When friends come to town, I love it when they stay at the Bowery Hotel in downtown Manhattan. For one, knowing someone who’s staying at the hotel is the only way to gain access to the cozy, opulent lobby bar (which expands into a patio in the summer). You can easily while away hours on the overstuffed velvet chairs near the giant fireplace, sharing a bottle of wine and a caprese from the adjoining Gemma, while watching the beautiful and eclectic crowd go by. It’s a really neat place to base oneself while visiting the city—the Bowery is still gritty in patches but it offers an “authentic” NYC experience, and it’s within walking distance of many great restaurants, bars, and boutiques (and the New Museum).
It's also within pedaling distance, thanks to the hotel’s latest amenity: shiny red Jamis Earth Cruisers. Use of the bikes is complimentary and they’ll also loan you a heavy-duty lock so you can park the bike anywhere. Last weekend, my friend Jake had an excellent time zipping around the East Village on wheels—I was definitely jealous.