Halstead Property

Welcome to the official Halstead Tumblr Blog, where our local agents are your local experts. Halstead Property is the largest privately owned real estate firm in the New York Metropolitan Area and we strive to innovate and modernize your real estate experience. Through this blog, we aim to act as your neighborhood and real estate ambassador. We have daily contributors whose primary goal is to investigate and produce daily commentary and rich content that will give you a taste of the areas we service and you live in. If you have any feedback we invite you to contact us at social@halstead.com.

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102 posts tagged Food

10 REASONS TO LOVE RIVERSIDE BOULEVARD

With Nora Ariffin, Licensed Associated Real Estate Broker from our Village Office.

I’ve been living on the Upper West Side for over 20 years, happily calling Riverside Boulevard home for the last 3 ½ years. Before moving farther west, I would often go to Riverside Boulevard for showings or to bike along the Hudson in Riverside Park. In fact, the four-mile long park was one of the main reasons why I moved here. I like to think of this waterfront neighborhood as my own little getaway, and here are my top 10 reasons why you should consider Riverside Blvd (West 62nd- West 72nd Streets) for your next getaway:

1. A trip to Riverside Blvd would not be complete without spending time (and getting in a workout) in Riverside Park. You can often find me biking along the path that runs parallel to the Hudson River or running up and down the stairs at West 68th Street.

2. When I’m not working up a sweat in the park, I like to unwind at a café and take in the calming Hudson views. The Boat Basin Café located at West 79th is great, but I prefer Pier i Café (500 West 70th Street in Riverside Park South), which is practically just outside my front door. Be sure to check out Summer on the Hudson, a series of arts & entertainment events (many of them free!) in Riverside Park hosted by the Parks Department. Check out nycgovparks.org for the 2014 Summer on the Hudson schedule.

3. My ideal weekend morning would be to get tea and a chocolate croissant from BLUcafé (120 Riverside Blvd at Trump Place) and read the newspaper or a magazine on a bench in the park followed by a walk along the path.

4. Riverside Blvd is not far from Lincoln Center/Tucker Square where I often go to the Tucker Square Greenmarket (West 66th Street and Columbus Avenue) on Saturdays to pick up honey, fruit, vegetables, cheeses and bread from tri-state area farms and purveyors. For information on the 2014 schedule and times go to grownyc.org.

5. If venturing east for a market haul sounds a bit brutal, then check out Jubilee Market Place at 180 Riverside Blvd or gourmet grocer, Citarella (2135 Broadway at West 75th Street). Fairway Market’s flagship store is at 2127 Broadway.

6. Biscuits & Bath provides grooming, training, daycare and other great services for your dog (located at 160 Riverside Blvd). Dog lovers will also appreciate that nearby Riverside Park has three dog runs at West 72nd, West 87th and West 105th Streets.

7. Oenophiles in the Riverside Park South area should check out Renaissance Fine Wines & Spirits located at 161 Freedom Place. 

8. Hiro Sushi at Ollie’s (160 Freedom Place) is one of my favorite local eateries. Scallion pancakes and General Tso’s chicken are my regular orders. For finer dining, I prefer the bistro-style Cafe Luxembourg at 200 West 70th Street. Their yellowfin tuna burger is a must-try.

9. I travel farther uptown to play tennis at Riverside Drive and West 96th Street at city-run courts located in Riverside Park. You can go to nycgovparks.org for details on tennis permits, courts locations and reserving play-time. I find the $200 season permit to be a great investment as it allows me to play tennis at courts throughout the city.

10. Most buildings along the boulevard provide a shuttle bus service to and from the nearest subway station (express and local stop) in the mornings and evenings, which is a huge convenience. 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Nora Ariffin and do not reflect the official opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

Halstead Property wishes everyone a Happy 4th of July!

From a backyard barbecue, to taking in a night of fireworks - We hope you have a happy, healthy and safe Independence Day!

NYC MUST DO: SUMMER MUSIC SERIES

By: James Errol Browne, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Harlem Office 

Summer in the city is a cornucopia of sensory delights. The smells –the aromas of hundreds of different global cuisines and hybrids available from restaurants and food trucks and outdoor grilling. The sights – the vibrant and colorful display of the styles and fashions worn by locals and visitors alike. 

And the sounds… New York City resonates with the sounds of music. Whether it’s deep beneath the sidewalks on subway platforms, or on the stages of nightclubs or Broadway stages, there’s something for everyone. And in the summer, so much of it is FREE. 

Here is a preview of what’s in store for summer 2014: 

Want to try out those new moves you’ve learned in Salsa class? Then head up to St. Mary’s Park in The Bronx for any or all of the three consecutive evenings of performances by Salsa masters Tony Vega on Tuesday July 8th, Jose Alberto on Wednesday July 9th and Domingo Quinones on Thursday July 10th. All performances start at 6 PM, and you can click here for additional information. 

The tradition of Big Band swinging Jazz is nurtured and kept alive by The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra and on Sunday July 20th, at 4pm, this stellar musical outfit performs as part of Queens Family Day in Queensbridge Park. 

Since 1986, Central Park SummerStage has been a much-anticipated part of the season. Their “rain or shine” schedule is among the most diverse in a city that prides itself on diversity. On Saturday, August 2nd, a man who personifies the word diversity all by himself, takes the stage. New Orleans native and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dr. John, stirs up his cauldron of Jazz, Blues, Creole Funk and Voodoo musical wizardry to cast a spell on ya’ll. The party starts at 3 PM sharp. Click here for more details. 

Sunday August 3rd at 7 PM brings the velvety dulcet tones of (relative) newcomer Gregory Porter to Summerstage. He is quickly becoming everyone’s new “favorite singer.” Join the club! 

Saxophonist Charlie Parker, or “Bird” as he used to be known, was one of the architects of modern jazz, or “bebop.”  For more than twenty years, a festival in his honor and bearing his name takes place on two stages in two different neighborhoods. This year on Saturday, August 23rd at 3 PM in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, lyrical trumpeter Wallace Roney a protégé of Miles Davis, will lead an Orchestra. In the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park, where a nearby street is named after Bird, on Sunday, August 24th the stellar pianist and composer Kenny Barron will put his artistry on display beginning at 3 PM. Don’t be late. 

There’s also free concerts in every genre ranging from opera, ballet, modern dance, to rock, blues, classical and more. The sounds of summer you can tune into is brought to us by NYC Parks and Recreation, and you can visit their website for more details on the complete 2014 calendar of events.

See you out there!

Connect with me over email or visit my agent website to learn more about New York City neighborhood events, and for all of your real estate needs. 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of James Errol Browne and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

WHY I LOVE LIVING IN YORKVILLE

By: Ingrid Johnson, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker at Halstead Property. 

One of the reasons I love living and working in the neighborhood of Yorkville, a charming section of the Upper East Side neighborhood in Manhattan, is most notably the restaurant and dining landscape. There are many diverse cafes, restaurants and bars, but I’d like to share my Top 3 favorite places with you:

DTUT Downtown-Uptown -This cozy neighborhood spot doubles as a as café during the day and a bar in the evenings. Enter and take a seat on the comfy and charming mismatched furniture, sip a cup of delicious Irving Farms coffee from the Hudson Valley. They also offer great wines and a lengthy craft beer list. The repurposed wood interiors, Edison bulb chandeliers, and scattered literature lend a familiar feel. There’s also plenty to look at, as local artwork adorns the walls.

The Writing Room- In the former space of the legendary Elaine’s, restaurateurs Michael & Susy Glick have created The Writing Room, a formidable new American staple while still paying homage to its iconic history. It’s fun and relaxing to sit at the bar or in the dining area, however my favorite room is the “Study” with vintage black and white tile floors and a sleek fireplace with built in bookshelves offering up a large collection of handpicked hardcovers and paperbacks. Executive Chef Lucas Billheimer has created a seductive & delicious menu with a focus on regionally driven American cuisine.

Brandy’s Piano Bar- For over thirty years this friendly and intimate bar has showcased live talented performers every evening. Patrons are invited to participate and sing along to old classics and show tunes. Best of all, no cover charge! A truly fantastic spot to end an evening in Yorkville.

To ask me a question of your own, or to discuss your favorite neighborhood spots follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Connect with me over email or visit my agent website to learn more about New York City neighborhood escapes, and for all of your real estate needs. 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Ingrid Johnson and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

NO PASSPORT REQUIRED: A BRONX STAYCATION

By: RoseAnn Hermann, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker at Halstead Property 

New York City is one of the ultimate vacation destinations, so when the time of year comes for locals like myself to plan a summer vacation – I am reminded that there are great things to do right outside my doorstep, with a countless number of attractions to enjoy. Planning a staycation of your own? I’m doing so too, in the Bronx, and here’s why:

1. Flora: A year-round favorite of mine, The New York Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark, and maintains one of the world’s greatest collections of flora. Its 250 acres include some of the most beautiful natural terrain of any botanical garden in the world, including dramatic rock outcroppings, rolling hills, waterfalls and ponds, the Bronx River, and a 50-acre remnant of the forest that once covered New York City.  There is something for everyone, including a children’s gardening program, concerts and cocktails, and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.  Opened in 1902, the conservatory is a New York City Landmark – and a “must see” destination all year-round.

2. Food:  For a great meal to satisfy an appetite worked up after a day at the gardens, I head to Little Italy, the Belmont section of the Bronx, or simply referred to as Arthur Avenue.  Besides the famous full service Italian restaurants, pizzerias and pastry shops, there is an indoor market, spearheaded  by a notable NYC Italian, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.  The Arthur Avenue market is a kind of covered Italian bazaar that brings together under one roof all the shopping also found on nearby streets. The variety is truly staggering, and it includes restaurants, pastry shops, butchers, pasta-makers, bread stores, pork stores, gourmet delicatessens, fish markets, gourmet coffee shops and one gourmet Italian wind shop. Then there are the gift and house ware shops.

 3. Facts:  As a life-long NYC native and NYC history nerd, the Woodlawn Cemetery is a must for all who are eager to learn more about prominent industrialists, music legends, renowned entertainers, and cultural icons. Working with leading scholars of architecture, horticulture, history, music, and more, the Woodlawn Conservancy offers educational and cultural programs including tours, concerts, lectures, and research opportunities. Historically, architecturally, and environmentally significant, Woodlawn is one of New York City’s irreplaceable treasures, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011.

4. Friends, food and fun: I love all things Irish, and that includes the neighborhood of Woodlawn. With four-leaf clovers and kelly-green signs sprinkled throughout, there is no mistaking that this area of the Bronx is predominantly Irish. Irish immigrants have been settling in the neighborhood for years, carrying with them time-honored traditions that permeate the quaint, row house–lined streets. If you’re craving a traditional Irish breakfast, Celtic jam sessions and more perfectly poured Guinness’s with friendly conversation, head to Little Ireland.

5. Fore!:  The Bronx happens to be the greenest borough.  Not far from Woodlawn is the 1146 acre Van Cortlandt Park, ideal for a picnic and a wide variety of sports.  There is even an Olympic size swimming pool. How about a round of golf at the Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course?  It is the country’s oldest public golf course. The best part, it has recently undergone  a 2.5 million dollar renovation, and it is perfection. You can’t beat a 4 hour walk in the bucolic setting of a very well-maintained golf course, while your head is clear of everything other than making that next perfect shot.

Happy staycations are happening in the Bronx, no passport required.  Enjoy!

You can connect with me via email or visit my agent website to learn more.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of RoseAnn Hermann and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

DOUGHNUT PLANT NYC

“Hello Brooklyn!” said the venerable pastry legends at Doughnut Plant as they announced via Twitter that they are opening a new spot, it’s 3rd New York City location, on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn this coming fall.  The doughnut purveyor will open its doors in October, so fear not as your beach bod will not go to waste. If you’re unfamiliar with the neighborhood staple, they’ve been curbing the sweet tooth of New York City residents from both near and far for more than 20 years now, and they are even the home of the very first square filled doughnut – ever. So those decadent chocolate or raspberry cream filled puff pastries that we’ve grown to know and love, well you can thank the folks at Doughnut Plant for them. A local favorite is the Tres Leches Cake flavor, and once the new outpost in Prospect Heights is open – we’ll be one bite closer to heaven.

In light of this delicious announcement, Halstead Property’s Kris Sylvester from our Village office could hardly contain his excitement as he shared the news with us and stated,

“I have been a long time Doughnut Plant fan, at least a decade now going to their first store on the Lower East Side and then in the Chelsea Hotel location. So to now have it in my neighborhood of Prospect Heights it’s divine intervention or a sinful delight!”

We’ll be busy working up our appetite for all things delicious donuts until then.  For more on the most recent updates from Doughnut Plant, be sure to follow them on Twitter and connect with them on Facebook. 

To learn more about the best neighborhood amenities in Prospect Heights and all of New York City, connect with Kris over email or visit his agent website

NYC MUST DO: 3rd Annual Food & Drink Blvd

By: Sandy Wilson, Director of Sales, Halstead Property Harlem Office 

May 8th 2014, I am proud to be involved in a special Harlem Event, Food & Drink Boulevard, sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Blvd Alliance where you can enjoy discounted food and drink at top Harlem dining establishments. I look forward to taking part because of the amazing food but more importantly because a portion of the proceeds go to The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. Here is my schedule of events for tomorrow:

  • My day will start with my own choice of a 10 mile run in Central Park first to build my appetite, then the noshing begins!

  • Savor the best Tuna Tartar in Harlem at Cedric’s at 185 St. Nicholas, 212.866.7766
  • How about the decadent Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie (one is more than enough) at Lavain  Bakery at 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, 646.455.0952
  • Try the unforgettable Chicken and Waffles at Melba’s 300 W 114th St, 212.864.7777
  • Stop into Vinateria to sip wine in a classic wine bar featuring fine wines from around the world. While there, sample the seasonal plates and charcuterie that are delicious. Vinateria located at 2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd, 212.662.8462
  • Silvana offers inexpensive but well prepared foods from Israel like shawarma and home made falafel. Located at 300 West 116th St., 646.692.4935
  • Still hungry? How about some Turkish food at Savann?  Kebabs, fresh salads, and other Turkish fare. Located on 2280 Frederick Douglass Blvd, 212.222.7990 
  • Finish up with a Jazz set at the world famous Minton’s at 206 W 118th St.  World famous jazz artists appearing regularly.  And a late night supper to enjoy!  

To join me and get your tickets, click here to purchase 2 for 1 advance tickets today or tomorrow! 

Also don’t forget if you are interested in learning more about Harlem or making it your home, feel free to stop in at our new location at 2169 Frederick Douglass Blvd and I have an office full of local expert agents to assist you.

EXPERIENCE THE WAFFOGATO

Say what? 

We had the same reaction upon learning about the latest marvelous and mouthwatering creation from the hands of culinary and confectionery mastermind, Dominique Ansel.

Behold, the Waffogato: Part breakfast staple, part decadent dessert, part caffeinated beverage – All come together in perfect harmony to create an explosion of sheer bliss in your mouth.

You might recall the cookie and milk shot, unequivocally as epic of a creation that left us more than satiated and raised the bar for all things baked and sugary to a whole other worldy level; and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better (nor did we need it to), New York’s poster child for igniting a cronut craze hit another home run with this dessert that is so sinfully delicious. You might think the exaggerated profession of love is a little too much, but we assure you once you get a mouthful of vanilla ice cream laced with Belgium waffle bits and a trace of salt topped with melted maple syrup that’s even further laden with the bold flavors from spiked espresso – we reckon you’ll be speechless. Alas that’s not all and there is always more that meets the eye, you’ll discover a handful of little tapioca pearls that reveal themselves floating amid a sea of melting ice cream. 

Click here for more official info from Dominque Ansel, and here to learn more and make sure No Kid Goes Hungry.

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Visit Halstead Property on Foursquare to learn more about the best dining in Soho, and for hundreds of other neighborhood tips throughout the Tri-State Area. 

VINTAGE NEW YORK – MOM-AND-POP SHOPS

By: Danielle Middleton, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Property East Side Office.  

At one time, food was personal and quality didn’t have to be demanded because it was expected. When my father and his siblings were growing up, my grandmother would go to the butcher for her meats, the pork store for her sausages, the fish store for her fish, and the bakery for her bread. She knew each owner by name and her shopping routine was more of a social activity than a chore. These specialty stores were a way of life in New York City and they made up the identity of each neighborhood. 

Now,  many of these specialty stores have faded into a competitive jungle of supermarkets and internet delivery services. A well known grocery chain took over the old bank where my grandmother used to work, and many other storefronts were replaced by trendier shops The unique flavors that had once identified each neighborhood may be far and few and in between (RIP prosciutto balls from Joe’s Pork Superette), but thankfully, some still remain in a current sea of mass production. 

The old world butchers and specialty shops that still exist are kept alive by the loyalty of their aging customers. It is the younger generation that needs to help sustain their future and preserve the history of their craft. Since very few of us are going to butcher a cow just to make a hamburger, don’t you want to know who is doing this for you? Or, where the meat came from and what the animal is fed? I know that I sure do! 

I have many favorite specialty shops in Brooklyn and Queens, but here are the top five on my list:

1. K&T Quality Meats

This local butcher has serviced Astoria for over 30 years. I walked by their unassuming store front a zillion times before actually going in. I’m so upset that it took me so long to discover this neighborhood gem! Purchasing meat from K&T is more of an exciting experience than a boring chore. All of the on-site butchers take pride in being able to guide their customers and service their community.

Locate at 33-14 Ditmars BLVD, Astoria, NY 11105

2. Court Pastry Shop 

This small bakery has been in business for over 70 years. They have a little window facing the street where people can order an Italian ice to go. I have so many childhood memories of devouring their ices on hot, summer days. Another family staple is their delicious pignoli cookies. We never have a party without them!

Located at: 298 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

3. Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop

This February, My mother, sister and I were casually walking down Manhattan Ave when we accidentally stumbled upon Peter Pan’s Donut and Pastry Shop; it was a very, very happy accident. This little store serves up some BIG desserts. There is a very small take-out counter and a breakfast bar. Whether you take-out or eat-in, you won’t be disappointed.  Located at 727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

4.  Fish Tales 

Staying true to Italian tradition, my family celebrates every Christmas Eve by feasting on the “seven fishes”. Every year my grandmother orders all of the fish a month in advance from Fish Tales. In all these years we have never had a bad experience. The service and fish are both well worth the trip to Brooklyn!

Located at 191 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

5. Morscher’s Pork Store

Sausage making is an art form that the dedicated butchers of  Morscher’s Pork Store have perfected. Each piece is filled with the best meat and complimentary spices. Once you try a sausage from Morscher’s Pork Store, you will not be able to eat any other brand. Ridgewood, Queens is lucky to have them!  

Located at 58-44 Catalpa Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Connect with Danielle on her agent website or find her on twitter to ask her a question of your own.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Danielle Middleton’s and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT: Silvana-NYC

By: Ann Deane, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Property Westside Office. 

Open since last June, Silvana in Harlem features live music 7 nights a week and is the sister club of Shrine that’s located further north on Adam Clayton Boulevard and 133rd Street. These two venues represent the last of a dying breed of night clubs featuring  live music in what used to be a rich culture. When I was at Silvana I had the treat of hearing Afro-pop music of Timbila that featured sounds from Mali and Madagascar. They jammed well and featured the Kora, a finger guitar-harp instrument from West Africa.  Afterwards, Feedel, an Ethiopian band that hails from Washington, DC took the stage and played a full hour and a half set. 

In addition to enjoying great music, we ate falafel with a creamy tahini sauce that was light and airy, and Sabich which is a traditional egg sandwich that features a fluffy potato chip as a Silvana touch (pictured above). Another must try is the lamb shawarma, every bite was tasty and juicy. The venue also  features a boutique and café upstairs. 

Connect with Ann on her agent website to learn more about her and the neighborhood. 

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 Find Halstead Property on Foursquare to learn more about the best of dining in Harlem, and for hundreds of other neighborhood tips. 

Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Anne Deane and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

Around & About Riverdale

By Vicki Green, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Property Riverdale Office. 

Welcome to Riverdale as we eagerly prepare for exciting weekend celebrations in honor of two occasions. Saturday March 15th marks the start to the Holidays of Purim commonly celebrated by both the Jewish and non-Hebrew community, followed by St. Patrick’s Day on Monday, March 17th. Festivities abound so put on your dancing shoes and your Queen Esther tiaras, turn towards Spring, shake those Winter blues and come together to share the music, the songs, the food and traditions of these two beloved holidays. And who knows, you may even spot a Leprechaun or two!

Hebrew Institute of Riverdale will be celebrating Purim with a reading of the Megillah (the story of Purim) on Saturday evening at 8:30 PM followed by a gala performance by the famed comedy group, Chicago City Limits. Pizza, drinks and snacks will be served. For more details on tickets and for reservations contact (718) 796-4730 or visit the event website.  

All are invited to join the The Riverdale Y on Sunday, March 14th from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM for the best Purim Carnival in town. It promises loads of fun for everyone with activities like a Purim costume parade, live music, food and much more.

Join the crowd at  Kelly Ryan’s Bar and Restaurant located at 5790 Mosholu Avenue for a weekend of St. Paddy’s Day celebrations beginning with Karaoke and an open mic on Friday evening, plus live music on Saturday (March 14th). Families are invited to partake in the fun on Sunday from 4 PM – 10 PM when kids under 7 eat for free, and there will also be free face painting, music, and song. Stop by on your way to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, or visit afterward to enjoy a treat from the traditional Irish menu served daily.

Get your Irish on at  An Beal Bocht Café  located at 445 West 238th Street. Beginning at 8:00 PM on St. Patrick’s Day with live music performances by the Irish band, Morning Star and for the Worlds’ Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Parade participants are asked to contribute a $25 donation with proceeds benefiting The Aisling Community Center in Yonkers to help feed the homeless. 

Enjoy the ambiance of a traditional Irish Pub at Riverdale Steak House  located at 5700 Riverdale Avenue. Feast on authentic Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage, Dingle Fish pie and Shepherd’s Pie. Thrill to the sounds of the Pipers and Irish DJ, Good Time Willie. Don’t forget to visit the charming and delightful Mary-Anne’s Irish gift shop for one-of-a-kind handmade items.

Connect with me over email or visit my agent website to learn more about the neighborhood, and for all of your Riverdale real estate needs.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Vicki Green and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property Riverdale, LLC.

Your Guide to Valentine’s Day 2014 

New York City might not be universally known as the city of Love, but the Big Apple certainly doesn’t fall short on offering an endless number world-class activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Many spots throughout the city have served as a backdrop to the most iconic romance films in American history - and you have the chance to recreate these storied scenes; Or if you choose to create your own memories, let our Neighborhood Expert Agents do all the planning. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic who’s content with a walk through Central Park, or you prefer a more avant-garde approach like a costume affair to show your love and affection - the city that never sleeps offers something suited for virtually everyone.

We’re here to make sure you and your sweetheart don’t find yourselves stuck with mediocre take-out and a bad Netflix marathon for the big occasion. We’ve got you covered with our Valentine’s Day 2014 Guide with plans for both kindred souls and singles alike. 

Neighborhood Dining Guide - Midtown East and Upper East Side 

Fresco by Scotto - Don’t let a prix fixe menu frighten you any longer. Fresco by Scotto on the border of Midtown and the Upper East Side will have you drooling not just over your date, but over their heart-shaped Margherita pizza accompanied by, what else, a Love salad. What exactly does a love salad entail, you ask? Made of baby arugula, frisée greens, goat cheese fondue served at just the right temperature, fresh strawberries and champagne vinaigrette. We promise you’ll never judge heart-shaped food the same way again. 

Sarabeth’s - Put on something dapper and head to one of the most respected restaurants in Manhattan. And why not build up the suspense with a little pampering from a Madison Ave Shopping spree before you indulge in a very special Valentine’s Day cocktail menu featuring Cupids Arrow or a glass of Chocolate Lovers. After an entree of osso bucco or Chilean sea bass, Sarabeth’s recognizes the value in keeping things simple so enjoy the delicate chocolate covered strawberries and each other’s conversation for dessert. 

Ristorante Morini - Gentlemen, beware, Michael White will have your date swooning over his famous pasta medley’s for the rest of the evening. Known among the who’s-who of foodies for his legendary dishes at Osteria Morini, Ai Fiori and Marea - he’s done it again, and created a Valentine’s Day feast fit for a King (and his Queen). Your palate is in for a refined treat with marsala-braised snails and porcini mushrooms with fresh black truffles complimented by pressed white sturgeon Caviar seasoned with chives and lemon creme fraiche. If you’re still salivating for more, go ahead and make a res already to find out what’s for dessert. 

Villard Mansion -  As if anymore attention needs to be given to make sure your loved one feels extra special tonight, the intimate (read: exclusive) newly opened saloon inside the historic Villard Mansion boasts a limited number of 25 seats and is reservation only. So you can imagine the sky high demand for landing a table at this legendary restaurant inside The Palace New York Hotel. An evening of French American cuisine sounds regal enough, but add a gilded age setting like this for an unforgettable special occasion. 

Juni - The adventurous duo will fall weak in the knees at first sight of this eclectic 5 course menu. It all sounds like fun and games, but we know the chef means business despite his use of dainty ingredients that sound like an ancient herbal remedy, like Foie Gras sprinkled with Hibiscus Almond Dust, Feather Ridge Farm Egg cloaked in ethereal Sunchoke Espuma and New York Squab strewn with Rose Petals and drizzled with Lovage Oil. 

Enduro - A complimentary bottle of Brut is a great start to the evening. One bite of the Lobster Bisque or New York Strip with shallot marmalade drizzled with black truffle sauce and you will already be scheduling your next reservation.

Visit Halstead Property on Foursquare to learn more about the best of dining in NYC, and for hundreds of other neighborhood tips. 

Stay tuned for more recommendations from our neighborhood expert agents with Your Guide to Valentine’s Day 2014. 

(Pictured above are Sarabeth’s Baked Sweet Heart Cookies and Profiteroles from Villard)

LAURA RUBIN ON….TRIBECA

TriBeCa is my favorite neighborhood in Manhattan.  If you decide to become a regular follower of my blog (as you should)  Tribeca will come up often about places to be seen and to live.  Why do I love Tribeca so much ?  Tribeca has many landmarked buildings which aren’t very tall giving the neighborhood an open and airy feel that you are not used to in most Manhattan neighborhoods.  It is also not over commercialized and many of the store and restaurants are owned by local Manhattan residents.  The other thing I love about this nabe are the restaurants.  Not only because of how good the food is (arguably best in the world) but because of the many different ambiances and how many of the best spots, don’t even have a sign on the front of the restaurant. 

Here are two of my favorites that you have to try as soon as possible, enjoy!

Girello

11 Varick/North Moore

If  the warm, candlelit ambiance doesn’t make you feel at home, the friendly service will.  Girello is nestled next to its sister restaurant and 30 year Tribeca staple, Walker’s.  Girello provides tasty comfort food and sizable portions at a reasonable price.  They also offer a too good to be true happy hour special.  Their homemade Neapolitan style thin crust pizza comes is complimentary at the bar between 4pm-7pm M-F. 

Laura’s Must Haves:

* Meatball Pomodoro

* Neapolitan style thin crust pizza

Smith and Mills

If you’re not paying attention you may miss this hidden treasure disguised as what looks like a rusty old garage.  Once inside, you’ll feel the rustic charm that is, Smith and Mills.  This unique and cozy space is great to catch up with friends or even for a first (or second!) date.  The bartenders will be happy to serve you a signature cocktail or one of your old favorites.  The food is light and delicious.  Oh, and be sure to check out the most interesting bathroom you have ever been in … J

Laura’s Must Haves:

* Warm Lentil and Squash Salad

* Mussels

Connect with Laura on twitter or on your agent website.

Made in NYC

Shopping regionally and supporting the local economy is important anytime of the year. The holiday season is an especially opportune time to draw attention to the countless number of creative, talented and artistic entrepreneurs who design and make their goods in one of the five boroughs of New York City. Supporting all things Made in NYC helps generate revenue, promotes small business, and fosters a never ending talent pool; so why not treat yourself and graciously spend any green you received during the holidays on the best products made in Gotham City? From food to fashion, our well-heeled neighborhood expert agents list their favorite Made in NYC items: 

For the fashion mavens out there, you can get one (or a few…) original frocks from NYC based designer Emily Saunder, who’s eclectic clothing line called Saunder has been featured multiple times on the industry proclaimed Fashion Bible – WWD.com, and was even given a nod during Mercedes-Benz New York City Fashion Week. Noted for her commitment to supporting homegrown industry, her latest collection exudes edgy femininity with an eclectic twist.

Halstead pick: Emerald Geometric Dress -  setting a trend for the season with mixes of washed silk and metallic jacquard and modern lines. 

If you have an eye for design with an eco-friendly nod, you’ll adore Urban Green’s home furnishing products. The Brooklyn based company has been a go-to source for over 70 years for their Eco-friendly, sustainable wood furniture finished with low-VOC, toxin-free stains and paints to promote a healthier environment either in your home, the office, or the outdoors. All of their wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The originality and delicacy of their products earned them a profile in the New York Post as a go-to spot for any non-Brooklyn resident seeking the borough’s signature look.  

Foodies and purveyors of anything homemade should head to Broadway Baker. Everything they churn out is baked from scratch and custom to order from their hand-crafted cookies (pictured above), brownies, cupcakes and granola. Best of all – it doesn’t get any more guilt free than their  proud commitment to donating a portion of all sales to multiple NYC charities including Alzheimer’s Association NYC Chapter, ASPCA and Broadway Cares/EFA. 

Discover more items from local designers and artists at MadeinNYC.org.  

(Image Courtesy: Broadway Baker)

Your Guide to Holiday Treats in NYC

Among the many reasons to be thankful during this time of year, the encouragement to over indulge in savory sweets is one of our favorites. The holiday season is a rare time of year where get-out-of-jail-free cards for ditching your diet are handed out on the daily, so why not make the most of it and try the best holiday desserts you can find in New York City. We rounded up our top 10 listed below, with so many more included in our Foursquare lists with hundreds of tips from our neighborhood expert agents.

Melt Bakery - You’ll say anything but ‘ba humbug’ to the Fezziwig - 2 of their famous sticky toffee “meltcakes” wrapped around hot buttered rum ice cream, so decadent and rich even Scrooge would be pleased.

 Treat House - You’d never guess these delicious confectionery pieces of heaven were created accidentally. Gourmet rice krispy treats sans holiday touch is great but the Sugar Cookie-Snowflake rendition is priceless.

Magnolia Bakery – They might be the reigning King of Desserts regardless of the season, but a holiday favorite is the sno-cap cupcake- devils food cake topped w/peaks of savory meringue icing dusted with coconut flakes.

Doughnut Plant – Give us a donut any time of the year and we’ll be happy, but our expectations were exceeded when we tasted the roasted chestnut cake holiday special. It was almost a welcomed sensory overload.

Three Tarts – We were pleading for s’ more of the savory spin on salty and sweet with a gourmet s’more oozing with rosemary marshmallow melted between 2 chocolate chip graham cookies.

My Sweet Brigadeiro -  You can thank us later for introducing you to a traditional Brazilian dessert, think of it as the lovechild from a piece of fudge and a chocolate truffle into a bite sized treat. With a base made from dark chocolate then smothered with crunchy toppings like coconut and pistachio, try eating just one of these. 

Spot Dessert Bar – When you crave an innovative and unique dessert, this place is like a tapas bar filled with innovative creations such as the Green tea lava cake. We’ve never seen an explosion of green tea like it, and we loved it.

Arlington Club – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life with the best figgy pudding you can find stateside; rich, sticky date pudding is served warm with buttery-sweet toffee and ginger ice cream.

The Dutch – A true foodie is no stranger to the Dutch, and we’re happy to report we were pleased yet again. This time we opted for the mouthwatering Peanut butter ice box pie with salted caramel ice cream.

ABC Kitchen – Talk about dessert porn, a slice of the rich chocolate layer cake with malted chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow icing to add texture is as heavenly as it sounds. It’s not at all overindulgent. 

Meet our agents to learn more about them, and their endless neighborhood Foursquare tips

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