By the time you open this issue, summer will be in full swing, wherever you are. Myself, I’ll be mostly in New York City, relying on the kindness of friends with weekend places in the country. But I’ll be honest: I also really like the city’s very different energy, despite the heat and humidity. The livin’ is a little bit easier come the next few months with easy-to-get front-row seats and tables at most any place in town. Not to mention the Yankees are only a subway ride away.
Every year I’m asked by people coming here for a summer weekend: Where should I stay? What should I do, eat and see? And every year I come up with a checklist of up-to-the-minute restaurants, hotels, plays, etc. But this year my list is for friends and family who, most emphatically, don’t want to do the trendy downtown scene but rather a decidedly uptown kind of weekend. The Upper East Side, especially in the 70s along Madison Avenue, is still elegant, stately and, especially come summer, less frenetic. It reminds us of what life in the Imperial City was once like.
So here goes: Stay at The Mark hotel at 77th and Madison Avenue, where owner Izak Senbahar and designer Jacques Grange have created a polished little gem of a hotel—cool bar, restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a Frédéric Fekkai salon. Or there’s The Surrey, a block away on 76th between Madison and Fifth, with its fabulous rooftop garden available only to hotel guests. (An Italian art dealer and former denizen of downtown recently said he would never stay anywhere else, especially after I introduced him to my former trainer at Browning’s Fitness, right down the street.)
For cocktails, the bar at Daniel is at its sexiest on a languid summer night spent over a White Cosmopolitan or one from the bartender’s stash of one-of-a-kind mezcals. For dinner, nothing compares to the posh glamour of La Grenouille, which, in typically Parisian fashion, is closed for much of August. For breakfast, it’s cappuccino and skinny eggs-everything at the Madison Avenue outpost of Milan’s Sant Ambroeus. At lunch, I love the chic and easy European charms of Amaranth.
All this plus out-of-this-world shopping, Central Park, The Frick, the Whitney and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi’s work is now installed in the rooftop garden of the museum, open until 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For a late-night sign-off, it’s Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle.
Welcome to my version of Summer in the City.