Summer in New York: Concierge Corner

After sampling the Big Apple's hit Broadway shows, famous museums and Fifth Avenue shops, clients should take the time to see the "insider's" New York, according to Brian Devlin, concierge for the SoHo Grand Hotel. "Visitors should really try to get out to the other boroughs [beyond Manhattan], where they may be surprised to see lots of wonderful museums and other attractions," he says.

"In the Long Island City section of Queens, for instance, the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum is filled with works by this famous 20th-century sculptor. There are about 12 galleries as well as an outdoor sculpture garden, where you can see his work shown to really great advantage."

Also in Long Island City is P.S. 1, which despite its name is actually gallery space that exhibits works by new, avant-garde artists and is a favorite spot of New York's art cognoscenti, and the Silvercup Studios, a movie studio located in a restored historic complex that once housed the Silvercup Bakery, which made one of America's favorite brands of white bread.

"One of the prettiest places in the Bronx is Wave Hill, a former estate that overlooks the Hudson River," Devlin says. "Nowadays, it's a great place to go to see acres of beautiful gardens and greenhouses and enjoy the concerts they often hold in the cultural center."

Visitors going to Brooklyn should do as generations of New Yorkers do -- head down to Manhattan's City Hall, near the Manhattan side of the bridge, and walk across. It's not only great exercise but it affords some of the most awesome views of New York's skyline, says Devlin.

Once on the Brooklyn side, visitors should stop at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and its neighbor, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden; the Brooklyn Academy of Music (which New Yorkers call "BAM"), and the River Cafe. "The River Cafe is not only one of New York's best restaurants, but because of its location practically at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, you have the most spectacular views of Manhattan," according to Devlin.

Manhattan also has its treasures and colorful sights, the concierge points out. "Many people go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art but they don't necessarily take the bus up to the Cloisters, which is a branch of the museum," says Devlin.

"It contains the Met's collection of medieval masterpieces, but because it's in a beautiful setting overlooking the Hudson, it's also a great place to relax over lunch or coffee on a nice day after you've seen the exhibitions."

"Like many New Yorkers, one of the things I really like to do is shop for fresh fruit, produce and other food in the city's Greenmarkets, which are located all over town. Even if you're not shopping for food," says Devlin, "it's fun to watch usually urbane New Yorkers carefully picking out the best tomatoes trucked in by farmers from New Jersey, and stocking up on home-made jams and muffins."

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