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New York City's Downtown Scene

Lower Manhattan at dusk, as seen from the New Museum, on the Bowery.

Photo: Andrea Fazzari

No one can agree precisely when it started, let alone where it starts. South of Houston Street? 14th? 23rd? Does it include the farther-flung galleries of Chelsea? The Financial District? The one thing New Yorkers can agree on is that Downtown just feels different. You sense it the minute you cross that disputed border. Few cityscapes have such recognizable iconography—the cast-iron façades of SoHo, the Belgian block–paved lanes of TriBeCa, the water towers punctuating rooflines like squat wooden rocket ships, the hoardings plastered with dance-mix ads, the congee joints and Puerto Rican bodegas, the bodega that last Tuesday became a bistro. Here's we've compiled the best of this iconic and ever-changing locale.

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Inspired by: New York City's New Downtown — by Peter Jon Lindberg, Published Sep. 2009

Hotels (6)

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    Jane Hotel

    While the Jane, designed by Sean MacPherson (the Bowery Hotel, the Maritime Hotel), is romantic in theory—an old riverfront building with tiny room

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    Crosby Street Hotel

    London’s Firmdale Group brings the spirit of Soho to a cobblestoned lane in the other SoHo. The new 86-room Crosby Street Hotel feels very much a p

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    Cooper Square Hotel

    Located in the Bowery neighborhood, the Cooper Square Hotel is a 21-story, glass-and-steel building designed by award-winning architect Carlos Zapa

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    The Standard, New York

    André Balazs understands that stellar views in New York City have less to do with the height of a building than with its context. The perennial hot

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    Greenwich Hotel

    Actor-entrepreneur Robert De Niro’s newest addition to his mini TriBeCa empire is his most inviting yet. Opened in the former warehouse neighborhoo

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    Bowery Hotel

    Hoteliers Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode—the team behind New York’s Maritime Hotel—are breathing new life into Manhattan’s once-desolate Bowery wit

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Restaurants (14)

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    Waverly Inn & Garden

    Occupying the ground floors of two West Village townhouses is the exclusive Waverly Inn & Garden, first opened in 1920 and again in 2006 by Graydon

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    Standard Grill

    Housed on the main floor of a trendy Meatpacking District boutique hotel (also called the Standard) and under the High Line elevated public park, t

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    Russ & Daughters

    Since 1914, four different generations of the Russ family have owned this gourmet shop on Houston Street in the Lower East Side. Because Jewish die

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    Saxon + Parole

    Opened in September 2011, Saxon + Parole is named for successful racehorses, the former a brown thoroughbred stallion and the latter a brown pony,

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    Locanda Verde

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    Chef-owner Andrew Carmellini brings robust Italian cooking to Locanda Verde, located in TriBeCa. Like an Italian ta

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    DBGB Kitchen & Bar

    Part French brasserie and part American tavern, chef Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen and Bar (one of five Boulud-owned New York restaurants) is a live

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    Minetta Tavern

    Greenwich Village’s historic Minetta Tavern originally opened in 1937 and was a haunt for such cultural icons as Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound. I

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    Elettaria

    In a homey West Village setting, I had delicious crabmeat with tiny gnocchi in a silky turmeric-onion sauce.

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    Momofuku Ssäm Bar

    With a mile-long list of accolades and awards—and even longer waits for stools at his East Village dining bars—the Korean-American cook David Chang

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    Balthazar

    Step beneath Balthazar's red awnings and into the high-ceiling dining room to be welcomed by striking pillars, black on the bottom and textured yel

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    WD~50

    Occupying a former bodega in Lower Manhattan, WD~50 is acclaimed chef Wylie Dufresne's first venture where he is both the owner and chef. Designed

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    Pastis

    For a Sex in the City moment, stop by Carrie's favorite restaurant, Pastis, in the Meatpacking District. Locally-renowned owner, Keith McNally, has

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    Schiller's Liquor Bar

    It's unclear what is the greater attraction at Schiller's Liquor Bar in the lower East Side: the food, the innovative cocktails, or the people-watc

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    The Spotted Pig

    If there is one thing this West Village restaurant doesn’t need, it’s more press. Since opening the city’s first gastro pub in 2004, chef April Blo

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Activities (17)

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    The Stone

    Located in the East Village at the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street and near a Mobil gas station, The Stone is all about music, pure and simple. A

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    Milk & Honey, Lower East Side

    Installed at 134 Eldridge Street, near the boundary of Chinatown, a plain gray door with “134” and “M&H” in small stickers is the only indicator pa

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    Mayahuel

    Named for the goddess of the agave plant, Mayahuel in the East Village offers a mix of traditional and modern Mexican cuisine and fine mescals and

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    (Le) Poisson Rouge

    Created by musicians, (Le) Poisson Rouge (LPR) on Bleecker Street is a indie venue for music, dance, and theater located just a few blocks south of

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    Bowery Electric

    Live entertainment is the main order of business at Bowery Electric, just a short walk from the Bowery Hotel. DJs play nightly and the bartenders s

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    Partners & Spade

    Inside 40 Great Jones Street in lower Manhattan is an über-creative world known as Partners & Spade. Founded by Andy Spade and Anthony Perduti, the

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    John Varvatos

    Music and fashion merge in John Varvatos’ menswear shop at 315 Bowery, the former home of the Lower East Side's legendary CBGB live music club. The

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    J.Crew's Liquor Store

    Nope, this isn’t about J.Crew (the casual clothing store) branching out into brandy and fine old Scotch. J.Crew’s Liquor Store in the West Village

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    Derek Lam

    Combining effortlessly unencumbered minimalism with the subtle beauty of a polished concrete floor and curving acrylic walls, the Derek Lam boutiqu

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    Death & Co.

    Inspired by the 1920's speakeasy motif, this New York bar is sequestered behind a large, wooden door. The interior provides the perfect chic atmosp

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    PDT

    Short for Please Don’t Tell, this East Village bar’s name reflects its speakeasy vibe. The bar is only accessible through the phone booth at the ba

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    Tenement Museum

    Searching for a place to house a museum honoring American immigrants, Ruth Abram unearthed 97 Orchard Street, a historic apartment building that wa

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    High Line

    At the south end of the High Line, an abandoned 1930’s elevated freight rail track turned 21st-century park, The Standard, High Line is situated on

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    New Museum

    This striking home for downtown's contemporary art hub—led by savvy director Lisa Phillips—made a splashy debut in December 2007, thanks to its ext

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    Blue & Cream

    An airy, minimalist window-lined store that started as a Hamptons staple, it carries designers for men (Rag & Bone, Rogues Gallery) and women (Zac

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