Haute Secrets: Alex McCord’s Guide to New York

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WHERE WERE YOU BORN: Washington, D.C.

HOW LONG IN NEW YORK: 14 years

NEIGHBORHOOD: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

OCCUPATION: Retail Operations Consultant; co-author of Little Kids, Big City due out 3/31/10 with my husband, Simon van Kempen; Mom of two squirrely boys

FAVORITE RESTAURANT: wd~50

BEST ETHNIC FOOD: Tamarind

BEST PLACE FOR LATE NIGHT DINING: Bar Tabac

BEST DESSERT: The Chocolate Room (which is also open until 11 p.m.)

BEST PLACE FOR A ROMANTIC DATE: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in the Four Seasons

COOLEST CLUB/LOUNGE: With two young children we hardly ever get out to clubs, though we’ve had some fun nights at the Gates recently.

ALL-AROUND FAVORITE SPOT IN NEW YORK: Prospect Park Ravines

IF YOU HAVE OUT OF TOWN GUESTS, WHICH HOTEL WOULD YOU RECOMMEND? Hotel Chandler, of course, and if you really want to treat them, ask for the Chandler Suite.

FAVORITE SHOPPING VENUE/BOUTIQUE: Here’s one you may not have heard of yet… Second Time Around, lauded by Vanity Fair Online as one of the top three high-end designer consignment boutiques in the city – three locations (UES, Nolita and SoHo)

BEST PLACE TO BUY JEWELRY/WATCHES: For amazing fine jewelry, make an appointment to see Ray Griffiths at his studio

FAVORITE CHARITY EVENT: The American Heart Association’s Ball in NYC and the Hamptons

FAVORITE CULTURAL EVENT: The children’s versions of opera during the holidays, whether it’s Julie Taymor’s The Magic Flute or Hansel and Gretel.

FAVORITE CULTURAL INSTITUTION: There are too many to count, but one that holds so many is Lincoln Center. Whether it’s City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Ballet or the NY State Theatre, we find ourselves there often, again and again

BEST ASPECT OF NEW YORK: The 24/7 energy, the accessibility. If you can’t get it in NYC, you don’t need it!

BEST PIZZA: My kitchen!! If I can’t make it myself, I love Lucali’s.

BEST LUNCH: Artisanal Bistro

BEST MUSEUM/EXHIBIT: My boys are obsessed with the big blue whale at the Natural History Museum, and the New York Transit Museum, where they can sit in trains from the early 1900s and “drive” city buses from the 60s. I also love walking around Sotheby’s, Christies, and the Park Avenue Armory during art sales, marveling at all the treasures changing hands.

FAVORITE HISTORIC/LEGENDARY PLACE TO SEE OR EXPLORE: Coney Island, and make sure you have a Nathan’s hotdog while you’re there!

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