Concierge: Neighborhood Insiders

An opinionated guide to New York’s neighborhoods with commentary from those who know them best. SERENA BOARDMAN’S UPPER EAST SIDE For Serena Boardman, the Upper East Side is a state of mind—but she loves the beautiful sites and storefronts, too. Serena Boardman is, by anyone’s definition, the quintessential Upper Eastsider. The award-winning Sotheby’s broker has a no-nonsense approach to quality. She finds it wherever it may be, and she usually finds it right in the neighborhood she calls home—the same one where she works. But if she needs to venture out a little further to find the best, she’s willing. You could say that for Serena, the Upper East Side is a state of mind. Wherever she goes, discerning shoppers and diners are well-advised to follow. Here’s her guide. SHOPPING Calvin Klein 654 Madison Avenue (at 60th Street) 212.292.9000 I’ve always loved the plain metal or lacquer box clutches. Celestina at Barney’s 660 Madison Avenue (between 60th and 61st streets) 212.826.8900 I adore the clutches made with shells and woven metals. They’re special, distinctive and resorty. Chanel 737 Madison Avenue (between 64th and 65th streets) 212.535.5505 I love my Chanel ballet flats. Lalique 609 Madison Avenue (between 57th and 58th streets) 212.355.6550 I always find something new here that I think I need. Mallett 929 Madison Avenue (between 73rd and 74th streets) 212.249.8783 Beautiful furniture and decorative objects. Manolo Blahnik 31 West 54th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues) 212.582.3007 I love Manolos for evening. Manrico Cashmere 922 Madison Avenue (at 73rd Street) 212.794.4200 If you have a sweater or coat you love, they can copy it. Morgenthal Frederics 699 Madison Avenue (between 62nd and 63rd streets) 212.838.3090 I love their blonde tortoise shell sunglasses. Oscar de la Renta 772 Madison Avenue (at 66th Street) 212.288.5810 Fabulous for evening wear. Pologeorgis 143 West 29th Street (between Sixth and Seventh avenues) 212.563.2250 Great for shearling coats. T. Anthony 445 Park Avenue (at 56th Street) 212.750.9797 I like their canvas luggage and can always spot it on the conveyor belt. Teuscher Chocolate 25 East 61st Street (between Madison and Park avenues) 212.751.8482 Great champagne truffles and pralines. For children, try the chocolate animals. VBH Luxury Inc. 940 Madison Avenue (at 74th Street) 212.717.9800 I love their metalwork boxes. SERVICE European Hair Designers 24 East 73rd Street (between Madison and Fifth avenues) 212.737.3388 Marat and Ronnie for blowouts, Anne for my weekly pedicure. Leather Spa 10 West 55th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues) 212.262.4823 They can stretch boots or steam clean fabric shoes. Mikhail’s Custom Design 790 Madison Avenue, 5th floor (between 66th and 67th streets) 212.879.4200 Great leather alterations. The Spa at Equinox 817 Lexington Avenue (at 63rd Street) 212.750.4671 Didina for eyebrows—she never takes off too much. Vogel’s Euro Cars Inc. 453 McLean Avenue, Yonkers 914.968.8200 Nice and good service. Great for Mercedes rentals. Wireless Warehouse 1204 Third Avenue (at 70th Street) 212.639.9333 I call this guy Monty from across the ocean. He talks me through any problem. RESTAURANTS JG Melon 1291 Third Avenue (at 74th Street) 212.744.0585 Best burger in New York City. La Grenouille 3 East 52nd Street (between Fifth and Madison avenues) 212.752.1495 Dinner here is always a treat. Sant Ambroeus 1000 Madison Avenue (between 77th and 78th streets) 212.570.2211 I pop in for a panini or giandvia ice cream. Serafina 1022 Madison Avenue (at 79th Street) 212.734.2676 Great pizza. Sette Mezzo 969 Lexington Avenue (between 70th and 71st streets) 212.472.0400 The best veal Milanese. Swifty’s 1007 Lexington Avenue (between 72nd and 73rd streets) 212.535.6000 Comfort food. Great chocolate soufflé. Via Quadronno 25 East 73rd Street (at Madison Avenue) 212.650.9880 I order in from here.
MICHAEL MORRIS’ UPPER WEST SIDE To Michael Morris, the Upper West Side “is the New York that only New Yorkers know about.” There is something about the Upper West Side that has a calming effect on me. Perhaps the light is better. Perhaps the air is a bit cleaner. Is it the fact that it is sandwiched between two amazing parks? Or that you’re within a stone’s throw of Zabar’s, Citarella and myriad department stores? It’s all of that and more. To me, the Upper West Side is the New York that only New Yorkers know about. The following are some of my favorite spots. Michael Morris is owner of Concierge Service International (CSI). He is also the exclusive concierge to the Gotham Organization’s portfolio of luxury properties, which includes Atlas New York at 66 West 38th Street, New Gotham at 520 West 43rd Street, The Nicole at 400 West 55th Street and, opening in early 2010, The Corner at 200 West, located at 72nd Street and Broadway. BEST BARGAINS Greenflea 100 West 77th Street (at Columbus Avenue) 212.239.3025 Every Sunday, fruits and vegetables outside, vintage clothes, jewelry, furniture (especially from the Divine Chair Company) and vinyl records inside. BEST SMALL PLATES Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto 283 Amsterdam Avenue (at 73rd Street) 212.877.4800 Dine in the tiny, romantic and hip restaurant, or stop by the counter and take home the most amazing Italian meats this side of the Atlantic. BEST JAZZ Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle (at 60th Street) 212.258.9595 Much cooler than Jazz at Lincoln Center (not to mention owned and operated by Wynton Marsalis). You can see everybody from legends to up-and-comers here. BEST COFFEE Joe on Columbus 514 Columbus Avenue (at 85th Street) 212.875.0100 Joe’s keeps it local, with baked goods from Sullivan St. Bakery and a new drip bar where baristas grind a rotating selection of single-origin coffees to order. BEST DELICATESSEN Barney Greengrass 541 Amsterdam Avenue (at 86th Street) 212.724.4707 You can’t go wrong with nova scrambled eggs or chopped liver or cheese blintzes. BEST SEAFOOD Mermaid Inn 568 Amsterdam Avenue (between 87th and 88th streets) 212.799.7400 A little slice of East Village attitude on the UWS. BEST BAGELS H&H Bagels 2239 Broadway (at 80th Street) 212.595.8284 The standard by which all others are judged. BEST HIDDEN GEM The Steakhouse at Fairway 2127 Broadway (at 74th Street) 212.595.1888 A proper white table cloth dining establishment one floor above the long lines, bratty kids and their annoyed mothers. Go for the burger—at $12 it’s a steal with fries. BEST ROOFTOP Empire Hotel 44 West 63rd Street (at Broadway) 212.265.7400 Go to The Pool Deck for a drink and amazing view. BEST SHIRTS Steven Alan 465 Amsterdam Avenue (between 82nd and 83rd streets) 212.595.8451 Shirts you can wear with a blazer or a pair of shorts. I also love their boxers and cashmere. Check out the women’s line, too. BEST TAILOR La Mode Cleaners & Tailors 106 West 71st Street (at Columbus Avenue) 212.874.4217 Good with the odd requests (I’ve been known to have t-shirts altered) and classic tailoring alike. BEST SHOE REPAIR Angelo’s 228 Columbus Avenue (between 70th and 71st streets) 917.441.3927 This is where the department stores send you for everything from new soles to resizing. BEST DATE PLACE Symphony Space 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street) 212.864.5400 Oh-so-New-York with read-ings, movies and concerts. Everything from Joni Mitchell music marathons to short story readings by Philip Seymour Hoffman. BEST DESSERT Cafe Lalo 201 West 83rd Street (at Amsterdam Avenue) 212.496.6031 The brunch is great and the brownstone-lined block is quaint, but the desserts (including 29 flavors of cheesecake alone) are the real stars. BEST LINGERIE Only Hearts 386 Columbus Avenue (at 79th Street) 212.724.5608 Only Hearts has an amazing selection from their own line to designers like Cosabella. BEST PET CARE Canine Country Club 452A Columbus Avenue (at 82nd Street) 212.362.7387 Besides kennels for your pets (complete with an overnight employee on duty) and groomers, you can find everything from football jerseys, day beds and organic cookies and cakes that are safe for pets and their owners alike. BEST SHAVE Art of Shaving Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle (at 60th Street) 212.823.9410 Fantastic professional straight razor shaves. BEST PIZZA Celeste 502 Amsterdam Avenue (at 84th Street) 212.874.4559 Come for the pizza, fresh out of the wood-fire oven, but save room for the amazing pastas, salads and gelato. BEST CHINESE Shun Lee 43 West 65th Street (at Central Park West) 212.595.8895 Shun Lee has got quite a loyal following, with amazing beef and broccoli and sweet & sour chicken as well as the more unusual Sichuan alligator and Hunan-style ostrich. BEST FISH & CHIPS West Branch 2178 Broadway (at 77th Street) 212.777.6764 For all of you Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters out there, Tom Valenti’s new restaurant will keep you satisfied until your next trip across the pond. BEST LOCAL RESTAURANT Dovetail 103 West 77th (at Columbus) 212.362.3800 Not your typical neighborhood joint. Chef John Fraser has worked everywhere from the French Laundry in Napa to Taillevent in Paris. Try the rack of lamb, the brussels sprout salad and pretty much every dessert.
VICKY WARD’S WEST VILLAGE “The Village keeps us feeling very young,” Vicky Ward says of her charming neighborhood. British-born investigative journalist and television commentator Vicky Ward is the ultimate brains and beauty combo. A New Yorker since 1997, she and her family live in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood that makes Ward feel right at home. “Our children are getting older, but the Village keeps us feeling very young,” says Ward. “It’s a very mixed demographic. It feels a little like an enclave, an island within an island. It’s a very zen kind of place. It’s also like a time capsule. There are all these characters who just stay the same, they never change.” Here are some of Ward’s favorite local spots. SHOPS Alexander McQueen 417 West 14th Street (between Ninth and Washington avenues) 212.645.1797 The tailoring is fantastic. The Biography Bookshop 400 Bleecker Street (at West 11th Street) 212.807.8655 Because when a book is trashy, they tell you not to buy it. Brunello Cucinelli 379 Bleecker Street (between Charles and Perry streets) 212.627.9202 A recently discovered unaffordable must-have. Catherine Malandrino 652 Hudson Street (at West 13th Street) 212.929.8710 Because I love their party dresses. Jeffrey New York 449 West 14th Street (between Ninth and Tenth avenues) 212.206.1272 I love their shoe department and Tim in cosmetics. La Perla 425 West 14th Street (between Ninth and Tenth avenues) 212.242.6662 Because why should anyone wear anything less? Marc by Marc Jacobs Accessories 385 Bleecker Street (at Perry Street) 212.924.6126 Ralph Lauren 383 Bleecker Street (at Perry Street) 212.645.5513 There’s nowhere better for a jacket. Stella McCartney 429 West 14th Street (between Ninth and Tenth avenues) 212.255.1556 Just because she’s British. RESTAURANTS Mary’s Fish Camp 64 Charles Street (at West 4th Street) 646.486.2185 Because you don’t feel like you are in New York with all that salt and butter. The Paris Commune 99 Bank Street (at Greenwich Street) 212.929.0509 For Hugo, its South African owner who caters my dinners. Sant Ambroeus 259 West 4th Street (at Perry Street) 212.604.9254 For the fish—and that I just have to book under “Vicky.” Waverly Inn 16 Bank Street (at Waverly Place) No phone My boss owns it, it’s round the corner and you always have fun! OTHER SPOTS Bleecker Playground Bleecker and West 11th streets 212.639.9675 Where my children grew up. The High Line The west side between Gansevoort and 20th streets) 212.500.6035 Where my children forget they are in the city. Magnolia Bakery 401 Bleecker Street (at West 11th Street) 212.462.2572 Who doesn’t love it? The New York Blow Dry Bar 342 West 14th Street (between Eighth and Ninth avenues) For a treat.
VERONICA MAINETTI’S SOHO Real estate developer Veronica Mainetti says SoHo is “the heart and soul of New York City.” “SoHo is the heart and soul of New York City,” says Veronica Mainetti, head of Italian real estate developer Sorgente’s New York branch. “I love the energy, the cobblestone streets and cast-iron buildings,” she says. The neighborhood, named for its location south of Houston Street, is a great alternative to typical sightseeing, not to mention a hot shopping district. Mainetti, who is currently overseeing the condo conversion of two 1873 buildings on SoHo’s Greene Street, shares her favorite spots in this eternally hip slice of downtown. RESTAURANTS Balthazar 80 Spring Street (between Broadway and Crosby Street) 212.965.1414 Very French bistro. They have beautiful 1920s mosaics on the floor. Blue Ribbon Sushi 119 Sullivan Street (at Prince Street) 212.343.0404 Some of the best sushi I’ve had in New York. Kittichai 60 Thompson Street (between Spring and Broome streets) 212.219.2000 A Thai restaurant, great for brunch. It’s somewhat quiet, with a peaceful design. Mercer Kitchen 99 Prince Street (at Mercer Street) 212.966.5454 American French cuisine at the Mercer Hotel. Woo Lae Oak 148 Mercer Street (at Prince Street) 212.925.8200 Great Korean barbecue. Every table has a grill so you can cook your own food. COFFEE Le Pain Quotidien 100 Grand Street (at Mercer Street) 212.625.9009 Very good coffee in a loud setting. The ceilings are high and there’s no division between tables. People either love it or hate it. Once Upon a Tart 135 Sullivan Street (at Prince Street) 212.387.8869 The opposite of Le Pain Quotidien—small and quiet. Their decaf cappuccino is the best. SHOPPING Alessi 130 Greene Street (at Prince Street) 212.941.7300 Mainly contemporary kitchenware by designers like Phillippe Starck. Hat Shop 120 Thompson Street (at Prince Street) 212.219.1445 I love hats. This is a mom-and-pop store with a beautiful selection. Intermix 98 Prince Street (at mercer Street) 212.966.5303 Cutting edge clothing. I always find the newest styles. Moss 150 Greene Street (at Houston Street) 866.888.6677 Rare and unique objects. Selima Optique 59 Wooster Street (at Broome Street) 212.343.9490 Beautiful glasses frames. Odd, in a good way.
JILL RESALSINGH’S EAST 60S The neighborhood around Manhattan House is almost as compelling as the building itself. No matter the time of year, the shopping, dining and services in the East 60s neighborhood around Manhattan House, the iconic landmarked building at 200 East 66th Street, are stellar. Here are some of Jill Resalsingh’s favorites. Jill Resalsingh is concierge manager at Manhattan House, a luxury residential condominium on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Originally designed in 1950 by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and designated a historic landmark in 2007, the building’s been re-engineered to balance its modernist heritage with contemporary living. This post-war condominium built to pre-war specifications offers spacious, light-infused, one- to five-bedroom residences available for immediate occupancy. Accademia di Vino 1081 Third Avenue (between 63rd and 64th streets) 212.888.6333 A convivial atmosphere reminiscent of Rome with a wine list that covers almost the entire Italian map and antipasti to match. Bar Boulud 1900 Broadway (at 63rd Street) 212.595.0303 One of the area’s best restaurants and perfect for those whose wine preferences lean toward French choices. Exhale Spa Manhattan House 200 East 66th Street (at Third Avenue) One of the year’s most-anticipated spa openings, Exhale has a rooftop location exclusive to residents as well as one nearby at 980 Madison Avenue (between 76th and 77th streets) that’s open to the public. Francois Chocolate Bar Mauboussin 714 Madison Avenue (at 63rd Street) 212.759.1600 Chocoholics everywhere wept when master chocolatier Francois Payard closed his renowned patisserie on Lexington Avenue last year. Lucky for us, he’s reopened on Madison Avenue. Java Girl Café 348 East 66th Street (between First and Second avenues) 212.737.3490 A slice of downtown. Sit in one of the mismatched chairs, flip through a magazine and enjoy a fresh brew and sinfully good cookie. L’Absinthe 227 East 67th Street (between Second and Third avenues) 212.794.4950 Chef Jean-Michel Bergougnoux offers a menu filled with market-fresh choices typical of a French brasserie. La Perla 803 Madison Avenue (between 67th and 68th streets) 212.570.0048 Arguably the best undergarments in the city. Lululemon Athletica 1127 Third Avenue (at 66th Street) 212.755.5019 This high-end shop aims to get you looking and feeling your best with great gear and Sunday morning Sun Salutations. Madame Paulette 1255 Second Avenue (at 66th Street) 212.838.6827 The renowned custom couture cleaner is trusted by Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta, to name a few. Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa 171 East 65th Street (between Lexington and Third avenues) 212.988.7816 Their 45-minute Premier Shave is one of the best in town. This old-fashioned, straight-edge razor shave includes a hot towel treatment and facial mask.
RACHEL ROY’S TRIBECA Tribeca is a New York City gem—a neighborhood filled with some of Manhattan’s best restaurants and shops, yet quiet and quaint at all the right times. Designer Rachel Roy tells us where to go in her neighborhood. STORES Bu & The Duck 106 Franklin Street (between Broadway and Sixth Avenue) 212.431.9226 My favorite place to shop for my girls. The clothing looks like it is right out of the 1940s, yet it is perfectly wearable today. Playing Mantis 32 N. Moore Street (between Hudson and Varick streets) 646.484.6845 I shop for my girls’ toys here. The store is absolutely beautiful and the products are all wooden and handmade. Plus, the pieces double as works of art. RESTAURANTS The Harrison 355 Greenwich Street (at Harrison Street) 212.274.9310 My favorite place to eat—every single dish is delicious. I highly recommend the grilled Spanish mackerel with vegetable ratatouille. Mercer Kitchen 99 Prince Street (at Mercer Street) 212.966.5454 American-French cuisine at the Mercer Hotel. Smith & Mills 71 N. Moore Street (between Hudson and Greenwich streets) No phone A great spot to be when you don’t want to be seen by anyone. It’s cozy and dimly lit. The restaurant has amazing food and is great for a quick drink. HOTEL The Greenwich Hotel 377 Greenwich Street (between Franklin and N. Moore streets) 212.941.8900 The rooms are the perfect blend of homey, earthy, lavish and lush. The courtyard is serene and makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Tuscany.
NEW YORK THE PLACE TO BE By Royce Pinkwater Senior Vice President, Sotheby’s International Realty, Manhattan Brokerage New Yorkers, a tough and demanding breed, make sacrifices to live in their city. Foremost among these sacrifices may be space, personal and otherwise. Square footage is not abundant here, and it’s pricey. Still, New York attracts many purchasers with expansive lifestyles who could choose to live anywhere. What is the siren call, the allure, that compels New Yorkers to be here, year after year, and never leave? To begin with, New York offers exceptional culture, from the best opera to the best rock concerts and best electronic DJ venues. New York is also considered the center of the art world with one of the most vibrant art markets found anywhere, home to countless galleries representing both established and emerging talent. New York boasts one of the most beautiful parks in the world, as well as one of the largest urban parks at 843 acres. Created by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux between 1857 and 1871, Central Park is an amazing oasis in the middle of the city that will always stand among its greatest trophies. New Yorkers love their park. The New York City skyline is also famously gorgeous. Dramatic and beautiful, it is like a strand of sparkling diamonds that wows New Yorkers and tourists alike. The view of the Empire State Building welcomes all visitors who enter the city, whether by car or plane. The most unique and identifiable feature of New York, however, isn’t a landmark, but rather what happens in and around its iconic locations—constant change. There are always new restaurants, shops and services. It is the architecture, both classic and contemporary, that anchors the city’s many neighborhoods. These “small towns” within the city, each offering their own distinct personalities and lifestyles, are further evidence of New York’s incredible diversity. Life in the West Village The West Village is one of the most expensive areas of Manhattan to live in. An exciting collection of new condominiums, each designed by a world-class architect, has been built in the far West Village overlooking the river. Buildings like the Richard Meier towers feature larger apartments with great floor-to-ceiling glass and postcard views. 173 Perry Street is another one of these buildings. It is located just a few blocks away from the little tree-lined streets, small cafes and intimate community feel that define the heart of this area. The lucky owners of properties like this can have the gloss of contemporary high-rise living along with the warm and friendly feeling of knowing their neighbors and shopkeepers. Chelsea: Where the Artists Call Home Chelsea is home to the art world and many of New York’s most important galleries. Not surprisingly, it’s also home to several great new buildings designed by world-famous architects. One example is the Annabelle Selldorf building, featuring New York’s first sky garage and dramatic double-height living rooms. One can imagine how coveted the penthouse is. The buyer, long accustomed to living uptown, liked the cool edge of Chelsea—and this building, the only one of its kind. Old World Elegance on the Upper East Side Travel uptown and you find the Upper East Side, known for the formality exemplified by its grandest street, Park Avenue. Like no other street in the city, this stretch of Park Avenue is double-wide and features a center meridian planted with beautiful flowers and an ever-changing display of world-class art. This area is home to the great Candela prewar buildings, massive yet delicate with their limestone facades, gorgeous floor plans and beautifully proportioned rooms. Naturally, this neighborhood also boasts grand townhouses lining the side streets, some as wide as 50 feet, with stunningly crafted facades. Uptown restaurants range from steakhouses with six different cuts of meat for business lunches to bistros and trattorias. Many of the city’s four-star restaurants are located here as well. An example of a superb residence in this neighborhood is found at 740 Park, considered by many to be one of the greatest buildings on the avenue. Represented by Sotheby’s International Realty’s Manhattan brokerage, apartment 3A features beautiful hardwood floors, wood-burning fireplaces and a grand staircase. Another Park Avenue classic is an enormous duplex we have listed at 941 Park featuring five bedrooms and seven baths. Across Central Park on Central Park West sits No. 15, the new and baronial Robert A.M. Stern building. It was constructed on the last piece of buildable land on that great stretch of avenue. Many well-known financiers live here, as well as a number of prominent celebrities. Carnegie Hill, further uptown in the East 80s and 90s, is perfect for those who want sprawling apartments. Encompassing Museum Mile and many of the city’s most highly rated public and private schools, the neighborhood is home to many families who enjoy shopping at the boutique baby stores and charming toy stores that line the streets. The Sotheby’s International Realty Manhattan brokerage’s listing at 2 East 88th Street enjoys both the luxury and convenience of being located in such a fabulous neighborhood. On the far east side of the island, overlooking the water, lies the East End Avenue area. Imagine living in the fortress-like 10 Gracie Square, with its views of boats and jet skis on the East River. The Manhattan brokerage also has a magnificent property just a stone’s throw away from superb private schools. These contrasting yet fabulous neighborhoods only begin to illustrate the diversity that New Yorkers find in their city. Given the close proximity, living in one neighborhood allows residents to experience all of them in some way.