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New York City Walk: Downtown

The best of this iconic and ever-changing NYC locale.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Full day

Overview:  No one can agree precisely when it started, let alone where it starts. South of Houston Street? 14th? 23rd? Does it include the... more »

Tips:  Big Onion Walking Tours was founded by graduate students in History in NYC who ran tours on the side for extra money. Tours run at... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Blue & Cream

An airy, minimalist window-lined store that started as a Hamptons staple, it carries designers for men (Rag & Bone, Rogues Gallery) and women (Zac Posen, Jill Stuart), and attracts a wide array of buyers, including celebrities. This hip Bowery location features oft-changing exhibits of contemporary art and photography that are mixed in with... More

Hoteliers Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode—the team behind New York’s Maritime Hotel—are breathing new life into Manhattan’s once-desolate Bowery with their 135-room Bowery Hotel. Entering the lobby is like stepping into a pre-Raphaelite painting: a Gothic fireplace, Oriental rugs over a Moroccan-tiled floor. Rooms are pure vintage-repro, down to... More

London’s Firmdale Group brings the spirit of Soho to a cobblestoned lane in the other SoHo. The new 86-room Crosby Street Hotel feels very much a part of its vibrant, intimately scaled neighborhood: the restaurant-bar has become a local favorite, and the salon-like lobby is filled from morning to midnight. Kit Kemp’s bold interiors manage to... More

Inspired by the 1920’s speakeasy motif, this New York bar is sequestered behind a large, wooden door. The interior provides the perfect chic atmosphere for enjoying the cocktail creations of Thomas Waugh, with dark banquettes and tables dimly lit by small chandeliers and candles. Waugh’s cocktails include the Rita Hayworth (made with pineapple-... More

5. Derek Lam

Combining effortlessly unencumbered minimalism with the subtle beauty of a polished concrete floor and curving acrylic walls, the Derek Lam boutique in downtown New York City is a signature sanaa design. The clothes are stars here, set off by the gallery-like space’s hyper-meticulous, luxurious ambience—and yet there is surprising warmth, too, a... More

Actor-entrepreneur Robert De Niro’s newest addition to his mini TriBeCa empire is his most inviting yet. Opened in the former warehouse neighborhood in 2008, The Greenwich is a masterful trompe l’oeil: the corner building, erected on an empty parking lot, looks as if it’s been there since the turn of the century—the truth hidden by its... More

7. Jane Hotel

While the Jane, designed by Sean MacPherson (the Bowery Hotel, the Maritime Hotel), is romantic in theory—an old riverfront building with tiny rooms modeled after European train sleeper cars—keep in mind that a New York hotel with starting rates in the double digits comes with drawbacks. Our room during a recent stay had a 27-inch flat-screen TV, ... More

8. Locanda Verde

Chef-owner Andrew Carmellini brings robust Italian cooking to Locanda Verde, located in TriBeCa. Like an Italian taverna, the décor is simple and energetic, with a granite-topped bar, cafe tables, large French windows, and accents of dark wood. A delicious beginning is the crostini—small bites of prosciutto bread, spicy corn, puréed ... More

Greenwich Village’s historic Minetta Tavern originally opened in 1937 and was a haunt for such cultural icons as Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound. In 2008, the tavern was renovated by restaurateur Keith McNally and his partners Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, the team behind Balthazar. Now, this Parisian-style steakhouse serves a menu of French-American ... More

With a mile-long list of accolades and awards—and even longer waits for stools at his East Village dining bars—the Korean-American cook David Chang is New York’s favorite chef du jour. First he grabbed headlines with Momofuku Noodle Bar, turning New Yorkers into a bunch of “rameniacs.” The equally streamlined and passion-inducing Momofuku Ssä... More

This striking home for downtown’s contemporary art hub—led by savvy director Lisa Phillips—made a splashy debut in December 2007, thanks to its extraordinary lopsided, six-story building designed by Japanese duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa from acclaimed architectural firm SANAA. The space’s boxy interior may appear less awe-inspiring than... More

12. Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony in SoHo offers a unique, creative approach to the fashion market—a ménage of showrooms, galleries, and retail space based on the interlocking rings of the Olympics. The result is an international shopping experience unlike most others, with established and emerging designers from the featured country of the year (such as... More

13. PDT

Short for Please Don’t Tell, this East Village bar’s name reflects its speakeasy vibe. The bar is only accessible through the phone booth at the back of Crif Dogs, a St. Marks Place restaurant serving hot dogs. The small, retro-inspired space is dimly lit and has exposed brick walls adorned with an assortment of taxidermied animals. Inside,... More

Tony, candlelit, and elevated one story above traffic, this refined SoHo lounge feels like the sort of place where two lovers conducting an illicit affair might rendezvous. Named after an actual British officers’ club in Rangoon, it has an appropriate interior—all dark woods, velvet seats, and Asian accents. The Eastern-influenced snack menu by... More

At the south end of the High Line, an abandoned 1930’s elevated freight rail track turned 21st-century park, a new Standard Hotel is going up on massive concrete piers, boldly straddling this most extraordinary public space. All along its 11/2-mile path (the first third is scheduled to open by the end of 2008), the High Line has become a magnet... More

André Balazs understands that stellar views in New York City have less to do with the height of a building than with its context. The perennial hotelier to the hip—and in this case, hip and budget-conscious—has opened his fourth Standard hotel, on a Meatpacking District site surrounded by low-lying warehouses. The result: practically every ... More