Phil’s Tips for Toronto and New York City – Places you must visit

I have just returned from an all too brief trip to Toronto and New York City, and here are some of my tips for cool places to check out if you are on that side of the Atlantic.


1. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West Toronto, Ontario Canada M5T 1G4)

The current exhibition at the AGO of David Blackwood’s work – Black Ice, prints of New Foundland- is the best exhibition that I have seen in a long long time. 

His work is laid out in a way that you can really appreciate the sombre and atmospheric art which draws upon his experiences in Newfoundland.  The AGO can also boast about the Thomson Collection.
2. Magic Pony & Narwhal Galleries – (680 Queen St West, Toronto ON Canada, M6J 1E5).

I have bought art from this gallery for years, and they have a wonderful collection of rising stars, and established artists from Gary Taxali, Melinda Josie, to Kozyndan. They care about their artists and their customers.

3. Spoof! (350 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A2).

I have to admit that my very stylish cousin Angela runs this ladies fashion store so I am very biased. Spoof! has an excellent range of clothes for the fashion conscious lady, and not over priced either! If you visit tell Angela that you heard about it on Phil’s blog!

New York City

1. African Burial Ground National Monument  (on the corner of Duane and Elk Streets in lower Manhattan)  is operated by the National Park Service, and I now go every time that I am in New York City.

The African Burial Ground was re-discovered in 1991, when construction began on a federal office building in lower Manhattan.  The site was designated by the Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark in 1993.  The burial ground is part of an original seven-acre site containing the remains of about 15,000 people, making it the largest and oldest African cemetery excavated in North America.

I would recommend a trip to the visitor centre, and the educational videos in the theatre. When you get to the end of the walk round section of the centre, at the top right hand corner (sadly out of view unless you look for it – it is slightly hidden round the corner) they have reproduced some of the disgraceful NY legislation of the day, which is so nauseating that you will have to take a second glance to check that you read the law correctly!

It is worth taking the time to visit this thought-provoking monument.

2. The High Line (W 18th and 10th Avenue – runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues).

The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district.

Imagine a landscaped garden next to train tracks that runs above some parts of Manhattan, with amazing views, and you will get the picture.

3. Osteria Morini (218 Lafayette St between Broome and Spring Sts)

As recommended to me by the Critics Choice section of Time Out New York – Now, Phil’s top tip to you for a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant, quite close to Joe’s pub.

4. Velvet Cigar Bar and Lounge – (80 East 7th Street).

A very relaxed lounge for you to enjoy a nice (although no Cuban) cigar. It does not serve food or alcohol, but you can bring your own, if you want too. It is a very interesting, and eccentric destination. You can leave your coat on a hook on the street so it does not get enveloped by Cigar Smoke.

My thanks to Michael, Nathan, Carina and Angela.

I am always interested to hear feedback on any of my tips.


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