Planning a getaway?
Take a peek at the hottest spots on our radar
By Rachel Bowie
As the relaxed hours of summer become a distant memory, our minds can’t help but wander to thoughts of that fall or winter getaway. With so many destinations to choose from, and so few days to take off, we looked around the world to find some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts to escape to. So silence your BlackBerry, buy a new pair of shades and start pricing out airfare — it’s time to plan a little post-summer R&R.
It’s midnight in Rome; the cacophony of the day has subsided into faint shouts and hollers echoing through the back alleys of one of the world’s most ancient cities. As I amble down a wavy street in Italy’s metropolis, the glow from the shadowy and hollow Coliseum gleams over the city’s worn architecture. Younger types spill out of 24-hour cafés, sipping cocktails and wine, while thumping music pumps out the doors of raucous bars nearby. The distinct sound of high heels clacking in unison rings out as a group of women decorated in fancy threads strut past me, assuredly on their way for a night on the town. Outside a gelato bar, a swath of designer outfits and Prada shoes adorn twenty-somethings while they stand in the foreground of the imposing, white-stoned Piazza Venezia, which unofficially marks the center of Rome. That’s the majesty of the Eternal City, on one block you may wisp by a throng of chic, designer boutiques and then turn the corner and be confronted with a cluster of dilapidated ruins. It’s truly striking.
Anyone who’s been to Rome can attest to the fact that the drivers are ridiculous at best and borderline psychotic at worst — on the roads, it’s no holds barred. So you can imagine my angst as I popped on a Vespa and set out to solve Rome’s maze (maze may be too soft a description of Rome, it’s more a labyrinth). I finally navigated my way to Vatican City, after three near-death experiences, to scope St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Standing among the magnificence in St. Peter’s, I felt shrunken and humbled. Basking in the presence of such dazzling architecture and art made me feel insignificant among such a regal display; what have I accomplished? I found the Sistine Chapel even more riveting. After a 45-minute trek through the Vatican Museum — it feels like it never ends — I finally reached the signature attraction. Wow! Michelangelo’s Last Judgment is the star of the breathtaking room. With Christ dominating the center of the scene, angels and demons battle over damned souls, angels trying to rip the damned from the devils’ grasps and bring them to salvation. It’s a surreal experience after years of learning about the famed chapel through lectures and textbooks.
A lot can happen in 20 years. Since 1988, New York City has changed dramatically: from the rise of Wall Street in the ’80s to its recent turbulence, from the crime cleanup of the ’90s to the tragedy of Sept. 11, to today when the Manhattan skyline is being made over by a boom of high-end construction. It seems like the city has grown up a lot these past 20 years.
By Jeanine Zelkas
Macelleria — which translates to “butcher shop” in Italian — has been around for some eight years, making it one of the earlier arrivals to the now restaurant-filled Meatpacking District. Billing itself as an authentic Italian steakhouse, Macelleria was converted from an old meat warehouse and remains true to its roots with original signage and black and white photos of old-time local meat packing characters dotting the walls. Antique lockers and porcelain display cases house the cuts of choice meat served in the restaurant. The brick-walled dining room is outfitted with cute butcher block tables and accessorized with meat hooks hanging from the ceiling.
By David Germain
The brainiacs of the gambling romp “21” are smart enough to expertly count cards at the blackjack table, identify hot betting tables and put on disguises so they can take Vegas casinos to the cleaners.
Upstart Challenger to Trendy Colorado Resorts
By J.P. Hoornstra
When your canvas is Mammoth Mountain, the apex of California’s Sierra Nevada range, it’s tough to screw up the painting. This late-blooming resort community, founded in 1955, now includes everything from a Motel 6 to luxury cabins, golf courses and dog-sled rides. More than any of these amenities, however, it’s the abundant slopes and remote locale that allows Mammoth to claim the title of No. 2 ski-resort destination in the country.
If Naming a restaurant after the central figure in a gory bullfighting double tragedy strikes you as melodramatic and more than a little bit morbid, chances are good that you are not Spanish. The bloody, brutal death of matador Manolete has become so much of a cultural touchstone for Spaniards that albums, novels, and even two movies (one starring Adrian Brody) have been made about the toreador and his demise. Yet with the exception of car manufacturer Lamborghini, almost nobody seems to have memorialized the mortally wounded bull whose last goring was a historical one. That is, until Chris Bianchi reclaimed the name Islero for his new Modern Spanish/Hispanic restaurant, even going so far as to offer guests a brief bovine biography on the front cover of the menu.
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” claws its way through dark, delicious family drama
By Sarah Protzman
Sometime in the 90 minutes before mayhem ensues, Lisa Arrindell Anderson likes to stand on stage in the Broadhurst Theatre, alone. No ushers, no audience.
Explorers Go to Ends Of The Earth, Just to Broadcast the Experience Back Home
By Tomas Dinges
The seasoned explorer Jon Bowermaster has kayaked on all seven continents in a long career of adventure, but as the frontiers of new exploration are vanishing, his concerns are changing.
It comes in gorgeous bottles, at several temperatures and in a variety that rivals the wine list at a good French restaurant.
By Justine Sterling