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New York apartment

Burned into our collective consciousness by film and television.

Most New Yorkers are too busy for breakfast and either pick up something from the food carts that sit on almost every street corner or subsist on coffee until lunch. But to emulate a typical New Yorker’s weekend, or a rare day off, take your time and head down to the legendary Tea and Sympathy between West Village and Greenwich Village – a tiny English cottage that serves top-notch bangers and mash fare. Over the decades Tea and Sympathy has become a bona fide NYC institution, but there’s also the option to go for something classically New York at Barney Greengrass, the ultimate Upper West Side delicatessen and ‘appetizing shop’ (selling food eaten with bagels). Make sure you try the herring and lox, which they are particularly well known for.

Heading to a museum straight after breakfast can be a great way to get ahead of the crowds and though you’ll still have to fight your way through some early-rising tourists, the permanent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is unrivalled. Alternatively, and further from the beaten track, is the Museum of the City of New York, which documents the city’s evolution from a village of Europeans, Africans and Native Americans into the global metropolis.

Regardless of whether you have just skipped through 5000 years of art or took a crash course in the city’s history, you will have worked up an appetite, so head to Sarge’s of Murray Hill, a Jewish delicatessen that, in a city of great sandwich places, stands out for its phenomenal pastrami sandwich. For something more substantial, make your way to Yorkville and stop by a true local gem: The Mansion, a super-old diner that services everyone in the area including the mayor of New York, who lives in Gracie Mansion just down the block. Get the matzoh ball soup (and perhaps a black and white cookie to go) before making your way to Carl Schurz Park on the East River.

From there you can walk all the way down the East Side riverway – a beautiful route that allows you to see the entire panoply of the city in one go, and either follow it all the way to Chinatown for dim sum, or stop by a few dinner spots on the way in Midtown. Two are of particular note, both true icons of Manhattan: Pietro’s – a little-known but remarkable vestige of old New York – and Mimi’s, the ultimate dysfunctional madcap bar with solid Italian-American food (you go for the food and stay for the midnight piano bar magic).

End the day at Scratcher in the East Village. It’s a writers bar, where the scribes from the alternative weekly newspaper, The Village Voice, would drink and has stood the test of time, or try Raoul’s, an old school French bistro, which has a super rare burger, of which they only serve a dozen a day – it can be a real foodie quest to find one.