Why Tribeca is New York’s hottest neighbourhood and coolest hangout
If the Empire State Building and Central Park feels a bit ‘been there, done that’, it’s time for the Triangle Below Canal – or Tribeca. Once an industrial hub, this trend-setting strip of lower Manhattan drew the attention of the glitterati when Robert de Niro chose it to premiere his now world-famous indie film festival. With warehouse conversions, headline-grabbing restaurants, celebrity locals and some of New York’s coolest luxury hotels, today you can expect the red carpet treatment year round.
THE ART OF COOL
Tribeca’s eclectic blend of architecture includes historic listed buildings and some of the most exclusive real estate on Manhattan, where even the high-rise buildings are relatively low key. And its industrial past means this district is home to enormous warehouses and former factories – vast spaces that have been transformed into artists’ studios and urban galleries.
If you’re all MoMA-d out, wander into the much more manageable Poster Museum to explore hundreds of years of advertising – spot on for Mad Men fans. Afterwards, try Postmasters on Franklin Street. You’ll also find striking installations and career-launching exhibitions at Artists Space.
What else to see: While gallery hopping, you may spy a familiar looking fire station on N Moore St – it appeared in the original Ghostbusters movies.
OUT IN THE OPEN
Though Central Park hogs the limelight and draws the tourists, there are some beautiful under-the-radar spaces in Tribeca. Spread across more than 500 acres, Hudson River Park always has something happening. It’s got tennis and volleyball courts, a skatepark, a mini golf course and a vintage carousel, as well as kayaking, boat building workshops and even places to learn the trapeze. It’s also a gorgeous jumping off point for trips up the Hudson or for some alfresco art appreciation on its sculpture trail.
Away from the river, Washington Market Park is a wonderful community spot that little ones will especially love. Look out for the ‘Little Free Library’ where you can drop and swap books, stroll through the butterfly gardens and admire the ever-changing works of street art commissioned for the Court Mural.
WE BUILT THIS CITY ON ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
Tribeca dances to its own tune. And few other music venues embody the neighbourhood’s singular spirit like Shake, Rattle & Roll Pianos. A pleasantly rowdy brick-walled place to catch a live gig, it’s famous for its ‘duelling piano’ singalong events where the audience drives the playlist.
For something a little less interactive, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center puts you firmly in a New York state of mind with a notable programme of jazz shows in its diverse arts calendar. Grammy Award-winners often play here and there’s a popular family theatre strand.
For post-show drinks, it has to be Brandy Library. This atmospheric Tribeca joint is no off-the-shelf New York bar. It hosts classes and tasting events, and boasts a menu dedicated to fine ‘brown spirits’: brandy, rum, tequila, mezcal, and whisky (as well as whiskey). Designed like a library, there are even wheeled ladders so the bartenders can reach those top-shelf bottles.
What else to hear: Swap pianos for poetry at Poets House and its inspiring series of readings, exhibitions and ‘in conversation with’ events.
WHERE TO REST IN THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS
For the true Tribeca experience, boutique New York retreat The Frederick Hotel ticks every box. An artful combination of vintage styling and modern minimalism has created a restful space in a heritage building – with a splash of golden-age glamour. Sip cocktails in its vintage bar before rubbing shoulders with the in-crowd at the modern Italian restaurant, Serafina. Get in early to snap up the wildly popular truffle pizza.
After a soothing night's sleep, this hotel even helps you put your best foot forward with free private walking tours that take you to must-see spots in Tribeca – and beyond.