Best of New York

As I’ve mentioned time and again, I’m a big fan of New York magazine—it’s the only magazine whose arrival in the mail genuinely excites me. (And, now and again, I wonder if I made a mistake—on second thought, never mind.) The magazine does “service journalism” so well, and its Best of New York issue is an annual standout. This year’s was just published, and a number of Tribeca businesses made the cut. The categories (kale dish?) can be dopey, so don’t focus too much on them; the takeaway is that these places are considered excellent by people who know.

Kiddie Pool: Imagine Swimming “The hugely popular center, founded and run by two former world-class swimmers (and first-time dads), Lars Merseburg and Casey Barrett, recently expanded its Baby Swim program for those as young as 6 months. At the flagship pool in Tribeca, parents who choose not to take the plunge can enjoy a bird’s-eye view from behind a glassed-in area outfitted with music magazines, and a playspace for sibs. Meanwhile, students get a 50-foot-long pool heated year-round to 90 degrees all to themselves. Weekly classes (from $40) average four kids to each swim coach, with lessons breaking from the normal kickboard and dead-man’s-float routines to include underwater Frisbee tossing, flotation mats, and hoop-jumping.”

Kale dish: Birdbath “A shredded-kale salad that stands out in an increasingly crowded field, thanks to rich additions like toasted hazelnuts and Grana Padano.” (Technically, the magazine awarded this to the Soho location.)

Doughnuts: Terroir Tribeca “On the brunch menu at Terroir Tribeca we found our ideal doughnut. It’s a larger version of the cider-glazed sinker popularized at sister restaurant Hearth, fried to order, tender and fragrant, transcendent in its humble doughnuttiness. And, just as important in discussions of this nature, the coffee is killer.”

Cookware: Korin “Specializing in Japanese gear, the shop stocks hard-to-find items (Urushi lacquered ceramics, from $12; Ion Strong lead-free glasses, from $15 each) alongside dishes, cutlery, and gadgets. Things you never knew you needed include an electric sesame grinder ($37.50) and a full range of mandolin slicers (from $22.50). Professional chefs (Wylie Dufresne, Anita Lo, and Eric Ripert are all regulars) rely on Korin for its array of super knives (prices reach into the thousands). Also, the knife-sharpening makes even the dullest old blades slice like new.”

Martini: Il Matto “Mixologist Christina Bini gives her Martinis an avant-garde spin at this quirky Italian restaurant, with the particularly aromatic Maltese featuring red bell pepper, ginger-infused vodka, and pepperoncino ($14).”

Gay Night: Gekko “Sorry, Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea, but this year’s most pulsating [Ick! —Ed.] gay party takes place in the financial district. Ben Harvey, half of the duo behind Dumbo’s popular Gumbo parties and a recent Fidi transplant, found the nabe’s luxe new condos flush with gays but short on festivities. So on the last Wednesday of each month, the Gumbo boys take over the hypermasculine Library Bar at Gild Hall hotel and stock it to the brim with men of seemingly every demographic, from aging Wall Streeters sipping Sidecars by the antique bar to flashy youths bouncing along to D.J. Pony’s pop remixes.” Who knew?!

Nail Temple: Tenoverten “The salon was launched by two fashion insiders—one is the owner of West Village boutique Mick Margo—and the décor includes a limestone-slab manicure table, Belgian linens, and original Bertoia chairs. The Wi-Fi-and-iPad-equipped spot goes beyond the call of duty in terms of convenience, too: It stays open until 10 p.m., keeps your color preferences on file, and uses a streamlined booking system, which e-mails reminders a day before and sends electronic receipts. You’ll also find polishes by brands rarely seen in salons like Chanel, RGB, and Nars. And while the environs are hardly standard, the prices aren’t too far off: $20 for a mani, $35 for a pedi.”

There was also a bunch of stuff in southern Soho—the steam rooms at Trump Soho, the panini at Salume, the Jimmy lounge at the James—that’s worth investigating, so buy the mag or poke around the website. And one of my favorite restaurants, the West Village’s Taïm, won for best food truck, which I hope they’ll celebrate by visiting Tribeca. (The truck has been known to park in FiDi and Hudson Square.)

Maybe next year they’ll designate the Best Non-Brooklyn Neighborhood Blog….


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