Dean Clough

January 6, 2024

Portico Darwin: Metro NYC Travel Guide, 2023 Addendum


A year ago, my first extended stay in Hoboken resulted in this big Travel Guide.  This Addendum - a first in the annals of my Travel Guides - is an update to the original and is based on a three week stay during December 2023 and into 2024.

As a refresher, Hoboken, New Jersey is located directly west across the Hudson River from Midtown Manhattan. 

Boy, is it.

Let me summarize by saying the sentiment I expressed last year, that Hoboken is the best way to visit Manhattan, has not changed.  If anything it's stronger, because I am not sure there's an urbanity like this anywhere else in the world.  The go-go hustle of Manhattan combined with the mellow - yet comprehensive - vibe in Hoboken, separated by a gorgeous 7-minute ferry (or subway) ride, is unique, at least to this traveler.

Please read (re-read, hopefully) the original guide, as this addendum only includes places I did not visit last year; we revisited a whole bunch during this visit, but all were at least as good as during Winter 2022.     

I provide links when I can for Textbook or better places, and I've left out the standard Travel Guide sections that would be redundant from last year's.  I'm also assuming you're following my advice and staying in Hoboken - this guide would not be that great for someone operating out of Red Hook.

But otherwise, here we go. 


A highlight this year was my exploration of the Diamond Certified Hudson River Park.

It is part of a ginormous 5+ mile waterfront hike that I strongly recommend, one that takes you from the Pier 11 Ferry Terminal to the same thing at 39th Street, and incorporates quite a bit of Hudson River Park.  Along the way, there is a lot to see, with many of the piers now green spaces, each with stunning views of the very impressive Jersey City skyline. 

Some, like Pier 57 (discussed later), are food and drinking paradises, while others, like Chelsea Piers, feature sports. 

And one can always go slightly inland, and have what's on offer in Manhattan.  You know, like everything in the world.


If it is possible, we indulged ourselves even more this year. 

Before starting, I will repeat something from last year:  make reservations for all meals when possible, even in Hoboken, and even if it seems silly. 

And apologies:  There is again no rhyme nor reason to the order of the lists, apart from geography.

  • Upscale Mexican, with a first-rate cocktail bar; we went twice
Small Bar:  Killer yet Bogus
  •  Huh?  It's posh, and they have tinned fish and great cocktails; but it's also too small, too expensive, and too my my my, at least for Hoboken
Benny Tudino'sTextbook
  • We're talking m-f'ing SLICES
Barbès:   Serviceable
  • Ouch - enjoyed the jazz guitar one night, but the food on another was not good; how does a French restaurant prepare a rack of lamb incorrectly?  But they tried to make amends . . .
Court StreetKiller
  • A classic restaurant and bar - my veal piccata on angel hair pasta was wonderful 
SakuDiamond Certified
  • Japanese fusion good enough that it brought us back twice; do not miss the Pork Belly Bao Buns
Chart HouseKiller
  • Yes - I am OK'ing a chain restaurant, and one owned by the suffocating Landry's conglomerate, at that
  • I have a reason, and the reason is that I can't imagine the view enjoying a Negroni here on a clear day, as it didn't suck on a cloudy one; this was Christmas afternoon

It's like the pandemic never happened.   

But OMFG, stay out of cars - the traffic bordered on comical, but we never dealt with it:  I think I averaged 15,000 steps each day of our stay.  You should do the same unless you're a masochist. 

Dramatic?  Try a taxi or Uber and find out.

But it's not all gridlock on 34th.  Believe me.

Pier 57Diamond Certified
Wow, does this place kick-ass.  With a redevelopment funded by Google, which has office space here, Pier 57 is a ginormous eating, drinking, and hanging-out paradise.  It even has a mindblower of a rooftop park, and TWO live music venues.  Between Julie and myself, I think we visited 4 different times, and each was better and different than the previous.  It's true, and we even saw The Beatles (more on that later).

There are a lot of places here - too many to rate, but I can say grab a lobster roll at The Galley or a sando at Due Madri, and a pop from either, and you'll be off to a good start.   The views are OK, too. 
And yes, that is the incredible Whitney Museum on the left in the photo above, and yes, a visit there and then here would be a great combo.

VALERIE:  Diamond Certified
  • We only had drinks at this Midtown lounge 3 times, but maybe you can understand why
  • A great Irish pub near the United Nations; indeed, tour the UN and then come here, like I did
Coffee Shop/Bathroom at Governor Island Ferry Terminal:  Textbook
  • No link because I can't find one, but this is a great way to start the waterfront hike I describe above; there's also a fancy hotel here for those so inclined
P.J. Clarke's (Midtown)Textbook and Diamond Certified
  • Did you ever dream of visiting perhaps the archetypical Manhattan watering hole?  It's so good and so real it gets two ratings . . .
P.J. Clarke's (On the Hudson):   Textbook and Diamond Certified
  • As above, but with views
  • I love this local chain at all times of the day and night
The Commerce InnDiamond Certified
  • We went here for a family blowout and loved it


United Nations TourDiamond Certified
  • I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to do it again with Julie
  • But I may be biased:  the UN Charter was signed (below) by its original 50 member nations in San Francisco on 26 June 1945
  • But oh, did the docent draw it out
  • F'ing gorgeous library, though - really, a Cathedral to books and literacy
  • A super-fun way to kill an hour in Midtown on your way to oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar
  • Or Keens
  • I enjoyed this museum of photography, although I am mad I went too early to enjoy its cocktail lounge (!)
MoMANo Rating
  • Huh?  Portico Darwin is not judging one of the world's most treasured and iconic museums?  
  • Correct . . . we went on the Friday before Christmas and immediately walked out - it was that crowded
Strawberry Fields:  Diamond Certified
  • Holy shit, what an incredible way to brunch on New Year's Eve day or any Sunday
  • This show was held at The Loft, one of the two music venues at City Winery at Pier 57; you can read more about that establishment (and one of its owners) here
  • Apart from the George Harrison character being left-handed, these guys completely kicked-ass
New Year's Eve Fireworks
  • I include this primarily to say don't go to Times Square in NYC; see masochist, above
  • We watched it from Pier 14 in Hoboken and saw essentially nothing, although I'm told the hilltop view from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology is great


I kicked ass at Belstaff, one of my favorite stores and brands.  And I bought Julie a baseball cap. 

But if you're reading this looking for a Manhattan shopping guide, you're reading the wrong blog.  And frankly, I only include this section in these Travel Guides so I can brag about visiting super-trick places.

Like Belstaff.


As above, Hoboken remains my location of choice for trips here, unless boroughs/locations other than midtown and downtown Manhattan are in your plans.  Hoboken also remains an adult Disneyland; if anything, it's more vibrant now that the pandemic has receded.  We love it there.

Manhattan?  Booming and kick-ass, like always.  But this is the way to do it:

  • Stay in Hoboken - duh
  • 7 minute ferry ride from 14th Street
  • Rage
  • Return
  • Repeat


Thank you for reading this Addendum.  I would love to hear from you if you utilize any of it and/or the original.

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