A placard marking the Chelsea Hotel's landmark status reads, “The Chelsea was opened in 1884 as one of the city’s earliest cooperative apartment houses. It became a hotel about 1905...Artists and writers who have lived here include Arthur B. Davies, James T. Farrell, Robert Flaherty, O. Henry, John Sloan, Dylan Thomas and Thomas Wolfe." One of the most important buildings in all of New York in the last Century, The Chelsea, with its bright red exterior and ornate iron balconies, still stands tall today. The past may never come back, but the new owners of this incredible landmark have told all of the long-time current residents of the hotel that he wants to restore the feel that the hotel had in the 1960s, just without all of the drugs and drama. The original owner, Stanley Bard, should take full credit for making it famous, gave musicians and other artists a place to live when no one else would. He “trusted everyone,” and “understood all of the artists that lived and stayed here,” according to Dan Courtenay, a resident of the hotel and owner of Chelsea Guitars on the ground floor - Bard appreciated what Manhattan was all about, he “was the heart of the place.” The Chelsea hotel is where Andy Warhol threw an assassination party after the death of JFK -- where many Titanic survivors took refuge in 1912 -- where Betsy Johnson created the mini skirt -- Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Mark Rothko, James Schuyler, Arthur C. Clarke, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen all spent time at this hotel, walking its hallways and working on their art. Today, the ghosts of former tenants are said to roam the halls, and the hotel gives off an air of mystery and fame.
Innside Hotel, a NoMad-based property by Melia Hotels International, effortlessly combines a minimalist, stylish, global sensibility with an artsy and innovative vibe that is firmly rooted in local New York culture. The Manhattan Sideways Team was impressed from the moment we walked through the airy, plant-lined, street-side terrace into the sleek, colorful lobby. Framed by the orange-and-silver paneled wall behind them, two receptionists beamed and waved at us from a desk that emanated a glowing, purple light. The manager of the hotel informed us that the reception staff double as concierges: they are savvy New Yorkers with an encyclopedic knowledge of the city that will serve any tourist extremely well. “We hire people not just for their experience, but for their passion, ” he said. As we went up to the seventeenth floor to check out the room facilities, we caught a beautiful view of the Empire State Building through the windows in the hallway. Location is one of Innside’s biggest draws: In addition to the iconic building, Innside is in walking distance from the High Line, Times Square, and Broadway - Perfect for any tourist. The room we visited had a German-inspired aesthetic that is elegant, modernist, and eminently functional. Everything was clean and white (barring a pair of funky yellow cushions) with ambient lighting, USB outlets, an espresso machine, a complimentary non-alcoholic minibar, and, of course, gorgeous views of the New York skyline. In addition to conference rooms, Innside boasts Google-style “creative rooms” for social or business gatherings geared towards ideas and innovation. These rooms feature fun and colorful décor, comfortable furniture, fitness balls, high tech SMART boards, built-in audio-visual equipment, and an all-inclusive mini-bar and coffee station. To top it all off, Innside manages the restaurant Impero Caffe, which is headed by award-winning celebrity chef Scott Conant and offers outstanding, rustic Italian cuisine.
As of March 2022, Eataly's rooftop bar Birreria has been turned into the pop-up SERRA. The rooftop of Eataly changes its concept each season. In 2016, for example, the sky-high spot transitioned from the beer-centric Birreria to a sea-side-themed rooftop bar called Sabbia. Each reincarnation of the bar is equally impressive, which comes as no surprise after visiting Eataly downstairs. Birreria was a sky-high brewery where Fred Avila, the head brewer, created beer in-house for three or four days out of every week. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Fred and talking to him about his experience brewing above Eataly’s impressive food palace. Fred has been working for Eataly since 2011, but he started home-brewing in 2007. He has become a master at blending different flavors together and was proud to tell me about Birreria’s two seasonal beers. Vera is a summery beer with hints of lavender and blood orange, whereas the Wanda is a dark, mild beer for the fall and winter, with a lightly roasted flavor. Fred is very attuned to the weather when he drinks beer. When I asked if he has a favorite, he said that it changes with the seasons and the forecast, though he did admit, “I love to drink Oktoberfest beers. ” He featured obscure sours and saisons (pale ales specifically brewed for warm weather) in the summertime and interesting stouts in the fall. “People used to just drink IPAs or Pilsners, ” he explained to me. It is clear that working in the beer world has become considerably more exciting. Birreria collaborated with a collection of external breweries, including Dogfish Head, a microbrewery based out of Delaware. Because Birreria was part of Eataly, the list of collaborators also included two Italian companies, Birra del Borgo and Baladin. The founder of Baladin, Teo Musso, is considered the “godfather of the Italian brewing movement, ” Fred informed me. He also let me know that he always liked to have one or two New York beers available. The food menu was no less impressive, especially since it was made entirely using produce from downstairs. Unlike other parts of Eataly, however, Birreria often strayed from Italian cuisine. For example, Fred told me about a mozzarella-stuffed quail, which sounds more Northern European than Italian. Everything on the menu was designed to pair well with the bar’s unique selection of beers, creating a perfect culinary balance. I visited Sabbia shortly after it opened in 2016. It was like a taste of the tropical seaside in the middle of Manhattan: Imagine listening to the Beach Boys and sipping on one of their signature summer cocktails while lounging on a beach chair in the cabanas. The menu is filled with seafood specials that continue the seaside resort theme. It is the perfect summer spot for those who cannot leave town, and there is a retractable roof for rainy nights.
Stepping out of the culinary carnival in the main Eataly building through the side street entrance of the calm, cool wine shop next door was a soothing experience. The space is primarily filled with Italian wines, though there is a selection of local New York varieties upstairs. Also on the second floor is the “Riserva Room, ” a temperature-controlled chamber with rare wines, mainly acquired through auctions. What surprised me about the Riserva Room, however, is that the bottles are not very expensive. Despite feeling the need to whisper inside the elegant space, I noticed that many tags quoted prices under $100. We learned from Brianna Buford, the PR Assistant, that this is so that customers do not feel intimidated to try new wines. As with the rest of Eataly, Vino is dedicated to educating the public about the quality, origin, and uses of its products. There are helpful signs in the area and tastings every week. “Staff Pick” signs give shoppers individual recommendations and there are often fun promotions whose goal is to introduce customers to new labels. For example, in 2015, the wine store hid golden corks all over Eataly, offering anyone who found one a special bottle of Vino Libero. “Vino Libero” means “free the wine, ” a motto which seems to ring true throughout the store, where wine is freed from any pretension or intimidation and presented in a playful, educational way.
Many months ago, I gathered a group of friends and family to celebrate my husband's birthday. No one had ever been to Spin, so it was the perfect opportunity for everyone to have a terrific night taking turns playing a sport most of us adore, and sharing in conversation, drinks and appetizers. As we walked down the steps into the dimly lit lobby we were greeted by a friendly hostess in a chic black outfit, and it felt as though we had entered any other swanky Manhattan club. And yet, as we turned the corner we saw immediately that this was not the case. Instead of the usual dance-filled floor, at this club we were presented with rows of ping-pong tables and couples in heated competition. The diversity of the crowd was vast and only became more so as the night went on. Businessmen off from work, their white collared shirts glowing in the black light, rallied next to serious athletes there for a workout in gym shorts and sweatbands. Young couples looking for a quirky date played next to groups of older friends there to enjoy the nostalgia of this classic game. Everyone is welcome at Spin. Serious ping pong players make the circuits, challenging worthy opponents to games while casual paddlers compete in a more leisurely game. It has never been easier to enjoy ping pong, as Spin has eliminated the frustrating need for constantly picking up stray balls - staff with fascinating contraptions collect all the balls and reload the buckets regularly. Perhaps even more exciting, servers come by to the tables with what could be described as high-class bar food - some of our favorites were the alcoholic mango slushies, the fried rice balls, and the truffle mac and cheese. The delicious food and drink are honestly worth a visit on their own, and as the club often hosts championship ping pong games, even those who do not want to grab a paddle themselves can fill up a plate and watch the action. Originally opened by ping pong enthusiasts Franck Raharinosy, Andrew Gordon, Jonathan Bricklin and Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon, Spin has quickly become a hot spot both in other parts of the US and abroad.
Visions provides services for the blind and visually impaired; it is located in Selis Manor, a twelve-story apartment building dedicated to housing and assisting blind and otherwise handicapped New Yorkers of all types. Visions holds braille courses, exercise and rehabilitation classes, music programs, and various events and lectures.
Venturing into El Quijote, we were informed by the bar tender that this is “the oldest Hispanic restaurant in NYC. ” It is difficult to ascertain if this statement is completely accurate, but regardless, El Quijote has rested on 23rd, next door to the infamous Hotel Chelsea since 1930. The many colors and textures of the space – black and white checkered floors, muraled walls, leather banquettes, and golden lighting – provide a fitting backdrop for the authentic Spanish food that is served. We have stopped by on several different occasions, always finding a jovial crowd of people gathered at the bar, sangria being poured and people dining on, what looks to be, huge portions of paella, steak and an ocean full of seafood.