honking of taxis. One of the best sections of the ride is amidst Hudson River Park, heading south to Battery Park. Across the street from Hudson River Park in the far West Village is The Jane, an affordable hotel where rooms start at a low $99 a night. This spring, the hotel will offer complimentary bikes to guests, so you can cruise Manhattan on two wheels. Or simply take a stroll on the nearby High Line, once an elevated railway, now a walking corridor nestled with trees and gardens that stands 30-feet above street level. Grab a sandwich at Chelsea Market and you have the perfect picnic spot for lunch.

 

Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World, due out late 2010. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.

Eataly: A Manhattan Mecca for La Cucina Italiana

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Oscar Farinetti (left) watches Mario Batali takes a bite. On the right is partner Joe Bastianich (right) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (far right)

Bobbie Leigh

Go hungry. In fact, go very hungry if you really want to have more than a taste of  Eataly, the sprawling Italian food mecca at Fifth Avenue and 23rd street in New York City.   Just don’t call it a food mall.

Owners Joe Bastianich, his mother Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, and  Eataly-founder Oscar Farinetti call their Italian outpost  in the Flatiron District  ” an artisanal food and wine marketplace.”   Farinetti opened the first  all-things Italian  food emporium  in Turin and another  in  Tokyo.

At 50,000 square-feet in the old Toy Building, Eataly is supposedly the biggest  food market in the world and well on its way to becoming a city landmark. The first thing that strikes you on entering at Fifth Avenue is that it sounds and smells like Italy.  People are speaking Italian and drinking tiny cups of espresso.  Instead, try a machiatto (steamed frothy milk and espresso) at Caffe Lavazza or a gelato (artisanal of course) before you start your explorations.

Recognizing that Eataly sprawls in all directions, the staff hands  out  a sheet labeled “How to Eat at Eataly.”   Helpful, but you will still need a strategy.  Explore first, then eat, and finally shop for a cucina Italiana meal  at home.  And  be patient,  lines can be long — even at checkout.

Pasta, pasta, pasta ...

Wander through the aisles and you will see hundreds of  brands of pasta, fresh and dried, endless rows of tomato sauces, honeys, jams,  and condiments. The pantry aisles are well stocked with an impressive number of olive oils and vinegar and rows  of gherkins of  all sizes. Italian chocolates were flying off the shelves during a recent visit.  Made without milk, cream, or butter, the brands to buy are Venchi dark chocolate and anything made by Giraudi.

If your weakness is household goods,  better go with a fat wallet as the Alessi and Guzzini brands of  kitchen equipment are irresistible, as are the exquisite copper pans and table linens. Rizzoli has its own little on-site bookstore with Bastianich & co books taking the lead.

Tastes better than butter.

The wow factor is the huge variety of canned and dried goods, dried meats, sausages, hams, prosciutto, pancetta, and  local and imported  cheese.  Beer is a standout, more brands than you can count, including such craft beers  as Menabrea, Moretti, and Birra Lurisia. La Birreria, Eataly’s  year-round  rooftop beer garden and microbrewery, is  scheduled  to open  this spring. Eataly Vino is a shop next to the 23rd Street entrance with roughly 1,000 bottles from various regions throughout Italy.  Here’s where you can find grappa by Montanaro and limoncello from Sorrento made by Convento.    Fresh fruits and veggies are pricey compared to the green market at Union Square at 14th Street, but you will find a better array of mushrooms — 14 at last visit —  than most places.

Pizza ovens.

Once you have the layout down pat, it’s time to eat. La Piazza is a stand-up food bar in a central rotunda where you are served little tastings of salami, cheese, and sea food from  the well-stocked raw bar. Some 70 wines are available  by the glass. Just find a spot and a waiter will give you a menu and take your order. Il Pesce  specializes in seafood prepared Italian style in antipasto and main course portions, You can eat while sitting at a table or seated at a counter. Near the books and fresh pasta, there’s a place to put your name on a list for “first-come-first served” seating. There are two other seated counters for eating: Le Verdure is the place to go for hot soup and bruschetta and Pizza and La Pasta for tagliatelle, lasagna, and ravioli. Skip the classic Neopolitan  pizza  made with a creamy mozzarella. It’s  good, but not as overwhelmingly good as the pasta dishes which are unbeatable.

For more formal white tablecloth dining, consider Manzo, (beef in Italian). With 16 tables and  20 seats at the bar  it is open for lunch and dinner daily and is the only restaurant here which takes reservations (212-229-2180).  A tasting menu is $90 person. The cooking is bold and sassy and the menu will encourage you to experiment with dishes like seared foie gras with crispy pigs tail, squash and aceto  traditional. You can’t miss with the porterhouse for two and souffle potatoes. Manzo’s specialtyis Piedmontese beef.  But keep in mind that you will be dining in a busy, noisy restaurant without walls, tucked up right next to the adjacent cooking school.  The staff is enthusiastic and well-schooled, but you still have to contend with a location that lacks character and charm.

Dinner to go.

Your final stop before heading home might be to buy dinner. At the rotisserie counter, the Rosticceria, you will find an excellent roast chicken and roasted potatoes  and every Friday, roasted boned breast of turkey stuffed with turkey sausage. At the meat market, count on 17 different cuts of veal while at the fishmonger, the standout is a whole bronzino ( European sea bass).  Among the daily baked breads,  one great favorite is the olive bread.  Desserts at the bakery are nothing less than sublime and even that old  standby, tiramisu, is a far cry from the cloyingly sweet version you get in most restaurants.  For a schedule of cooking classes at La Scuola di Eataly and for more information, visit Eataly.

Bobbie Leigh has written for many national publications including The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, and Departures. Currently she is a New York correspondent for Art & Antiques.

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