They say New York is the city that never sleeps, and even though it took a solid snooze over the pandemic, the frenetic energy has returned with a vengeance. This month, fashion week takes over all five boroughs—one of many reasons why, to quote Bill Burr’s SNL monologue, “New York is back, baby!” With that in mind, we compiled a guide for the absolute best ways to pass the time in what is universally considered to be the greatest city in the world, especially in the fall. Chalk it up to Meg Ryan; we don’t make the rules.
“Virgil Abloh: ‘Figures of Speech’” at The Brooklyn Museum
“One of the great things about Virgil is that he worked across disciplines and mediums,” Antwaun Sargent, who curated the posthumous exhibit honoring the late designer, previously told ELLE. “You have art, you have architecture, you have music, you have film, you have design, you have fashion.” It’s fitting then that “Figures of Speech” highlights Abloh’s multi-hyphenate nature, from designing Serena Williams’ Off-White x Nike “Queen” tennis dress to a creating a test press plate of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album.
Classic Harbor Line’s Sunset Cruise
What could be more romantic, nay picturesque, than a sunset cruise aboard a yacht? Classic Harbor Line offers a host of non-touristy options, including rides with live jazz and wine and cheese pairings. (Yes, you’ll still get to see the Statue of Liberty.) Take advantage of the weather while you can, people.
Forest Hills Stadium
Originally home to the U.S. Open, this storied venue now hosts concerts with top billings like Death Cab for Cutie and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs set against the backdrop of tennis courts. Come for the tunes, stay for the plethora of food vendors. And if you’re feeling extra luxurious, spring for one of the stadium’s Speakeasy Suites, complete with a private viewing porch, bar, and concierge service team dressed in tennis whites.
From the ’80s New Wave soundtrack to the vintage-meets-modern décor and late-night menu, coastal Italian-inspired bistro Saint Theo’s is a place to see and be seen in every sense of the phrase. Highlights include Aperol spritzes and cicchetti (translation: Venetian small bites). Do this one for the ‘gram.
Run by Capri natives and brothers Alessandro and Mario Passante, Mr. Capri is the real deal when it comes to food (think: authentic Caprese dishes inspired by Passantes’ mother’s recipes, like prosciutto and fried burrata) and drinks (do not bypass the bar, with creative cocktails mixed by internationally renowned cocktail artist Cristina Bini—each one is cleverly named after a location on the island).
It’s rare that vegan food actually tastes good, such is the case with PLANTA Queen. The plant-based Miami restaurant in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood serves up everything from sushi to bang bang broccoli, spicy noodles, pineapple fried rice, and cocktails with fantastic names like Herb Your Enthusiasm and Mez-Cal Me Maybe. Peloton’s Robin Arzón is a big fan.
L’Avenue at Saks
Nestled inside Saks and overlooking Fifth Avenue, the newly opened outdoor terrace at L’Avenue is a welcome respite in chaotic midtown. Have a cocktail or nosh on small bites—the sliders and fries are musts—as you peek at customers shopping inside. The ultimate people-watching experience.
An homage to the Korean car brand, Genesis House is a great spot to grab a drink, soak in the Hudson River views, and order some light bites courtesy of the in-house Michelin-starred restaurant and culinary institute Onjium, which serves up modern takes on traditional recipes, like gim bugak (translation: seaweed chips).
If you manage to snag an invite to the fancy members-only club Fasano Fifth Avenue, you’d be silly not to go. Located right on Fifth Avenue (hence the name), its “caffè” is an impossibly chic place to sit, with occasional live music to boot.
The Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC
Say hello to the (relatively) new and improved Gansevoort. The iconic hotel underwent a multimillion dollar renovation over lockdown, and now boasts two restaurants—a European-inspired café and a pop-up sushi bar, Saishin—Banksys in the lobby, and a refurbished rooftop pool.
The Bowery Hotel
There’s a reason why The Bowery remains one of the city’s most desirable hotels, if only for the celeb sightings in the lobby. After you cozy up with a martini by the fireplace, opt for a stay in one of its opulent rooms (outdoor shower on the terrace, anyone?).
Surely you’ve seen the red and white corridors on Instagram, but how about the (surprisingly quiet) suites? Don’t let TWA Hotel’s location at JFK fool you: the cozy bed, martini bar, and floor-to-ceiling windows will make you feel like you’ve transported to the 1960s in the best way possible. This is the way to take advantage of a cancelled flight.
Claire Stern is the Deputy Editor of ELLE.com. Previously, she served as Editor at Bergdorf Goodman. Her interests include fashion, food, travel, music, Peloton, and The Hills—not necessarily in that order. She used to have a Harriet the Spy notebook and isn’t ashamed to admit it.