"What I Love about New York"
Members of the Local Arrangements Committee share their favorite New York activities.
Rebecca Weis, M.D., Member Local Arrangements Committee
Hello, and welcome to New York! Having lived in New York City for the past 10 years, I still never get tired of just walking around the city. You will see slices of so many cultures and ways of life if you just keep your eyes open. And whether you are traveling with little ones or adults only, do not miss Central Park. The leaves on the trees around Bethesda Fountain are so beautiful in late October. Of course, there are too many great museums, restaurants, shows, etc. to count - I'll just pass on a couple of my 7-year-old's suggestions in honor of our field's dedication to listening to the perspective of a child. The New Victory Theater in Times Square plays the most original shows, all intended for children (adults will have fun, too). Also, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) is her favorite museum, mostly because of the beautiful sculpture garden - she also highly recommends picking up a headset and going on a scavenger hunt looking for all the art with a child-friendly message! Have a wonderful stay in New York!
Richard Pleak, M.D., Local Arrangements Committee Co-chair
"New York City" - the name of our city conjures up visions of a multitude of possibilities: seemingly unlimited events in entertainment, the arts, sports, even nature. For me, I love the waterfronts throughout the city - biking, jogging, or walking on the new and wonderful paths circumnavigating Manhattan; watching sunset on the Hudson River from any of the west side piers; or having drinks and a bite to eat on the Lightship Frying Pan, docked at Pier 66 (26th Street).
I live in NYC in part to indulge my senses in music and art. Favorite classical music haunts are Carnegie Hall, with the Mariinsky playing Mahler on the October 24th, Yo-Yo Ma playing Shostakovich and Schubert on the 26th, the Atlanta Symphony playing Ligeti and Bartok on the 30th; the Metropolitan Opera with Boris Godunov, La Boheme, and Il Trovatore that week (unfortunately, the New York Philharmonic is away on tour); and (le) Poisson Rouge, showcasing new and experimental music.
Besides the usual big art houses like MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the art lover should visit MoMA PS-1 in Long Island City and the NewMuseum on the Bowery, designed by Pritzker prize winner SANASS, as well as explore the myriad of contemporary art galleries in west Chelsea, primarily from West 19th to West 26th Streets and between 10th Avenue and West Side Highway or 11th Ave.
And then there is eating - who doesn't come to NYC to eat? For ultra high end dining, the gourmet must dine at per se at Columbus Circle (make reservations at exactly 10:00a.m. exactly 2 months ahead). Vegetarians will do very well there or at the romantic Candle 79 on East 79th Street and Lexington Avenue. Forget all the Ray's Pizza forgeries - pizza fans will have the best at Company on 9th Avenue at 25th Street or at Keste in Greenwich Village on Bleecker Street. Wine and cheese lovers should eat at Artisanal on East 32nd and Park Avenue, and shop for cheese at Dean and Deluca on Broadway in SoHo or Murray's in Greenwich Village on Bleecker. Partake in restaurants of the Iron and Top Chefs, like Mario Batali's Babbo or Lupa. For cheap, delicious quintessential NYC experiences, try Thiru Kumar's dosa cart in Washington Square Park while watching the NYU students and Greenwich Village bohemians hang out and perform. Or get burgers, fries, and frozen custard at the ever-popular and delicious Shake Shack in wonderful Madison Square Park on Broadway and 23rd Street, with its ever-changing art installations. Return to nature and go off the beaten path from Central Park at the tip of Manhattan in beautiful Ft. Tryon Park at 190th Street with its gorgeous views and Heather Garden, medieval art-filled Cloisters, and amazing New Leaf Cafe. With any one of these suggestions, you will have sampled the best of the best, and you'll have had a great time being a New Yorker for at least a New York minute.
Yiu Kee Warren Ng, M.D., Member, Local Arrangements Committee
I love New York City! Like a moth to the flame, NYC is a magnet for so many people fulfilling their dreams or passions. I was drawn to this amazing metropolis because of its incredible diversity, tolerance, and dynamism. My nieces and nephews visited the city for the first time last year and fell in love with the cacophony of sounds and myriad of sights that never ceased to dazzle. For those who love to travel, visiting NYC is like traveling the wonders of the world. It has something to offer everyone and every budget. My nephew loved eating dimsum at the Jin Fong Restaurant in Chinatown and felt like he was wandering through Hong Kong on Mott and Canal Streets. My niece, Emma, the animal lover, adored her horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park from the Plaza Hotel, Central Park Zoo; and also running through the Museum of Natural History. We topped it off with a trip to the phenomenal Gorilla habitat at the Bronx Zoo. She was amazed by the urban jungle and the number of four legged creatures in the subways! My other niece, Zoe, loved shopping, and we went to Century 21 at the site of the World Trade Center memorial and then to Broadway in Soho. My favorite area of the city right now is the Meatpacking District and the magical elevated garden railway, the Highline. It runs uptown into the art gallery areas of Chelsea. Be sure to check out Chelsea Market, the site of the old Nabisco factory for great food and gelato!
Vera Feuer, M.D., Member, Local Arrangements Committee
New York. The city that never sleeps. You'll see that's really true. There are many amazing things about New York, but one that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that no matter what time of night, what day of week, or what season, there are always things to do, people to see, food to eat, places to go.
The plethora of foods, people, culture and activities is unbelievable. There is really no other place where you can see medieval cloisters and a few blocks away walk around in Harlem, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural, and business center. Then you walk a little farther and get to Central Park and you can enjoy nature in the middle of the city, including the Central Park Zoo. Then just a short subway ride away you can find yourself in Chinatown, which really feels like a trip to yet another country.
The museums also offer a great variety: you can spend a week in the Met alone, but make sure you go up on top to enjoy the views. The MoMA, the Museum of Natural History, The Cooper Hewitt, the Whitney, The Guggenheim... all amazing. A small museum, but one of my personal favorites is the Neue Gallerie, which is a museum that displays art from Austria and Germany between 1890 and 1940.
Then there's Broadway with all its shows, the Opera and the Ballet, Comedy clubs, and music performances... literally thousands of events every week. So as the ad for Time Out magazine says: Bored? Don't blame us.
Iliyan Ivanov, M.D., Member, Local Arrangements Committee
New York is home - at least has been for the last 13 years. One of the many reasons that make this cosmopolitan city "feel homie" is the fact that if you want to start knowing this place all you need to do is put on a comfortable pair of shoes and take a stroll. It is impossible to walk around for couple of blocks without stumbling into some historical or cultural landmark. So come on, ready for some exercise!
If you are staying at the Sheraton on 53rd and 7th Avenue, here are some pointers. A short distance north on Broadway is Columbus Circle, which touches on the southern tip of Central Park. There one can visit the Museum of Art and Design, the Time Warner Twin Towers that house Jazz at Lincoln Center, and only a block west on 59th and Columbus Avenue is St. Paul the Apostle, probably the most lavishly decorated cathedral in town. If you decide to push further north, take Broadway again, pass the Museum of Biblical Art at 61st street and before you know it, you will be at the newly renovated Lincoln Center. Opera, ballet, theater and lots of music - enough on the bill to satisfy any taste.
Still in a mood for walking - this would be a real treat! The east side of Central Park is bordered by 5th Avenue running from Duke Ellington Square at 110th street south to Plaza hotel on 59th. Before this famous street turns into a row of expensive boutiques, it is known as "the museum mile". There one can find El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, the Conservatory Garden, the New York Academy of Medicine, the Jewish Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design, the National Academy Museum, Solomon Guggenheim Museum, the Nueu Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum, the Goethe Institute, the Frick Collection - to name some. Inside information -most museums have "pay what you wish" days, times are easy to find on the web.
Want to change directions? Let's go south on the 6th - a 10 minute stroll from the Hilton or Sheraton brings you to the Rockefeller Center (everyone knows its famous skating rink) where you can visit "Top of the Rock" observation deck, check out the schedule at the Radio City Music Hall, or visit the St. Patrick's Cathedral on 51st and 5th. And if not tired yet - advance a few more blocks south and you will hit Times Square. Climb up the brand new staircase over the Broadway shows box office for a spectacular view and a photo shot - after that you can take it on your own!
Regardless of the directions one may choose to follow for their time in New York, I hope when you take your flight back home you may feel like you are keeping a little piece of a new home with you.
Johnny Lops, M.D., Member New York Regional Council
My NY takes us out of Manhattan and into a place many are calling the most exciting borough of NYC these days and that's Brooklyn! Brooklyn has so many different neighborhoods and experiences that you can fill an entire vacation just by exploring the neighborhood. Only one stop into Brooklyn on the L train and one is in Williamsburg, one of the most exciting neighborhoods in Brooklyn, which has recently exploded due to its vibrant music and cultural scene. Take the train to Bedford Ave and you can spend an entire day going into boutique shops, checking out multiple music stores, and trying a large variety of cuisines. While in Williamsburg, you can catch a show at the newly renovated "Music Hall of Williamsburg" which caters to the larger, main stream bands or for something more edgy and more of experiences of NY, head to Galapagos Art Space which is right across the Brooklyn Bridge. Also in Brooklyn, I would greatly recommend walking through Park Slope, which according to NY Magazine was rated the number one place to live in all of NYC. Park Slope, as compared to Williamsburg, is more family oriented, and presents with multiple tree lined streets filled with amazing places to eat and shop. At night, there are so many good restaurants and other nightlife venues to enjoy a good evening. Very close to Park Slope in walking distance is the Brooklyn Museum which has an amazing Ancient Egypt Exhibit, one of the largest exhibits outside of Egypt. Besides the Brooklyn Museum, if the weather permits for a nice walk, the beautiful Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is another wonderful NY experience. And if more culture is what you are after at night following a day in Brooklyn, check out the website for the Brooklyn Academy of Music where either a famous Hollywood actor is performing in a show or world renowned dancers or musicians are playing nightly.
If food is up your alley, let's not forget nationally rated spots for two foods that NY does so well, steak and pizza. In close proximity to Williamsburg, there is the famous Peter Lugar's which as any NYer knows, we all automatically compare other steakhouses to Peter Lugar's. As for pizza, Brooklyn has three spots that die hards have to make a trek for. The closest to Manhattan is the ever famous Grimaldi's. Many rate this as the best in the city. The other place for pies that is rated just as amazing but requires a further trip into Brooklyn in Coney Island is the original Totonno's. However, if the best slice is what you are looking for, the De Fara's on Avenue J off the Q train is the best place with the highest Zagat ratings and multiple TV appearances including the Food Network. During lunch hours, just for one slice, the lines are usually a block long. However, whatever is your food of choice, Italian (Frankies Spuntino in Cobble Hill), meats and burgers (Prime Meats in Cobble Hill as well) or just wanting a good NY frank (the original Nathan's in Coney Island or the newly appointed "great hotdog", Barks in Park Slope), there is so many amazing food opportunities, this little article could just keep going. As a life long Brooklynite, I feel most folks do not get the complete NY experience without making a one day stop into my hometown. Take a short subway ride and I guarantee you will see what all the hype is about!