Adrien Field

Cafe Gitane at The Jane Hotel

Cafe Gitane

The past few times I’ve gone to brunch in New York City, my original plans have been foiled and I had to think quickly on my feet to come up with a Brunch Plan B.  The scenario is always the same: My friends and I don’t plan ahead, we go somewhere that doesn’t take reservations and we’re quoted an hour, or sometimes even a two-hour, wait. Yes, I’m looking at you, Bubby’s in Tribeca and Freemans in the East Village.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do lines and I don’t wait for brunch when I’ve got Bloody Marys and Belgian waffles on the mind.  If waiting isn’t your scene, no matter how good the pancakes, you’ve got to seek out those under-the-radar spots where a good meal and a seat are almost always guaranteed.

The last few times we were diverted from our original destinations because of wait times, we found a refuge in the places below.  They had a table and a delicious brunch, which on a lazy Sunday, is really all you want and need.

The National
Being right next to Freemans, this place gets a lot of that residual downtown traffic. Like Freemans, it has a rustic, laid-back vibe. Unlike Freemans, you don’t have to wait an hour-and-a-half for a table.
8 Rivington Street, near Thompson LES New York City

Café Gitane
A neighborhood spot where you used to be able to catch a glimpse of an Olsen, the draw is the simple and decently priced dishes. Favorites include the avocado on toast spread and the salad with toasted goat cheese croutons.
242 Mott Street, near the Crosby Street Hotel New York City Read More »

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Francophiles visiting the Big Apple should be sure to try the gourmet desserts and coffee at La Maison du Chocolate.

New York and Paris have always had a special relationship.  We may have taken our language from island to the north, but we’ve acquired our appreciation of fine wine, food, and culture from the French.  Walking around SoHo on any Saturday afternoon is surely a testament to the special bond we share: Sometimes I hear so much French I have to check the nearest street sign to make sure I didn’t just turn a corner onto the Boulevard Saint Germain while I wasn’t paying attention.

Of course, New Yorkers have never had to travel far for foreign cultural experiences: Spanish Harlem, China Town, and Little Italy and just a subway stop away, but for a piece of La Belle France, just like trying to find that gem of a vintage shop on the Left Bank, you have to know where to search.

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Orsay on the Upper East Side

New Yorkers typically spend the majority of their time boxed into small places: their studio apartments, crowded subway cars, and drab cubicle offices.  When summer comes around, one of the small pleasures is being able to sit out on one of the city’s many terraces and enjoy a drink.

The perfect spot for an afternoon respite or an after-work cocktail, they’re best enjoyed with a cold glass of wine and good conversation.

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Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel

When the average watering hole won’t do — whether you want to impress clients or just luxuriate in fabulous environs — a hotel bar is the place to go.  New York is full of boutique and iconic hotels, but these five have something more.  It’s that “it” factor that just can’t be replicated.  They’re the spots to go when you really want to feel glamorous or partake in some “see-and-be-seen” scenery.

Rose Bar in The Gramercy Park Hotel
You’re sure to find the city’s glitterati and at least one canoodling celebrity couple behind these notoriously tight doors. If you can make it inside (calling ahead for a reservation is a must), there’s nothing like the subtly perfumed interior with its functioning fireplace, lush velvet couches and priceless artwork adorning the walls.
2 Lexington Avenue

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Brooklyn Flea is held every Saturday in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Most visitors to New York City think of the giant window displays on Fifth Avenue or the imposing storefront of the Macy’s flagship store when they envision shopping in New York,. But fashion insiders have their own little haunts where they go to find discounted designer duds and one-of-a-kind vintage.  If you’re looking for a real shopping experience that promises to yield more than just crowds and jaw-droppingly high prices, you’ll have to head downtown, where –if you’re in the know — finding vintage designer pieces for a fraction of their original prices is easier than locating a hot dog stand in Times Square.

Below is a list of designer discount stores and consignment stores to help you shop like a stylist.

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Laser light show at the Club 57 party at Providence

New York City has the most vibrant gay culture on the East Coast, which means spotting same-sex couples holding hands in the West Village during the day is as common as cabs and corner coffee shops. But once the sun goes down, the nightlife is nothing if not extraordinary.

If you’re looking to experience a truly eye-opening adventure — filled with more glitter, sequins, and drag queens than an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race — you should make it a priority to visit one of New York’s fabled gay soirées (which we’ll tell you all about below).

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