I should preface my recommendations, however, by telling you - both D and the rest of you - I am by no means an expert on all things or any things Manhattan. In fact, up until last Summer, I was one of those naysayers who held an only-someone-from-New-York-could-like-New-York attitude. But as it always does, whether it's with a man, a woman, a dog, a pair of bow-adorned Louboutin peeptoes, or in this case a city, love hits without warning and with an urgency and a permanence only the two of you can understand.
Before you do anything, before the restaurants, the museums, the bars and the shopping, download Frank Sinatra's "How About You?". Do it today and listen, really listen to the hum of the intro and that first line. Look at each other and imagine yourselves a month from now, walking hand-in-hand laughing at the silly minutia you see on the street. Imagine settling into your two-person quiet, aware of but not at all bothered by the frenetic neon 24-hour-ness of Manhattan's buzz hovering over and around you. That, to me, is love in New York.
Onto the rest!
I'm not the most seasonsed fine-diner, nor is my palette professionally trained. That being so, when it comes to eating out, whether it's in Tulsa, Traverse City or Tibet, I place primacy on ambience, not a five-star rating, truffle-oil this or Kobe-beef that. As long as an establishment's food is well-prepared, well-presented and punctually served, I'm content.
My favorite eats and drinks in NYC:
1. Norma's in Le Parker Meridien Hotel (118 W. 57th St.) $
2. Café Gray in the Time Warner Building (10 Columbus Circle) $$$$
3. Lombardi's (32 Spring St.) $$
4. Zabb City (244 E. 13th St., btw. 2nd/3rd) $$
5. Picholine (35 W. 64th St.) $$$$*
6. Cafe Fiorello (1900 Broadway, btw. 63rd/64th) $$$
7. Jane Restaurant (100 W. Houston) $$$
1. Serendipity 3 (225 E. 60th Street, btw. 2nd/3rd) $$
2. Cafe Lalo (201 W. 83rd, btw. Amsterdam/Broadway) $*
3. Room 4 Dessert (17 Cleveland Place - Kenmare St., NoLita) $$
When you're not eating and drinking:
1. The Met - be sure to see the Poiret and the Arms & Armor exhibits
2. Sotheby's - check calendar for exhibits (a terrific people-watching opportunity)
3. Strand Bookstore (I could easily spend an entire afternoon here)
4. Orchard Corset - (157 Orchard St.) 'cause God knows you can't find one here in DC
5. Take walks: East Village vintage district (morning), Madison Ave./Oriental rug district (day), Central Park South (evening)*
6. Stay in bed: take your weekly Tantric Sunday and turn it into a Tantric-Sunday-in-Manhattan (i.e. drink better coffee and eat better pastries in between sessions and make use of your purchases from #4)*
*your editrix's perfect Manhattan day