Hannah La Follette Ryan knows her way around town. The creator of the @subwayhands Instagram sensation, Ryan photographs the underlying emotions of NYC subway commuters by zooming in on the expressions of their hands.
But that’s not to say she’s confined to underground transport. Here, Ryan shares her perfect one-day NYC itinerary—from a DIY public sculpture tour to the perfect bookstore hidden in the French Embassy—subway directions included.
1. Bon petit déjeuner
First, breakfast at La Bonbonniere in the West Village. What’s more New York then a greasy spoon Greek-owned diner with a mysterious French name and 90’s headshots on the wall. I swear by their eggs and pancakes.
2. Get a Good Read
After breakfast, drop into CASA Magazines (on the same block), a beloved pint-sized newspaper/magazine shop that stocks a Noah’s Ark of U.S. and international publications.
3. The NYC Sculpture Tour You Didn’t Know You Needed
From 14th Street, take the A/C downtown to Fulton for my DIY public art sculpture tour! The Financial District has an incredible collection sprinkled amongst the suits and skyscrapers. My favorites: Group of Four Trees by Jean Dubuffet (One Chase Manhattan Plaza), the Louise Nevelson Plaza, and an Isa Genzken Rose (Zuccotti Park).
4. Skip The Highline
Gradually make your way south to 55 Walker Street for a secret garden: the Elevated Acre. It’s accessible via a nondescript escalator on the street. You’ll find a serene lawn and beautiful views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge.
5. Underground Oysters
Hop on the uptown 4/5 train at Bowling Green. Get off at Grand Central Terminal for an essential New York lunch at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. (I’d be remiss not to mention the fantastic bathroom.)
6. La Librairie
Next, take the 6 train Uptown to 77th Street to my favorite bookstore: Albertine, a French bookshop (with an English section) in the French Embassy on 5th avenue at 74th Street. Note: You have to go through a metal detector, but on the other side awaits the perfect bookstore experience, complete with a hand-painted celestial ceiling.
7. All-Natural History
Stroll straight across Central Park and you’ll find New York’s best (and free!) museum: the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). A one size fits all museum for kids, dates, and solo wandering. Highlights: lying beneath the suspended blue whale in the Hall of Ocean Life, the dino nuggets, the Dark Universe show in the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and the wolf diorama in the Hall of North American Mammals.
8. The (Baked) Goods
Behind AMNH on 74th at Amsterdam is Levain Bakery for all of your softball-sized cookie needs. Pick up dessert for later or a snack to nibble on… dinner is back downtown!
9. The Quintessential New York Italian Restaurant
Walk to the 1 train at 72nd and Broadway. Take it downtown to Christopher Street. Then walk over to Malatesta Trattoria on Washington Street for a delightful Italian dinner. (You can’t go wrong with their homemade pasta.)