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A Startup Store in Beta, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, December 22 12:35 PM

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Part pop-up shop, part interactive exhibition, this Chelsea newcomer provides a brick-and-mortar home for online-only retailers based in New York City. Like the idea? Don't get too attached to it. This is A Startup Store in Beta, and it will soon evolve.

Every couple of weeks, the shop will remake itself around a new theme (look out for a coffee-oriented surprise in January). For now, BaubleBar and Joor will bling you out with direct designer-sourced jewelry and accessories. Gadget geeks can get their fix from invention incubator Quirky, while Artspace sells affordable pieces from the self-same contemporary artists that you might see at galleries down the street, including Ross Bleckner and Nick Cave. And Birchbox lets you test-drive the products of its prescription beauty service via mini facials. Try to find an app for that.

Photo: Courtesy of A Startup Store in Beta

Kutsher's Tribeca, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, December 15 12:04 PM

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire ain't got nothing on latkes and sufganiyot. Who wants warm nuts when you can have a jelly doughnut? And there's no better place to gorge on Hanukkah fare than at the new Kutsher's Tribeca.

Consider it an early gift from restaurant mensch Jeffrey Chodorow in partnership with Zach Kutsher, whose family is synonymous with Catskills glamour. They're making classic Jewish fare sexy with dishes such as wild halibut gefilte fish with beet and horseradish tartare, and potato and leek knishes with house-cured pastrami. And with a retro-glam dining room courtesy of Rafael de Cárdenas (geometric Baltic birch walls and midnight blue banquettes), the festival of lights just got a little brighter.

Photo: Courtesy of Evan Sung

Hotel Williamsburg, Brooklyn

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, November 22 02:08 PM

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As if Brooklyn needed any more feathers in its hipness cap, the Hotel Williamsburg has just opened, promising a bed for luxe-seeking scenesters. Think panoramic rooftop bar, buzzy restaurant, and a lot of tattoos and facial hair digging the summertime swim club.

Half of the 64 rooms have Manhattan skyline views, and all pop with a mod-meets-vintage decor of orange leather against woodsy wallpaper. Rooms also feature free vinyl to play on Crosley record players. And like a good Brooklynite, the borough's first full-service luxury boutique hotel is thinking local: uniforms are by Brooklyn Industries, and there's a signature suds on tap, brewed by Brooklyn Brewery just around the corner. Even the coffee, delivered 24/7 in retro green Stanley thermoses, is roasted by the oldest family-owned shop in New York.

Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Williamsburg

Whitehall, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, November 18 12:09 PM

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Whitehall, in the heart of London, is where you'll find the Houses of Parliament and the Prime Minister's digs at Number 10 Downing Street; it's also the catchall term for the seat of government in old Blighty. And now the recently opened Whitehall in New York's West Village is the seat of modern British cuisine in the city. No debate.

The folks behind NYC's Scottish restaurants Highlands and Mary Queen of Scots have crossed the border to bring you poshified British fare courtesy of Australian chef Chris Rendell. Mushy peas come as fritters topped with mint sauce, and roast chicken breast is served with goat cheese butter that's as delicious as it is artery-lining (that's the British way, of course). The industrial-chic interior has reclaimed wood ceilings, brickwork and railway tile walls, and Edison bulbs aplenty. And we love the bench seating that's straight out of Hyde Park.

Oh, and there's lots of excellent gin--over 50 types, to be exact. Chin-chin.

Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Krieger

La Cervecería and La Mar Cebicheria, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, October 28 07:00 AM

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New York has had its share of exotic love affairs--it's fallen for Japanese and Thai, Brazilian and Cantonese, Mexican and Korean. But this fall, the Big Apple only has eyes for Peru. Two of the city's new restaurants have serious South American cred: La Cervecería in the East Village and La Mar Cebicheria in Gramercy.

The former marries American craft beers with Peruvian tapas in a playful downtown setting of mod minimalism. The latter takes it up a notch, bringing South American celeb chef Gastón Acurio's modern take on Peruvian ceviches, tiraditos, and anticuchos to a fancy $5.5 million dining room. Both make liberal use of spicy little chile peppers. Because if you're gonna hook a city like New York, you've got to bring the heat.

Photo: Courtesy of La Cervecería

Salón Hecho, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, October 21 09:00 AM

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Just when we considered ourselves fluent in the upscale Mexican nightlife movement sweeping Nueva York, along comes Salón Hecho to school us in a whole new lingua franca of mezcales, micheladas, and curados.

Next to sister restaurant Hecho en Dumbo, the brand-new space is modeled on downtown Mexico City's hip neighborhood cantinas: part local watering hole, part performance space (Thursdays will feature live music), part showcase for the many moods of the agave plant. We're intrigued/borderline-scared about the cantina's signature tipples, abocados--mezcal traditionally infused with out-there flavors like juniper, lamb, and turkey. Owners Ethan Smith and Danny Mena assure us they'll be sticking to more benign spikings, however, including avocado and allspice. How do you say, "I'll ease into it with a margarita?"

Photo: Courtesy of Kimberly Sentner

The Chatwal, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, October 11 10:49 AM

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The landmark 1905 building that houses New York City's Chatwal hotel has always been fashionable. Originally a private theater called the Lambs Club, it attracted Gilded Age glitterati such as Fred Astaire and the building's architect, Stanford White, whose young lover, model Evelyn Nesbit, was the Kate Moss of her day. To help current guests dress the part, the hotel has introduced the Fashion Cognoscenti package, a half- or full-day shopping and styling tour led by stylist and Lacolleta.com founder Jean Mayer.

We're particularly sold on the Meet the Designers add-on, in which guests get a one-on-one with a fashion world luminary plucked from Mayer's address book. Zac Posen, Tim Gunn, Lela Rose, and Lisa Salzer of Lulu Frost jewelry have signed on, with other big names to be announced.

Fashion Cognoscenti package, including a two-night stay at the Chatwal, from $1,295. Meet the Designers add-on from $5,000 (select designers will apply this fee towards purchases). Offer ends March 31, 2012.

Photo: Courtesy of the Chatwal

The Tippler, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, October 04 11:32 AM

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Good news for New Yorkers whose favorite annual celebration is Repeal Day (December 5, for those taking notes): There's a new gin joint in town. Subterranean cocktail spot the Tippler has opened in a cavernous 3,000-square-foot space hidden beneath Chelsea Market.

It might be infused with sepia-toned nostalgia--including vaulted ceilings, original 1880s brickwork, salvaged water-tower timber, and railway tracks reclaimed from the neighboring High Line--but this watering hole has none of the speakeasy snobbery of its similarly appointed compatriots. There's Bud in bottles and cocktail categories like Fast & Furious (shots!) and Lushies (spiked slushies). Let's toast underground without the attitude.

Photo: Courtesy of the Tippler

Romera, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, September 16 10:39 AM

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It's no secret that New Yorkers can be a little crazy sometimes. Thankfully, at the new Romera restaurant, the doctor is in as of today.

Neurologist turned star chef Miguel Sánchez Romera gets inside your brain at his eponymous restaurant in the Dream Downtown hotel with what he calls neurogastronomy. But fear not, his 12-course, $245 tasting menu isn't just foams and mirrors. Romera thinks about how diners experience food and is known for creating multisensory experiences. Here, you'll see that approach in everything from waters infused with greenmarket bounty to a fragrant herb garden that climbs a wall of the dining room. And all that indulgence? Low-cal! Just what the doctor ordered.

Photo: Courtesy of Romera

New York Fashion Week Boutique Openings, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, September 14 10:58 AM

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The click-clack chorus of stilettos on pavement. The strutting prides of long-legged pouters. The flash-happy brigade of street-style snappers. Yes, New York Fashion Week is here again, and with it comes a slew of white-hot boutique openings.

Nicola Formichetti Pop-Up
Mugler creative director, Lady Gaga collaborator, and all-round visionary Nicola Formichetti is hosting a two-week pop-up store to end all pop-up stores in Tribeca (pictured), selling everything from Mugler pieces to plastic rings (through September 23). Designed by Gage/Clemenceau architects, the wonderfully trippy interior resembles a house of mirrors that just might push fraught fashion editors over the edge (50 Walker Street at Broadway).

Century 21
The New York City institution that made deep discounts on designer clothes de rigueur is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the opening of an uptown outpost on September 22. The new Lincoln Square Century 21 is just as gargantuan as its downtown sister--five floors covering some 61,000 square feet--and promises the same mix of big-ticket labels for less (1972 Broadway at 66th Street).

Z Spoke
Fashion world darling Zac Posen, who mingles with ingenues like Natalie Portman and Stella Schnabel, has just made it easier for you to pick up his on-point ladylike designs. Posen's younger, (slightly) more affordable line, Z Spoke, now has its own stand-alone Meatpacking District address, a cozy parlor stocked with crowd-pleasing handbags, adorable frocks, and rare books (875 Washington Street at 14th Street).

Tory Burch
The undisputed queen of relaxed uptown chic expanded her empire this month with a Madison Avenue flagship that's sure to be a (polite) mob scene. The entire four-story exterior is swathed in a collage created by street artist James De La Vega, while inside is a comprehensive collection of Burch's patterned tunics, tweedy separates, and, of course, those ubiquitous ballet flats (797 Madison Avenue at 67th Street).

Alexander Berardi
Fashion wunderkind of the moment Alexander Berardi has an enviable following despite his tender years (he's just 25) and the fact that he's only been showing at NYFW since 2010. See what the fuss is all about at the designer's new Soho digs, which will showcase Berardi's sweetly tailored ready-to-wear collection (174 Prince Street at Thompson Street).

Photo: Courtesy of Evan Joseph

Maison Ladurée, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, September 07 11:47 AM

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When recounting the great New York City cupcake wars of the early 21st century, sugar-charged historians will note August 30, 2011, as the day everything changed, when chocolate and vanilla, red velvet and peanut butter all banded together against a new common enemy: the macaron at Maison Ladurée's new Upper East Side shop.

The first stateside outpost of the venerable Parisian patisserie presents a pastel crayon box of a Belle Époque teahouse. Chocolates, fruit jellies, and miniature pastries vie for attention, but Ladurée's signature sweet is the double-decker macaron--two feather-light crispy shells sandwiching a soft, chewy center--a delicacy the company lays claim to inventing in 1930. There's classic caramel with salted butter, black-currant violet, rose, and pistachio, as well as seasonal flavors like almond Morello cherry and strawberry-mint. Sound the death knell to Upper East Side diets.

Photo: Courtesy of abbietabbie, Flickr, Getty Images

Hôtel Americano, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, August 25 10:11 AM

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Mexican-owned, French-designed, Japanese-styled, NYC-outfitted: Like our great national stew, Chelsea's latest design hotel is an exercise in delicious eclecticism. Hôtel Americano, indeed. Opening in early September amid art galleries on a gritty stretch of West 27th Street, Grupo Habita's first property north of the border fits in brilliantly with the patchwork of New York City.

Outside, an industrial chain-link facade shields the rooms from prying eyes on the High Line. Inside, the 56 midcentury minimalist rooms are reminiscent of an urban ryokan, thanks to wooden platform beds and gallery-style white walls. Denim robes from Loden Dager, Latin-French room service in bento boxes, and mezcal and harmonicas in the minibar add just the right amount of quirkiness. In lesser hands, all this mishmash might appear muddled, but as conceived by interior designer Arnaud Montigny (of Colette fame), the easy je ne sais quoi of cool feels just like home.

Photo: Courtesy of Hôtel Americano

stillspotting: nyc, To a Great City, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, August 22 11:35 AM

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Quiet. Respite. Solitude. Not words usually associated with New York City. But from September 15-18 and 22-25, stillspotting: nyc, To a Great City, a conceptual art collaboration between the Guggenheim Museum, Estonia-born composer Arvo Pärt, and Snøhetta (the architecture firm behind New York City's National September 11 Memorial and Museum) will redefine your aural perceptions of the city.

A walking tour takes you to five "galleries" around lower Manhattan--including a green labyrinth in the Battery, an underground chamber at Governors Island, and off-limits rooms in landmark skyscrapers--where the interactive installation marries architecture with Pärt's signature minimalist compositions. Buy a ticket, get your map, and follow the three-hour route, or choose your own adventure throughout the day. Loop back. Meditate. Make it your own. In the city, finding peace and quiet is indeed an art.

Route starts at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park, 11 am to 7 pm (ticket sales close at 4 pm), $10. Advance reservations suggested.

Photo: Courtesy of Snøhetta 2011

Dekalb Market, Brooklyn, New York

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, August 15 10:20 AM

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The new Dekalb Market has made everything shipshape in downtown Brooklyn. Twenty-two salvaged shipping containers chopped, welded, and painted in rainbow hues now house boutiques selling everything from vintage rompers and 1970s eyewear to Holstee recycled wallets and Alder printed silk scarves by local Pratt Institute design students.

Work up an appetite grooving to tracks spun by the hip-hop heads behind Bbeats, the market's record shop, and then sample everything from veggie muffulettas to mod Filipino fare in the mini restaurants. An urban farm and a beer garden are also on site. Fertile ground for a weekend outing? We think so.

Photo: Courtesy of Dekalb Market

Holey Books at The Hole, New York City

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, August 03 07:00 AM

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If your bookcase is begging to be adorned with a confetti-filled egg or a plastic breast--or you just want to do some arty gawking--get thee to the Hole, a spunky gallery and purveyor of oddball objets d'art that just soft-launched on the Bowery in NYC.

Founded by refugees from the former Pop art/fashion/party powerhouse Deitch Projects, the Holey Books store is like a museum shop stripped of pretense and injected with DIY downtown grit. The evolving collection of items currently includes rare zines and comics, art books, limited-edition hoodies by Dearraindrop, tees from Terence Koh, and a selection of Native Shoes (a fashionable Franken-sneaker that's part Top-Sider, part Croc).

Works by up-and-coming artists on display in the gallery don't come cheap, but all you need to bring home one of the 200 custom-commissioned posters from the likes of Harmony Korine and Assume Vivid Astro Focus is $75 burning a hole in your pocket.

Photo: Courtesy of The Hole

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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