In New York City for BEA? Lonely Planet’s got your free time in the morning, afternoon, and evening covered. From strolling wild urban greenways to sipping sangria on a riverside dock, there’s a world of great attractions within easy reach of the Javits Center. For more itinerary ideas, go to booth 1931 to check out Lonely Planet’s new Make My Day: New York City guidebook and app.
A West Side Wilderness
Wake up a little earlier for a memorable stroll along the High Line, a former elevated railway turned green space, perched over the streets of western Chelsea. You can stroll, sit, and picnic 30 feet above the city, enjoying stunning vistas of the Hudson River, public art installations, wide lounge chairs for soaking up some sun, and willowy stretches of native-inspired landscaping. (There are various access points between 30th Street and 14th Street near 10th Avenue, www.thehighline.org.)
Barefoot in the Park
European coffee kiosks, alfresco chess games, and lolling on the grass (while engaging in the discreet art of people watching): this is what skyscraper-hemmed Bryant Park is all about. Nestled behind the show-stopping New York Public Library building, it’s a whimsical spot for a little time-out from the Midtown madness. (42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, www.bryantpark.org)
A Taste of the Far East
For kimchi and karaoke, it’s hard to beat Koreatown, aka Little Korea. Mainly concentrated on 32nd Street, with some spillover into surrounding streets both south and north of this strip, it’s a Seoul-ful jumble of Korean-owned restaurants, shops, salons, and spas. Authentic BBQ is available around the clock at many of the all-night spots on 32nd Street. For succulent dishes with stellar views, book a table at Gaonnuri, on the 39th floor of a Koreatown skyscraper. (1250 Broadway between 31st & 32nd Streets, 212-971-9045, www.gaonnurinyc.com)
Although the rough and tumble of Times Square is a distant memory, you can still find a few drinking dens that evoke the bygone days of the neighborhood’s colorful past. Jimmy’s Corner is a welcoming dive bar off Times Square owned by an old boxing trainer, as if you wouldn’t guess by all the framed photos of boxing greats (and lesser known fighters, too). (140 W. 44th St., between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
Sharing the same name as the celebrated hotel it inhabits, NoMad has sealed its rep as one of Manhattan’s culinary highlights. Carved up into a series of distinctly different spaces—including a see-and-be-seen Atrium, the stately old-world Parlour, and snacks-only Library—the restaurant is the hipper, (slightly) more relaxed sibling of Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park. The menus are eclectic, Eurocentric, and, true to chef Daniel Humm’s reputation, just a little playful. (1170 Broadway at 28th Street, 347-472-5660, www.thenomadhotel.com)
Salvaged from the bottom of the sea (or at least the Chesapeake Bay), the Lightship Frying Pan and the two-tiered dockside bar where it’s parked are fine go-to spots for a sundowner. On warm days, the rustic open-air space brings in the crowds, who come to laze on deck chairs, eat burgers off the sizzling grill, drink ice-cold beers, and admire the fine views across the Hudson to, uh, New Jersey. (Pier 66 at West 26th Street, 212-989-6363, www.fryingpan.com)
Portal to Another World
One of the most immersive theater experiences ever conceived, Sleep No More is a loosely based retelling of Macbeth set inside a series of Chelsea warehouses that have been redesigned to look like an abandoned hotel. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of experience, with audience members free to wander the elaborate rooms (ballroom, graveyard, taxidermy shop, lunatic asylum) and interact with the actors, who perform a variety of scenes that border on the bizarre and the risqué. (McKittrick Hotel, 530 W. 27th St., between 10th and 11th Avenues, 866-811-4111, www.sleepnomorenyc.com)
This article appeared in the May 27, 2015 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.