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Inside Tribeca: New York's Coolest Neighborhood

The first big-name fashion designer to migrate to TriBeCa is Issey Miyake. His new store, opening in September at 119 Hudson Street, is a chic collaboration between Miyake and architect Frank Gehry. The high-concept, 15,000-square-foot space — rendered by architect Gordon Kipping, a protégé of Gehry's — will showcase Miyake's men's and women's collections as well as lines previously unavailable in this country, including A-POC (short for A Piece of Cloth), a line that lets customers cut their own garments from tubes of fabric.

The eighties saw the cult of Odeon (145 West Broadway; 212/233-0507; dinner for two $75), a revamped chrome cafeteria that turned into the epicenter of the art scene and is now a classic. Then came the Nieporent-DeNiro explosion with Montrachet, Layla, Tribeca Grill, and Nobu (105 Hudson St.; 212/219-0500; dinner for two $110), a Japanese date restaurant for L.A. types "in the business," as well as Next Door Nobu (105 Hudson St.; 212/334-4445; dinner for two $110) — but don't bother calling, there's a no-reservations policy. Vying for title of "the anti-Nobu" among locals who resent not being able to get in: Zutto (77 Hudson St.; 212/233-3287; dinner for two $50), a sushi favorite of playwright and neighborhood resident Edward Albee.

The perfect restaurant for film fanatics is the Screening Room Restaurant & Cinema (54 Varick St.; 212/334-2100; dinner and a movie for two $60). Vertiginously ranked by food lovers: David Bouley's Danube (30 Hudson St.; 212/791-3771; dinner for two $100), which feels like dining inside the lacquered jewel box of an Austro-Hungarian duchess, and his Bouley Bakery (120 West Broadway; 212/964-2525; dinner for two $100), with its low-attitude haute French cuisine.

Farther downtown is the Juniper Café (185 Duane St.; 212/965-1201; dinner for two $50), a late-night bistro jammed with fashion photographers. Just across the street at Roc (190A Duane St.; 212/625-3333; dinner for two $80), the percolating Rocco Cadolini (formerly of Elio's on the Upper East Side) has concocted a trendy restaurant mixing high (a glittering chandelier, antique Sicilian vases) and low (a weekly spaghetti-and-meatballs special) that's true to his native Sorrento. On balmy nights, you can eat outside against the backdrop of the World Trade Center's towers. Most favored regular customer: Gwyneth Paltrow.

After 21 years behind the top-rated Chanterelle (2 Harrison St.; 212/966-6960; dinner for two $168), chef David Waltuck and his wife, Karen, have a new bistro: Le Zinc (139 Duane St.; 212/513-0001; dinner for two $60). The softly lit, high-ceilinged space is the ideal spot for munching on salmon burgers and sipping a Côte du Rhône. Art is a Waltuck tradition: at Chanterelle, artists like Mapplethorpe and Haring designed the menus; at Zinc, the walls are plastered with posters for upcoming movies and art openings.

Every Sunday afternoon at three, a crowd worthy of a Benetton ad heads to Body & Soul, a fevered dance party at Vinyl (6 Hubert St.; 212/330-9169). Weeknights at the swanky Grace (114 Franklin St.; 212/343-4200), twentysomethings tipple apple martinis along with tapas of tequila-marinated shrimp till 4 a.m. (tapas are the staple of the TriBeCa diet). At Tja! (301 Church St.; 212/226-8900), the dishes are Scandinavian-inspired and the music is trance-inducing. Nocturnal is the word for the cabaret scene at Shine (285 West Broadway; 212/941-0900) and at just-opened Rubber Monkey (279 Church St.; 212/625-8220). From jazz trios to fire-eaters and contortionists, these two hot spots offer more than just trippy sofas for lounge lizards.

"It's very casual down here, not like uptown at all. People walk around in paint-splattered drawstring pants, sweatshirts, and Chinese slippers. You would never wear a Chanel suit or Manolos. You couldn't — not on those cobblestones." —Susanna Moore, novelist

The strip of Greenwich Street between Franklin and Watts has become a Little Hollywood — it's home to the TriBeCa Film Center, and the offices of Miramax are nearby. Recently, scenes of Sex and the City were shot in front of Sosa Borella (460 Greenwich St.; 212/431-5093), an Italian-Argentine café where Keanu Reeves, Fisher Stevens, and Tim Robbins drop in for ciabatta-bread sandwiches and fries between takes. The West Coast—meets—East Coast vibe is palpable throughout TriBeCa. Ula Day Spa (8 Harrison St.; 212/343-2376) attracts local players Harvey Keitel and model-turned-actress James King with its hydrating mask of green tea and licorice. Among the boldface names who've reportedly taken up residence in the neighborhood recently: Billy Crystal, Ed Burns, David Letterman, Marc Anthony, Nathan Lane, Gisele Bündchen, and Kyle Eastwood (son of Clint). Rumored to be half-moved-in: Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin, Sean "Puffy" Combs, and Ben Stiller.


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