Some of my favorite vacations have involved going only a few stops on the subway.
From my home in the West Village, I’ve traveled to some of the fanciest hotels in Midtown and to a few of the chic new boutique hotels in Brooklyn.
These big splurges — nights away from the kids for wedding anniversaries, mostly — are the perfect getaway. Being immersed in a new neighborhood in New York can be like traveling to an entirely different city.
Or, in fact, it can be better than actually traveling to a different city. Not to sound provincial, but there is the inevitable letdown when you go to the Scottsdales or Raleighs of the world, where the food at the best restaurant is worse than a mediocre spot in New York. And there’s the inevitable question, “Where are all the people?” that my wife, used to the hustle and bustle and crowds of New York, asks.
That’s why Luxury Listings has decided to take a look at the top “staycations” in New York in this issue. In a story starting on page 24, we survey the priciest hotels in Manhattan, and examine what kind of pampering you’ll get for that kind of outlay. Perks at the hotels range from a “Caviar Luxury” spa treatment (do they smear you with caviar?) to taking a bath inside a 250-year-old reconstructed Japanese bamboo farmhouse to sipping $3,000 glasses of cognac.
Of course, we are not philistines. We know that many people will be traveling to the Hamptons and otherwise fleeing the city come Memorial Day, so we take a look at the most expensive hotels in the tri-state area as well. From Bridgehampton to Amagansett to Litchfield County, find out what sets these rural retreats apart on page 29. It’s a perfect solution for those who don’t want the commitment or hassle of renting a place for the summer (or for those who waited too long to sign a lease).
Meanwhile, check out our cover story this month on eminently likeable actor Tony Danza, who so many of us grew up with during his days on “Taxi” and “Who’s the Boss?” Recently, the New York native has been a regular on Broadway, last month wrapping up a six-month run starring in the acclaimed musical “Honeymoon in Vegas.”
Danza, who was raised in East New York and now lives on the Upper West Side, weighs in on New York City then and now, worrying about New York becoming a “gated community.” He speaks about streets that have been wiped clean of crime, as well as some of their vibrancy. Check out our profile on page 14.
The argument that parts of Manhattan are becoming merely a Swiss bank account for the wealthy from around the world — certain buildings are a place to park money but sit empty most of the time — is borne out by some of the latest real estate stats. New York saw the biggest gain in luxury home prices of any city in the world in the past year, partly as a result of foreign money pouring in — see page 36.
But it’s hard to feel discouraged or buy too much into that negative premise when one takes a look at the architecturally ambitious buildings rising in New York from some of the biggest names in the world. We survey some of the new condos hitting the market in a story on page 20. (You can also get a great sense of what’s on tap by coming to our New Development Showcase on May 12 in Chelsea, which is being hosted along with our sister publication The Real Deal — see TheRealDeal.com/Forum for more information.)
Finally, don’t miss our story on smart homes and how it is getting easier to hook up to the so-called “Internet of Things” these days (page 34), a piece about a “camp” on the Upper East Side that helps train the help (page 44), a look at the invasion of LA-based stores in Soho (page 58) and a breakdown of the newest restaurants and hotels opening on the East End this season (page 70).
Enjoy the summer and enjoy the issue!