Eating breakfast and heading to the pool is fun, but eating breakfast at the pool is even better. That’s one advantage to having your first meal of the day at the Time Hotel Nyack, especially if, like me, you’re not super hungry early in the morning but get peckish soon after. After requesting pancakes but with the fruit included with the French toast on the menu, the chef actually based the fruit into the pancakes, and we were able to switch it over to plastic plates and utensils to enjoy while we took in some rays. The hotel’s sole restaurant, BV’s Grille (short for Bobby Van’s Grille, an offshoot of the famous steakhouse), is owned separately and helmed by Chef Rene Xelo, who has been working as a professional chef for over 25 years, and has worked as a consultant for a multitude of Westchester County and Manhattan steakhouses including Peter Lugar, Ruth Chris, and Frankie and Johnnies.
The art in the hotel that hosted us was curated Kerry Wellington, owner of the hotel and the art itself, went for “An Industrial glam look with a touch of edgy art to infuse a bit of swank in the hotel.”
Big, sparkly, and chic, Piano Lady immediately draws in lobby-dwellers. It was created by Raphael Mazzucco, a fashion photographers, is critically acclaimed for his singular eye and his captivating aesthetic. His artistic visual narrative captures the human form set against a backdrop and startling landscapes spanning the continents. Then there’s Mick Jagger with Rep Lips (2011) and Elizabeth Taylor (2008) by Russel Young hang in the dining room and also give off a pop-art vibe. They were created by music video director Russel Young, who began his professional career nearly 20 years ago with an assignment to shoot George Michael for the album cover of Michaels’ Faith.
After a few mandatory selfies in front of the art, we headed to Restaurant X and Bully Boy Bar for what turned out to be one of my most memorable birthday dinners ever. I could tell from the jump that it was going to be—it’s rare that every single oyster on a plate tastes perfect—you prefer the east coast over the west, or the texture of one variety over another, but I knew as soon as we’d slurped (I mean, daintily consumed) them that this was going to be something special. And then a sense of déjà vu hit me, and I also realized that I had been to this place nine years prior, before I got sober, so the actual taste of the food, the amazing five star service and the outdoor scenery of the fountain and the family of ducks living near it was lost on me.
We were brought out artfully designed plates of lobster and scallops, were treated to a giant steak that we barely had room for, and just when we thought we were going to explode, were brought one of every dessert, which I pretended not to want and definitely tasted all of because it was my birthday. We spent nearly three hours dining, which speaks volumes for someone who usually gets restless after an hour and maxes out at two hours somewhere REALLY special. We even forewent the fireworks in favor of a leisurely dessert and chatting with the best waitress ever, Marie.
The restaurant is part of Chef Peter X. Kelly’s Xaviars Restaurant Group, which has also included Xaviars at Garrison, Xaviar’s at Piermont, The Freelance Cafe and Wine Bar, and X2O Xaviars on the Hudson. His cooking has received The New York Times highest rating (Extraordinary), The Mobil Travel Guide Four Star Award, The Dirona Award, Restaurant News Dining Hall of Fame.
Feeling like I just wanted the most casual food possible for lunch the next day after the previous night’s meal, we popped into Tarantella Pizza for a few slices before heading to Edward Hopper House to check out the art. Street is lined with all kinds of restaurants, but I was steadfast in my decision, perhaps also motivated to wear by my invisible my pizza-judges badge, the ones that native New Yorkers always have handy. We were not disappointed, and I somehow found room for the good kind of Italian ices that you can’t even find in Manhattan anymore for some upsetting reason, the ones you scoop out of the giant bin in a portable freezer and into a paper cup that will probably drip on you but who cares. The pizzeria was founded at the beginning of 1976, and, in March 2007, was voted by Rockland magazine as the best pizza in town, and suffice to say that we left full, happy, and ready for some Edward Hopper.
A few blocks down at Edward Hopper House, our artful tour concluded in a surprising way. The home/gallery is a small space, but the free 20-minute tours help bring to life the relics left behind by the man who created the infamous “Nighthawks” painting. Our guide also gave context to the life of a man and his wife who shared a 15-inch height difference.
One fun fact we learned: the artist often communicated with his wife through rushing to draw how he felt instead of using words...whether positive or negative. One has to wonder exactly what was going on when he sketched the prominently displayed “Josie leading Eddie to a More Spiritual Experience…”and you should spend some time on it when you go visit—just don’t go on an empty stomach.