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QG: New York City's QuickGuide
Hot Tips From Hotel Concierges
The inside scoop: Some of Manhattan's savviest sources offer tips on how to make the most of your stay.
Enjoying New York City like a local is a snap with inside info from six of the city’s most knowledgeable hotel concierges.
» Brian Fahey: The Setai Fifth Avenue
400 Fifth Ave., btw 36th & 37th sts., 1.212.695.4005
"When you walk along the curved, cobblestoned side streets of the West Village, it feels as if you've stepped back in time. Lined with trees and town houses, the area’s little changed since writers and artists such as Edna St. Vincent Millay, William S. Burroughs and Jackson Pollock lived there. You can still get a drink at the White Horse Tavern, a Dylan Thomas watering hole, or see a show at the Cherry Lane Theatre, which has staged plays by Eugene O’Neill and Samuel Beckett."
» Amber Jones: W New York—Times Square
1567 Broadway, btw W. 46th & W. 47th sts., 1.212.930.7400
"Parents looking for a warm or dry place for kids to play should check out a not-so-Central Park—namely, "pop-up parks" (www.openhousegallery.org), indoor spaces converted into rustic playgrounds. For a small fee, children can crawl through shrubbery, scoot down slides and throw pennies in ponds—all to the sounds of chirping birds and gradually changing light. From picnic areas to seesaws, they’ve got enough features to make real parks envious!"
» Lorena Ringoot: The Surrey
20 E. 76th St., btw Madison & Fifth aves., 1.212.288.3700
"A visit to Koreatown, centered on W. 32nd St. btw Fifth and Sixth Aves., is a culinary adventure. There are bakeries selling chestnut bread and matcha (green tea) cakes and sweetshops specializing in shaved ice topped with fruit. For something more substantial, enter a place serving bulgogi (grill-it-yourself barbecue) or bibimbap (rice covered with veggies, meat and an egg). And dumpling devotees will adore the mandu, which can be prepared fried, steamed or in broth. For extra kick, dip them in a soy and Sriracha sauce—if you dare."
»Thomas Meckl: Helmsley Park Lane
36 Central Park So., btw East Dr. & Sixth Ave., 1.212.371.4000
"New York has a variety of unique public spaces. The newest is the National September 11 Memorial, two pools ringed by a grove on the Twin Towers' site (reservations are required, which your concierge can make). Another treasure is Strawberry Fields, named for the Beatles song, a hidden country garden within Central Park. And I love the High Line, a park built on an old elevated railway that runs from W. 30th St. to W. 13th St. The best time to go is in the evening, when the park is indirectly illuminated by the light from the handrails."
» Quimby Hightower: W Hoboken
225 River St., Hoboken, N.J., 220.127.116.110
"Just across the Hudson River, the one-square-mile town of Hoboken, New Jersey, is worth visiting. I always tell guests to walk down Washington St., our main drag since the 1980s. There, they will find a range of bars and restaurants, many of which have been featured on television, and fantastic shopping in unique little boutiques. Pier A Park offers spectacular views of Downtown Manhattan. Nearby are historical landmarks, such as Elysian Fields, site of the first official baseball game in the country."
» David Moreno: Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Ave., btw E. 21st & E. 22nd sts., 1.212.920.3300
"You never know what treasures you might find at one of New York City's flea markets. Some of the best are Antiques Garage (in an actual former Chelsea car park) and Hell's Kitchen Flea Market for those on the lookout for furniture. On Columbus Ave., GreenFlea Market specializes in vintage housewares and craft goods. Though not technically a flea market, since it carries new wares, Market NYC is a great source for original jewelry and clothes; often the person selling the goods is the person who designed them."