Christmas in New York
"You've got to go see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. It's a touristy thing to do, but I'm not ashamed to say that's when I'm a tourist just like everybody else. It's just such a heartwarming sight. I used to take my daughter to FAO Schwarz. I would be singing that dumb song 'Welcome to Our World' all day long. I couldn't shake it out of my head. When I'd take my daughter to see all the new toys, I think the kid in me got jealous that we didn't have toys like that when I was a kid. It's fun to see all those little children with the delight in their faces. It reminds you of seeing women shopping at Bergdorf. You know, that same kind of gleeful delight."
"I like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Before the World Trade Center towers were built, the Empire State Building was the tallest building in Manhattan - and is again right now. It's such a strong, bold architectural statement. I like the Chrysler Building even more because of those art-deco eagle's wings that make up the top of it. The Woolworth Building is also beautiful, commissioned by Frank W. Woolworth when he had his retail empire going. It's another one of those shiny-topped buildings. I always find those buildings fascinating - the ones that were built early in the century. They always made the tops a crown of some sort. These buildings were meant to say, 'Look at me. Look how shiny I am.' "
"There's a great French restaurant called La Côte Basque, which I love. I just love the decor, the wine list, the way they make fish and salad. You'll see the ladies who lunch at La Côte Basque. They're older women who shop and then go to La Côte Basque for lunch and just have the time of their lives. I'm a big believer in lunch. There's something that I find very civilized about taking the middle of the day for yourself, even if it's a business day. Have some nice wine, go back to your hotel room, take a little nap, wake up, have a little coffee. … You're saying, 'This part of the day is for me.' "
"Urban Archaeology has fantastic stuff that they've kept from older buildings that were demolished - huge clocks and spires and vaults and cast-iron poles and lights and sconces. Steinway Hall is one of my favorite places. This is the high temple of all pianos. The temple of music, really. It's a beautiful old showroom. There's a waltz on the new album called 'Steinway Hall,' which I wrote there. I was walking down 57th Street and said, 'Oh, I've got an idea! I need a piano!' I ran into Steinway Hall and said, 'Can I use one of your pianos?' They said, 'Well, sure, use the one in the Rachmaninoff Room.' And there I was in this room with these oil paintings of Rachmaninoff staring at me. It was a lot of pressure. But I got this waltz written and I dedicated it to Steinway Hall."
"Da Silvano has very good Italian food - not spaghetti and meatballs, but authentic regional Tuscan cuisine. The staff have what is considered to be a typical New York sense of humor: a combination of cracking jokes and being a little bit insulting, which a lot of people find endearing. Fresco is also great, especially for pizza. They grill it so that the crust is crunchy on the bottom but chewy on the top, and they don't load it down with cheese. Castellano is really good, both for lunch and dinner. They have a terrific menu, but they always have a lot of specials. The headwaiter will come to your table and reel off this list of specials that you can't believe the guy's memorized. He waves his hands around and makes you almost see the food. That's kind of a music-business hangout. I'm always sure I'm going to run into somebody I know at Coco Pazzo: writers, musicians, artists, major movers and shakers. You're going to drop some change there. And Bice, which started in Milan, is an indoor/outdoor restaurant with a very international clientele. A waiter named Sal Sinzieri always takes care of me. He goes, 'Do you know what you want tonight? You want to have this. You know what's really fresh? You want that. Don't bother with this, try that.' "
"There are a lot of jazz clubs down in the Village, like the Village Vanguard. A friend of mine, Wolfgang, who used to be the bartender at the King Cole Bar at The St. Regis, just opened Fuel, a bar down in the Bowery, and the place is rockin'. You know, a lot of loud rock-and-roll, a lot of younger people, a lot of action."