2014年2月28日 星期五

36 Hours in Upper Manhattan

36 Hours in Upper Manhattan

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The drive to the Cloisters, at the northern tip of Manhattan. Credit Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

In the 18th century, the northern half of Manhattan Island served as a bucolic escape for New Yorkers with the cash to afford it and the horse and carriage to get them there. It’s easier to visit these days (the A train to Harlem being the most famous of many routes) and easier to get around, with the city’s newfangled green cabs in abundance in neighborhoods where yellow cabs have always been scarce. There’s also a whole lot more to do these days. Harlem, the Dutch settlement that became the black capital of America, is in the throes of gentrification: a mix of old and new, from gospel-filled black church services to fine cocktail bars abuzz with young professionals of all races. Meanwhile, farther north, between the island’s oldest surviving house and its largest swath of never developed land, is a Latino neighborhood the likes of which you can no longer find south of Central Park.
1. In (the) Wood | 4 p.m.
Take the A train — but not to Harlem. Instead, head to the end of the line, the 207th Street station in the Inwood neighborhood. A few blocks west is a Manhattan you won’t recognize, although the Lenape people who once inhabited the island surely would. Inwood Hill Park is a vast expanse of Manhattan, most of which has never been built upon — 196 acres of ridges, caves and forest that occasionally break for vistas of the Hudson River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek. It’s also got Shorakkopoch Rock, where Peter Minuit’s purchase of Manhattan Island from the Lenape tribe supposedly took place. The paths are a loopy (and unmarked) tangle, so print out a PDF map from nycgovparks.org or you’ll be scavenging berries for dinner.
2. Chile Infusion | 7 p.m.
You don’t come to northern Manhattan for the Mexican food, even if La Condesa, a cozy, surprisingly upscale spot, can produce a heck of an enchilada. Instead, make a pre-dinner stop for the sophisticated margaritas (from $8.50), with several variations using house infusions, such as chipotle-infused mezcal with pineapple.
3. Family Dinner | 8 p.m.
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Eating at Margot Restaurant

This spot in Upper Manhattan draws loyal diners for its Dominican cooking.
Washington Heights has been a predominantly Dominican neighborhood since the 1980s, which explains why Margarita Santana started finding a market for her home-style Dominican cooking in 1984. A few years later she opened Margot, a bright little restaurant with an outsized reputation among Dominican-Americans. Smiles fill in for the limited English of the staff, as your red-and-white checked table covering disappears under plates of Dominican steak with onions ($13) and stewed goat ($12) with sides of rice and soupy red beans, and fried plantains and anise-flavored yuca arepas. Ask for a beer and they’ll send you to the cramped, old-school bodega one block south; just step around the men engaged in boisterous conversation and pluck some Presidente beers ($1.75) from the fridge.
4. Uptown Night Life | 10 p.m.
Washington Heights and Inwood have long been dotted with Latino nightclubs, but old-time merengue palaces have given way (in part) to the more modern loungey options. Apt. 78 is just such a place: a comparatively tiny but popular night spot whose name is a tribute to the defunct meatpacking district club Apt, and looks vaguely like the interior of a New York apartment. A very, very crowded apartment: The place packs in a youngish uptown crowd that likes reggae and hip-hop at least as much as Latin rhythms. Once April comes, though, the place to be is La Marina, all the way west on the banks of the Hudson. Whether the party is inside or out, everyone gets a view of the George Washington Bridge.
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Inwood Hill Park
1/2 mile
Duyvil Creek
La Marina
Dyckman st.
The Cloisters
Apt. 78
Harlem River
Morris-Jumel Mansion
La Condesa
Jumel Terrace Books
Margot Restaurant
Convent Avenue Baptist Church
Serengeti Teas and Spices
Studio Museum in Harlem
lenox ave.
Billie’s Black
Lee Lee’s Baked Goods
El Museo
del Barrio
Adja Khady Food
La Fonda Boricua
fifth ave.
67 Orange Street
central park
5. The Harlem Two-Step | 10 a.m.
Serengeti Teas and Spices is the first stateside retail store for Liberian-born Caranda Martin’s tea company, and behind its carved mahogany and marble bar Mr. Martin and his staff might suggest their smoky Masai Lion’s Head black tea ($4) blend. They’re just as serious about their coffee, which they roast every other day. Forgo their pastry by sneaking in some warm, buttery, flaky rugelach ($1 each, hope for apricot) from tiny Lee Lee’s Baked Goods a few blocks away, where Alvin Lee Smalls has been making his “rugelach by a brother” since 2001.
6. Walk It Off | 11 a.m.
Get a flavor of the new and the old, the African and the African-American, on this 1.5-mile loop around Harlem: Start down Frederick Douglass Boulevard — known as restaurant row but also home to stylish but friendly shops like the Bébénoir boutique — then east across 116th to see signs of Harlem’s West African immigrant population (check out the Senegalese baskets in the window of Adja Khady Food Distributor). Turn up Lenox Avenue, past cafes and churches, then cut west on 125th Street, Harlem’s main drag — where American Apparel and the like have moved in but street vendors still sell Obama playing cards and “Kim Kardashian” scented oil.
7. Art-Food Pairings | Noon
Match your food with your art. In central Harlem, the Studio Museum in Harlem features artists of the African diaspora; from there head for a “gourmet soul” lunch, like the moist, pan-cooked catfish filet folded over a mound of crab meat ($14) at Billie’s Black. Or head east to Spanish Harlem, the spiritual home of New York’s Puerto Rican community, to El Museo del Barrio (showcasing Latino and Latin American artists) before a lunch of mofongo de pernil — fried plantains mashed together with roast pork shoulder — under the art-covered walls of La Fonda Boricua.
8. This Old House | 3 p.m.
George Washington slept (and planned for battle) here in 1776, Alexander Hamilton dined here in 1790, and the man who shot him in a duel, Aaron Burr, moved in after he married its most colorful resident, Madame Eliza Jumel. Despite the characters who passed through the columned front entrance of the Morris-Jumel Mansion and the marvelous period furniture within, few visitors make it to Manhattan’s oldest surviving residence. Those who do should not miss Jumel Terrace Books, the by-appointment bookstore specializing in local history in the bottom floor of a nearby brownstone. Its main attraction is the owner, Kurt Thometz, who lives upstairs and may know more about uptown than all of his books combined.
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Music at Minton’s

Drop in for a set or supper at this Harlem spot.
9. Jacket Required | 8 p.m.
Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk were among the regulars at Minton’s Playhouse in the 1940s, and the spot is often credited as the birthplace of bebop. It closed in the 1970s, but a new Minton’s has just been born in the form of a white-tablecloth club, a project of the former Time Warner C.E.O. Richard Parsons and the Southern cuisine innovator Alexander Smalls. Its jazz ambitions are decidedly retro: The snowy-haired house band, some of whom played at the original Minton’s, is delightfully old-fashioned. But its culinary ambitions are forward-thinking: cremolata crusted grouper with braised young spinach ($36) or sweet potato ricotta dumplings with Tokyo turnips and coconut collard greens ($28), for example.
10. Three Scenes | 11 p.m.
Noisy beer garden? Intimate cocktail hideaway? See-and-be-seen scene? The new Harlem has bars for all moods. Bier International has long wooden tables and a beer list that’s heavy on the German but with choices from exotic lands like Corsica, Kenya and the Bronx. 67 Orange Street is a tiny hipsterish joint with very serious bartenders creating $13 cocktails with names like Cleopatra’s Lust and Manhattan After Dark. Or go to the go-to, Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster, not yet three years old and already practically a Harlem landmark, or head for Ginny’s Supper Club speakeasy underneath.
11. Sunday Best | 9:30 a.m.
Visiting a Baptist service, with ministers preaching, gospel choirs grooving and animated congregations matching them step for step has become a staple of Harlem tourism. Skip the lines by attending the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ with Harlem Heritage Tours; the $39 package includes a neighborhood tour afterward, given by either the energetic Neil Shoemaker, who is a native Harlemite and won’t let you forget it, or Andi Owens, an 85-year-old guide with at least one clever quip for each of those years. Or head to the Convent Avenue Baptist Church and ask if you can sit with the congregation.
12. Mimosas Unlimited | 1:30 p.m.
At first glance, you might think that Harlemites pack bright, cheery Lido for Sunday brunch for the $13 bottomless mimosa. But the real highlight is the food. Sure, all the regular hollandaisey, pancakey items are on the menu, but this is also an Italian place, so try the pumpkin ravioli drenched in ginger cream, drizzled with balsamic syrup and sprinkled with sage ($18). Or compromise with an Italian-brunch hybrid: the buttery egg panini with goat cheese, bacon and tomato ($13).
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Escaping to the Cloisters

A visit to this branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art could make you forget you’re in Manhattan.
13. Stained Glass and Unicorns | 3 p.m.
Fort Tryon Park has commanding views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades, but is best known for the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art housed in a monastery-like building with three cloister gardens constructed in part from architectural elements from medieval structures transported across the Atlantic. Within are sculpture, stained glass and illuminated manuscripts, and perhaps the Met’s most famous medieval works, the Unicorn Tapestries.


2014年2月27日 星期四

36 Hours in Kyoto, Japan

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Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shrine. CreditKo Sasaki for The New York Times
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A full 36 hours, 36 days, or even 36 weeks could be spent exploring the thousands of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, Zen gardens, palaces, pagodas, parks and walking paths in Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. So it’s little surprise that the most common complaint about the enchanting city is that there are too many tourists, especially during the spring cherry-blossom season. To avoid crowds, consider seeking out local haunts in far-flung neighborhoods, all within reach thanks to an extensive public transport system. You’ll quickly discover that many of Kyoto’s most rewarding attractions can’t be found in any guidebook. At least not yet.
1. Golden Oldies | 2 p.m.
It’s easy to bounce from temple to temple until they all blur into a muddled mass. To prevent this overdose, be selective and focus on a single memorable spot, like Rengeo-in temple, commonly known as Sanjusangen-do (admission, 600 Japanese yen, about $6 at 100 yen to the dollar). The temple’s main hall, nearly 400 feet long, houses an unforgettable sight: a gigantic statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, flanked by 1,000 human-size statues. The golden statues, each with 42 arms, carved from Japanese cypress in the 12th and 13th centuries, still look immaculate.
2. Kyoto via Copenhagen | 4 p.m.
Adapting ancient crafts to contemporary tastes is a skill some local artisans have perfected through a venture called Japan Handmade. The project is a collaboration between the Danish design studio OeO and six small Kyoto-area companies, each rooted in a traditional craft, from woodworking to metal-knitting. One of the participants, Hosoo, founded in 1688, produces luxurious fabrics traditionally used to make kimonos. Today the patterned silks also adorn upholstered armchairs and high-top sneakers (a collaboration with the fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro). Find these modern creations and Japan Handmade’s range of covetable items — glazed porcelain trays, cypress-wood Champagne buckets — at the new House of Hosoo showroom in Nishijin, the city’s historic textile district. Because visits are by appointment only, exploring the tatami mat rooms feels like touring a private museum.
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House of Hosoo. CreditKo Sasaki for The New York Times
3. Chicken Dinner | 6:30 p.m.
Most locals don’t blow their yen on outrageously priced kaiseki dinners, and neither should you. Instead, secure a seat at Hitomi, a casual yakitori restaurant that is beloved for its warm service and delicious grilled things-on-sticks. Bar seats afford front-row views of the smoking grill, where every part of the chicken, beak to tail, is cooked with care. Don’t miss the tsukune (ground chicken “meatball”), crisp kawa (skin) and succulent momo (chicken thigh) seasoned with nothing but a pinch of salt. Dinner for two, about 5,000 yen.
4. Rebirth of the Cool | 9 p.m.
After dinner, soak up the smooth sounds and surroundings at Yamatoya, a longstanding jazz bar that reopened in 2013 after a yearlong renovation. No detail here is overlooked, from the classy décor — antique tables, glossy red bar — to the hand-cut ice. Then there’s the music. Hearing a Django Reinhardt record played on the superb audio system — Garrard 401 turntable, vintage Vitavox Klipschorn speakers — is like seeing new colors for the first time. And if the rich, room-filling sound doesn’t bowl you over, the owner’s collection of over 5,000 records surely will.
5. Discreet Drinks | 11 p.m.
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Cafe Gaea.CreditKo Sasaki for The New York Times
Spend the rest of the night hopping to increasingly discreet bars. Start at Cafe Gaea, a laid-back neighborhood hangout where you can while away an hour chatting with the affable manager, Rei. Then slip down the narrow path leading to the sliding door of Bar Bunkyu. The smiling bartender Nao befriends all who enter the austere space, where a few stools surround a large slab of textured wood that doubles as both bar and communal table. Close out the night at the nameless bar usually referred to as Kazu’s, after its owner. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you open an unmarked door on the third floor of a dingy back-alley building and step into darkness — only a few flickering candles illuminate the bottle-lined bar. A hypnotic soundtrack, underground atmosphere and 5 a.m. closing time make this an ideal last stop for those who can find it.
6. Cafe Culture | 10 a.m.
Temporarily transport yourself to an earlier era with a morning coffee at Rokuyousha, an old-school cafe with wood-paneled walls, vinyl seats, olive-hued tile and ceramic ashtrays atop every table. It’s easy to walk right past this relaxed bi-level coffee shop, but the many residents who stop in to read the newspaper, have a smoke and snack on homemade cake doughnuts know you shouldn’t.
7. Funny Faces | 11:30 a.m.
Though many tour the temples that dot the Arashiyama district on the western edge of the city, few find their way to a fascinating site in the nearby foothills. At Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, a humble Buddhist temple with roots dating back to the eighth century, the hillsides are lined with over 1,000 moss-covered rakan statues (representing disciples of Buddha) whose origins are considerably more modern. In the 1980s and ‘90s, hundreds of people learned to stone-carve and donated the figures to support the temple’s reconstruction. The result was this wide-ranging collection of statues bearing entertaining expressions, from a tennis-racquet-wielding figure to a pair of jolly drinking buddies. Find and imitate your favorites. Admission, 300 yen.
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A dish at Syouraian. CreditKo Sasaki for The New York Times
8. Tofu and Bamboo | 1:30 p.m.
Meditate on the subtlety of flavors during a meal at Syouraian, a restaurant in Arashiyama that showcases tofu, a Kyoto specialty, in various forms. Deep in the woods with views over the Oi River, the tranquil tatami mat dining room is a harmonious backdrop for the beautifully presented dishes, from a silken tofu appetizer adorned with a single dot of bean paste to fried agedashi tofu in broth topped with quivering shavings of dried bonito (4,600 yen for eight courses). After lunch, stroll through the nearby bamboo forest, where a path courses beneath the swaying stalks.
9. Design Shops | 4:30 p.m.
At Kyoto Design House, a refined shop occupying the ground floor of a spacious Tadao Ando-designed building, browse antique hair combs perhaps worn by long-gone geisha, black lacquered iPhone cases adorned with gold foil, and business-card holders made from Nishijin fabrics. More contemporary artisan crafts are for sale at Kohchosai Kosuga, a nearby shop filled with bamboo designs that will ignite a desire to outfit your entire kitchen with everything from elegantly simple serving plates and rice scoops to beautiful woven baskets and trays.
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Kyoto Design House. CreditKo Sasaki for The New York Times
10. Deep-Fried Dinner | 8 p.m.
Kushiage, the cooking style of deep-frying food on skewers, is an art form at Kushi Tanaka, a cozy restaurant on a dead-end lane. The chef’s 30-plus years of experience are evident as he plucks skewers out of the fryer and presents them to the dozen or so diners squeezed around the wooden U-shaped counter. A recent 20-piece feast included bites of deep-fried mochi, mackerel, shiitake, kabocha, tender ginkgo nuts and an oozy quail egg wrapped in bacon. The set menu takes the guesswork out of ordering and costs 3,800 yen per person.
11. Less-Strange Brew | 11 p.m.
Though craft beer is slowly gaining a foothold in Japan, it’s still a relative rarity in Kyoto. To taste some ji-biru, or domestic microbrews, walk a few blocks west to Bungalow, a 10-tap craft beer bar that opened in 2012. There’s comfortable seating upstairs, but service is better at the streetside standing bar. A wider selection is found at Wachi, a fourth-floor izakaya that recently had Iwate Kura Oyster Stout on tap and a fridge stocked with bottles from Kiuchi Brewery, Baird Brewing Company, and other Japanese craft breweries.
12. Torii Tunnel | 8 a.m.
Get up early for a peaceful trek to the top of Mount Inari on trails that snake through thousands of vermilion torii, the traditional gates that usually mark the entrance to Shinto shrines. Starting from Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shrine at the base of the mountain dedicated to the Shinto kami (spirit) of rice and prosperity, ascend the path passing under torii spaced so closely together that it sometimes feels like walking through a tunnel. To scale the summit and return down the winding wooded trails, allow two to three hours.
13. Suntory Time | Noon
Head southwest of Kyoto to pay homage to the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, the birthplace of Japanese whiskey. Free hourlong tours explain the distillation process, from malting to mashing to fermentation, and culminate with a sampling of Yamazaki single-malt whiskey with soda. (Reservations required; English audio guides are provided.) Afterward, browse the bottles that line the shelves of the on-site “whiskey library” and visit the tasting counter, which pours samples of top-notch blends and single malts, as well as limited-edition whiskeys available only at the distillery.
Pacific Ocean
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji
House of Hosoo
Oi River
Area of detail
1/4 MILE
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Rengeo-in temple
Bar Bunkyu
Kyoto Design House
Kohchosai Kosuga
Mount Inari/
Fushimi Inari Taisha
To Suntory Yamazaki Distillery