Best Bike Lane
West Side Highway Bike Lane
Try as they might, no other Manhattan bike lane can hold a candle to the West Side Highway bike lane, which runs along the east bank of the Hudson River from Chambers Street all the way to 125th Street. A clear day affords beautiful views of the river, and in one afternoon you can pass through neighborhoods as varied as Tribeca, Hell’s Kitchen, and Morningside Heights. If your furious pedaling makes you hungry or thirsty, keep an eye out for a handful of small, casual cafés that dot the riverside along the bike path: the Boat Basin Café, located at West 79th Street, is a dependable spot for a cold beer and a grilled dog.
Best Church to Find a Program for Anyone
Rutgers Presbyterian Church
236 W. 73rd St. near Broadway,
In 1998, Rutgers celebrated its bicentennial and completed a full renovation of its sanctuary. Whether you’re single or a family, gay or straight, younger or older, a seeker or a believer, you’ll find this church to be a warm, hospitable community of faith with the programs you’re looking for. Whether you are someone seeking an all-inclusive place to worship or you are looking for children’s classes, adult classes, AA meetings, youth groups or community programs, you can find them all at Rutgers.
Best Cooking Experience
multiple locations, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.539.0204 Ext. 304
Even if they didn’t provide their own in-house experts to guide you, Eataly makes Italian food look good. What is better is that they teach you how to expertly and easily create dishes you love in your own kitchen. With a state-of-the-art cooking school, they offer classes that range from getting to know gnocchi to everything you ever wanted to know about olive oil. The space is specially designed so every student can see and hear each delicate detail. Classes are continually changing and always provide an ample meal.
Best Doggie Day Care
152 E. 22nd St. near Third Avenue,
Billed as a “private canine club,” this Gramercy den for pampered pooches lives up to its promise. Paul and Kathy Compitus create a home-style environment for man’s best friend—if your home were well appointed with high-end doggie furnishings of your own design. After a temperament test ensures your pup will be a good fit with the in crowd (less than 20 dogs at a time), full-day care or shorter stays are available in their lounge Monday – Saturday. For $70 a night, your dog can snuggle overnight in their hotel, complete with turn-down service. Membership also grants access to “Wiggly Watch,” a password-protected portal to your puppy, allowing helicopter parents to keep an eye on their canine kids. Walking, transportation in a vintage Rolls Royce and positive reinforcement training are available for additional fees.
Best European Style
Salon with UES Flair
Aaron Emanuel Salon
307 E. 77th St., 212-422-3000
Expert stylist and salon owner Aaron Emanuel introduces a relaxing and pampering Upper East Side salon. Handpicked stylists, colorists and special-treatments experts make up the staff, which aims to create looks that surpass clients’ expectations. With a European styling foundation and today’s latest techniques, you’ll walk out feeling energized and looking beautiful!
Best Facelift of an Old Building
Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Ave.
A “facelift” sometimes means a complete transformation into something new—nothing like what was there before. But with the Park Avenue Armory, a landmark and cultural institution on the Upper East Side, the remodelers wanted to refurbish and enhance the building, while holding on to its historic features and character. New York state’s Seventh Regiment of the National Guard built the armory in 1881, and besides a military center, it also served as a social hall. The building’s renovations included cleaning and brick replacements on the façade, replacements of skylights on the roof and interior alterations on the third and fourth floors, to name a few. Still, the building has something of an antique atmosphere, and the amber- and copper-colored walls in the drill hall are decorated with portraits of soldiers from the past and plaques honoring their service. Today, the Armory also houses artistic and cultural events—and it endures as a place where New York’s past and present coexist.
Best Foot Massage
16 Pell St., 212-962-6588
Located in Chinatown, Foot Heaven is the perfect resource for New Yorkers, who spend so much of their day trudging up and down subway stairs and rushing along sidewalks. This clean, unassuming massage parlor offers just two services: back rubs and foot rubs. While both are top-notch, the foot massages are, true to the store’s name, heavenly. The best part? The price: 30 minutes of intensive, restorative massage will set you back only $25. (For an even $30, spend your remaining $5 on an order of soup dumplings at Joe’s Ginger, located just across the street.)
Best Free Education
66 W. 12th St. near Fifth Avenue, newschool.edu
The cost of higher learning keeps getting worse, but for those who live near The New School, there is a wonderful opportunity to take part in some free or $5 classes and events. There is a continual stream of nighttime workshops, panels, screenings and talks happening in the West Village all year long, open to the general public, as well as the students. Bring your pen and paper, and join in on a live event—from meeting Mumbai’s Barefoot Researchers or meeting the Cave Canem Poetry Prize winners, there is always something interesting going on.
Reebok Sports Club
160 Columbus Ave. near West 67th,
If you are serious about changing your body, run, don’t walk to Reebok Sports Club. Open 24 hours, you can always find time to fit a workout into your schedule. Once you are there, everyone from the check-in to locker room attendant will greet you with a smile. On busy days, you can shower in their spotless locker rooms and make it to your desk on time. Amenities include a 25-yard pool, two basketball courts, and a rock climbing wall. If you want to socialize, bring your laptop and sit in their sidewalk café, complete with complimentary wi-fi.
Best Health Food Store
4th Street Food Co-op
58 E. Fourth St. near Second Avenue, 4thstreetfoodcoop.org
This little gem on Fourth Street is so tiny you might have passed it by, unconvinced of the virtues inside. Anyone can shop there, volunteers just get a good discount, but you can simply walk in and enjoy picking out your locally grown produce without fighting the elements or the elbows at an outdoor farmers’ market. Most everything in the shop is organic and carefully chosen, so it is only labeled when it isn’t up to those high standards. Flavorful dried fruits, plentiful grains, legumes and bulk herbs are some of the items you’ll discover along with ever-changing friendly service to tell you what the sorrel tastes like or give you a slice of the latest apple to try.
Best-Kept Banking Secret on the UWS
Lomto Federal Credit Union (180 Riverside Blvd. at 69th Street, 212-947-3380)
Originally incorporated to serve the needs of New York City’s Taxi and Limo drivers, Lomto FCU expanded its services a couple of years back to serve the whole community. Being located on the UWS means that anyone who lives, works or prays on the Upper West Side can take advantage of their wide array of banking services—which include some of the highest rates paid on CDs and money market accounts.
Empire Hotel 4
4 W. 63rd St., empirehotelnyc.com
If you’ve ever watched Gossip Girl, you have probably caught a glimpse of the trendy 423-room hotel that character Chuck Bass owns. A stone’s throw away from Lincoln Center, the boutique hotel can be recognized by the bold neon sign that towers above the Upper West Side. Inside, you will be greeted by concierges Chris and Yuri and a lobby filled with beautiful people sipping drinks on leopard-print chairs. Not surprisingly, it is the official hotel of Fashion Week. There is a rooftop deck bar open to the public that is crowded every night of the week. If you are going for the food, the hotel is also the home to Ed’s Chowder House.
1395 Third Ave., betw. E. 79th & 80th sts., 212-879-3690
Murrey’s Jewelers, a family business now in its third generation, has been serving loyal customers since 1936. Clients keep going back for purchases, repairs, appraisals and custom work because Murrey’s never says “no” to a project and always delivers. An added plus is that Murrey’s onsite workshop is locally and internationally acclaimed.
Best Local Author
Molly Jong Fast
Fast, who is the daughter of author Erica Jong and Jonathan Fast, somehow managed to become not only a fantastic writer, but a well-adjusted person. Born and brought up in Manhattan, her novels show the best (and often worst) sides of the Upper East Side.
Ann Yee Collection
Various locations, annyeecollection.com
Made in NYC isn’t a gratuitous throwaway line for Ann Yee, the rising Brooklyn-based designer who still manufactures her collections in New York’s garment district. Ann’s designs, which have garnered attention from publications like Nylon magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, feature architectural cuts juxtaposed with soft draping. With a blend of sophisticated uptown style and downtown edge, she’s committed to keeping her production local, but it won’t be long before her popularity spreads beyond New York.
Best Local Hardware Store
Scheman & Grant
various locations, schemanandgrant.com
Looking for a small-town hardware store smack-dab in the center of Midtown? Check out Scheman & Grant. The independently owned company has two locations right in the heart of Manhattan; Bryant Park on 39th and another close to Port Authority. The hardware store has a broad range of products ranging from paints to blinds, and they have crucial delivery and locksmith services available to city dwellers. With Middle American prices and helpful do-it-yourself staff, these are the best places to spruce up your NYC-sized life, or just fix the broken toilet your super ignores.
Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Waterfront Park
West Harlem Piers Park
Henry Hudson Parkway, at 131st St.,
Piers Park, just off of Riverside Drive in West Harlem, is a shady, peaceful spot to catch up on people-watching. Bring a book to read, a paper to skim or a coffee to sip, and listen to the calming sounds of the East River. This destination is a popular passageway for leisurely bike-riders, mothers with children, couples, students and those aiming to catch a breath before or after a shopping trip at the nearby Fairway Market. You can also enjoy a clear view of George Washington Bridge to the north and the New Jersey coastline to the west.
Best Office Building to Move Up To
at 87th Street and Third Avenue,
718-263-3800 or email@example.com
The Agora is the only first-class office building on the Upper East Side. It has two entrances and lobbies, one at 177 East 87th St. and the other at 1556 Third Ave., and is conveniently located one block from the Lexington Avenue Subway (4, 5 and 6 trains). Some notable tenants include Mount Sinai Manhattan Heart, Doyle Galleries and Duane Reade. Inquiries should be directed to Ross Spitalnick, senior vice president, Muss Development.
Best Place to Adopt a Pet
410 E. 38th Street, betw. FDR Dr. & 1st Ave., www.bideawee.org
Bideawee, which means “stay awhile,” in Scottish, is one of the country’s oldest and most respected animal welfare and pet adoption organizations. Founded in 1903, Bideawee has been cultivating and supporting the lifelong relationships between pets and the people who love them for more than 100 years. Bideawee provides an array of high-touch services including adoption centers, animal hospitals, pet therapy programs, and pet memorial parks that serve pets and pet lovers on their lifelong journey together. Bideawee is a not for profit 501(c) 3 humane animal organization and 100% of Bideawee’s funding comes from private sources. Bideawee operates one facility in New York City and two on Long Island, one in Wantagh, and one in Westhampton.
Best Place to Feel Like a Family
329 Columbus Ave. near W. 75th St.,
Remember when you were tricked into going with your friends to one of those pottery places where you had to make your own plate? It’s back—kinda. Make Meaning, with locations on the Upper West and Upper East Side, has managed to balance the twee with the sophisticated. The store has courses to teach you how to make items with glass, or you can try making candles, jewelry or fancy paper. They recently started cake decorating classes. What better way for families to spend quality time together?
Best Place to Find Your Faith
at Fifth Avenue and West 29th Street,
Marble Collegiate does church the way you’ve always hoped it could be: diverse, inclusive, vibrant and fun. The spiritual house is a warm place of connection and community. Marble has been a part of the New York City landscape since 1854. There is truly something for everyone at Marble.
Best Place to Gussy Up Your Apartment
250 Elizabeth St. near E. Houston,
It’s time to leave your Ikea cast-offs behind and decorate your big-kid apartment. Get your stuff together and your style on at this upscale pioneer-chic boutique. At Haus Interior, German-born design maven Nina Freudenberger offers what feels like her personal selections from all over the word. Expanding her interiors business into a tiny Nolita storefront, Nina curates fresh, modern pieces to fill out your space with natural and elegant lines. Not in the market for a complete overhaul? Haus Interior has enviable accessories: retro glassware, crisp Japanese linens and cozy throw blankets that easily can elevate the cool factor in your 700 square feet or your Hamptons dream home. The bevy of colorful pillows and unique wallpaper allow you to channel your inner pattern freak without committing to pieces of furniture. All beautiful, but obtainable on a budget. But if you’re that overwhelmed, Nina is for hire through the full-service design program.
Warren Tricomi Salon
at the Plaza Hotel, warrentricomi.com
When the Plaza Hotel was renovated, two major additions were hair gurus Joel Warren and Edward Tricomi. The cutting/coloring dynamic duo can be found there, transforming the look of everyone from Broadway stars
to diplomats. Among their accomplishments, they are the first stylist and colorist to create a hair product line together. A L’Oreal Professional salon, they are the pioneers of dry cutting and now specialize in frizz control. As befits the classic Plaza, the salon is decorated in the theme of old Hollywood glamour. Even if you don’t qualify to sit in their VIP area, the staff is sure to pamper you like you do.
Best Senior Health Care
Quality Healthcare is a fully licensed and bonded home health care agency founded in 1994. For nearly 20 years, they have been providing exceptional home-care services in the New York area, with warmth and compassion. They specialize in striving to make the transition to home care as smooth as possible for the client and his family. Each member of our field staff has been trained, certified and has been screened and tested to ensure the highest level of service to our clients. Each client is assigned a personal coordinator who becomes familiar with their individual needs (physical, language, religious and cultural) and preferences and who is available each day to ensure that those needs are met. Someone will be with you every step of the way, with 24/7 availability.
Best Shoe Repair
John’s Shoe Repair
30 Irving Place near 15th St., 212-533-4110
John’s Shoe Repair in Gramercy is one of the few old-fashioned shoe repairmen left, and has been around for over 40 years. Owner Ariel Lopez does each and every one of the shoe repairs by hand, and works with old-fashioned leather cutting and threading machines. Lopez, who can do many repairs in less than one minute, takes pride in his work, and is capable of completely rebuilding a pair of ruined shoes. With reasonable prices and quick service, John’s Shoe Repair is a neighborhood staple.
Best Spa Experience
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
80 Columbus Circle, mandarinoriental.com
Actress Sutton Foster calls this spa her favorite place in all of Manhattan. High above the city, you will be transported to an oriental-style home complete with bamboo floors and even a bento box meal. Their signature treatment, the oriental meridian massage, is tailored to your needs and lasts a whole hour and 50 minutes. Vitality pools, a fireplace, and an Oriental Tea Lounge add to the unique experience. Awarded five stars in Forbes Travel, it gives you a majestic view of the Hudson River—far from the tranquility of the Orient, but close enough.
Best Spiritual Getaway
Mount of Atonement
1350 Route 9, Garrison, N.Y.,
Among the rolling hills flanking the Hudson River is the Mount of Atonement, commonly called Graymoor, home to the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement. If quiet reflection is your goal, there are beautiful chapels, shrines and gardens. The nearby Appalachian Trail calls to hikers, and picnickers are welcome. The That Nothing Be Lost Thrift Shop is a treasure trove of vintage items; the Graymoor Book & Gift Center is the area’s largest ecumenical book store.
Best Unlikely Cool Neighborhood
OK, stop laughing. Murray Hill is not just the place where snooty Cornell and Syracuse graduates live cheaply on their parents’ dimes. The rooftop parties at the Gansevoort Park may piss off the neighbors, but they’ve announced to the world this hood is a good-time destination. Joining them on the party circuit, POD 39 Hotel (opening soon) will boast a lounge and bar serving inventive tacos dreamed up by Chef April Bloomfield. With Milk and Honey’s spawn Middle Branch delivering classic cocktails with hand-cut ice and Terroir pouring Riesling down the throats of their disciples, the Hill has tipples for the discerning palate. Among cheap blow-outs, you can now find Aussie Greg Ruggeri’s new salon. Stop in for haute couture highlights while taking in his extensive art collection. Want to laugh without leaving your block? People’s Improv Theatre hosts edgy, hilarious performances seven nights a week. There’s a lot going on in Murray Hill—they’re getting a Fairway too!
Best Vacation Spot Within Two Hours
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa
220 North Road, Milton, N.Y., 845-795-1310
Just a 90-minute train ride from Grand Central Station lies Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa, a picturesque 75-acre property in the Hudson Valley, with quaint accommodations, an eco-friendly day spa and a farm complete with llamas. Sample farm-to-table cuisine (literally, in this case) at Henry’s, but be sure to save room for the inn’s daily breakfast, which features cooked-to-order entrees and fresh-baked pastries. Unwind with a stroll around the grounds, get a hot stone massage or rent a car and go antiquing in neighboring New Paltz.
Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital, 257 W. 18th St., heartofchelsea.com
When you’ve given your dog dramamine for a road trip and you’re convinced you’ve killed him and you’re counting his breaths, there’s only one person who can talk you down from your fear of puppy-cide. Dr. Crain at Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital is the best vet in town to calm your fears. She’ll answer all of your questions even if you think they’re insane. Animal owners wish she’d treat their maladies in addition to Fido’s—Dr. Crain is that incredibly patient and kind. She and the rest of the compassionate staff can handle anything from routine vaccines to dental to state-of-the-art radio surgery. This West Side office is a one-stop shop for your pet—even offering holistic care such as acupuncture and Chinese herbology.
Best Way to be Heard
Brilliant Senior Voice-Overs
We’re talking “heard” as in being the voice of a radio or TV commercial or perhaps heard as an audiobook narrator. This is the place to start. You’ll find classes, boot camps, demo production and their ever-popular, exclusive voice-over agent and casting-director nights. All students are men and women 55 and over, holding special appeal for boomers and seniors looking for a possible second career, improving speech and self-confidence and meeting great new people.
Best Way to Get Organized
752 West End Ave. at W. 97th St.,
Is your studio apartment looking like it’s straight out of an episode of TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive? Do you have enough unread magazines and takeout menus piled up to create your own paper fort? Have no fear—Gotham Organizers are here to save the day. Specializing in organizing homes and businesses across New York City, the folks at Gotham Organizer will help you with everything from shredding your 2003 Con Ed bills to finding a better place to store your hairdryer than the kitchen cupboard. Consultation is free of charge.
Best Way to Keep Out City Noise
cityproof.com or 718-786-1600
Since 1960, Cityproof soundproof interior windows has been custom-manufacturing and installing interior windows that dramatically improve the quality of life in NYC home and work environments. Cityproof’s custom-designed Citywindows are installed on the inside of the existing exterior windows, creating a “buffer zone” of airspace that seals out noise. With Cityproof, there’s no need to replace or modify existing windows, since their Citywindows are often more economical and provide more noise reduction than replacing windows. They offer a free, on-site evaluation.
Best Way to See NYC
Experience the Ride
experiencetheride.com or 646-289-5060
More than a show and more than a tour, The Ride takes audience members on a nonstop entertainment experience through midtown Manhattan. Acting as the city’s only moving theater, with stadium seating and floor-to-ceiling glass, every audience member has front-row seats as the streets of New York become a stage. With performances around every corner, audience members are left guessing who’s a part of the show and who’s just along for The Ride.
Best Urgent Care That Feels Like a Spa
106 Liberty St. at Trinity Place, 646-461-2544
Medhattan Immediate Medical Care is Downtown NYC’s ER Alternative. Same-day appointments are available for you or your child with one of NY’s premier Board Certified ER doctors 365 days a year. With a spa-like décor, most capabilities of an ER and amenities you’d expect from a boutique hotel, Medhattan is just what busy but discriminating New Yorkers need. Since Medhattan opened its doors this time last year, they have cared for over 4,000 happy customers with everything from cuts and colds to fractures and kidney stones. X-ray, labs, sonogram, EKG, IV fluids, breathing treatments and casting are all offered on-site. Most major insurance plans including Medicare are accepted.
Best Yoga in Midtown
754 9th Ave. near W. 51st, sonicyoga.com
Sonic Yoga is temporarily offering four months of unlimited yoga for $199 for new yogis. And you no longer have to worry about lugging your mat around town, because Sonic lets you store your mat at the studio for free. Don’t have a mat? No worries—they also let you borrow a freshly cleaned one for less than a cup of java. The intimate-yet-inviting studio is all hardwood and features changing rooms and cubbies for storing your stuff. Most importantly, Sonic’s instructors seem to really care about you—at the end of each session, they give mini-massages with calming lavender oil. is tailored to your needs and lasts a whole hour and 50 minutes.
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