Things To Do In New York City

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Nisera Vucetovic, bellman at The Wagner at the Battery.
Nisera Vucetovic
Bellman, The Wagner At The Battery

In 2001, after one year working in housekeeping, Nisera Vucetovic approached her boss with an unusual request: she wanted to become the first female bellman at the global chain hotel where she was working. Why? “To be at the front of the house and meet people,” recalls Nisera, “I felt passionate about it.” Warm and naturally curious, she is one of the first (and last) people with whom guests interact. She uncovers the context of their stay and shares that intel with the staff to create memorable, personalized experiences—whether that's creating a birthday surprise or presenting a mini Christmas tree to a family whose sons were missing theirs. Nisera takes pride in her role as ambassador for revitalized Lower Manhattan and the hotel, which recently relaunched as The Wagner at the Battery. “I’ve been in this building 17 years, more than in my home. Meeting these guests, I make them feel like they’re coming to my home.”

An inviting corner of the Wagner in view of the Freedom Tower.
The Wagner At The Battery

Location is a strong suit for The Wagner, a waterfront luxury hotel with exhilarating views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. It puts guests in easy walking distance from some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, that range from 17th century monuments to icons of the 21st century skyline. Beyond the obvious, such as the Freedom Tower or historic Stone Street, there are also nearby small-gem museums, green spaces, and buzzed-about bars to explore. Indeed, the neighborhood is attracting more visitors and residents alike, making it a vibrant base for your next New York hotel stay. The Wagner also provides the conveniences of spacious rooms, a 24-hour fitness center, and 2West, the on-site American bistro.


Check Out These Must Sees In New York City

Longtime New Yorker Nisera Vucetovic shares some of her favorite off-the-beaten path NYC spots.

Lower Manhattan Dining

For Sustainable Seafood With A Scene, Belly Up To The Oyster Bar

New York Harbor was once a prime shucking spot, teeming with oysters, mussels, and clams and lined with floating oyster barges. While that 19th-century heyday is long gone, you can channel its spirit at Grand Banks (Hudson River Park Pier 25; +1-212-660-6312), a beautifully restored fishing schooner serving up seasonal wild-caught fish. Slurp East and West Coast oysters from the shell, chow down on Maine lobster rolls, and sling back effervescent cocktails or rosé, all while admiring the panoramic views. Even though the boat remains firmly docked in the Hudson River, it feels transporting to linger here after sunset, as a sea breeze wafts overhead and the city lights begin to twinkle.

The handsome main bar aboard the Sherman Zwicker. Photo courtesy of Alexander Pincus.

SeaGlass Carousel At The Battery

Spin With The Fishes On A Carousel Unlike Any Other

The Battery, a park fringed by water at Manhattan’s southern tip, was the appropriate site of the first New York Aquarium. SeaGlass Carousel (Water and State Streets.; +1-212-344-3491), a 2015 park addition, celebrates that legacy with its enchanting and wholly unconventional design. Rather than painted wooden horses circling a pole, fiberglass angelfish glide and rise and fall, taking kids—and kids at heart—on a bioluminescent underwater adventure. Color-changing illumination and evocative music from George Tsypin Opera Factory add to the magical effect. It’s not even a five-minute walk from The Wagner, notes Nisera, and manages to surprise and delight many guests.

SeaGlass Carousel brings the life aquatic to Battery Park. Photo courtesy of NY Carousel Entertainment.

A Downtown Manhattan Museum

Trace Firefighting History

From humble roots in the volunteer bucket brigades of colonial New York, the FDNY has grown to become the world’s second-largest municipal fire department. The New York City Fire Museum (278 Spring St.; +1-212-691-1303) vividly traces that evolution through exhibitions within a 1904 Beaux-Arts firehouse. Enter its red door, and you’ll encounter more than 10,000 artifacts, photographs, and documents. They range from the small-scale (vintage uniforms, brass helmets, old insurance claims) to ornate 19th century hand-drawn pumps and early motorized vehicles with leather seating and gleaming red paint. A special section pays tribute to the fallen firefighters of 9/11.

A steam-powered engine once used in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of the New York City Fire Museum.

NYC Eats

Sample 14 Restaurants Under One Roof

With fabulous people-watching, a palpable energy, and the potential for impromptu finds, New York is a city made for walking. When you’ve worked up an appetite, turn to Hudson Eats, a fancy food hall within Brookfield Place (225 Liberty St., +1-212-978-1698). It’s a 30,000-square-foot, one-stop destination for sampling top local chains: Black Seed’s hand-rolled, wood-oven-baked bagels; Mighty Quinn’s pulled-pork barbecue; Num Pang’s Cambodian sandwiches with a kick; and Blue Ribbon’s fresh sushi and customizable bento boxes. Even the design is elevated, thanks to custom walnut chairs, marble counters, and light flooding in from full-length windows. Nisera also recommends sauntering downstairs to the atrium—which often hosts free events—and following the passageway that connects to the Oculus at the World Trade Center.

A moment of calm before the usual crowds at popular Hudson Eats. Photo courtesy of Brookfield Properties.

Stone Street Bars & Beyond

Toast Your Trip With An Expertly Curated Selection Of Wine And Whiskey

North America’s first commercial brewery opened in 1632 on Stone Street, one of the city’s oldest paved roads. After a few centuries of ups and downs, in 2006 the street achieved landmark status, spurring its transition from gritty back alley to a lively drinking destination. Bars with outdoor seating line the pedestrian-only street, and some are admittedly touristy. Not so at Vintry Wine and Whiskey (57 Stone St.,+1- 212-480-9800), where the staff really know their stuff. They stock whiskey from small-batch producers and fine wines from France, Italy, Spain, and America and use both as bases for sophisticated cocktails. It’s the kind of spot where you’re bound to recognize an obscure favorite or make a great new discovery. Enjoy your drinks, along with small plates, in the cozy, candlelit interior or out on the atmospheric street.

21-year-old Hibiki is just one of the many types of whiskey on the menu. Photo courtesy of Vintry Wine and Whiskey.