Come back every eight years or every eight weeks; there’s always something fresh in New York. Uptown, art lovers have a new haunt in the renovated Greek and Roman galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave.; 212/535-7710; metmuseum.org), built around a dramatically skylit atrium. Blue Tree (1283 Madison Ave.; 212/369-2583), a two-story boutique run by actress Phoebe Cates, offers everything from vintage clothing to children’s toys. A short walk away is the rustic trattoria Sfoglia (1402 Lexington Ave.; 212/831-1402; dinner for two $120), whose house-made pastas and extensive wine list have locals booking tables weeks in advance. A society favorite since 1955, Café Carlyle (35 E. 76th St.; 212/744-1600) has returned to the top of the cabaret scene after an extensive renovation that improved the club’s sound system and restored its Marcel Vertes murals.
In midtown, the venerable Plaza (Fifth Ave. at Central Park S.; 212/759-3000; fairmont.com; doubles from $735) just reopened after a $400 million overhaul that converted much of the building into luxury condominiums. But 282 spruced-up hotel rooms remain, as well as the beloved Oak Bar and Palm Court restaurant. A younger crowd checks into 6 Columbus (6 Columbus Circle; 212/204-3000; thompsonhotels.com; doubles from $495), the newest entry from the hoteliers behind 60 Thompson in SoHo and the Roosevelt in Hollywood; here you’ll find the latest outpost of Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill (212/397-0404; dinner for two $90). One block from the redesigned and expanded Museum of Modern Art, Anthos (36 W. 52nd St.; 212/582-6900; dinner for two $110) is at the forefront of New York’s current culinary trend, chic Greek. Michael Psilaki’s variations on traditional Hellenic dishes include a spicy stew of crayfish, sausage, and razor clams.
Downtown, the Bowery is in the midst of a wholesale transformation from flophouse strip into bastion of edgy style. Recent arrivals include the New Museum of Contemporary Art (235 Bowery; 212/219-1222; newmuseum.org), which has relocated to a new eight-story, 60,000-square-foot tower resembling a Modernist wedding cake; and the instantly popular Bowery Hotel (335 Bowery; 212/505-9100; boweryhotel.com; doubles from $525), where an ornate lobby fireplace and blood-red billiards table set the boho-baroque scene. Two blocks north, the minuscule Degustation (239 E. Fifth St.; 212/979-1012; dinner for two $60) has just 16 seats at a counter surrounding an open kitchen where 28-year-old Spaniard Wesley Genovart conjures tantalizing small plates with big flavors. Farther south in SoHo is the new branch of metrosexual mecca Odin New York (199 Lafayette St.; 212/966-0026), whose exclusive T-shirts are highly coveted.