Finding Grace in New York City

Want to know a secret?  There are still pockets of grace in Manhattan waiting to be discovered. Among them are these Wine & Food Travel picks for finding gracefulness in the City where everything seems rough and tumble: from a fantastic French meal a stone throw away from Grand Central Station, to an inn with at-home elegance and recommendations for entertainment during your stay (plus a special discount on tickets for WAFT readers!)

Mermaids in Manhattan

The world is turned upside down in Union Square at the unassuming Daryl Roth theater as mermaids glide, pound, dive, and delight in mischief above water over the human world.  Is it a scene out of The Little Mermaid?  Far from it.  The brainchild of Argentinian powerhouse, Gaby Kerpel, the 75-minute spectacle is a tale of life as we know it vs. life as it can be when we dare to live outside the box.  At times beautiful, at times dangerous, and most definitely never dull, Fuerza Bruta highlights the destructive and reconstructive powers of a life well lived.  With wild mid-air acrobatic chases, a heart-thumping soundtrack and beautiful mermaids floating inches from your head through oh-my-gosh-will-it-hold Mylar the keyword to this show is OVERSTIMULATING, in the best possible way.  The show brings an understanding between cacophony and stillness that reveals a hidden state of harmony and playfulness out of dissonance and noise. Wear something you aren’t afraid to get wet because when things turn club at the end of the show, you’ll want to Sing in the Rain without worrying about your expensive shoes. The seating chart should say “dancing room only.” Be ready to move with the flow and stand for the entirety of the show.

WAFT Bonus: An exclusive Promo Code for $55 tickets (valid for up to 8 tickets and ALL SHOWS thru 5/8/11.) Mention FBWFT55 when ordering.

Grace Period at The Met

For those of you like me, “Hawaiian Time” is a constant in life and arriving 10 to 20 minutes late is not only the norm, but expected.  That’s why I was glad that the Metropolitan Opera House has a special viewing area with an immense screen to watch the show when you’ve arrived a little past curtain time (to be honest I was about 25 minutes late –I site unavoidable cab stalling–otherwise, The Met allows entry until 22 minutes after curtain rise).  This might also be helpful for parents who would like to bring their children for an afternoon at the Opera without worrying about letting them get up and stretch their legs should the show prove too long for young attention spans.  A great choice for fledgling opera fans is The Magic Flute, sung in English with a whimsical air and a runtime of just 101 minutes in one Act.  As Mozart’s last opera, The Magic Flute floats like a moving painting with vibrant colors lots of action, and The Queen of the Night’s power-packed and highly recognizable soprano aria.  See the season listing for current offerings.

Grac(i)e on the Upper East Side

If you’re looking for an “apartment-in-the-city” while away from home try Gracie Inn Hotel on East 81st Street.  Steeped in a century of history with an at-home vibe, a stay at Gracie helps bring restful nights of relaxation from hectic days traversing the Big City; this charming Bed & Breakfast stands out with their signature breakfast-in-bed each morning, close proximity to Museum Mile and Central Park.  In early 2011 the property received a makeover to freshen up their carpet and paint and are excited to launch a program that will feature wines from Long Island Wine Country in Summer 2011. A Graceful Tip: For all the trimmings for an Ever After-esque picnic in Central Park, Manager Daniel Sasse of the Gracie Inn Hotel recommends Agata & Valentina Italian Market.

Parisian Gracefulness in the Heart of Manhattan.

As you walk into Artisanal, the dim lights with red and gilted accents set the mood for a decadent yet simple dinner of fine wine, artisanal at Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro.  Many dishes are slow-cooked and meant for sharing, especially the made-to-order fondues. The standouts are a refreshingly sweet beet salad made with endives, walnuts and goat cheese, a flaky melt-in-your-mouth Branzini just right for sharing, and the rich chocolate fondue with dippable fruit and pastries as dessert.  Don’t miss the adorable (and well stocked) cheese shoppe  near the front of the restaurant to bring a bit of your vacation.

Fuerza Bruta @ The Daryl Roth Theater 101 E 15th St # 2 New York, NY (212) 375-1110 ‎

Metropolitan Opera @ Lincoln Center between West 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, New York, NY (212) 362-6000

Gracie Inn Hotel 502 East 81st Street New York, NY  (212) 628-1700

Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro 2 Park Avenue New York, NY  (212) 725-8585

Katherine Hsia

Known affectionately as "the wandering concierge," Katherine segued a hospitality career in fabulous New York City into a life pursuing her passions of writing, adventure and travel on the spectacular island of O'ahu. She is a freelance writer for publications such as Honolulu Magazine, Hawai'i Parent, Freesurf, and more, while working on her Hawaiian comic and non-fiction book. She enjoys seeing life for its whimsical beauty, great meals with good friends, her love affair with travel, and being overstimulated by new experiences. Want to get in touch with Kat? Add her on facebook or send her a message on her website,, where she's been known to get her blog on.

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