The Lower East Side has Russ & Daughter’s, the Upper West Side has Barney Greengrass. The self-proclaimed “The Sturgeon King” has been an institution in these parts for more than 100 years. So, naturally and quite expectedly, your mornings will have to begin with their specialty: cured sturgeon. Still, don’t hesitate to grab some lox and cream cheese on a bagel. Definitely not a choice you'll ever regret.
Lunchtime is near and your stomach grumbles after hours of delighted exploration. Shake Shack is nearby, but you decide not to miss a chance to eat at Maison Pickle. The spot is an old-school American take on dining, focusing on the experiential, i.e. long lunches/brunches — something that isn’t a thing anymore in the city. And yes, you can revel in the selection of pickled deliciousness, such as hot sour cucumbers and sweet & spicy carrots. Don't forget to order the French dip, which is entirely spot-on.
With all the landmarks and museums, there’s always a beginning. And that notion is exactly what New York Historical Society celebrates. Founded in 1804, the museum is the first museum in New York. Today, with exceptionally researched exhibits, the museum’s core revolves around the history of New York and the United States. There are spotlights on George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and slavery in New York. On occasion, the Society also engages in re-enactments with loyalist colonial troops exciting the visitor at the front of the building.
Easily the most cherished museum in New York City is the wondrous American Museum of Natural History. The museum was built in 1874 and has since blossomed into the best natural history museum in the whole wide world. The museum houses a vast collection of fossils and some massive dinosaurs that have become the landmark's symbol. Add to the lovely scientific mix the Rose Center for Earth and Space Center and its world-famous Hayden Planetarium.
The perfect time has come to channel your inner child! The best place to do just that is at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Since it was erected in 1989, the museum - with its focus on the arts for children - has attracted more than 325,000 visitors a year. There’s a giant 6-foot mural and numerous interactive exhibits to help your little ones create a strong foundation for art, math and science. The LO's will also have a chance to immerse themselves in a huge Dora and Diego exhibit and endless children-centric works of art.
The restaurant scene in the UWS isn’t as plentiful as you’d find in nearby culinary destination neighborhoods. There are some remarkable standouts like Calle Ocho, Tesa, Dove Tail and Nice Matin, but tonight, you decide on a seat in The Milling Room. The contemporary American eatery is a marvel, given how its dining room resides in the atrium lobby of the former Endicott Hotel. As you walk in, the room opens up to a gigantic skylight, giving you a strong sense of outdoor dining. The food is divine and consistent, prepared by famed Chef Scott Bryan, who’s worked with the likes of Eric Ripert and was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s legendary book, “Kitchen Confidential."
There are many great late night bars to visit in the UWS… Gebhard’s Beer Culture, George Keeley’s, Caledonia UWS (a whiskey bar), the Manhattan Cricket Club, and Vanguard Wine Bar, to name but a few. Still, tonight you will have a few cocktails at The Dead Poet. The old-school style Irish pub is designed to celebrate the lives of writers and poets. The walls are adorned with many black and white portraits of famed servants of the pen (and/or quill). There are also framed photos of great quotes and poetic passages. Add to the majestic sensory soup of the Dead Poet the many live music performances.
The history of theater in New York City can be traced back to Beacon Theater. The historic theater – a 3-tiered, 2,894-seat behemoth – is the occasional site of Tony Awards. Tonight you’ll get a taste of its history and glory, given how you have managed to procure tickets for the show put on by Jerry Seinfeld, one of the theater’s regular performers. The theater has also been entrenched in musical lore as it has hosted many live performances, from Allman Brothers to the Rolling Stones (even providing the setting for Martin Scorsese’s “Shine a Light,” a bio drama documenting the Stones’ 2006 performance at the theater.)
Alongside the many specialized bars, UWS has an impressive presence of popular dive bars. The crowd is mainly college-based (Columbia University is nearby). Bodega 88, Prohibition, Dive Bar, Jake’s Dilemma, and Amsterdam Ale House are the usual, great choices, but the best of the bunch is The Gin Mill. The libations and the youthful atmosphere will make you feel good. Ending the evening here – according to many of the patrons – is pure fun.