I spent a weekend this summer shooting in the Upper East Side and somehow it’s taken me this long to share some of the highlights from my solo trip to the city. Even though we now tend to gravitate towards many of the restaurants in Lower Manhattan on our trips down to New York, I’ve spent a great deal of our visits to the city (together or alone) in the UES, visiting my aunt or staying at her apartment while she’s away. The following are some of my favorite Upper East Side finds.
The hotel’s stunning rooftop garden is reason enough to put The Surrey high on your list of places to stay during your next trip to New York, but as it turns out, the rooms themselves also warrant a visit. Expecting a typical (almost uncomfortable) tiny New York hotel room, I was shocked with how spacious and luxurious my 330+ square foot “salon” felt. Read more about my stay at The Surrey here.
We’ve enjoyed more than a few burgers at JG Melon over the years, and as Michael pointed out on one of our last visits, the burger “is every bit as good as its reputation.” The only thing I might add to this spot on remark of my husband’s is that the fries are also in a class of their own.
I bookmarked The East Pole well before my trip, while browsing Mackenzie’s blog, and I couldn’t have been happier that I took note of this eatery (partly owned by two of the partners behind The Fat Radish), for it was my favorite meal of my whirlwind weekend in New York. While there, I sipped a refreshing velvet falernum cocktail on the restaurant’s charming patio, and dove into the delicious fluke crudo and (as this was in August) heirloom tomato appetizers. This is exactly where Michael and I will eat on our next trip to the city together.
Had I not been alone, a leisurely brunch at Maison Kayser would have been a no-brainer for me, but on this Saturday morning as I prepared for a long day of shooting, I was happy to grab my croissant and tea to go. It’s maybe not fair to judge an entire boulangerie by a single croissant, but if mine was a sampling, the rest of the menu is definitely worth revisiting on a return trip.
It’s always a treat to be able to indulge in my favorite French treat stateside. A stop for pistachio & vanilla macarons at Ladurée Madison is a must for me whenever I’m in New York.
A visit to the Upper East Side without a stroll in Central Park or a walk along 5th Avenue, home to the various institutions that make up the Museum Mile, is almost unheard of. On this visit, I popped into the Met (and the nearby Frick, which isn’t technically part of the Museum Mile, but well worth a visit regardless), but I would have loved to have spent an afternoon wandering the Guggenheim as well. A walk in Central Park is always such a welcome escape from the frantic pace of the city around me and something I look forward to on each visit.
Daniel Boulud’s French bistro located in the bottom of the hotel where I was staying, Cafe Boulud has a reputation for excellence, and while I didn’t dine in the restaurant itself, the meal I enjoyed on the rooftop of The Surrey and my decadent room service breakfast, were both prepared in the cafe, , and were just as delicious as one would expect from the Boulud name.
While searching for bookstores on Google Maps during breakfast, I was happy to see that there was an Assouline shop at the nearby Mark Hotel. While the shop itself was tiny, the selection of big, beautiful design books was anything but. My coffee table book collecting heart melted.
Part gallery, part store, the Gagosian Shop is located just a couple doors down from the esteemed contemporary art gallery for which it is named. Browsing the impressive collection of art books, limited editions, and gifts is, in my opinion, an ideal way to spend a slow morning in Manhattan.
The next time we find ourselves in the Upper East Side, we’re headed straight to Bemelmans Bar for a drink – I’ve always wanted to go here. The Penrose, JBird, and Tori Shin are on our list, but what else should we add? We’d love to hear about your UES favorites!
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.