Summer In The City: A New Hotel, Cheeky Restaurant, and Here Lies Love on Broadway
I rarely go to NYC during the summer because I wait all year to enjoy the Shoreline for the few short months of the season. But my daughter wanted a getaway with a bunch of friends (thirteen!), and I gave her the house (crazy, I know) and headed off for a weekend in the city.
First stop: the spanking new Virgin Hotel. I stayed at the New Orleans property and loved its quirky, fresh design. In NYC, the bland lobby belies what’s in store: an extremely well-designed room that feels much bigger than it is (yoga mat provided and enough space to use it!), with a floor-to-ceiling view of the Empire State Building. Thoughtful amenities include Red Flower products and a beckoning mini bar complete with a bright red Smeg mini fridge (yes, I dove into the truffle chips, could NOT help myself).
The public spaces and restaurant are dramatic and slightly kooky, with exuberant wallpapers, upholstery, and a bright red lacquer piano in the bar. The outdoor pool was a delight to come home to after a sweltering day in the city.
I was seriously impressed with breakfast at Everdene, the in-house restaurant: Balthazar toast, fruit salad bursting with berries and chia, chewy stone ground oats with caramelized bananas, and a perfect cup of old-fashioned strong hotel coffee in a colorful room. A hilarious Drag Brunch was starting just as I was finishing up, and I didn’t get a chance to check out the Swingers Club, an adult-oriented mini-golf with gourmet street food and cocktails next door. Next time.
On the hunt for a new spot for dinner, I ended up at Mischa in Midtown, mainly because of the tongue-in-cheek menu: a $29 house-made hot dog on a freshly baked potato bun, giant tater tots, and a renowned chef. While my hot dog photo is not E List worthy, the weenie was worth the hype, and my dinner partner was equally pleased with perfectly seared scallops with shrimp over rice grits. If you go, ask for a banquette in the back, cozy and quiet.
Ol’Days Farm To Table is another yummy option in NoMad (two blocks from The Virgin) for brunch all day, with an extensive menu of American and vaguely Argentinian dishes like Golden Arepas and Tapioca Bites. I’d definitely go back for the Champ-Pancakes, a gluten-free oat and yogurt crepe stuffed with mashed bananas and sprinkled with coconut and fresh berries.
The Karl Lagerfeld show and Van Gogh’s Cypresses at the Met were on my list of things to do. Tickets aren’t available ahead of time; you have to join a waiting list to get in, and while we didn’t make it to Van Gogh, after an hour and a half wait, we queued up for Karl. So stunning to see his breathtaking creations for Chanel, Chloe, and Fendi up close. An early dinner at the Museum Dining room overlooking Central Park was a calm and quiet respite from the crowds in the galleries and surprisingly delish! Do not miss the starter of house-smoked trout on a potato blini, sprinkled with ample dollops of trout roe. Yum.
Next, on to David Byrne’s new musical, Here Lies Love, a disco/pop bio of Imelda Marcos. I know… it’s a stretch, but the entirely Filipino cast, score by Fat Boy Slim and David Byrne, and choreography by Annie-B. Parson makes this strangely giddy show a must-see. The Broadway theater has been reimagined as a giant disco, with floor dancing tickets available (we happily sat). While not as transporting as American Utopia, it was riveting. A perfect NYC moment was finding David Byrne himself right behind us as we were heading out.
Oh, and the house? Still standing (and clean!) when I got home.