Here's a guide for anyone coming to the city for a long weekend. Say you get in Friday afternoon, the first place to go to fill up after a plane ride of peanuts and nausea is Ramen Setagaya. Nothing could be more welcoming than a steaming bowl of perfect Ramen. Unless of course you happen to get there between 3 and 4:30pm (when the kitchen is closed)– in which case I recommend Momofuku Ssam, David Chang's amazingly yummy neighborhood darling.
Next: shopping, a past time lots of people come to the city for specifically. I say go a different route than the usual stand-bys H&M and Banana Republic, can't you buy those things at home? Take the F train down Park Slope instead. See the burrough of Brooklyn in all its Brownstoney splendor and go home with a quirky, crafty keepsake instead of a pair of jeans.
Then it's back into the city, to the West Village–possibly the most beauitful area in all of Manhattan–where you'll sit down (early if you're smart and don't want to wait for a table) to quail egg shooters and messy slathered crab at Fatty Crab. Before calling it a night, stop by Angel's Share, the hard to find, rulebook Japanese cocktail bar in the village. Get a Lady in Satin and people watch from the second story windows.
Next day we want culture. Get some energy with a big breakfast at Egg (I recommend the biscuit with Col. Bill Newsom's Kentucky ham, Grafton Cheddar and fig jam). You'll need it becuase we're starting by row boating around the lake in Central Park then taking an extensive tour of the American Museum of Natural History, one of the absolute musts for any visit to the city.
Before heading over to the lesser known Cooper Hewitt (which happens to be one of my favorite spots in all of the city), you deserve a rest and a beer on the rooftop bar of the Met (sadly, it's closed during the winter months, so stop by the downstairs cafe in the Neue Gallery instead if you're here in the cold season). Cooper Hewitt is sure to have something spectacularly designy going on, currently it's a show about how samples become actual products.
For an early dinner, leave uptown behind, grab Momofuku Ssam if you didn't get it yesterday or, if you want to spend a fortune, partake in the tasting menu at WD-50. For?much more modest prices, and lots of fun, go to Crif Dogs where (if you call ahead of time, at around 3) you can have a table waiting for you in their upscale speakeasy and eat deep fried hot dogs while downing fancy cocktails.
That night, I recommend the Amato Opera–check schedule, of course. But if zany, old school opera is not your cup of tea, there's sure to be something else to pique your interest. Grab a Time Out for comedy and music listings.
You must be tired by now, so on your last day take it easier. Start in the city at Russ and Daughters for a bagel then take a small jaunt around SoHo. If you want some excellent vintage, see my friend Stacy at Exquisite Costume. When you've worn yourself out in SoHo, meet me back in my neck of the woods where we'll bowl and drink beer all afternoon at Gutter. Might as well follow that up with more pitchers of beer and a funtime atmosphere at Radegast.
Hopefully you're not too hung over, grab yourself a Peter Pan donut on the way to the airport to make you feel better.