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The Cole Haan Guide to New York City

What to eat, see, and do when you visit the kinetic concrete island.
By Sarah Khan

The Cole Haan Guide to New York City

What to eat, see, and do when you visit the kinetic concrete island.
By Sarah Khan
New York is famously called the city that never sleeps, but what precisely is it about New York that paints a kinetic tableau at any hour of the day or night? Is it the skyline, forever glinting in the sun or lit up in an electrifying display after dark? Is it the people, who stride its broad boulevards with purpose no matter the hour? Or perhaps it’s simply something intangible steeped in the atmosphere, as Simone de Beauvoir once speculated: “There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.”
So how should you spend a sleepless few days in New York this fall? We have a few ideas.
Cole Haan City Guide - New York - Illustration - Statue of Liberty

All illustrations by Russ Pope

What to see

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Sure, the Empire State Building observation deck has been the backdrop of some of the most iconic celluloid moments of all time, but now it’s got a serious new contender for its claim to the best views of New York’s skyline. The Edge opened last year in the glittering Hudson Yards development, and its 100-story vantage point makes it the highest open-air sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. From this soaring perch, you get a bird’s-eye view of the city—and a great photo of the Empire State Building.

Go-To

With two million square feet to explore, you could return to the Metropolitan Museum of Art a dozen times and still uncover masterpieces you’ve never come across before. This fall, in addition to checking out long-standing favorites like the Egyptian Art and the Islamic galleries, save plenty of time to browse the Costume Institute’s new exhibition: “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” This eagerly awaited exhibit will take a deep dive into the nation’s sartorial history.

Newbie

New Yorkers descended on the city’s outdoors spaces in unprecedented numbers during the pandemic, and this spring they got a new place to soak up the sun: Little Island, a striking public park hovering above the Hudson River at Pier 55. The $260 million development—originally conceived by celebrated British architect Thomas Heatherwick—has been years in the making, but the result was worth it. Make sure to check their schedule for the most up-to-date info on outdoor performances, or just go for a stroll through the botanic gardens.
Cole Haan City Guide - New York - Illustration - Rashid and Sophia

What to eat

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Get a proper New York start to your weekend with the classic breakfast staple: a bagel with lox and schmear. The line snaking down the block might lead you to wonder if you’ve stumbled onto a buzzy upstart that’s newly trending with the TikTok set, but in reality, Russ & Daughters has been a Lower East Side standby for more than a century. Join an eclectic mix of loyal locals and curious tourists in line to discover what the fuss is all about.

Go-To

On a vibrant block of Nolita (“North of Little Italy”), chef Cédric Vongerichten’s Wayan has chic, moody interiors that make you want to settle in for awhile—think teak panels, amber glass millwork, tropical plants, marble tiles, and dim lighting filtered through latticed pendant fixtures. Inside, Vongerichten blends Indonesian and French flavors to create compelling plates: Try the crispy soft-shell crab with ramp sambal, dry-aged duck with gulai sauce and lotus chips, or beloved staples like nasi goreng and crab fried rice. But whatever you do, don’t miss the buttery, indulgent lobster noodles—and know that you won’t want to share.

Newbie

The buzzy new Indian eatery Sona has some serious star power behind it (Bollywood-Hollywood crossover actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas is a partner), but the real star here is chef Hari Nayak’s playful, yet refined, menu. Have a golgappa shot to start things off with a kick, then work your way through the octopus ghee roast, crab puri with caviar, and gruyere dosa, all inside Sona’s Art Deco-inspired dining room. Take note of the elegant gilt trimmings: Sona means “gold” in Hindi, after all.
Cole Haan City Guide - New York - Illustration - Sophia

What to do

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The best views of the city are from the water surrounding it. Luckily, New York has an extensive (and inexpensive) ferry network to help you scope out every alluring angle, en route to beaches, riverside parks, the Statue of Liberty, and more. For a quick jaunt, consider hopping over to Governors Island, where you can ride along bike paths, check out art installations, and graze on the endless food truck offerings. From tacos to jerk chicken to Indian-inspired ice cream, there are no wrong choices here.

Go-To

From alfresco Shakespeare in the Park productions in the summer to a snowy wonderland in the winter, Central Park is a must-visit any time of year. But it’s especially resplendent in the autumn, when its 843 acres of trees turn brilliant shades of gold, saffron, and scarlet. One of the best ways to cover large stretches in a limited time is to rent a bike and cruise past the Bethesda Fountain, Belvedere Castle, Central Park Zoo, Strawberry Fields, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and other park landmarks.

Newbie

New York’s most beloved pastime is back. After going dark for a year and a half, Broadway stages are ready to welcome eager patrons again this fall. Given the demand, tickets might be hard to come by, so plan well in advance. This season, longtime favorites like “Hamilton,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Wicked” will be joined by thrilling new productions including “Diana the Musical” and “Six.”
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