I Spy: The Haute 5 Places to People Watch in NYC

The weather this weekend reminded us at Haute Living why we love this city, as we were able to finally enjoy the wonders of the outdoors. And I’m not talking hiking trails or parks; I’m talking terraces. So, while we wait a bit longer for the lovely weather to return, we’re passing the time making plans. Below are some of the city’s hottest spots to enjoy sunny days and breezy evenings in style.

Pure Food and Wine

Pure Food and Wine is perfect for an elegant drink or a romantic dinner on a balmy New York night. The enclosed garden in the back feels more like a country estate than a corner of the city. There is plenty of space, candlelight, a canopy of tree branches and wait—is that the smell of lilacs? The food served is strictly raw and vegan—but don’t let that dissuade you. The menu is comprised of much more than just salad; dishes like lasagna and hempseed burgers will inspire vegetarian foodies and omnivores alike. The dessert will also surprise you; to believe how amazing a dairy-free ice cream sundae can be, you’ll have to taste it your self. The less adventurous can stick to the lovely list of organic and biodynamic wines, truly fresh cocktails, and seasonal sakes.

Pure Food and Wine is located at 54 Irving Place; 212.477.1010

Roof Garden Café at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Roof Garden Café at the Met doesn’t open for another month, but we can’t wait.

The space overlooks the treetops of Central Park providing unobstructed views of the city and large-scale installations by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons are featured annually. This year, the exhibit is a giant (100x50x50-foot) site-specific bamboo sculpture by Mike and Doug Starn. Brave patrons are even able to get inside and climb around the aptly titled Big Bambú. The café is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and serves coffee, tea, and snacks. But the best time to go is on Fridays and Saturdays when the spot converts into a martini bar that stays open until 8 p.m., making it the ultimate happy hour. A rooftop, a martini, and cutting edge art? We can’t think of anything happier.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at 1000 Fifth Ave; 212.535.7710. The Roof Garden opens on April 27.

Da Silvano, West Village

Da Silvano’s location on the border of Greenwich Village, the West Village, and Soho makes it a great spot for people watching. It is also a perfect location for a post-meal stroll. The Tuscan restaurant has been around since the 70s and has always served a constant stream of movers, shakers, and entertainment-industry types. (Patti Smith has a regular table.) The restaurant’s ample sidewalk space makes for a terrific patio for lunch or dinner.

Da Silvano is located at 260 Avenue of the Americas; 212.982.2343

River Café

A New York institution, the River Café has been delighting New Yorkers for more than 30 years. It may seem a little cheesy at first glance, but the live piano music, and gorgeous views of Manhattan create a truly romantic ambience that should not be passed up. Situated in Dumbo, directly beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, the restaurant looks out onto the East River and the lights of Manhattan. Although every room features dramatic windows, the Terrace room is the outdoor space you want to make a beeline for in the summer.  The menu is made up of modern American fare with an emphasis on freshness and local ingredients when possible. Diners have the option of choosing from a three-course prix-fixe menu or a six-course Chef’s tasting menu (our recommendation). Complete your meal with a bottle from the impressive wine list.

River Café is located at 1 Water St. in Brooklyn; 718.522-5200


Although Pastis has been around for almost a decade, it is one of the few establishments that has seamlessly made the transition from trendy new hotspot to classic staple. Located in the heart of the Meatpacking District, the sidewalk patio is still one of the best places for people watching over a great meal. Yes, waves of trend-seekers did start to flock to Pastis thanks to its cameo in Sex and the City. (Groan.) However, come summertime, celebrities and influential New Yorkers continue to frequent the relaxed French Bistro, especially for lunch and brunch.

Pastis is located on 9 Ninth Ave. at the corner of Little West 12th; 212.929.4844