Guest post by Andaz Cultural Insider Caroline McCarthy
I’m really psyched to be an Andaz Cultural Insider because of how dedicated they are to creating dialogue between locals and newcomers, meaning that visitors to huge and diverse cities like New York will get the best recommendations whether they’re staying for a weekend or indefinitely. Everyone’s New York is different and I’m so excited to share a little bit of mine with you through the Cultural Insider program.
So — today, I’m going to offer up some tips involving boats, seafood, and other things nautical. Why? Well, even native New Yorkers sometimes forget they’re on an island (seriously!) but one of the greatest things about summer in the city is the ability to get out on the water — or at least feel like you are.
If you’re staying at the Andaz Wall Street this summer, the seasonal oyster and cocktail bar Grand Banks is more than worth a visit. Housed on a vintage schooner docked at Pier 25 right near the North Cove Marina, this is a gorgeous spot for cocktails and (sustainably farmed!) oysters while you watch the sun set.
Get there right when it opens on weekdays — 4PM — because the after-work crowd from the Financial District starts to roll in and fill it up once 5:30 rolls around.
If Grand Banks doesn’t fill your appetite for nautical spots in NYC, fear not. Here are a few more that you might want to check out:
— North River Lobster Company: Also seasonal, and also new for Summer 2014, this is a “floating lobster shack” that actually leaves its midtown pier several times a day while passengers dine on lobster rolls and cocktails. (Pier 81 at West 41st St., Manhattan)
— Frying Pan: The most famous “bar on a boat” in New York, this one (much like Grand Banks) is docked and open seasonally. Splitting a bucket of beer here with friends is a summer-in-the-city tradition, but it takes some stamina to tolerate the fratty crowd. (Pier 66 at West 26th St., Manhattan)
— Lure Fishbar: This below-ground Soho dining spot serves up a menu of everything from sushi to lobster rolls to oysters, with a wood-paneled interior and round windows that mimic an ocean liner. Great for a nice dinner out, but if you go for lunch, you’ll be able to spy on some of New York media’s biggest power players (this is one of their favorite spots). (142 Mercer St., Manhattan)
— Red Hook Lobster Pound: Lobster rolls have become a trendy dish all over the city, but these remain some of the best. You can get them at several locations in New York (including a food truck), but it’s worth giving yourself half a day to explore Red Hook, Brooklyn’s longtime maritime industry hub (grab beers at the Bait & Tackle Shop, a former fishermen’s social club). The best way to get there from the area around Andaz Wall Street is to take the New York Water Taxi from Pier 11 — it runs free on weekends. (284 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn)
— Grey Lady: A Nantucket-inspired restaurant on the Lower East Side, this is a great spot to go for dinner before a night out at the many bars in the area. The New England-bred owners proudly claim that it sells more beer from the Nantucket-based Cisco Brewing Company (the brewer of Whale’s Tail Pale Ale) than any other bar in the world. (77 Delancey St., Manhattan)
— Maison Premiere: Though its vibe is more New Orleans than New England, this is the home of the best “oyster happy hour” (yes, that’s a thing) in New York…in addition to some of the best absinthe. From 4PM to 7PM on weekdays, all 20 varieties of oyster on the menu are $1 apiece — get there right at 4 because it fills up, and if you’re feeling adventurous, order one of all 20. (298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn)
— Renting a Sailboat: If this is a big trip to New York and you’re eager to do it up, or if you’re in town to celebrate something with friends, consider renting one of the gorgeous vintage- or vintage-style sailboats that cruise around Manhattan Harbor, most of which depart from the North Cove Marina. A few years ago a friend had an amazing birthday party on the 1920s-era Shearwater, but if you don’t want to splurge on a full charter, the reproduction Schooner America 2.0 has spots available for day and night cruises, brunch trips, sushi-and-sake sails — you name it!