On the Atlantic coast, where the Hudson and East rivers meet the sea.
This is one of just a handful of cities with a genuine shot at the title of Capital of the World. If it isn’t happening in New York, it isn’t happening.
It’s practically impossible to avoid — all roads, rails and flight paths in the eastern U.S. seem to lead to New York.
Try to see the city’s much-vaunted attitude as a positive rather than a negative. Rarely will a New Yorker leave you wondering what he really thinks.
New York has long been synonymous with a certain type of tradition-bound Italian-American cooking — to this day you’re never more than a block or two away from a classic “red sauce” restaurant. In recent years, however, the city’s Italian cooking scene has adopted a more contemporary approach, opening itself to influences imported directly from present-day Italy.
There are dozens of fine examples all over town, and several of them, conveniently enough, are located inside a few of New York’s best hotels. Beginning downtown, in the financial district, there’s brand-new power spot Felice. Tucked inside the Wall Street haven Gild Hall, the restaurant serves the owner’s own Tuscan wine label alongside authentically prepared favorites, like the spaghetti bolognese made strictly with veal. In Tribeca, the Campari and prosecco flow freely at Locanda Verde, the tangential restaurant to the Greenwich Hotel, which is owned by that most famous of New York Italian-Americans, Robert De Niro. Stay for dinner, or make your way up to the Bowery Hotel for Gemma, the ground-floor trattoria whose brick walls and unpretentious wooden furnishings strike just the right rustic note. Or mingle with the good-looking crowd at the Maritime, on the border between Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, whose Bottega serves comfort-inspired Italian food and wine in a hyper-stylish environment.
Closer to Midtown is the bohemian-luxe Gramercy Park Hotel, where Danny Meyer (head of the Union Square Hospitality Group) opened Maialino, a Roman trattoria, complete with antipasti trolley and chic checkered tablecloths. And farther up Fifth Avenue, practically in the shadow of the Empire State Building, the Setai Fifth Avenue is the setting for Ai Fiori, where Michael White takes Italian cuisine into the realm of classic fine dining.
All this without even venturing into the newly resurgent Little Italy, where locals and visitors alike are rediscovering Caffé Roma, the vintage gelateria, and some fabulous old grocers, such as Di Palo’s — Marty Scorsese’s favorite — or Alleva Dairy, specializing in fresh mozzarella since 1892. Just to the north, in the sensibly named Nolita (North of Little Italy), is the neighborhood’s first boutique hotel, the Nolitan, where guests can borrow bikes for exploring – and, after all this eating, some welcome exercise.