A city that represents the epitome of freedom, hope, aspiration, and dreams.
The Big Apple. The Center of the Universe. The City that Never Sleeps. The Empire City. Gotham. All nicknames for the city that to so many represents the epitome of freedom, hope, aspiration, and dreams. Fortunately for me, I was able to taste the greatness of the city for a few short days over the recent holiday break.
Having a family member who recently uprooted from the L.A. life and transitioned into the hipster wonderland that we call Brooklyn, my hotel room view no longer consisted of the sky scraper next door, but rather that famous Manhattan Skyline.
Hotel 1, Brooklyn, was my first pleasant surprise upon entering the wonderful DUMBO, just a five-minute ferry ride from Williamsburg. Nearly one hundred Christmas trees lined the lobby of the hotel, creating a festive forest of sorts, greeting guests as they hurried in from the cold. As if the cozy ambiance weren’t enough, jugs of homemade apple cider and places of maple leaf sugar cookies were scattered about as well.
Early morning was a bit tough for my weak California self to adjust to, but stops at Toby Coffee warmed my fingers with one of the freshest chai lattes I had ever tried. Now for my family a trip to New York does not entail hours wandering the Met, or window shopping our way down Fifth avenue. In fact, it doesn’t even mean strolling through Central Park with cups of hot chocolate in hand. No, for my family a trip to New York means eating and drinking. Eating and drinking period. So, while yes, we did manage to squeeze a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in (highly recommend), and a quick show on Broadway (Meteor Shower, controversial, but I enjoyed it); the majority of our trip was spent in Brooklyn bars accessible through hobbit like doors, and obscure restaurants which experimented with flavor like no other.
Brooklyn has fashioned this rather strange contradiction, giving off this almost prohibition inspired vibe, while also allowing some of the best alcohols on the planet flow widely free. I found myself scurrying through obscure doorways so many times, that I too began to believe I held a secret. Every bar seemed to evoke this sort of ‘sepia effect,’ increasingly sweeter with age. Lost in time I could have sat in one of those cozy leather booths for hours, eating oysters on the half shell and sipping Negroni cocktails.
A bar that particularly stood out, and actually ended up being a repeated stop throughout our trip was bar Dante. Identifying with Italian roots, this bar is entirely staffed and owned by Australians. Featuring a full-page menu of Negroni options, the ‘negronisessions’ hashtag has caught on fire.
While I wish I could go into detail about every wonderful pit-stop I encountered during this last trip, I only have a certain amount of words, so here’s the short list. For the most amazing Thai food you will ever try check out Uncle Boons, right on the outskirts of Little Italy. For some amazing natural wine, orange (yes ORANGE) in color, you must stop into The Four Horsemen (which you may know from Master of None). For a quick genuine Italian market experience, Eataly is a must, and if you can manage to find your way in, the SoHo house located in the meat packing district is one of the best ways to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life.
If I could say one last thing, next time you get the chance, take that trip to NYC!
Photos: Bella Barconi