Now that spring is officially in the air, there’s a few items on our to do list; get the cafe chairs back on the deck,  stock up on Compari and… head to Manhattan. Yup, it’s time for us temperate climate North-Westerners to swoop in and take advantage of the low humidity and sunshine. A big thanks to all the New Yorkers that did the heavy lifting by braving another brutal east-coast winter and holding down the city. Team BUILD just returned from a quick trip where we tracked down the latest in modern architecture, design, art, food and culture. There’s some great finds that we think you’ll enjoy and many more on The Modern List Manhattan.

While there’s a lot more design-grit popping up in Manhattan’s dinner scene (rough-sawn wood, raw concrete, etc) there’s a few slick interiors as well. We were relieved to find most of our favorite spots still keeping their heads above water and some new venues well on their way to becoming faves.

Marea, 240 Central Park South, 212.582.5100

Armani Ristorante, 717 5th ave (at 56th), 212.207.1902

I SODI, 105 Christopher St, 212.414.5774

Wright, The, 5th & 89th St, 212.427.5690‎

Co. 230 9th Ave, 212.243.1105

Dovetail, 103 W 77th St, 212.362.3800

Southgate, 154 Central Park S, 212 484 5120

Má Pêche, 15 W 56th St (near 5th Ave), 212.757.5878

Neighborhood gastro-pubs with smaller plates are as important as ever in NYC with most of us trying to save a few bucks without compromising our culinary standards.

Tia Pol, 205 10 Ave, 212-675-8805

Boqueria, 717 spring St (btwn W Broadway & Thompson), 212.343.4255

Shake Shack, 366 Columbus Ave (at 77th), 212.889.6600

Peep Japanese Noodles, 177 Prince St, 212.254.7337

We stayed at the ACE Hotel this time around which we covered in a previous TML; if you like fun, raw spaces that still have a deliberate design force behind them, the ACE is the smack-down. For more formal, slick lodging there’s been a few additions to hit the scene.

Distrikt Hotel, 342 W 40th, 646.831.6780

It is said that there are certain markets unaffected by a poor economy and NYC is doing a superb job of proving that alcohol sales are entirely independent of the Dow Jones. There’s a few new rooftop lounges popping up and you can hardly spill your martini without hitting a happy hour.

Bar Seven Five, 75 Wall St (at Water St in the Andaz Wall St Hotel)

Top of the Strand, 33 W 37th St (Strand Hotel) 212.448.1024

Covet, 137 E 55th St (near Lexington)

Flatiron Lounge, 37 W 19th St

Rather than new and impressive towers, most of the spectacles lately are empty condo buildings and alarmingly large (and possibly permanent) holes in the ground. One project that lent some optimism was the Harmony Atrium – it’s bright, fresh and brilliant. It’s also open to the public during the day and hosts a lunch spot.

Harmony Atrium at Lincoln Center, btwn 62nd & 63rd, Williams & Tsein

Many of the galleries in Chelsea involve questionable “art” and a stiff-suited, persnickety gentleman who’s usually sitting on a Corbu chair in the back room having the pages of a black leather-bound portfolio turned before him by a turtle-neck clad art-slave. Hit enough galleries and it simply becomes a predictable comfort. Which is why we were so surprised upon our entry to Axelle Fine Arts, right in the epicenter of all the art-fussiness. The paintings by Laurent Dauptain were inspiring, understandable and straight-forward to appreciate. While abstract in technique, it’s clearly the work of someone who has mastered painting. The owner, Bertrand, walked straight over to us, introduced himself and chatted with us for a bit. Stellar. It’s a new economy and a new paradigm and the Axelle Gallery is well on it’s way to making their competitors look like a bunch of ninnies.

Axelle Fine Arts, 535 W 25th St, 212.226.2262

Richard Meier Model Museum, 5-22 46th Ave Queens

We don’t spend much time at the Met but the current Bamboo show by Doug + Mike Starn on the rooftop is crazy fun. Go kick the tires on it later in the afternoon, enjoy the sunshine and have yourself a drink while overlooking central park.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Ave & 82nd St

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