Shandana A. Durrani
I am a travel and lifestyle journalist based in New York City. I am the co-author of the travel guidebook, Insiders' Guide to New York City and the author of another travel guidebook, Day Trips from New York City, both published by the Globe Pequot Press. I was Cigar Aficionado magazine's Travel Editor for more than 10 years and have written travel pieces for Condé Nast Traveler, Haute Living, Silverkris, Justluxe.com, Jetsetter.com and GoodLifeReport.com. I have also contributed lifestyle stories to Wine Spectator, Glamour, NYMag.com and the New York Press.
I have lived in Manhattan's tony West Village for 16 years and have been a New York City resident since 1992. I have partied alongside celebrities at area hotspots, dined at the finest establishments in the world and slept in some of the city's best hotels, all in a day's work.
My New York
Where I always grab a bite: I love Bonsignour in the West Village. It's a tiny deli popular with locals and celebs that has the best gourmet salads this side of the Mississippi. During the summer, I head here for the homemade strawberry lemonade. The coffee is great, too.
My favorite stroll: Although Central Park is lovely, I prefer smaller parks such as Battery Park in Tribeca and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. You never have to jockey for space. I also adore the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. It's one of my favorite places to walk around on summer afternoons. Head there in April for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
Fiction for inspiration: Here is New York, E.B. White's love letter to the city. "Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion." Truer words have never been spoken.
Summer sojourns: Long Beach. It's only 50 minutes by train from Manhattan and well worth the trip. The beach and water are clean and you won't be judged for a little flab like you would in some other beach towns *coughTheHamptonscough*
Most breathtaking view: The view of Manhattan from the Dumbo waterfront can't be beat. The bright lights sparkle and you usually have the space all to yourself. It's a great spot to bring a date.
Best spot for quiet interludes: The little garden behind St. Lukes Parish in the West Village. I love to sit on a picnic blanket and read a good book here. I never hear the foot or car traffic.
Shopaholics unite!: I like small, eco-friendly boutiques such as Kaight and Ecovaruhuset, both in Manhattan. For department stores, head to Queens or Brooklyn. The Century 21 in Queens has a great selection (I recently bought a pair of stone-colored Frye boots for less than US$200).
City on screen: New York has been on celluloid more than any other city in the world, and with good reason. I won't name the ubiquitous New York–centric Woody Allen movies. Hardly my favorites. I prefer Rear Window, Midnight Cowboy and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Check out James Sanders' Celluloid Skyline for additional films using New York as a theme.
Don’t leave without...Heading to Wave Hill near Riverdale in the Bronx. The public gardens are really phenomenal and the views of the Hudson bring peace of mind.
My expert information
It's a helluva town
New York City is considered the greatest city in the world. While that may be up for debate, few people can dispute that it's the epicenter for the arts and culture in the United States. 47 million visitors certainly agree. No other American city can compare.Read more...