Row NYC Base camp Metropolis featured

If you’re going to a city so good they named it twice, you most certainly don’t want to be nibbling around the edges. What you want is to take a whopping bite of the so-called apple – taking in core, pips, stalk and all. And there’s no better place to fill your mouth with NYC goodness from than the center of this metropolitan universe: Times Square!

Row NYC provides the proverbial and literal front row seat to all the action in town, as the five boroughs converge in one seething mass, right outside on your doorstep. The commotion of Midtown quickly fades away though, as the plush surrounds envelope guests as soon as they enter through the revolving doors. But don’t think the cosmopolitan vibe ends there…

This ultra-modern, €140 million hotel, completed in early 2014, was designed to reflect the essence of New York itself – refined and raw in equal measure. Artworks and installations are sprinkled throughout the building, cocktails and live music flow from the restaurant-bar, and naturally service is 24/7. That leaves just one decision (if one should choose to sleep, that is): which one of the 1,331 rooms is it going to be?

Swiss Institute Sticking it to stereotypes

If you came here looking for multi-purpose pocket knives and smooth alpine chocolates then you came to the wrong place. This Swiss Institute is all about art, and always has been—ever since their humble beginnings in a two bed Swiss townhouse on West 67th Street in 1986.

After a lengthy spell in a loft space in Soho from the mid 90s through until 2011, they finally managed to upgrade to some street-level digs worthy of the art work that they’ve been consistently displaying.

With the change in surrounds also came a change in MO. Whereas formerly the institute was all about showcasing Swiss art and artists to a primarily Swiss audience, they’ve now become committed to looking beyond the perma-neutral state’s borders; morphing themselves into an innovative international venue that provides a forum for artistic dialogue between Switzerland, the rest of Europe and the US.

Unsurprising, then, that they’ve adopted an all-embracing approach to different mediums as well—from the paintings, illustrations and street art of Nicolas Party to the sculpture and installation work of Amy O’ Neill.

Brooklyn Slate Company Eco-quarriers

Fact: Business ideas can be found in your backyard. Or at least they can if you’ve got a slate quarry in your backyard… Lucky for Kristy Hadeka, then, whose family home just happens to neighbor such a quarry. It was only when she showed it off to friend, graphic designer and now business partner Sean Tice, though, that Brooklyn Slate Company began to be chiseled into shape.

Personally sourcing all their raw materials from the quarry, including reusing stone from its “graveyard”, Hadeka and Tice initially started creating gifts for friends. Now the pair sell a swish line of slate trivets, hot-plates, coasters and boards—each with unique, roughened edges created with a slate-cutter—from this white-wooden Brooklyn shop space lined with floor-to-ceiling wall embedded shelving. And what’s more, each individual product’s packaging is selected based on its reusable potential.

Mast Brothers Willy-amsburg Wonka & the chocolate factory

Workshop and primary sales point of the bearded chocolate-making bros Rick and Michael, Mast Brothers is the undisputed ground zero in the hearts and minds of many a New York cocoa-craver. Holing themselves up in a rough and ready Brooklyn space, the boys have created a rustic city retreat replete with cocoa bean burlap sacks, bare support beams and distressed wooden furniture—with twanging bluegrass tunes floating out of the speakers and adding to the countrified vibe. It’s the chocolate, though, that is firmly front and center here. Sourcing their beans from small farms in Ecuador, Madagascar and Venezuela, the siblings convert their fairly-traded raw materials with artisanal skill into bars with so much quality that the Brooklyn Wonka might even call them scrumdiddlyumptious, man.

21 Club How many federal agents does it take…

In search of some old-school NYC grandeur? Far more than an imitation, the 21 Club really is the Big Apple of yore. Established in 1922, it’s got both experience and prohibition-cred on its side. In fact, it was so secret that not one of 10 federal agents could find it during America’s dry years.

The 21 Club goes to great pains to brandish this history—just see the decorated bar room ceiling covered with bric-a-brac from yesteryear. A couple of cigars and Martinis on ice later, waltz upstairs to the restaurant, a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers high romance sort of space.

One caveat—be aware of the dress code. Whatever your opinions surrounding the antiquated tradition, clad in jeans and sneakers are a no-no…which means you’d be missing out on the dining spot graced by the protagonists of Wall Street, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and if you’re so inclined, even SATC.

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