A great way to kick off a tour of New York’s neighborhood-of-the-moment is to get a glimpse of fashionable life in the 1800s at Merchant’s House on East Fourth Street. This elegant red-brick row house was home to a prosperous merchant family, and today it’s the only home in New York preserved intact from the mid-19th century, with much of the original furniture, decor, and family belongings still in place.
A block away is the Bowery, a once dodgy thoroughfare now home to some of the city’s hippest new hotels and buzz-worthy restaurants. Have a drink at the sleek cocktail bar at The Marlton Hotel (pictured above) or enjoy the intimacy of the vaulted dining room that’s lined with quaint shuttered windows and trailing plants.
Down the street is The Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel, where Ashton threw a birthday party for Demi, and Mark Anthony for J-Lo. Settle into oversized velvet chairs and take in the opulent French château hunting-lodge feel of the place with its marble fireplaces, wall-mounted antlers, and oriental carpets. The hotel’s rustic restaurant Gemma is a good place for a casual meal or coffee.
Big-name chefs are now on the Bowery: Daniel Boulud’s DBGB’s Kitchen and Bar (299 Bowery, tel: 212-933-5300) – named in homage to the Bowery’s defunct rock club CBGB’s – features upscale burgers and sausages, while hit-making restaurateur Keith McNally has opened his latest rustic Italian, Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria (282 Bowery, tel: 212-226-1966) on this trendy stretch.