Lifelong New Yorker Cristina Alger, who penned 2012’s The Darlings, returns this month with her second novel, This Was Not The Plan (Touchstone), an incisive, hilarious and tender exploration of fatherhood, love, loss and family life through the eyes of a young widower. Alger’s book tour includes a reading at Madison Avenue’s the Corner Bookstore on February 4.
Here, the author, currently at work on her third novel, waxes poetic about Manhattan.
Favorite place to write
The New York Society Library (53 East 79th Street). There’s a wonderful group of writers who use the New York Society Library as their main workspace. Writing can be such a solitary activity; it’s nice to feel like a part of a community. nysoclib.org
Favorite place to read
Shakespeare & Co. (939 Lexington Avenue). Their café sells salted chocolate chip cookies. Need I say more? shakeandco.com
Favorite place for dinner with my husband
Sushi of Gari (402 East 78th Street). A little gem of a restaurant and, in my humble opinion, the best sushi in the city. sushiofgari.com
Favorite place for a group dinner
Toloache (166 East 82nd Street). Fabulous Mexican food and a beautiful back garden in the warmer months. toloachenyc.com
Favorite place to meet for a drink
Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel (35 East 76th Street). Ludwig Bemelmans, the artist who created the Madeline books, decorated the bar in these wonderful, whimsical murals of Central Park. rosewoodhotels.com
Favorite place to spend a Saturday afternoon
The boat pond in Central Park. My three-year-old loves to feed the ducks, climb on the Alice in Wonderland Statue and listen to the musicians who often play near the Boathouse cafe.
Black & white cookies from William Greenberg Desserts (1100 Madison Avenue). My last meal would include these cookies. wmgreenbergdesserts.com
Bagels and lox on Sunday mornings from H&H bagels (1551 Second Avenue). I’m a New Yorker; I take my bagels seriously. hhmidtownbagelseast.com
Favorite lunch spot
Via Quadronno (25 East 73rd Street). Snug, chic little spot serving mouthwatering paninis and gelato. viaquadronno.com
Favorite place to browse
The Corner Bookstore (1313 Madison Avenue). This cozy independent bookstore is an Upper East Side institution (and, apparently, the inspiration for the bookstore in You’ve Got Mail). cornerbookstorenyc.com
Favorite gallery experience
Neue Galerie (1048 Fifth Avenue). Incredible art, beautiful architecture and its Café Sabarsky has the best chocolate cake you’ve ever had in your life. neuegalerie.org
Favorite hidden gem
Private roof garden at the Surrey Hotel (20 East 76th Street). Only hotel guests and members can enjoy the panoramic views of Central Park and perfectly muddled cocktails. It’s almost worth checking in for the night. thesurrey.com