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I’ve grouped activities and cultural destinations in a central block, followed by hotels/dining organized by neighborhood. 

Activities and Cultural Destinations

  • ***The Cloisters (part of the Met): wonderful! One of the best collections of religious art in the world, including major buildings reconstructed on site. It’s a journey to get here, but make the time.
  • **The Cooper-Hewitt: a good space, with variable exhibitions. While this isn’t the first museum I run to, it’s conveniently located near “museum mile” and worth a stop.
  • ***The Frick is one of my favorite collections, ever. It’s a wonderful space with a very personal (and excellent) selection of work. Not to be missed.
  • The **Guggenheim Museum is as good as what’s on at the moment. It’s a great design, even more charming if you have been to the Fiat factory in Turin to understand the inspiration.
  • **The High Line: a believe-the-hype place to go – it’s a gorgeous place for a walk and a fine work of urban reclamation.
  • **Metropolitan Museum of Art: world class. Not my first choice for museums on a quick visit due to the huge scale, but it’s one of the world’s great collections.
  • **Museum of Modern Art: along similar lines, I find this museum overwhelming, but it’s very impressive and worthwhile.
  • **Neue Galerie Museum: I’ll give this a ‘soft’ fine – it’s not a bad museum, but in a city of greats it doesn’t particularly stand out.

Midtown

Hotels

  • **The Muse: a favorite from my Chronicle years, haven’t been back in ages but I remember it fondly and it’s a good location for midtown.
  • **Le Méridien New York, Central Park: elegant, has a pool, very nice (Marriott property)

Dining

  • **Dell’Amina: Amazing Italian food. I went to the small 8th ave location; it’s now a large spot on 11th ave (and a second location I think?).

South of 14th Street

Hotels

  • *The Gansevortt (meatpacking district). Dingy and loud.
  • **Nomo Soho: very hip, small but clean and stylish rooms. Lively restaurant, and gorgeous entryway. Fairly quiet rooms, though thin walls, and noisy neighbors would be a problem. Neighborhood very central.
  • **The Standard, East Village: another hotel from my younger days, I remember it being painfully hip and having comfortable beds.
  • *Walker Hotel Greenwich Village: don’t love it. Rooms are tiny, walls are thin, staff a bit indifferent. Really expensive and they up-charge for everything, doesn’t include breakfast.

Food

  • **La Contenta Oeste: another hipster Mexican option. Not sure about the food (I had nachos, they were typical nachos), but the cocktails are very good, staff friendly, good atmosphere.
  • **La Esquina: hipster tacos, great cocktails, fun setting. Can be hard to get into, reserve.
  • **Jack’s Wife Freda, 224 Lafayette: people keep bringing me back here. Good food, nice service, not too fancy.
  • **Mercer Kitchen: a classic, good food, excellent service
  • **Murray’s Bagels: a classic, all the fixings, very doughy NY-style bagels
  • **Tacombi: good, spicy tacos in a casual-ish setting. Multiple locations, I’ve been to the Elizabeth street restaurant.

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