Lesser Known Spots to Discover in Manhattan
The Empire State Building, Tiffany’s and Trump Tower, Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum and MoMA are among Manhattan’s “must see” spots for tourists. But the island is dotted with less publicized gems that still merit attention. Here are some stops an “insider” was invited to discover.
Encased in its own spiraling nautilus shell pavilion, Battery Park’s merry-go-round is like no other. Without a center pole, guests seated in fanciful fish and sea creatures twirl around and up and down in a trip through a mystical “underwater” world. Located steps from the Staten Island Ferry in historic Battery Park where the city originated, the carousel is open from 10 am to 10 pm, and after dark the 30 iridescent fish light up evoking a spin through the bioluminescence of deep ocean waters.
Photos of celebrities from Woody Allen to George Clooney grinning with founder Herve Mammoliti, adorn the walls of this family restaurant, a sister to the popular eatery in Antibes, France, which has been a long time favorite with the celebrity patrons pictured. This American branch which opened just over a year ago barely a block north of Canal Street is a comfortably stylish storefront serving delicious provencal/Italian dishes which account for the celebrity grins in the photos.
Diners can start with a special house cocktails ― a MAMO Campari or an Al Pachili blending passion fruit puree, pineapple. Beyond mere “spaghetti with meat sauce,” MAMO’s Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is tantalizingly served crunchy with bacon and pecorino cheese. A crescent of cauliflower puree surrounds the wild salmon entree. For dessert an there’s an extra creamy tiramisu and the Mousse al choccolato is served with swirls of salted caramel sauce.
Almost a quarter century after the original opened, it is Herve’s son Mike who oversees this American version, serving all-star dishes worthy of the stars.
Nestled into a neighborhood where nostalgic low-rise red brick buildings house candy and tobacco stores, storefront shoe repair shops and nail salons, tucked-away restaurants serving ethnic specialties, the boutique Duane Street Hotel is a cozy, modern place to stay while exploring the flavor of old-time New York.
Located in Tribeca, just a few blocks west of City Hall, the ten-year-old hotel was built on a site which had served as a parking lot for 9-11 evacuation and construction vehicles. From the ground floor lobby bar and Graffiti restaurant to the rooms, its design is sophisticated, compact, and convenient. Floor to ceiling windows cast light on the double bed with black leather tufted headboard, Facing the bed and below a wide screen tv, a handy console holds the mini-bar offerings and desk space with handy drawers and storage space underneath. Terry cloth robes, a safe, and iron are found in the closet and L’Occitane amenities in the slate and marble bathroom.
The hotel provides an “Authentic Tribeca” pamphlet to help exploring the nearby neighborhoods, museums, and local landmarks: Bowling Green Park, the Woolworth Building, the World Trade Center. Easy subway access, cobbled streets, cast-iron facades, and quirky shops are right outside the hotel room doors.