Your Personal Concierge
Top Spots for Spring in the City
The city is blooming with history lessons around every corner of Manhattan, plus seafood and trendy shops off the island. Concierge Michael Bordenick of The Surrey shares his insights on things to do in April.
Q: Besides the obvious must-see NYC attractions, what are three hidden gems you’d recommend for a guest to see?
A: From Manhattan, hop on a downtown-bound 6 train to the Brooklyn Bridge stop. Stay on the train when the conductor announces the end of the line, and it will go around through the old City Hall Station, a time capsule replete with Edwardian skylights and chandeliers. Also, check out the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, which was built in 1799 as a carriage house by the estate’s owner, William T. Robinson, and later served as a day hotel from 1826 to 1833, when the Upper East Side location was considered countryside. Knowledgeable docents host daily tours of period rooms, and the attraction has a beautiful garden, which hosts concerts in the summer. If you are visiting the World Trade Center site, the nearby Irish Hunger Memorial is also worth visiting. Designed by Brian Tolle, stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties are positioned throughout the striking memorial.
Q: What are two interesting neighborhoods to spend the day off the island?
A: Williamsburg, of course! The Brooklyn neighborhood looks like the East Village did 20 years ago, and there are a ton of hip restaurants, bars, funky shops and galleries adjacent to the Bedford Ave. subway station. Shop vintage and handmade items on the weekends at Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg, and then head to the waterfront for Smorgasburg, which has a plethora of food trucks. For shopping, the Shoe Market has some great footwear styles, and Urban Outfitters’ new concept store, Space Ninety 8, features wares from NYC-centric vendors and more. You also have to go to Mast Brothers Chocolate’s flagship store, an amazing foray into the world of chocolate. Even though it is not a trendy destination, City Island in the Bronx comes alive in spring and summer. I love to eat seafood at Sammy’s Fish Box Restaurant. When I want to get “my crab on,” I head to Crab Shanty because I am originally from Maryland and it reminds me of the Eastern Shore. Check out the handful of little antiques stores, art galleries and gift shops that dot City Island Ave.
Q: What are some versatile stores where visitors can revamp their wardrobes for spring?
A: Uptown, Peter Elliot Blue is good for men’s apparel. Barneys New York has men’s and women’s clothing, and I always stock up on men’s shoes there for spring. For discount shopping, Century 21 is always good for socks, underwear, linens and towels at its downtown location.