The sun rises above. There’s only one — very obvious — place to take in the rays and wake up: The High Line. The elevated linear park opened in 2009 and has instantly become the most visited park in the city after Central Park. The 3-mile nouveau promenade, formerly a New York Central Railroad system called the West Side Line, begins at Gansevoort Street and ends at 34th Street. The park is filled with trees, greenery, artwork, benches. The most dazzling part of your early morning will be just sitting and taking in the city scenery at the Urban Theater, an amphitheater that overlooks the intersection of 10th Avenue and 17th Street. If you crave more sun there’s always the 23rd Street Lawn, just a perfect city spot to stretch and lay back.
Okay, your day has officially begun. No time to dawdle around, you feel like you MUST jump right into the fashion scene in New York City's most fashionable neighborhood. The first stop is the STORY, a unique retail store that takes on the point of view of a magazine. This means STORY changes theme and merchandise every four-to-eight weeks to keep things fresh. The highlight of the area is clearly Barney’s New York. Besides the fact that it’s Barney’s, the clothing retail store has some of the most aesthetically-pleasing architecture outside of the Guggenheim. The most glaring structural wizardry is the spiral staircase smacked in its middle.
Living in the epicenter of the world of NYC fashion has its perks. And the biggest is that you are just steps from The Museum at FIT. Founded in 1969, the museum is one of the foremost in the world. You will have firsthand accounts of some of the most innovative exhibits in the fashion world — such as contemporary collections from Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Gabrielle Coco Chanel. The three designers were actually featured in the Paris Refashioned (1957-1968) exhibit, which chronicled the societal shifts for females in fashion. There are other rotating exhibits that include work from African-American fashion designers. Above all else, the absolute best thing about this museum is that it’s free.
Feeling like needing to get touch with your artistic side? Drop by the Unarthodox, a unique art studio that gives visitors the chance to channel their inner artsy side. They offer programs such as Sculpture Without Sight, making the participants stimulate their mental visual selves, creating sculptures - blindfolded. There’s also the most studio’s most popular program: the Intuitive Art Class. The class propels the participants to create an expressive art piece with acrylic paint and then the art work is manipulated by a 270 degree projection of two distinct films using various visuals. The experience is intended for the participant to make a connection between intuitive thinking and creative process.
Time to fill your belly. Like in most NYC neighborhoods, the culinary choices are very many. There’s Mario Batali’s Del Posto or the seafood favorite The Frying Pan. If you’re looking for street eats, then Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market is the definite local favorite. But your dinner reservations tonight are for The Red Cat. The neighborhood joint is legendary Chef Jimmy Bradley's latest venture. One of the reasons you are eating here tonight is the unpretentious feel of the eatery. The service is attitude-free (weird, right? So unlike NYC!). Decor, with homemade trinkets from vintage lamps to barn walls, is very grounded. Then the food hits you with the biggest surprise, a simple yet world-class flavor. Don’t miss the double pork chops with black olive-and-roast cauliflower puree. Also try a crispy sautéed skate wing with a sweet-and-sour eggplant.
Now that you have danced off those calories and carbs, it’s time to get your drink on. Of the plentiful bars in the area, The Half King is king. First off, the place is owned and operated by famed author Sebastian Junger (yes, the very one, the one who wrote The Perfect Storm and directed the Restrepo documentary). The bar has become as popular as Junger’s art. The rustic atmosphere is inviting, but the drinks are the big draw. Lots of beers to chose from, both craft (Bronx American Pale Ale and Bell’s seasonal) and mainstream (Coors Light and Budweiser). The cocktails are pretty darn good too. Very Berry, a mixture of Beefeater Gin, Creme De Cassis, lemon juice, simple syrup and muddle berries, is a must-try.