In New York, there is literally always something new and exciting to try whether it be a brand new taco place in Brooklyn, a creative new take on ice-cream, an experimental cocktail lounge, or a contemporary art gallery. It's exciting to be in a place that's always changing and providing fresh, new experiences.
Although, for me, nothing beats the atmosphere of the classic, iconic New York referenced in Sinatra songs and Fitzgerald novels. I love the feeling of being transported to another time, an elegant era in the city. Although I know this is golden-age thinking, there are so many great places to go in New York that will make you feel like a Gatsby character or simply a sophisticate. There are too many to list, but here is a selection of my favorites.
Cafe Sabarsky - 1048 5th Avenue
Located inside of Neue Galerie on the Upper East Side, Cafe Sabarsky is a great place to order an apfelstrudel or a sachertorte with hot tea or coffee. Inspired by classic Viennese cafes, an afternoon or evening at Cafe Sabarksy will make you feel like European royalty.
Bemelmans Bar - 35 East 76th Street
Bemelmans will instantly transport you to a different time with its low lit interiors and Madeline illustrations on the walls. Located at The Carlyle Hotel, you will be charmed at Bemelmans by live piano music and elegant servers who make the place feel like the old New York from a Sinatra song. Head uptown to spend an evening there and have the Fleur de Paradis for a little French twist.
The Plaza Hotel - 768 5th Avenue
The Plaza is one of the those classic places that instantly comes to mind when you think of the city. Check into a suite or just show up for brunch at The Palm Court. If you're hurried on time but still want to enjoy the atmosphere, stop by the food hall downstairs for a pastry from Epicerie Boulud to enjoy in Central Park.
Henri Bendel - 712 5th Avenue
Establish in the late 1800s, Bendel's is a great place to stop by for classic, youthful New York glamour and black-and-white stripes. Stop in to pick up a timeless handbag and to enjoy the atmosphere.
The Campbell Apartment - 15 Vanderbilt Avenue
Step inside Grand Central Station to access this luxurious bar which has become much less of a secret than it once was. The bar will make you feel as though you're living in Gatsby's New York, with ornate wood panels and decor. While it may not live up to its former glory now that the secret is out, it's still a great place to have a drink.
The New York Public Library - 476 5th Avenue
Whether you're sitting on the steps near Bryant Park, wandering around the stacks, or relaxing in the reading room, this is an iconic New York location you shouldn't miss. Funded by the Astors, the library was built in 1854 and is one of the largest libraries in the world. The white marble and the historic Rose Main Reading Room are jaw-dropping.
J.G. Melon - 1291 3rd Avenue
Contrary to what this list may include, not all iconic New York spots have to be upscale. Even a burger restaurant can be sophisticated, though. Check out J.G. Melon on the Upper East Side for a classic burger and fries with a traditional, preppy vibe dating back to the 1920s. The menu is simple and no-fuss with items ranging from cheeseburgers and BLTs to grilled cheese, vanilla bean cheesecake, and banana pudding.