New York with Alexandra

Hi! I’m Alexandra Harper, Founder and President of Women of Culture, a community designed to connect, empower and inspire women through meaningful engagement with the arts. I have lived in NYC for almost 20 years, and I love to help people discover the best neighborhoods in the city through my art & food walks of Chelsea, the Lower East Side, Tribeca and DUMBO.

I have lived in NYC for almost 20 years, and it never fails to excite and impress me. I love to pretend to be a tourist in my own city, which isn’t very hard since it is always changing, growing and evolving. Just when I think I have seen everything and done everything the city has to offer, I discover a new neighborhood, building, restaurant, bar, mural, gallery or museum — and my love affair begins all over again.

It’s hard to narrow down the best things to do here, because there is just so much. This city literally has something for everyone, and it can be experienced in vastly different ways, depending on your interests, budget, length of stay, etc. Here are just a few of my favorites

Dining & entertainment

NYC has amazing year-round rooftops for both eating and drinking – 

  • Year-round rooftops for eating: 
    • Manhatta in the Financial District is drop-dead gorgeous and delicious
    • Peak NYC & Electric Lemon in Hudson Yards are both chic from inside, out
    • RH Rooftop in the Meatpacking District is an interior designer’s dream
  • Rooftops for drinking:
    • Ophelia in the Beekman Tower for art deco glamour and delicious cocktails
    • The Roof at the Public hotel or Le bain at the Standard hotel for party vibes and 360-degree views
    • Harriet’s at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge for stunning views of lower Manhattan

Speakeasies and cocktail bars to help you relive the roaring ‘20s –

  • Maison Premiere in Williamsburg for prohibition-era vibes & delicious cocktails and oysters
  • Bar Belly in the LES for oyster happy hour & jazz 
  • The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central, Flatiron Room & Employee’s Only for bespoke cocktails and old-world vibes

Off-the-beaten path, ‘local’ spots for delicious food – 

  • Cafe Mogador in the East Village or Miss Ada in Fort Greene (Brooklyn) for Mediterranean
  • Charlie Bird or Pasquale Jones in SoHo & NoHo for upscale Italian
  • Diner in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) or the Empire Diner in Chelsea for funky, farm-to-table in a cool environment
  • Salinas in Chelsea for amazing Spanish food & beautiful fresh flowers

In the summer months, you can also get great snacks and views on-board PILOT in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Grand Banks in Tribeca.

Fitness activities – 

  • Hudson River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO (Brooklyn) for running & stunning views of the city
  • 305 Fitness, SassClass or DivaDance for a unique dance workout
  • The Class for movement & meditation combined

Beauty & wellness – 

  • The Bumble & Bumble hair salon in Meatpacking or Midtown
  • Aire ancient baths for relaxation & massages in a unique setting

Best visits & shopping – 

For a more local experience, stay away from Midtown and Times Square, and stay/spend your time below 42nd street in Manhattan or in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Don’t miss Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO, the Highline in Chelsea or Domino Park in Williamsburg – and Governor’s Island in the summer/fall.

Use the NYC ferry to get around instead of the subway — it’s fast, super clean and offers great views, even from indoors in the winter. Head to One Vanderbilt and/or the Edge for a truly unique experience, plus the best views in the city. 

Stay away from the chain stores in Midtown and visit the boutiques in Nolita, along Smith Street in Brooklyn and along Bedford Ave in Williamsburg. ABC Carpet & Home is a must, and you can stay for delicious brunch or dinner at ABC Kitchen. Also check out Clic, Meg, Bird and INA for clothes and accessories.

For visual art (beyond all of the amazing museums), browse the galleries in Chelsea and Tribeca and the street art in Bushwick and the Lower East Side/East Village (I offer art & culture tours of all!). For performing art (beyond Broadway), check out what’s on at the Joyce theater as well as the Public theater, Joe’s Pub and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Also, the FIT Museum is a hidden gem with fashion exhibits to rival those at the Met.