When British Colonel Roger Morris and his wife stumbled upon a piece of unclaimed Manhattan hilltop, they knew it would be the ideal spot for their summer home. Built in 1765, the 8,500-square foot Morris-Jumel Mansion—as it's known today—was the centerpiece of an estate that extends more than 130 acres from the Harlem to the Hudson River. Loyal to the British crown, Morris left America during the Revolution; in the fall of 1776, General George Washington used the home as headquarters during the Battle of Harlem Heights.
Today, the mansion offers guided tours of its historic property. After becoming president, Washington returned on July 10, 1790, to dine with cabinet members that included future presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; you can visit the dining room where they ate together. More than 40 years later, in 1833, Aaron Burr got married to Madame Eliza Jumel—the widow of the mansion's second namesake owner, Stephen Jumel—right in the parlor of this estate.
Besides tours, the mansion now hosts rotating exhibits that display everything from period costumes to the axe Washington used to floss his wooden teeth. There are also events throughout the year, from classical and jazz concerts to wine tastings and, once, a lively debate between Burr and Alexander Hamilton scholars.
Executive chef Rene Hernandez calls upon a culinary education at Spain’s world-renowned restaurant El Bulli to craft a tapas menu of 14 hot and cold plates of shareable dishes that draw from broad international influences. With a chosen glass of wine in hand, guests can cool tongues with the artisanal manchego cheese bolstered by organic chorizo and white grapes. Chefs hide crabmeat salad inside smoked salmon to surprise palates and place the fish on eggplant shaped like caviar to fit in at black-tie functions. Forks protect fingers from scorching by spearing-hot tapas including grilled baby squid served on a bed of caribbean salad with a cider vinaigrette. The crispy shells of sweet-plantain croquettes deliver dollops of chipotle aioli sauce, and teeth chomp their signature into packages of pan-seared shrimp in garlic and white wine.
Dominican native Sara Taveras, her husband, restaurateur Luis Taveras, and Caña y Café's new executive chef, Roberto Ferrer, inject contemporary technique as well as European, Asian, and Caribbean flair into Latin-fusion recipes to create vivid metropolitan cuisine. Flavorsmiths prime palates with a selection of seafood appetizers or classic Latin aperitivos such as empanadas or stuffed plantains. Snatching up the cross-cultural baton, entrees such as the rack of lamb whisper hints of continental and Caribbean flourishes, including the side of ratatouille and paprika blackened tomatoes. Other main courses arrive drizzled or otherwise accompanied by decadent garnishes such as truffle oil or sweet-plantain croutons. A selection of salads satisfies healthy cravings, with inspired combinations such as jicama, avocado, and cotija cheese, or peanut dressings with crispy chicken. Illuminating its lime-green wall and exposed brick with warm, intimate lighting, Caña y Café's dining room invites toasts with glassfuls of sangria or house wine from a list that includes such traditional Spanish grape varietals as tempranillo, verdejo, and California raisin.
Casual American and Irish fare fills the bellies of guests visiting to catch a game or catch up with each other. The black façade's narrow windows pop with scarlet curtains that offer just a peek into the interior, where even the mantel of the functioning stone fireplace has a TV screen. Televisions also punctuate the crimson walls and cast a glow behind the bar. Wooden booths face outward while swaddling their beer-sipping cargo in red cushions.
Throughout the game, fans cheer and jeer from the lofty chairback or close-to-the-action bench sections of the 17,000-capacity Robert K. Kraft Field while watching Manhattan’s only NCAA Division I football team take on the Yale Bulldogs. After helping the team post four or more wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997–98, six-year Head Coach Norries Wilson has stacked this year’s roster with top-notch student-athletes. Junior quarterback and First-Team All-Ivy selection Sean Brackett puts both his brawn and his education to good use, whispering Sartre quotes into opponents’ ears to make them question the meaning of existence instead of his receivers’ complex routes. Senior defensive back and fellow captain Ross Morand shouts out orders on the other side of the ball, anchoring the defense with his drive-killing plays and apologizing to referees when his fellow Lions accidentally maul the football.
Sometimes more is actually more. This is certainly true at The Club of Riverdale, where a 110,000 square feet complex houses an eclectic array of amenities, from six indoor tennis courts to a 25-meter Olympic pool to a spa that is home to six styles of massage. Out of all the sports available at the multi-sport facility, the coaching team specializes in tennis and golf. Racket-wielders can perfect their serves and back-hands in private lessons, beginners’ clinics, and group drills. Meanwhile, golfers train during camps, jaunts in the golf simulator, and with K-vest three-dimensional analysis, which helps clients optimize their swings and stop bribing their ball before each game. An array of workout classes rounds out the gym’s offerings, covering modalities such as Pilates, yoga, and tai-chi.