Heading to New York for the long weekend? Here's where to stay, eat, drink and shop and a few things to do in between.


Stay, Drink: The James james-hotel.jpg

In an age where free amenities have vanished along with your rich uncle’s thriving portfolio, The James Hotel is refreshing, to say the least. Located in the heart of SoHo – at the bustling corner of Thompson and Grand – the starkly designed modern oasis is cool in composition and warm in service.  Guests are greeted in the early hours with fresh pastries by the hotel’s celebrity chef David Burke, every afternoon with fresh fruit, at twilight with wine and cheese and each late night with fresh baked cookies. While these complimentary provisos are hard to beat (in that they’re free), the hotel does offer a variety of experiences that are tempting even at a cost. In addition to “Jimmy,” the bumpin’ rooftop pool (yes, pool!) and lounge, the, ahem, more mature individual is invited to sauce it up in the privacy of his/her own room with the recently launched in-room mixology program. Equipped with all the supplies needed to create bespoke cocktails, including a pint glass printed with recipes crafted, guests are invited to take their mini bar to the max – it’s bottle service without the hassle of a bouncer! Perfection. (The beds are comfy too.)

Prune-Restaurant.jpgEat: Prune

As sensuous and sprightly as punk-cum-chef-cum-author, Gabrielle Hamilton’s novel Blood Bones and Butter, Prune is as relevant today as it was when it opened in 1999. Unpretentious in its offerings, the stalwart East Village bistro sticks to the basics, a ballsy move in this day and age. Don’t expect foams or pop rocks at this joint, Hamilton’s intent is to surprise and delight with a perfect roast chicken or poisson beurre … And trust me, she does.


tenement-museum.jpgDo: Tenement Museum Walking Tours

Pat yourself on the back and chronicle the past by touring the spectral spaces of the Lower East Side. Brimming with the history of immigrant culture in New York, the enlightening walkabout will make you wonder why you ever chose home ec over history class. (Or how the F that was an option!) Walk with your erudite guide through the humble multiple family buildings of the neighborhood, finding yourself at one moment in the cramped garment shop of the Levine family and the next in the claustrophobic confines of a German entrepreneur. Let your shopping wait; after all, you’re learning where it all began.


seize-sur-vingt.jpgShop: Seize Sur Vingt

Ready-to-wear and made-to-measure, this grass roots SoHo boutique, owned by James and Gwendolyn Jurney, caters to the fashionable man with intelligent taste. What does this mean? The pared down shop is lined with long life, pristine essentials from high quality, tailored shirts and suits to Italian made shoes to elegantly crafted accessories. In other words, buy something once (pay for it, like really) don’t buy it again.  In summation, on my test, the eponymous Seize Sur Vingt scores higher than even its own name suggests.

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