As I stroll the streets of New York City, I am constantly inspired by the amazing architecture that surrounds me. It is old world, meets new world, meets everything in between, but definitely always awe-inspiring and fabulous. I mean, after all, this is New York and we wouldn’t expect anything less.
But just beyond those enchanting exteriors decorating New York’s famous skyline, are the incredible interiors that support them. And since we wouldn’t know what’s behind door number 1 (or 2 or 2,000) unless we visited each one of them, I’m giving you an inside look at some of Gotham’s greatest gems – hotels, landmarks, restaurants and even transportation hubs. Come take a look! Hotels
- The Beekman Hotel – Down in New York’s burgeoning “Fidi” (or Financial District) neighborhood is the new Beekman Hotel. Now, much like many of the buildings that dot this darling skyline, many of these buildings are not new, but new-ish meaning recently renovated. And this neighborhood newbie is no exception. It is a building dating back to the 1800’s where a pair of famous phrenologists maintained their offices (hence the name of the new Tom Colicchio restaurant that resides in the building’s lobby – Fowler & Wells). Upon entering, there is no shortage of stunning sights to see. Between the gilded cast-iron railings that encase the atrium and the stunningly situated lobby restaurant, you’ll see why this makes the list.
- Park Hyatt – Standing tall and proud in Manhattan’s midtown neighborhood off 57th street between 6th and 7th avenue, the Park Hyatt exudes opulence and luxury from the moment you enter it’s sleek black gated doors. As you enter, the dim lighting striking against the black & white swirled marble floors makes you feel like you’re instantly rich. Take the mirrored elevator to the lobby level and you’re greeted by décor that takes you back to the days of old Hollywood (with a modern & elegant twist of course). What lies above, I don’t know as I’ve never stayed here, but I can only imagine the beauty that awaits 25 floors above.
- Edition Hotel – Originally built in 1909 and the headquarters for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, this “Clocktower” is the new home of the posh & perfectly decorated Edition Hotel (also with properties in London & Miami). While many of the iconic interiors remain, the casual elegance & contemporary sophistication injected into the hotel’s common spaces is refreshing. But, world renowned design firm, Rockwell Group, takes it to a whole different level when they incorporated the helix shaped spiraling stair case at the back of the lobby – the greatest treasure this building has to offer and true work of art.
- New York Public Library – Sure it might be the famous scene where Carrie gets left at the altar by Big, but long before that, the New York Public Library has been an iconic and beautiful landmark (both in and out). Built in 1911, in a Beaux-Arts style, this stunning structure is made of white marble, grand staircases and elaborately painted ceilings. You won’t regret allocating a few hours of your day to discover the divine hallways, great rooms & architectural elements of this enormous Manhattan marvel.
- Oculus – Completed just last year and well over budget, Oculus is something from a futuristic movie. Looking somewhat like a whale’s skeleton, Santiago Calatrava, the famed Spanish architect responsible for the design of this edifice, actually modeled it after a dove in flight. Under the towering bones of this white wonder, is a large hall of glass, shiny white floors and a tremendous amount of natural light filtering in. And although it might serve as a transportation hub and commercial center, this ingenious interior is more like a work of art.
- Woolworth Tower – One of Manhattan’s original skyscrapers, this historic landmark building is a testament to the city’s gilded age. Resembling a gothic European cathedral, this tower’s interiors are equally as elegant. Covered in marble, gold leaf and bronze fittings, the building’s lobby alone attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year!
- Penn Station – Although the ire of many a traveler, Penn Station does have some beautiful architectural features. As the main intercity railroad station, more than half a million commuters come through here each day! But with all that hustle and bustle, it’s hard to stop and admire the beauty that lies within. Replacing the original structure which sat just across the street from the current one, Penn Station shares the same grounds as Madison Square Garden. But it’s not just the funky façade that makes it unique. If you look down one of the hub’s main corridors, you can feel like you’re being tele transported to your next destination with the long, lighted panels along the ceiling.
- Grand Central – By far one of my favorite New York City interiors to visit over and over, the Grand Concourse at Grand Central Station is always breathtaking. Day or night, this jaw dropping space makes time stand still despite the lightening speed at which it’s commuters move. At the very center of the city is a place where all things New York come together – people, food, shopping and history. It is a classically magical place that has stood the test of time and will always be the heart of the city.
- Subway Station at Fulton Center – A spaceship looking dome, more formally known as the Sky Reflector Net by it’s designers, is at the center of this massive subway station in Downtown Manhattan. With 9 subway lines intersecting at the Fulton Street stop, this huge hub designed by Grimshaw Architects is LEED certified and streamlined to give passengers plenty of light, air and breathing room during those tough daily commutes.Restaurants
- Vandal – One of the newest property’s of the famed restaurant group, Tao, this booming bar and eatery on Bowery is more than just a place to have a bite. Inspired by its worldly menu, the global glam interior is absolutely stunning. Adorned with a collection of sick street art, chic chandeliers & posh dining pews it’s no wonder getting a reservation here is nearly impossible. Come for the art, stay for the food & drinks, you won’t be disappointed.
- Westlight– Sitting atop Brooklyn’s newest and hottest hotel, The William Vale, is my new favorite rooftop restaurant and bar, Westlight. Perched high above New York on the 22nd floor, the indoor/outdoor meticulously designed space boasts some of the most beautiful views of Manhattan I’ve ever seen! With floor to ceiling glass windows, beautifully tiled floors and a loft like feel to match, this is one interior space that can’t be beat! Oh, and the exterior rooftop patio is equally as fabulous!
- La Sirena – The newest addition to the recently renovated Maritime Hotel, La Sirena is Mario Batali’s latest installment. The sprawling indoor-outdoor space is far more than an Italian restaurant – it’s an architectural masterpiece. And while the food is relatively average (and overpriced), the décor is so on point, I’d come here just to ogle at this open space beauty, preferably with a drink in hand. With a glowing white quartz bar as it’s centerpiece, perfectly curated Portuguese pavers and highly vaulted ceilings, you can see why this made my list.