There might not be another couple so tied into New York's haute fitness scene than Bethany Lyons and John Murray. She, a trained ballet dancer, a yoga teacher, and one of SoulCycle's original instructors, and he, both a yogi and COO for the David Burke Group, brought a new energy downtown when they opened their Lyons Den Power Yoga in 2013—the city's first Baptiste-style studio. When not running the show at the intimate space, now frequented by myriad Manhattan boldface names,the Chelsea denizens (and their dog Josie) spend their time eating well, drinking well, shopping well, and living well. Here, the duo advises on their favorite ways to make the most of New York City.
What neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived there? John Murray: Chelsea, since Halloween weekend, 2009.
Bethany Lyons: This neighborhood only gets better. I lived here back in 2003 and found it had a great mix of people, restaurants, shops and ease of transportation too. It’s the most convenient place to get uptown, downtown and even out of town (5 min from Lincoln Tunnel!). I also love that I can walk to the water with Josie on the regular and get some sense of nature here in the heart of Manhattan.
Where would you put up friends visiting town? BL: No budget? The Mandarin, with at least one appointment booked at The Spa! (80 Columbus Circle at 60th St.; 212-805-8800; mandarinoriental.com)
JM: Really good friends who love our animal menagerie and are here for just a night or so: On our fabulous Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams sleeper sofa.
Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? JM: I love New York City Pizza and I think it is the quintessential dish of New York City. I feel for people in other parts of the world who eat “NY style pizza” because it is never as good as the real thing. Find a great NYC slice at the original Artichoke Basille’s Pizza on East 14th Street. It was opened by two cousins, and 7 years later, that magical Artichoke slice still tastes the same. In all my travels I have never found another slice like it. (328 E. 14th St.; 212-228-2004; artichokepizza.com).
What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? BL: Spyglass (rooftop bar) & Fabrick Restaurant at The Archer Hotel—the food, the cocktail menu, the VIEWS, the service… And, full disclosure: it doesn’t hurt that my husband is the COO for the restaurant group (45 W. 38th St.; 855-437-9100; archerhotel.com).
Where can you find the best cocktails? Beer list? Wine list? JM: For Cocktails, Clover Club (210 Smith St.; 718-855-7939; cloverclubny.com). I happened upon this place as colleagues and I were spending a rare night in Brooklyn. The bartender spent six minutes crafting a Manhattan that I still remember to this day. A jazz band played in the background that was so good, Bethany and I even hired them to play at an event we hosted. I love Manhattan but when I want a great cocktail and a classic New York vibe, this is the spot. For beer: no clue—neither of us are beer drinkers, however “World of Beer” just opened in our ‘hood! (316 8th Ave.; 212-255-2337; worldofbeer.com)
BL: For wine there are so many! One standout: Babbo—all Italian, always changing and amazing picks (110 Waverly Pl.; 212-777-0303; babbonyc.com)
Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? BL: Del Posto. Hands down. Vegetarian tasting menu and a sick wine list (85 10th Ave.; 212-497-8090; delposto.com).
What is your go-to after-hours bar? BL: Dive 75. Playing Connect Four in a neighborhood bar—it’s lowbrow and awesome (101 W. 75th St.; 212-362-7518).
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? JM: Relaxing at The Frying Pan on the water in Chelsea—summertime only (530 W. 26th St.; 212-989-6363; fryingpan.com).
BL: Walking The High Line with a hot cup of strong, black coffee in the fall. Nothing beats that—unless of course they would let me bring my dog Josie up there.
What is your Sunday morning routine in your neighborhood? JM: The day starts with practice at Lyons Den Power Yoga (279 Church St.; 646-490-8888; lyonsdenpoweryoga.com), a quick subway ride on the red line. Then, a long walk to Chelsea Piers with Josie (62 Chelsea Piers; 212-336-6666; chelseapiers.com), followed by a cup of coffee and whole-wheat bagel with butter from Brooklyn Bagel on Eighth Avenue (286 8th Ave #1; 212-924-2824; bkbagel.com).
BL: I am in at least three neighborhoods Sundays: It starts with coffee from Stone Street Coffee on Ninth Avenue in the Chelsea ‘hood (where they have a walk-up window and always give Josie a treat!) while listening to my playlist (132 9th Ave.; 347-335-0751; stonestreetcoffee.com), followed by a cab ride to SoulCycle on East 63rd Street, where I teach the Soul Survivor Class (I am one of the original instructors). Then I shoot down to TriBeCa to teach yoga at noon—what has affectionately been dubbed “Sunday Service” at Lyons Den Power Yoga on Church Street.
Where is the best brunch? JM: Fred’s on the Upper West Side. The staff is consistently the most friendly, hospitable, and kind people I have the pleasure of interacting with. And the homemade muffins they serve with strawberry butter are singlehandedly the most addictive substance I have ever encountered (476 Amsterdam Ave.; 212-579-3076; fredsnyc.com).
Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? BL: Bluestone Lane in the West Village. The aesthetic is chic, rustic, and warm and the whole tribe in this place is, for the most part, Aussie, which adds to the charm. I order the long black—like an Americano done to perfection. If I’m ordering food, the Avocado Smash is to die for (55 Greenwich Ave.; 646-368-1988; bluestonelaneny.com).
What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? JM: The view of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry at night.
BL: The view of everything from lower Manhattan to New Jersey from the rooftop at Jimmy at The James Hotel (15 Thompson St.; 212-201-9118; jimmysoho.com).
What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? JM:Walking up Eighth Avenue from 27th Street to my local movie theatre in Times Square—every single time, I am guaranteed to see more characters on the street than in the movie I am about to see.
BL: Meandering from our yoga studio in TriBeCa uptown through SoHo, turning westward into Greenwich Village, and eventually home to Chelsea for the boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, great clothing, and people watching!
What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? BL: Watching the roller skaters on the weekends in Central Park—it’s out of another era and brings me such joy. Or “Chamber Magic” with Steve Cohen, The Millionaire’s Magician at The Waldorf. RIDICULOUS. (301 Park Ave.; 917-770-2757; chambermagic.com)
What’s your favorite shop or boutique? BL: I like both Journelle in Union Square (3 E. 17th St.; 212-255-7800; journelle.com) and Sugar Cookies in Chelsea (203 W. 19th St.; 212-242-6963; sugarcookiesnyc.com) for gorgeous and well-fitting lingerie and lounge/nightwear.
JM: J.Crew Liquor Store: the underground, incognito, highbrow version of J.Crew, in TriBeCa, with outstanding customer service (235 W. Broadway; 212-226-5476; jcrew.com).
What’s the ultimate souvenir from your town—something you can only get there? BL: A handful of the confetti dropped with the ball on New Year’s Eve—because it means you survived that madness and many of the pieces have peoples’ resolutions, hopes, and dreams written on them.
JM: The experience is the souvenir.
What’s the best-kept local secret? BL: The locals are friendly...no, really—we are!
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Photos: Courtesy Spyglass; Getty Images; Courtesy Clover Club