Surf, Tacos and Cocktails at Rockaway Beach

Surf, Tacos and Cocktails at Rockaway Beach

The Rockaways, a narrow peninsula on southern Long Island, has a mixture of lower and middle-class neighborhoods. Among its residents are firefighters, policemen, and rappers. Although the area is accessible by subway and has four miles of wide sandy beaches, it wasn’t known as a summertime destination. This changed two or three years ago, spurred in part by the reconstruction efforts that followed Hurricane Sandy. Cadres of surfers and young beachgoers from Brooklyn and Manhattan have been dipping their toes in these waters. The New York Post said it best,…

Summer in NYC: Weekend Escapes to the Beach

Summer in NYC: Weekend Escapes to the Beach

It’s piping hot in New York City right now, and I’m wishing I’d planned a weekend at the beach. In more than a decade here, I’ve traveled to many of the area’s beaches and lakes. It’s the only way to avoid a meltdown- literally and metaphorically. Here are some of my favorite places to stay when I need an escape.     The iconic MONTAUK YACHT CLUB, which opened more than 80 years ago on the East End of Long Island, was recently renovated to keep up with Montauk’s rising…

Care for a flat white? Head to NYC’s Bluestone Lane

Care for a flat white? Head to NYC’s Bluestone Lane

Have you seen the miniseries Top of the Lake? It’s a fantastic murder mystery set in New Zealand, starring the talented Elizabeth Moss (Peggy on Mad Men) and the even-more-talented Holly Hunter. Anyway, Elizabeth Moss’ character orders a lot of “flat whites” at the local coffee shop. I had never heard of this drink before, and naturally I was curious. It turns out that the flat white is a cross between a latte and a cappuccino, and it’s damn good. To avoid alienating any baristas, I’ll try to explain it…

Some coffee with those shoes? TOMS opens a cafe in NYC

Some coffee with those shoes? TOMS opens a cafe in NYC

TOMS, the company that made its mark in 2006 with a series of colorful (and very comfortable) shoes modeled after Argentinian gaucho footwear, will not stop expanding. In 2011, it introduced a line of sunglasses following the same “buy one give one” model that gave it such a high profile in its early days. This business philosophy proved to be irresistible to hipsters. More recently, it began selling coffee bought directly from farmers, and for every bag of beans purchased, someone in need gets a week of clean water. Soon…

Christmas dinner in NYC: top last-minute picks

Christmas dinner in NYC: top last-minute picks

IF, like it happened to me, your Christmas Eve plans were suddenly cancelled (Egad!), there’s still time to find a charming restaurant where you can have a meal fit for the occasion, with great atmosphere, fine food, and plenty of champagne. Cherche Midi The latest venture by one of New York City’s most famous restaurateurs, Keith McNally (owner of Balthazar, Morandi, Schiller’s Liquor Bar, and the late Pastis). Cherche Midi was instantly adopted as a go-to French bistro by discerning Manhattanites. The steak frites is excellent, served with an ultra…

The New Manhattan (Avenue)

The New Manhattan (Avenue)

Seven years ago, I lived in Greenpoint for a short while. Two friends of mine had gone away to travel the world, leaving their one-bedroom apartment on the neighborhood’s main drag, Manhattan Avenue, empty. I needed a sublet, so I packed my bags and headed to the north side of Brooklyn. That sojourn turned out to be truly gratifying, mostly because I immediately felt at home in Greenpoint, a mostly Polish, middle-class enclave that was friendly and provincial in a great way. The seeds of gentrification were already sprouting. Here…

Oysters and Rosé on the Hudson

Oysters and Rosé on the Hudson

I just discovered this gem. How could I have missed it! A beautiful wooden boat built in 1942 in Nova Scotia, now parked on the banks of the Hudson River near Tribeca in Lower Manhattan. You can have ultra-fresh oysters and small plates, along with wine and cocktails, while taking in the gorgeous views. Grand Banks is truly a unique spot, open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, and starting at noon on weekends. [images from grandbanks.org]