Located within the Upper West Side, Lincoln Square is a Manhattan neighborhood known for just one thing—Lincoln Center. But there’s more to the area than its hallmark performing arts center. Here’s how to spend a day in Lincoln Square.
Enter Riverside Park at the far end of West 68th Street to find Pier 1, the end of which is the perfect spot to catch some rays and enjoy Hudson River views. At Pier I Café along Thomas Balsley-designed waterfront, outdoor diners can order Pat LaFrieda burgers. For beverages, it’s a tossup between the house blueberry lemonade and the white sangria, chilled and topped with berries.
Just north of Pier 1, the Manhattan Community Boathouse provides free kayaking on a first-come, first-served basis, so try to get here earlier in the day. For beginners, free classes in paddling skills and safety techniques are also provided.
Developed in the late 19th century, the Dakota is one of Manhattan’s most prestigious apartment buildings. Here, the likes of Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein and Judy Garland made their homes in New York City. Famed Beatle John Lennon lived in the building with Yoko Ono until he was fatally shot on its steps in 1980. Enter Central Park directly across the street to see Strawberry Fields, a quiet and shady patch of the park that honors Lennon.
The Dakota: 1 W. 72nd St., 212-362-1448
Named after Lincoln Square, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts covers more than 16 acres, and hosts the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. This summer, see Paradise Interrupted, a new opera by composer Huang Ruo. From July 22 until August 27, the annual Mostly Mozart Festival will take over Lincoln Center with multiple concerts (mostly) from the Classical genius.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts: 10 Lincoln Center Plz., 212-875-5456
While restaurateur Daniel Boulud is best known for Daniel, his Michelin 2-star restaurant on the Upper East Side, the French chef has a strong presence in Lincoln Square. Designed to resemble a wine cellar, Bar Boulud—across the street from Lincoln Center—serves brasserie staples like steak frites, coq au vin and a formidable wine list. Boulud Sud, meanwhile, focuses on Mediterranean dishes, like cauliflower tabbouleh folded with za’atar and chopped figs and rye-bread tartines. For a more casual experience, the fromagerie at Épicerie Boulud, adjacent to Boulud Sud, offers charcuterie, bread, pastries, salads and sandwiches—all perfect for a pricy picnic in Central Park.
Bar Boulud: 1900 Broadway, 212-595-0303
Épicerie Boulud: 1900 Broadway, 212-595-9606
Boulud Sud: 20 W. 64th St., 212-595-1313
Columbus Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in Lincoln Square, is a veritable Restaurant Row for Italian eateries. On 71st Street, an outpost of Nolita hot spot Parm is reviving the love for Italian-American cuisine with its signature chicken and meatball parm sandwiches. A few blocks down, Abruzzo-born chef Vincenzo Mariani runs the kitchen at Il Violino, a neighborhood staple for simple, regional dishes that opened in 1993. (Regulars swear by the bolognese.) And next to Il Violino, Francesco’s Pizza is a classic New York experience. Order pizza, pasta and calzones over the counter at this no-frills local favorite.
Parm: 235 Columbus Ave., 212-776-4921
Il Violino: 180 Columbus Ave., 212-873-2500
Francesco’s Pizza: 186 Columbus Ave., 212-721-0066