Map No 1: Lower-Middle-Upper West Side
There are many upper west sides, but none of them have been considered cool. Until now: Barneys Co-Op just landed on Broadway and 75th, lighting up a ten-block stretch that could become a place you go out of your way to visit.
By Stephen Milioti
(1.) Barneys Co-Op
2151 Broadway, near 75th St.
The look at this one-level, 6,000-square-foot outpost is industrial, with lots of exposed brick and concrete, punctuated by kitschy, bright-blue camel and pig sculptures. Head straight for the back wall, where you’ll find the best denim collection for two miles in any direction. Then walk to the middle section in back to stock up on hot beauty brand Fresh, previously unavailable on this side of the park. It’s worth trekking from outside the neighborhood, too: If you can’t find your size at the other
Co-Ops, these guys (for now) seem especially well stocked.
(2.) @SQC RestaurantBar
270 Columbus Ave., near 72nd St.
It looks like just another Columbus Avenue eatery, but Union Square and Le Cirque vet Scott Q. Campbell’s acclaimed restaurant still sparkles. Standouts on the bold, inventive New American menu include roasted squash and coconut soup with cocoa-toasted cashews, chocolate BBQ spareribs, and grilled duck breast with black Mission figs.
(3.) On the Ave Hotel
222 W. 77th St., near Broadway.
The Upper West Side doesn’t boast many notable hotels, much less cool ones. But On the Ave is as good as any W—without the attitude. All 266 rooms are luxe: plasma TVs, black marble bathrooms, Frette robes, and 300-plus-thread-count sheets (from $375 for doubles).
(4.) Aphrodite Cleaners
322 Columbus Ave., near 75th St.
The most extensive dry cleaner
in the area does tablecloths, napkins, carpets, suede, and leather. There’s also fur storage, tailoring, waterproofing, and
free pickup and delivery.
2127 Broadway, near 74th St.
A lot of the best traits of the downstairs store (specialty cheeses, pickles, breads, etc.) have been eclipsed by the Time Warner Center Whole Foods. But the café on the second floor is a revelation: Inexpensive, freshly prepared food right off the market shelves.
2135 Broadway, at 75th St.
Once packed with angry locals beating each other with baguettes for the best cut of salmon, but competition from the big food stores has made it relatively quiet. Kind of sad, but definitely pleasant. And the prices have come down from the heyday, too.
(7.) Big Nick’s Burger & Pizza Joint
2175 Broadway, near 77th St.
Not pretty. Not healthy. And not for quiet conversation. But tasty, cheap, and open 24 hours, which makes it one of the few middle-of-the-night eating options.
(8.) Dublin House
225 W. 79th St., near Broadway.
The best time to go to this neighborhood fixture since the twenties is after work, when
a middle-aged crowd blows off steam in the club-room atmosphere. On Friday and Saturday, libidinous twentysomethings take over.
(9.) Apthorp Pharmacy
2201 Broadway, at 78th St.
Aside from the homeopathic remedies, the draw is no salespeople spraying you without permission—pick your own exfoliating moisturizer, on your own terms.
(10.) Paramount Parking Corp.
350 Amsterdam Ave., near 77th St.
With good capacity, two entrances (the other is on 77th) and relatively calm traffic, this is the best garage in the area.
(11.) The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave., at 76th St.
This strikingly modern building houses a huge range of activities, but what a lot of people don’t know about is the fitness center. You can take Krav Maga classes, work with a personal trainer, get a massage, or swim in the pool.
(12.) Bang & Olufsen
330 Columbus Ave., near 75th St.
Browsing this high-end audio store can be uncomfortable, but service is knowledgeable, if a little pushy. Just be firm, pretend
to know what you’re doing, and they’ll let you try stuff out.
(13.) La Brea
2130 Broadway, near 74th St.
This charmingly cheesy store does knickknacks well—like “Drama Queen” body detergent and inflatable Bush and Kerry punching bags.
(14.) Nice Matin
201 W. 79th St., at Amsterdam Ave.
The concept of Upper West Side fine dining used to make East Siders spit up their escargot in laughter. But buzz-generating boîtes like this one are changing all that. It’s got thoughtfully quirky design, a loud crowd, and capable brasserie fare. The leeks vinaigrette is one of the best, simplest renderings in the city.
392 Columbus Ave., at 79th St.
The antithesis of the Upper West Side’s frat-boy bars. Dove-white walls and rich woods set a mature tone, and—crestfallen smokers note!—upstairs is a cigar bar (permits pending).
(16.) Beacon Theater
2124 Broadway, near 74th St.
There’s no need to fight for
seats at this storied concert venue: Thanks to the open
stage, you’ll have a good view anywhere.
(17.) Crumbs Bake Shop
32112 Amsterdam Ave., at 75th St.
Forget Magnolia Bakery, with its wimpy little bite-size butter balls. The cupcakes here are huge, in flavors like blackout, strawberry buttercream, and Rocky Road.
(18.) Neuhaus Chocolatier
2151 Broadway, near 75th St.
You don’t have to go the top of Saks for this no-nonsense
(but seriously pricey) brand. Classic forms and flavors take precedence over fads and frills. The lustfully simple “manon noir”—a dark chocolate with mousse inside—is a must-try.
(19.) Amsterdam Video
287 Amsterdam Ave., near 73rd St.
This mostly hetero porn store doesn’t just stock videos-there are sexy undergarments, too.
322 Columbus Ave., near 75th St.
Best gourmet deli in the area. Go for wraps like the Leaning Tower of Pesto and Pollo Loco Avocado, and not-your-everyday deli salads, like Pacific tongel tuna.
(21.) Alice’s Tea Cup
102 W. 73d St., near Columbus Ave.
The daily high-tea service is
as meticulous as any in the
city: Each tea (there are many)
is brewed for three to seven minutes in double-filtered water heated to exactly 180 degrees.
(22.) Gray’s Papaya
2090 Broadway, at 72nd St.
The perfectly grilled hot dogs
are still the best in the city.
The creamy papaya beverage
is still the best hangover
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