Wedged in historic Downtown Manhattan, surrounded by Soho, Chinatown, the Bowery and Little Italy, Nolita was once considered part of the later. While the area became increasingly gentrified over the past decades, it has retained its cosmopolitan feel and genuine lived-in atmosphere. Here, trendy shops and restaurants mix with utilitarian warehouses and old-time bakeries. Ageless apartment buildings line the streets, traditional wrought-iron fire escapes still running down their brick façades. And the decidedly 21 st century design of the recently opened Nolitan Hotel coexists harmoniously with the century-old structures that surrounded it.
Perched on the corner of two major avenues, the Brooklyn Museum is an oasis. With a playful fountain, strips of bright green grass, cherry trees and stairs filled with visitors, the building manages to be a dignified landmark and a vibrant public space. But this façade is fairly new. In 2004, Ennead Architects (formerly known as Polshek Partners Architects) built the now famous (and quite controversial) contemporary glass entry pavilion and terraced front yard. Original construction of the museum dates back to 1897. At the time it was meant to be the largest single museum structure in the world. As it is today, the building is only one-sixth the size of that original plan.
: Dinner at Alain Ducasse’s New York restaurant was well prepared and well served. It was as close to authentic gourmet French food as we have had in the U.S. For those able to appreciate the nuances of an elaborate gourmet meal; and willing to spend the time and resources – dinner could easily exceed $300 per person – to enjoy it, ADNY would be an obvious choice.
In a city where several seatings a night are the norm, ADNY stood out for its one seating policy. It allowed diners to savor and stretch out the multiple course dinner over several hours. The professional, discreet, and customer oriented staff combined with the delicious food and ambiance provided the setting for a wonderful evening. The intimate ambiance and details like handbag stools, an after dinner sweets and candy trolley, a discreet and knowledgeable wine steward, and a souvenir brioche upon departure can make ADNY ideal for a special occasion or important meeting.
The Metropolitan Museum, more accurately a collection of museums, was a must for art lovers in the New York area. With two million artifacts spanning 5,000 years of art history, the sheer size of the Metropolitan Museum was daunting. It was the kind of place best enjoyed in multiple viewings and visits. There are only a small number of museums in the world with such large and diverse collections. Of those, few allow visitors as much room to admire and enjoy their extraordinary collections. When we visited The Metropolitan Museum, there were tours, audio guides, several eateries and souvenir shops to enhance the experience.
Visited by more than five million people a year, the Metropolitan Museum was a bustling art reservoir. In spite of large crowds, the afternoon we were by there was plenty of space to enjoy the fine art; we were even able to approach individual sculptures and paintings to observe a detail or identify a signature. This was noteworthy because getting within a couple of feet of major artworks at other comparable museums can be a tricky.