Lights On…In Lower Manhattan
By Kelly Rush
I love Lower Manhattan this time of year. I have at least 50 (no exaggeration) different spots along the water where I can sit and watch boats, or the sun, or children playing. I never get tired of seeking out new vantage points on the Hudson and East rivers because, like my ancestors of long ago, I am drawn to water. I’ll be bringing to you a project I’ve been working on for several months; a catalogue of sorts of all the open spaces where you can sit, eat a quiet lunch, rest or just people watch in our district. The tableaux from many of these spots are spectacular, particularly the views that encompass the deep blue. Look for this report on our website in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I have a few new businesses to report on, including a hip lounge you should visit after the sun sets, a yogurt shop, and a café. As usual, if you see any new retailers or spot changes to a long-time establishment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check them out.
It’s not every day you run into a cocktail lounge which employs Japanese bondage knots in its edgy décor and yet also maintains a feeling of class. The chandelier-lit, blue velvet-draped Demi Monde (designed by Warren Red) is the sort of place you want to end up at, not leave for your ultimate destination. Co-owner David Blatt, who also just moved to an apartment on Wall Street, said he and partners David Kaplan and Alex Day wanted to create a place for neighborhood residents who are looking for more upscale nightlife; people who don’t want to get a cab at 10 PM and head far north.
“We’re recognizing the shift in the neighborhood, which has become a 24-hour place,” he said. “Residents can stay—walk down the block.”
Demi Monde’s chef and the food he is creating weren’t afterthoughts, and that’s what separates this lounge from many others, Blatt said. Groups can reserve a tasting table and enjoy a 9-course tasting paired with cocktails from the elegant and classic to the bold and experimental. The food, described as new American small plates, includes king crab rolls, tofu skins, a wagyu strip steak, sashimi and oysters. Or get a bottle of champagne and order caviar service from the tobiko to the golden osetra.
Blatt says the establishment is about revelry and celebration, so sparkling beverages rate high on the menu. Demi Monde batches its own soda, make its own tonic and uses these mixers to best advantage. I think I’ll try the Whisper Campaign, composed of Calvados, chamomile, chartreuse, lemon and sparkling wine. If you have a favorite you don’t see on the menu, don’t worry; the bartender will know how to make it.
Though both establishments have the same owner, Harry Ashkenazie, are kosher, and are side-by-side on Trinity Street, neither is a step-child of the other. They are unique and bring some much-welcomed variety to this little strip between Broadway and Battery Park City. Ashkenazie said parents have already come from the other side of West Street to ask just how late the yogurt shop will stay open.
Brooklyn Yogurt features a self-service bar where customers can mix flavors and dole out however large, or small, a serving they desire. In homage to Brooklyn, Jennifer Giuglianotti, who hails from the same city, painted the walls with whimsical trees and a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge. The café, which has its own bold, colorful décor, features pizzas, paninis and soups and will have outdoor seating for patrons who want to enjoy their meals in the fresh air.