OCCUPATION: Restaurateur

MY STYLE: I would describe it as classic with modern elements. Also functional and constantly in flux.

I LOVE NEW YORK BECAUSE: There are endless possibilities.

P.J. Clarke’s

P.J. Clarke’s flagship location on Third Avenue is the original of three New York locations. The Times has described it as “the Vatican of Saloons,” and though it’s grown since Patrick Joseph Clarke opened the doors in 1884, the famous bar has remained virtually unchanged. It’s where Johnny Mercer penned “One for My Baby” and also served as the backdrop for Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend. In addition to rich history, you’ll encounter excellent menu items like appetizers of yellowfin tuna tartare tacos and a mezze plate, and mains of grilled chicken paillard and Meyer ranch steaks. There’s also a great wine list, though it’s a kid-friendly place overall.


With even more nail salons springing up all over the city, it’s easy to be dazed by the adverts for $20 mani/pedis that can leave your cuticles more raw than relaxed. Enter Tenoverten, whose mission is to make a manicure or pedicure a purely simple pleasure once more. Its luxe services include a 10-minute hot-stone massage followed by a hydrating-cream massage. The salon carries a variety of nontoxic polishes, and according to Margaret Zakaraian, “offers the best polish selection anywhere in the city.” You’ll leave feeling über relaxed, with beautiful and healthy nails. Tenoverten even caters to little ones who want to look like mom, so Zakarian often makes going to Tenoverten a “girly outing with my children.”

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

New York is buzzing with new and exciting ways to stimulate your kids. One of the best has to be the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, which Margaret Zakarian describes as a “fantastic exploration space for kids to let their minds run.” It’s a free four-story interactive technology and entertainment museum for techie kids of all ages perfect for a rainy day. But rain or shine, be warned that due to the popularity of the museum, reservations are highly recommended.

Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo

It’s easy to miss the zoo among the 843 acres of park that surround it, but to do so would be to pass up sightings of sea lions, snow leopards, exotic birds, and a wealth of other species not typically associated with the five boroughs. Check the zoo’s website for a list of exhibitions, current attractions and activities, and don’t miss a walk through the Tisch Children’s Zoo—a compact nature trail with a playground, a feeding station and a duck blind for the secret observation of pond animals.

The Chatwal

After spending a few days working around the clock during the opening of The Lambs Club, restaurateur Margaret Zakarian treated herself to some well-deserved rest in the Chatwal hotel. She was not disappointed. This luxurious neo-Georgian brick building was once the clubhouse for the Lambs, America’s first fraternity for theater professionals. Originally designed in 1905 by architect Stanford White and then renovated and restored by Thierry Despont, the Art Deco-inspired design haven of a hotel opened its doors in 2010. Zakaraian considers Despont to be the master of “sumptuous furnishings,” as he installed fine details like custom-made mattresses and closets fashioned as steamer trunks. Of course, a room there is a fitting retreat after a decadent meal at the hotel restaurant, the Lambs Club. Zakarian even curated the hotel’s minibars, so even the snacks are perfection.

The Ritz-Carlton New York

The Ritz-Carlton is hardly in need of introduction, what with locations all over the world. Margaret Zakarian agrees with the privileged masses that a night at the Ritz is simply an outstanding hotel experience, especially when it comes with a view of Central Park. “There may not be a more special location,” she says. Even if you don’t snag one of the coveted suites, though, you’re room will still have a Sony flat-screen, a DVD player, and sumptuously plush linens. The hotel is also surprisingly pet friendly. Four-legged friends are less common in the hotel spa, La Prairie (the first of this Swiss favorite found stateside). After a massage there, sip on a cocktail made by Norman Bukofzer, the legendary New York bartender, in the Star Lounge. Zakarian promises it’s all you need to feel more “pulled together, even if the reality is something a bit more frazzled.”