So many choices, so little time… The fashion crowd gravitates to the Meatpacking District, for drinks and dinner at the Standard Hotel, a Parisian experience at Pastis or, in warm weather, a drink on the outdoor terrace of the Maritime Hotel. The ultimate in downtown sophistication, for the moment at least, is a cocktail in the lounge of the Gramercy Park Hotel followed by dinner at the refined and relaxed Gramercy Tavern.
The Lower East Side is the place for an evening of indie-rock, folk, or American roots music, and top venues are the Bowery Ballroom and the Living Room, where singer Norah Jones got her start.
Theatergoers who would like to see a work a little more stimulating than the latest blockbuster musical should step off Broadway to Theatre Row, home to a dozen or so small stages hosting some especially innovative drama on 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. Three Lower Manhattan theaters are also noted for ground-breaking work: The Public Theater, LaMaMa, and the Wooster Group. Across the East River, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and St Ann’s Warehouse are standard bearers of creative originality.