Your Personal Concierge
Top NoLIta Venues and More
Concierge Michael Romei is in a love affair with New York City—not for its iconic skyscrapers and renowned landmarks, but for the pockets of paradise he has discovered throughout the past 20 years. Here, he shares places to go in NoLIta (his favorite NYC 'hood), plus his favorite restaurants, attractions and more.
Why do you think NYC is the greatest place on Earth?
Being an explorer, I have visited every continent and still have yet to find any place comparable to New York City. We truly represent a unique crossroads of intuitive and multitalented people, all living and working together. There is a special energy here not found anywhere else; New York is very much a global experience that is also my home.
Where is your favorite restaurant in the city? What makes it so great?
New York City is certainly one of the dining capitals of the world, offering such a tremendous selection of some of the best food in the world. It is therefore quite difficult to choose just one or even one type or category. I am a big fan of Tom Colicchio’s restaurants—especially Riverpark and Colicchio & Sons. Riverpark, in my opinion, is a classic “secret gem” located unexpectedly at the end of a cul-de-sac on E. 29th St. and the East River. The restaurant is hidden inside a corporate park and building. Once inside, one enters a large open space that is tasteful and comfortable with a great bar/lounge area and a wonderful lawn terrace overlooking the East River. The menu is top-notch quality, prepared modern American cuisine.
Which neighborhood draws you most often?
NoLIta is my favorite neighborhood to explore. I often find myself there on my days off. Not only does the area offer great diversity with wonderful restaurants and shops, but it retains a real neighborhood feel. It is here that you find some fantastic restaurants, such as Sant Ambroeus, Emporio, Cafe Gitane and Lombardi’s, one of the oldest and best Italian-American-style pizzerias.
Most visitors will pay a visit to the major attractions, but what are your personal favorite things to do?
Definitely take a tour of Grand Central Terminal with the famous guide, Danny Brucker. You may even have an opportunity to see something special behind the scenes there. Greenacre Park, located just steps away from The Waldorf Astoria, is an urban oasis right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. With lush garden greenery and a waterfall, this peaceful escape is a great place to visit. I’ve also created Michael Romei’s Urban Hike/Walk: a six-mile journey beginning at Battery Park’s Castle Clinton and continuing along the promenade and boat basins, passing the World Financial Center and heading up Hudson River Park all the way to Midtown. Along the way, you can make various stops to experience the different neighborhoods, explore areas of interest and enjoy athletic activities. I have suggested this hike/walk to many of my guests, and they absolutely love it.