What should I pack for a trip to New York City?

Deciding what to pack for New York City can be tough — it is the fashion capital of the world, after all. But don’t let that intimidate you. Well, not too much anyway. Instead, focus on being prepared for extreme weather (humid summers and freezing winters) and a lot of walking. Even though the subway is efficient and generally reliable, you will find yourself walking a lot because there is so much to see and do on every block.

As for fashion, you can bring a few stylish outfits — or shop for new ones — or you can always fall back on all black. In Manhattan, wearing all black is always in fashion.

  • On November 4, 2013
    Jonathan Morr answered the question: Jonathan Morr

    What are the best neighborhoods in New York City?

    I don’t have that many favorite neighborhoods. I like where I live. I live in Soho, but at Kenmare and Lafayette, so it’s just the outskirts of Soho. It’s not right there in the middle of all the mess, but it’s still Soho. Then you have Nolita next to you, which is kind of cute — there are little stores. I would say that my favorite neighborhood is the Upper East Side. I don’t venture there often; but when I do, I always like it. To me, the Upper East Side is as close to Europe as New York can get, and I like that.
  • On November 4, 2013
    Jonathan Morr answered the question: Jonathan Morr

    What are the best restaurants in New York City?

    There are a lot of great restaurants. I like Indochine. One of my favorite steakhouses is Peter Luger [Steakhouse]. Steaks are great, but I try to refrain from having steak. I usually get my fair share at Balthazar; so if I do go to a steakhouse — which, don’t get me wrong, I’d go every day if I could — I kind of like the whole aura around Peter Luger. I don’t go to many restaurants. I like Babbo, but good luck getting in there. It’s one of my favorites; usually, I sit at the bar rather than in the restaurant. I always order pasta at Babbo. I sat at the bar once with my friend Jennifer Rubell and had the best squid ink pasta ever.
  • On November 4, 2013
    Jonathan Morr answered the question: Jonathan Morr

    Which New York City restaurants are best for brunch?

    Brunch is kind of my thing, but it’s not something you can do Saturday and Sunday. Brunch for me is a three-hour thing — a couple of martinis, a bottle of wine, a lot of food, dessert (which I don’t usually eat) — then I just go home and take a nap for two hours. I have a standing reservation on Sundays at 1 p.m. at Balthazar for brunch. The seafood platter is a must-have item here, hands down.

    Other places I like are [Osteria] Morini, which is right next door to me and is an Italian restaurant, and Morandi, also Italian. At Morini, I like to get any of the pasta dishes, but I also like their green salad with shaved apples. The egg dishes, particularly those with tomatoes, are great at Morandi. For brunch, those are my three favorites. I want to try Lafayette [Grand Café & Bakery]. I haven’t been there yet, but I have a feeling they’ll have a nice brunch.
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  • On November 4, 2013
    Jonathan Morr answered the question: Jonathan Morr

    What are the best hotels in New York City?

    That often depends on the individual. I have a lot of friends who are more Midtown-ish people, so I suggest [Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star] Mandarin Oriental, New York or [Forbes Travel Guide Recommended] The Mark. It’s not necessarily my thing in New York. I would recommend The Mercer. I like Bowery Hotel a lot. In both [The Mercer and Bowery Hotel], you don’t necessarily feel that you are in a hotel. Also, I like the design concept of both of these hotels. But it really depends on the individual.
  • On November 4, 2013
    Jonathan Morr answered the question: Jonathan Morr

    What are the best things to do in New York City?

    1. Central Park. I think Central Park is an incredible feature in New York. I think the city would not be the same without it. We’re lucky to have it. I’m not necessarily saying it’s something a tourist should go visit, but it’s definitely a major feature in New York.

    2.  Soho. It’s a great place to be. We all have a love-hate relationship with malls. Soho to me is one big open mall, which makes it that much more attractive and appealing.

    3. Museums. Whether it’s MoMA or the Guggenheim, there are some interesting exhibits. We’ve all been to and seen enough museums, so I much prefer one-off exhibits. I liked Zaha Hadid (in 2006) at the Guggenheim and Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011) at the Met — both subjects interest me a lot.

    4. Restaurants. If I have someone visiting me, I’d make sure I’d send them to the right restaurants, such as Balthazar or Indochine. I also like to send them to restaurants that they can never get into but I can help with reservations.

    When you go to a different city that you haven’t been to, you really miss a lot. There are places that you would just never get to. It could be a restaurant or a bar. It’s those little things like going to La Colombe for coffee instead of Starbucks that, to me, make New York.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What is the best new restaurant in New York City?

    Every week, it feels like there are always great restaurants opening up in New York, and it’s hard to choose which ones to go to. Yet, here are three I recently tried and adored, so hopefully you will too.

    Distilled: Located in TriBeca, on a bustling corner that has blossomed with new eateries, you can find chef Shane Lyons’s American Brasserie. Go there now to sip fantastic craft cocktails, sweet honey wine, aka mead, and dive into a plate of addictive wings. The setting is cool and comfortable, the staff knowledgeable about what they are serving, and the food rich and satisfying. As far as new joints go, this is an American standard worth trying.

    Little Prince: In step with the French revival, Little Prince opened recently in SoHo and serves classic bistro fair with a few twists. Namely, the French Onion Soup Burger that was a “secret” item, but in a scant few weeks was so popular, and so not a secret, that they added it to the menu. It’s good, but what really stole my heart was their beef tartare. Not only was the tender meat super fresh, but also it had a nice heat radiating from the addition of chili oil. Other dishes like the Israeli couscous prove solid too, all with a classic French elegance and richness.

    Barraca: There aren’t many places to get paella in the city, and luckily at Hector Sanz and chef Jesus Nunez’s new joint they make some of the best. Each order comes with two flavors, like the negra with squid ink-infused rice, artichoke, monkfish, and shrimp, and de fideu with Mediterranean noodles, cuttlefish, sausage, and shrimp. I also loved their sangria menu, especially the sangria de la mancha, a bold blend made with saffron-infused passion fruit, Verdejo, rum and clementine, and the girly compostela, which combined white wine, sake, apple-rosemary purée, and lemongrass. Also, next door is the team’s new, new café, Melibea, which focuses on Mediterranean fare.

    Greenwich Project: Owned by the same people behind Mulberry Project and Vinatta Project, this cozy restaurant and bar evoke a townhouse with a modern art twist. The setting is bright, the service friendly, and the drinks divine. Try the BKLYN ‘76, a spring-like gin concoction laced with rosemary honey, sparkling wine, and lavender bitters. Pair that with a plate of chef Carmine Di Giovanni’s fried squid Ink pasta with prawn, delicate artichoke fritte with black pepper aioli, and the fresh lobster cavatelli with crawfish and ramps.

    Hawker Bar: Though there is nothing fancy about this new Brooklyn eatery, the southeast Asian food coming out of this charming new spot is worth checking out. Its outdoor space channels a pop-up spot in the jungle, and with cocktails like the smoky Jack sour with Laphroaig, Jack Daniels and homemade sour mix, it’s a good trek to make.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Jessica Colley answered the question: Jessica Colley

    What are the best sports bars in New York City?

    New York City is full of great sports bars, but the real fans seek out specific spots for their allegiances. If you want to watch European soccer, American football, or rugby, you will likely go to three different venues. Here are a few favorites.

    Berry Park. With a theater-sized projection screen and a fabulous rooftop space, Berry Park in Brooklyn has become known for its devotion to international soccer and list of varied beers on tap. They also show some American football games on the projection screen.

    Studio Square. Located in Long Island City, Studio Square also has a big beer garden with a huge projection wall. This so-called “super screen” creates a great environment to catch an American football game.

    Nevada Smiths. A good Manhattan option (especially for catching European soccer and rugby games) Nevada Smiths attracts a largely ex-pat crowd looking to cheer on their teams and discuss the game with other serious fans.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Jessica Colley answered the question: Jessica Colley

    Where are the best places to hear live music in New York City?

    New York is a live music lover’s haven, with as many venues as genres of music. While there are many places with crowds and big stages, the best places in the eyes of this New Yorker are the intimate ones, where you can feel the energy of the stage up close. 

    City Winery. If you’re more into a glass of wine in a refined space than a noisy concert venue, check out City Winery. This warm space has a wide variety of music performances from well known bands to local acts playing everything from jazz to acoustic sets.

    Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. This concert venue is also a watering hole where you will be comfortably seated at a table during the performance. Expect flickering candles and acts ranging from cabaret to bluegrass to more established acts.

    Arturo’s. This is technically an old school pizza joint on Houston Street, but one part of what makes it so special is the live jazz performed nightly until late. One minute your waiter will be taking your order, the next he will be donning a fedora and belting out a jazz classic. A true New York experience.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Jessica Colley answered the question: Jessica Colley

    What are the best places to buy shoes in New York City?

    Shoe shopping is a serious pleasure in New York. Whether you like ‘em high and chic, flat and stylish, or something in between—there’s a shoe store for you. One decision to make in advance is whether you want to pay for the shoe or the experience. New York is full of places to find incredible deals on designer shoes, if you’re willing to skip the royal treatment. There are also some boutiques with great quality and affordable prices.

    Loehmann’s. This designer discount store offers 30-65% off retail prices of a variety of brands, from Michael Kors to Cole Haan. If you’re looking for a classic pair of boots for example, you can score something similar in Loehmann’s that you just saw in a boutique window in SoHo.

    Matt Bernson. On a particularly pretty block in Tribeca, Matt Bernson is a small boutique with a range of beautifully made shoes. The sandals, flats, and heels are reasonably priced for their quality. Enjoy the full service and try on as many pairs as you wish.

    Bloomingdale’s Soho. The downtown Bloomingdale’s has a trendier, edgier side than its uptown counterpart. The shoe department here is always full of delights, even more so at the beginning of one of their end-of-season or holiday sales when you might be able to snag two designer pairs for the price of one.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Linnea Covington answered the question: Linnea Covington

    What are quirky local customs in New York City?

    Since New York is such a melting pot of cultures, it meshes wacky local customs from around the world. However, there are some basic things to know to help your stay run smoother, and more under the radar.

    1. Be warned that the street Houston is not pronounced like the Texas city, instead, New Yorkers say it “HOW-sten.” Why they do this? It’s not immediately apparent, but as long as you know that, asking for directions will run much smoother.

    2. Elevators, yes, they may seem simple, but one thing you must know is to stay on the right side of the moving stairs if you want to stand, and walk up on the left side. So many times people block the whole things, and for busy residents that feel the need to bustle, it’s frustrating.

    3. Move into the train! I cannot highlight this concept enough. Though you might be nervous about missing your stop, if you block the doors, people won’t be happy, and neither will you for that matter they push past you aggressively. In general, people are nice and will move if you ask them, and, chances are others will be departing at your station too, so people kind of just pour out of the doors.

    4. Don’t discount New York pizza or bagels, people are crazy about them and wars have been fought over an unkind word to either. When you are in New York, go with flow, drink the Koolaid, and accept that while you are here, NYC-style is best.