Chris Kann’s Guide to New York

New York real estate broker and globe-trotter Chris Kann lets us in on a few of his favorite New York haunts. It’s the ultimate guide on where to eat, shop, drink, and date in New York. 

Favorite brunch spot: One of my all time favorite restaurants in NYC is Balthazar in Soho – the food is always amazing and the energy at anytime of the day can’t be beat. Getting a reservation can be difficult but if you have a little time to wait you can always squeeze into seats at the bar where you will always find a few of the old Soho locals. Buvette on Grove Street in the West Village is a must for a fantastic breakfast but go early as it is small and gets crowded.

How to spend a leisurely afternoon: Soho is one of the few remaining areas of the city where you can still feel like you’re roaming the set of a 1980’s film like 9 ½ weeks. I love wandering up and down Wooster, Greene, Crosby, and Mercer streets and ending up for a bite upstairs at The Mercer Kitchen, which is superb for people watching. The adjacent Nolita neighborhood across Broadway to the east is full of terrific small boutiques and delicious cafes. Nolita has one of the best independent bookstores, McNally Jackson Books on Prince Street.

The city’s best hole-in-the-wall: I always love the look of Fanelli Café which dates back to 1857 on the corner of Prince and Mercer in Soho across from the Mercer Hotel. It was formerly a speakeasy in the 1920’s and still has a saloon vibe.

A true NYC architectural gem: I think The High Line in my neighborhood, West Chelsea, is one of the best places to visit again and again as the area surrounding it is constantly in flux and has some of the most interesting architecture being built at the moment by Zaha Hadid, Foster & Partners, Jean Nouvel, etc. It’s a fascinating behind the scenes walk through the exciting Gallery District up to the new “city” being built at Hudson Yards which will house a Neiman Marcus and eventually Fashion Week.

Most romantic restaurant: When I am out in Sag Harbor on the weekends, I always try to have a meal or a drink at The American Hotel on Main Street – during the recent blizzard the streets were empty but the wood paneled bar was packed with locals warming up by the crackling woodburning fireplace devouring grilled cheese sandwiches and martinis. Sitting at The American Hotel you could be in Sag Harbor, New Orleans, or a pub in your favorite European city which oozes with character from another time – the intimate little dinner tables with small lamps can be very cozy and certainly romantic.

Best cup of coffee in town: I love the iced coffee’s at Genes Cafe on the 8th floor of Barneys on Madison Avenue and 61st street where I go for my daily tuna fish sandwich lunch as my office is in the same building.

Favorite bookstore: McNally Jackson Books is a terrific independent bookshop in Soho on Prince Street with a BIG selection over two floors. I also LOVE the little old corner bookshop Three Lives & Company on west 10th street and Waverly Place  – very old New York while so much of old New  York seems to be fading.

Must-see museum or art gallery: Hands down one of my favorite museums in New York, and the world, is The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue in the 80’s. You could spend a lifetime there and still not see it all – a gift that keeps on giving. I love the interiors section with the French salons with Marie Antoinette’s favorite furniture makers on full-display. The Met has just hired David Chipperfield to redesign their modern and contemporary art galleries and David Chipperfield has designed his first residential tower overlooking Bryant Park – which I am marketing – fully clad in terrazzo similar to his current work in the Valentino boutiques worldwide.

What makes for the quintessential New York experience: I feel very lucky to be able to live a block away from the hundreds of art galleries in West Chelsea and I love grabbing a coffee at Joe’s in London Terrace on 23rd street and cruising around on a Saturday morning taking in all the amazing shows between 18th and 30th streets west of Tenth Avenue.

Images courtesy of Chris Kann



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