We all need a little low lighting, a little nature, and a lot of luck to fall in love in NYC. Bring your dates to these spots to increase the likelihood you'll have one of those Lady and the Tramp moments.
Not just a gorgeous garden in summer, BBG becomes more of a cultural than botanic destination every year. From vintage parties to members' picnics, plant shopping days to the annual cherry blossom celebration, this is not to be missed. A romantic date!
I was recently at Fort Tryon Park during a snowstorm, and chilly as it was, it couldn't have been lovelier. Sweeping views of the Hudson River fight with the majestic view of the medieval Cloisters looming above. Bring your camera and a book to collect pressed leaves. Sign up for a birdwatching tour with NYC Parks & Recreation. Stop for brunch at New Leaf afterwards.
This avant-garde artistic florist features geometric glassware, unconventional flowers, and fun window displays. I love going in to browse -- who wouldn't be pulled in by flowers that wind around Sonic Youth album covers? Be ready to pay, but for weddings, this place can make your dreams come wildly true.
Chef Galen Zamarra helms this immaculate West Village jewelbox, where service is perfect and the food follows a cultivated, rustic style. Sourcing from farmers markets and local farms, Mas features black trumpet mushrooms, farm-raised chicken, and Vermont cheeses. The servers are professionally knowledgeable about food and wine to the extreme, with background information about the farms and vinyards items are sourced from. Wines focus heavily on France and biodynamic, organic vinyards.
The most breathtaking park in Brooklyn hosts views of the East River, the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. You'll see wedding parties, couples strolling, dogs, babies, old folks, young folks -- the gamut of human life comes here. Romantic, with film screenings in the summer and Narnia-like views in the winter of lampposts against a wintry endless wonderland. Ride Jane's Carousel to complete the magic experience, and then return to yummy reality with pizza at Grimaldi's or ice cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
Is it worth the wait? For the drinks, perhaps not, now that you can get an equally lovely, inventive cocktail many places in the East Village. But for the warm, relaxed, civilized atmosphere, not-deafening sound level, and supercomfortable seats combined with the delicious cocktails, yes, PDT is worth every minute spent waiting outside that phone booth. Note the very unique and/or exclusive bottles on the bar and try some new things. Bartenders are professionals here.
Dinner at Macao combines Portuguese and Chinese flavors, with flavorful coconut milk cocktails and supersavory entrees like Hoisin barbecue noodles and forbidden black rice.
Monday nights at Macao mean Drunken Dragon Nights, a burlesque show hosted by producer Calamity Chang with a fabulous (read: long and topshelf) open bar. And yet, some of my friends have turned this show down.
New York City: the only city in world where you can call up a friend, tell him there's an open bar of fine cocktails in a beautiful setting where he'll be entertained by gorgeous girls doing burlesque for free, and he responds that he's going to stay home and watch Modern Family.
You'll regret it when you're older. Go now.
Give your neighboring tables Order Envy by choosing the Whole Lobster ... and while you're at it, why not add on a plate of 6 oysters? Other dishes like fish and chips and trout are reliable, perfectly-cooked standbys. Prices hover around $20, and the cozy, romantic ambience is perfect for a date or bestie catch-up.
This lovely Red Hook bar and restaurant is known for its excellent rotating menu of cocktails, which often harken back to vintage recipes from say, The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book of 1935 or The Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930. Bitter, refreshing flavors play an essential role in many of the drinks.
So delightfully old school it will make you think you're in the Royal Tenenbaums ice cream parlor, Brooklyn Farmacy has the soda jerks, the tall glasses, the long spoons, and the delicious ice cream floats. But there are also breakfast biscuits and sandwiches and espresso, for which the parlor opens at 8 a.m. on weekdays.
The first time I stumbled upon Brooklyn Winery, there were actual grapes hanging on a vine not too far from the entrance. It felt like ... viticultural serendipity. All signs pointed to this large, beautiful space, with a large back patio, multiple rooms, a photo booth with costumes, an impressive selection of wines, and a host of classes, from tasting to making. And then someone told me AC/DC made wine there together. That's it, Brooklyn Winery. You're a magical place.
Chantelle is like the most popular girl you just can't hate. She's got it all -- lovely rooftop, fun French Mediterranean menu, very hip crowd, hot servers, jazz brunches with Dandy Wellington, and Friday night burlesque with Calamity Chang. Snuggle up on those red leather banquettes with your honey and get an eyeful of New York sexiness.