For me, any excuse is a good excuse to spend a weekend in New York City. I have been going there for many years. And each time I go, I choose a new hotel in a different part of the city so I can get a better sense of the area. This time I decided to explore the Lower East Side, a bit of unknown territory for me. Here's how I experienced the neighborhood.


Hotel Indigo Lower East Side via Website

Hotel Indigo is the perfect spot to be in this part of the city. The location offers expansive views and the rooms are airy and filled with plenty of light; there are no other big buildings around. The “found” works of art on almost every floor and in the common areas reflect the street-arty feel of the Lower East Side. I was especially impressed by the big heart made of books by New York artist Mr. Brainwash in the 14th floor lobby. With a restaurant (Mr. Purple), a bar and a heated pool all on the 15th floor, some of the best views of New York City are guaranteed at any time of the day. The luxe Frette bed linens and the C.O. Bigelow toiletries in the room made a significant difference in my stay.

171 Ludlow St., Lower East Side. 212-237-1776;


Estela via Website

On Friday night, I joined a friend at Estela, a cozy bar/restaurant on Houston Street, just three blocks from my hotel. The cocktail list was rather interesting, and after two delicious celery negronis we decided to stay for dinner. Food was served on small plates, tapas style, which I always like. We especially enjoyed the beef tartare with sunchokes and the burrata with salsa verde (we asked for extra portions). And when I saw the (deep) wine list, we decided to stick around the whole evening. The atmposhere got buzzier and funkier by the hour.

47 E. Houston St., Nolita. 212-219-7693;


New Museum via Facebook

Being an art lover, I headed to the New Museum in the morning, where lots of contemporary American and international artists are on show. The striking building itself is a work of art, designed by Tokyo-based architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nichizawa of Sanaa group. After browsing the seven-story museum, I stopped at the iconic Katz’s for the original pastrami sandwich. Opposite, the Laboratorio del Gelato offers some of the best frozen treats in New York. Dinner was at the minimalist Bar Bolonat, for some yummy Israeli dishes. 

New Museum, 235 Bowery, Lower East Side.

Katz’​s Delicatessen, 205 E. Houston St., Lower East Side. 212-254-2246;

Il Laboratorio del Gelato, 188 Ludlow St., Lower East Side. 212-343-9922;

Bar Bolonat, 611 Hudson St., West Village. 212-390-1545;


Whitney Museum Terrace by Ed Lederman via Facebook

Sunday was spent at the new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District, in its glorious new building designed by famous architect Renzo Piano. I loved everything about it, from the major Frank Stella retrospective to the sunny terraces overlooking the city. After indulging in more art, brunch was at Santina, a couple of minutes away from the museum. There I had Tuscan chickpea pancakes served on maiolica plates from Positano, Italy, one of my favorite destinations in the world.

Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St., Meatpacking District.

Santina, 820 Washington St., Meatpacking District. 212-254-3000;

By Gianluca Longo

Contributing European Editor of W magazine. Style Editor of Cabana. When not writing about a beautiful house or reporting from a fashion show, Gianluca is styling a shoot or attending an art opening.