It’s hard to imagine a North American city with a greater horological heritage than New York: It’s the epicenter of the watch media, headquarters for countless brands, and home to endless boutiques. Compared to other non-Swiss hotspots like Hong Kong or London, watch culture here is more diverse—you’re just as likely to see an Apple Watch as a Patek Philippe Nautilus. Retailers in Midtown such as Cellini and Wempe Jewelers are host to thousands of fine timepieces while Material Good in SoHo stocks all the Richard Milles and Audemars Piguets one could dream of. Then, of course, there’s the dynamic culinary and hotel scenes that are perpetually in the midst of reinvention. Because despite New York’s singular history, it’s never the same city you visited before.
Play: The Grill
The redesigned space inside the Seagram Building is this summer’s “it” restaurant.
Power-lunchers and architecture lovers can rest easy now that the Philip Johnson–designed restaurant in Mies Van Der Rohe’s Seagram building is back in business. The iconic space that held the Four Seasons for more than 50 years is now home to the city’s hottest table again. Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick of Major Food Group—the prolific restaurateurs behind Carbone, Dirty French, Santina, and Sadelle’s—enlisted acclaimed architect Annabelle Selldorf to restore the midcentury masterpiece to its original glory. Now, waiters clad in Tom Ford tuxedos deliver classic martinis and steaks on dishes inspired by JFK’s White House. “This is the greatest restaurant space of all time, and we’re doing everything we can to honor that,” says Zalaznick. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for us as restaurateurs, and it’s explosively exciting for us as New Yorkers.”—Laura Itzkowitz
99 East 52nd Street; entrées from $41–$74
Stay: The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel
A new property stakes its claim as the future of Manhattan’s grand hotels.
Walking into the glamorous Beekman Hotel, which opened last fall, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that the 19th-century building with a soaring atrium languished abandoned and covered in graffiti for over a decade. Luckily, Thompson Hotels took on the ambitious project of converting the erstwhile architectural gem into the city’s most spectacular new sleep. They looked to the area’s past for inspiration, giving the space a decadent Gilded Age vibe with Oriental rugs, antiques, and an oversize portrait of Edgar Allen Poe presiding over the lounge where Condé Nast editors rub shoulders with Wall Street bankers. Two restaurants—a French-inspired bistro by Keith McNally and an American restaurant by Tom Colicchio—are upping the ante on Financial District dining. Book one of the two Turret Penthouses to sleep in a duplex suite with 30-foot ceilings and a private terrace. —L.I.
123 Nassau Street; rooms from $619
Getaway: The Maidstone
The ideal weekend getaway is just a short drive away.
If you don’t have a house in the Hamptons, a suite at the newly renovated Maidstone Hotel is the next best thing. The historic 19-room inn just received a swank makeover courtesy of Partners & Alchemy. Owners Jenny and Jonathan Baker also enlisted chef David Standridge of Manhattan’s popular Café Clover to reimagine the restaurant, which serves a seasonal menu showcasing Long Island’s bounty, with dishes such as chilled lobster with tarragon rémoulade and peach corn salad, a burger on whole-wheat challah with onion confit, and lemon soufflé pancakes for brunch.—L.I.
207 Main Street, East Hampton; rooms from $670 in high season
Three can’t-miss watch boutiques and a legendary cocktail bar reborn.
Patek Philippe Salon at Tiffany & Co.
The august setting of Tiffany & Co.’s 57th Street flagship has long been overshadowed by Trump Tower, which acquired the jeweler’s air rights in one of the first of such transactions that have come to characterize New York’s gravity-defying real estate market.
Once you’re inside and away from the throngs of 5th Avenue tourists, venture up to the 5th floor for a serene setting of exclusive timepieces by none other than Patek Philippe.
The two brands have been partners since the 1800s, and to this day the storied American jeweler remains one of the Geneva maison’s most important accounts. Few other retailers of Patek have enjoyed the right to cobrand Patek timepieces with signed dials. And fewer still have convinced Patek to create limited editions just for their clientele. —Jonathan Bues
727 5th Avenue
This German-owned retailer is among the biggest names in the world, carrying most of the prestigious labels the industry has to offer, including Patek Philippe, Breguet, Rolex, Cartier, A. Lange & Söhne, IWC, and many more. Since opening in 1980, President Rudy Albers has set a standard for watch sales in New York that has been hard for others to beat. Upon arrival, it’s customary to be treated to espresso and some good conversation, often by Rudy himself. —J.B.
700 5th Avenue
Not catching a train? Go to Grand Central anyway. One of New York’s most distinguished lounges recently reopened in the Beaux Arts icon financed by Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt. Closed for a year, the hidden bar, once the office of Gilded Age tycoon John W. Campbell, is back and better than ever thanks to a light refresh and a new menu by the Gerber Group. The massive stone fireplace, stained-glass window, and even Campbell’s original safe are all still there. Snag a table on the balcony for a bird’s-eye view of the stunning room below. —L.I.
15 Vanderbilt Avenue
Ever since Leon Adams opened the doors of Cellini, in 1977, his store has enjoyed a cult following among collectors in search of the truly rare and complicated. He was among the first U.S. retailers to carry marques such as Greubel Forsey, A. Lange & Söhne, and Laurent Ferrier, and his passion for independent watches has made Cellini a must-stop.—J.B.
509 Madison Avenue