Spring is upon us and New York reverberates with bankers sans suit jackets and debutantes decked in flirty dresses and stilettos. Wondering where to leisurely brunch as a prelude to a day of gallery-hopping? Or where to dance the night away in true old Hollywood style? From reinvented classics and undiscovered scenes to the latest primping meccas, What’s Haute New York sifts through the mind-boggling assemblage to reveal New York’s best spots. You truly won’t miss a beat as you unwind, satiate, and toast the ebullient months ahead.
By Jennifer Seligman and Monique Stringfellow
301 Park Ave.
When it comes to the glamour of Old New York, one hotel conjures up images of grandeur like none other. Originally opened in 1893-albeit at a different location-the first incarnation was the embodiment of Gilded Era opulence. Built by millionaire William Waldorf Astor, the Waldorf was the very first hotel equipped with private bathrooms and electricity. Chefs at the Waldorf Hotel created original menus of dishes that are now considered American Classics like Eggs Benedict, Waldorf Salad, Red Velvet Cake, and Thousand Island Dressing. Today, the Waldorf-Astoria continues to live up to the expectations set in place by its illustrious beginnings. Of its 1,416 rooms, 123 are suites including the Presidential Suite, which has hosted every American president since Herbert Hoover’s term in the White House, and the Royal Suite, which is the former residence of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Its inimitable elegance harkens back to an earlier era, making it the hotel of choice for many of today’s luminaries.
16 West 57th St.
Warren-Tricomi’s true specialty lies within their customized treatments.
Warren-Tricomi is a top New York salon where one can discover an intimate blend of luxury and style. Warren-Tricomi was created in 1996 when hair stylist Edward Tricomi joined colorist Joel Warren and businesswoman Roxanna Pintilie. These hair care experts are always eager to provide customized styling services. Edward Tricomi brings to the group his signature precision cutting technique that has been likened to an artist moving his brush over a blank canvas. Joel Warren is recognized for his renowned ability to capture a client’s personality through hair color, noting that “hair color is not about trends-it’s about individuality.” Warren-Tricomi’s true specialty lies within their customized treatments. Every individual hair type can be evaluated. Whether dry, fine, fragile, rebellious, or lifeless, the complimentary consultation will ensure your hair gets exactly what it needs. The intense emphasis placed on individual detail results in a premier salon experience.
Mansion New York
530 West 28th St.
Everyone wants a mansion in New York,” says Mark Baker, renowned Manhattan club owner. “Well, now they’ve got one.” Not just another venue in the already club-laden New York scene, Mansion New York combines music and nightlife with unique and artful elements that result in a place that is more than just another chic hangout. Mansion New York, which is relatively new to the city’s impressive nightlife roster, is the joint creation of Baker and Miami nightlife impresario Eric Milon. Designed by Francois Frossard, Mansion combines a warm, luxurious, 1940s Hollywood-style setting with modern amenities, mixing velvet, dark woods, and crystal chandeliers with plush banquets, low tables, and Pucci fabric upholstered sofas. Patrons are treated nightly to art and photography exhibitions, aerialists, ribbon performers, contortionists, dancers, and opera singers, which, combined with signature cocktails by renowned mixologist Gregory Seider, lead to an ever-festive vibe.
60 West 55th St.
French master chef Alain Ducasse will inaugurate his latest venture in the hallowed culinary space that was once La Côte Basque. The original Benoit in Paris opened its doors in 1912 and was acquired by the Groupe Alain Ducasse in 2005. The Paris Benoit serves as the model for both the menu and the décor of the latest New York edition. The menu features classic French bistro favorites and the extensive wine list offers more than 200 vintages from France and the United States. The sense of history is palpable in the dining room in more ways than one, with walls bearing black and white photographs of patrons dining at La Côte Basque as well as cozy red banquets and a classic zinc bar that are reminiscent of some of Paris’s greatest bistros. A 19th century apothecary and the house cocktail, “Le Crazy Horse,” complete the overall experience, and the result is a meeting of tradition and modernity, an infusion of bygone elegance in an innovative new setting.
Thai Privilege Spa
155 Spring St.
Give yourself an exotic spa vacation without ever boarding a plane. With more than 6,300 square feet of tranquility in SoHo, this ultra-luxurious spa builds on a tradition of Thailand’s historical devotion to the art of massage. The sumptuous surroundings are serene and evoke classic Thai architecture with embellishments of gold papered walls, ceramic vases, flowing fabrics, teak wood chofas (temple-shaped shrines), and silk cushions. The most popular treatment is the Healing Art of Privilege Thai Treatment, a traditional massage that focuses on blood circulation and energy revitalization. The Siam Aroma Body Treatment, another much-asked-for offering on the spa menu, uses aromatherapy to relieve tension and create an emotional balance. Thai Privilege Spa offers many traditional treatments such as facials, foot massages, slimming therapies, and couples packages and has its own line of products made entirely of natural ingredients harvested in Thailand or indigenous to Thai heritage, all available for purchase at the spa.
80 Spring St.
Balthazar has aged well. In the 11 years since its opening, the Spring Street brasserie has become New York’s favorite Francophile haunt. Once trendy, these days it is a veritable New York institution. Keith McNally has since opened Schiller’s Liquor Bar, Pastis, and Morandi with his executive co-chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr. One of Balthazar’s most highly in-demand meals is their weekend brunch. The brunch menu offers classic dishes like their delicious eggs Florentine as well as brasserie standards like oysters and steak tartare. In the last 10 years, Balthazar Bakery, located right next door, has become the city’s most popular bakery, supplying McNally’s restaurants as well as other locales throughout the city. Consistently booked solid for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the dining room buzzes with an energy that is unlike any other restaurant in New York City. And like a fine assiette de fromages from their dessert menu, Balthazar only seems to get better with age.
45 West 81st St.
International cuisine is the order of the day at Chef Ed Brown’s modern American restaurant on New York’s Upper West Side. Brown name-checks ingredients from locations as far-flung as Hokkaido and as local as Vermont on his French and Japanese influenced menu, but combines them seamlessly in his signature style of subtly prepared recipes with a strong emphasis on seafood. In keeping with the diversity of the menu, there are a few different options for ordering. It is possible to follow the traditional three-course dinner menu or to choose the sharing option, wherein small plates are served tapas-style. Original artisanal cocktails compete with the 4,000-bottle Wine Wall as accompaniments to the fresh, seasonal fare. The Wine Wall is not merely decorative but also designed to give diners a more intimate experience by allowing them to browse the bottles directly and familiarize themselves with more than 200 varietals that change from week to week, as directed by eighty one’s beverage manager.
The Waldorf Astoria
301 Park Ave.
The Art Deco-inspired Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria is an excellent choice for those looking to dine in a classical opulent environment with a fresh, contemporary feel. Entering amongst the deco design and artwork, guests are invited to enjoy neo-classical cuisine created by chef and restaurant director Cedric Tovar. In the evening, the Peacock delivers a seafood-inspired à la carte dinner menu featuring such delectable entrées as Citrus-Marinated Tasmanian Ocean Trout Salad and Seared Wild Striped Bass with Caramelized Crushed Potatoes and Bacon Red Wine Reduction. During lunch hours and at the bar, diners are provided with a selection of small plates. The restaurant’s 30-foot mahogany bar invites diners to relax with the exotic cocktails of bar manager Frank Caiafa. The innovative drink menu focuses on fresh, versatile ingredients and features both fantastic new creations and time-tested favorites.
New Yorkers are spoiled when it comes to convenience. Practically anything can be delivered right to your door-from fresh produce and Thai take-out to dry cleaning and call girls-at any hour of the day (or night). The founders of Refresh Body noticed that one important service was missing: at-home massage and spa treatments. Filling this niche became the seed from which the company grew, and in 2007, Refresh Body began offering their in-home massage services. Just one year later, they count celebrities, athletes, and executives among their best customers and have partnered with concierge services, high-end office and apartment buildings, and luxury companies. Refresh Body provides all the necessary accoutrements that a spa would normally offer, including fresh towels, massage tables, and soothing lotions so that all their clients need to do is answer the door. All massage therapists come with exceptional recommendations so customers can rest assured that they are truly “in good hands.” Refresh Body also makes yearly trips to the Hamptons during the summer season for those times when New York-style pampering is called for beachside.
Sarabeth’s at the Whitney
The Whitney Museum
945 Madison Ave.
Sarabeth’s at the Whitney, the quintessential New York Upper West Side brunch destination, has been attracting locals and visitors alike since its 1991 opening. The menu is a sophisticated collection of countrified specialties, with homemade treats like their legendary peach preserves-which are also available for purchase-and pumpkin waffles. However brunch is not the only reason to go: there is also an afternoon high tea that has earned its share of accolades as the perfect cap to a daytime stroll through the exhibits. In restaurants, as in life, it’s all about location, location, location, and Sarabeth’s home inside the Whitney is most definitely a unique, standout setting. In addition to housing some of the world’s most famous works of modern art, the Whitney’s proximity to Central Park and to the world’s best shopping neighborhood top the list of reasons of why Sarabeth’s at the Whitney is a must-visit establishment.