Seeking British NYC? Keep calm and read on
If all this talk about the royal wedding has awakened the Anglophile in you, then this article is for you.
Even though New York has no British “neighborhood” — no surprise given that our urban forebears kicked the Brits out 228 years ago — there are plenty of places to visit in the city to satisfy that craving for things British.
You can start by meeting a Brit: When Louise Gale arrived in New York from Surrey in 2004, she wanted to find other Brits. What began as a gathering of 10 expats is now Big Apple Brits, a group with regular meet-ups, including a full-on BritFest in June. Brits and non-Brits can learn more at bigapplebrits.com.
But you don’t need to join to enjoy amNY’s bloody good tour of British NYC.
Eating British: Old favorites
Nicky Perry, 51, is the force of nature who reigns over “the unofficial British consulate” in New York — a triumvirate of shops at Nos. 108, 110 and 112 Greenwich Ave.
Perry’s Tea and Sympathy English Restaurant (212-989-9735) offers an English tea for two – sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jam — or favorites like bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie in a setting cozy enough to please the most demanding English auntie.
Carry On Tea and Sympathy (212-989-9735) has all the ingredients for a do-it-yourself English meal — cans of mushy peas, Heinz beans and an assortment of teas and digestive biscuits. (That’s Perry’s portrait hanging on the wall to the right of the entrance.)
Myers of Keswick at 634 Hudson St. (212-691-4194) is another huge expat favorite. Stock up on what Peter Myers, the founder, calls “porcine perfection,” his shop’s made-fresh-every-day bangers, sausage rolls, chipolata and Scotch eggs.
Two notable newcomers
The London Candy Co., 1442 Lexington Ave. at 94th Street (212-427-2129), opened last month with 200 varieties of chocolates and candies, the perfect place to satisfy your craving for favorites like McVities’ biscuits and Cadbury Flake bars as well as the shop’s original creations inspired by English candy bars — how does a Rolo and Banana cupcake or a Mars bar milkshake sound?
GMT Tavern, 142 Bleecker St. (646-863-3776), wants to be your British anti-sports bar. Opened in April, it is meant to be a quiet retreat with an English-inspired menu and a long wooden bar where you can order 22 beers on draft, including Scotch ale, stout and India pale ale from Meantime brewery.
Mixing football and brew
If you like your English football in the company of noisy, beer-drinking fans, head for the Red Lion, 151 Bleecker St. (212-260-9797), or Nevada Smith’s 74 Third Ave. (212-982-2591), where “football is religion” and regulars refer to the bar as their “church.”
Working Class Emporium, a quirky shop at 168 Duane St. (212-941-1199), is owned by Yorkshire-born David Metcalf, a self-described “purveyor of perfumes, clothing, provisions, haberdashery and antiques.” Browsing is encouraged, so take a look at the antique tea sets, candelabra and silver serving pieces; the brightly striped Paul Smith towels and hats; and the mouse pad imported from a London bookstore urging you, of course, to “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
If you like the Paul Smith items at the Emporium and want more, check out the two Paul Smith shops in Manhattan at 142 Greene St. and 108 Fifth Ave. (paulsmith usa.com), which carry the well-known designer’s men’s and women's clothing, accessories and children's clothing. For a discount on some of Sir Paul’s designs, check out his Sale Shop in Williamsburg at 280 Grand St.
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St., has more 18th-century portraits by British artists than any other New York City museum. Hogarth and Gainsborough are well represented, and you can see a portrait of Lady Hamilton as Nature by George Romney that was once on the mantelpiece in Frick’s bedroom — apparently the first woman Henry Frick saw when he woke up every morning was a Brit.
A British garden
All the way downtown, not far from the World Trade Center site, is the British Garden at Hanover Square (www.british garden.org), which was opened officially by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on her visit to New York last year. Planted with shrubs and perennials that are reminiscent of an English garden, this quiet spot honors the memory of the 67 British citizens who died on 9/11.