Whatever the occasion there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Angela Sara West gives the lowdown on where to head for an unforgettable luxury break in the brightest light on America’s east coast, awe-inspiring New York.
An international mecca that’s home to thousands of trendy restaurants, luxurious hotels, leafy parks, top theatres and enough designer outlets to keep discerning Carrie Bradshaw fans happy, New York City’s five buzzing boroughs offer something for everyone 24/7, all-year-round. From the Empire State Building and Times Square to the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge, its landmarks are among the most famous in the world. Everything’s conveniently within walking (or short subway) distance, with the magical island of Manhattan at the epicentre, The Bronx to the north, Staten Island to the south, Brooklyn and Queens over the East River.
Lights, Camera, Action! It’s Culture O’Clock
Arguably the Culture Capital of the world, NYC boasts hundreds of galleries, music and dance performances, festivals and public art installations. It also houses some of the world’s greatest museums, including Guggenheim and New-York Historical Society. Entertainment is king in the city that never sleeps. A trip to the Theater District to take in the bright lights is a NYC highlight. On Location Tours showcase recognisable sites from the big screen, such as How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Catch Me If You Can.
Passion for Fashion? Shopaholic’s Shangri-la Delight!
Bursting with chic boutiques, shopping’s the law in NYC. Home to more designer outlets than you can shake your credit card at, label queens after a fashion fix splash the cash in the glittering shops of Fifth. Chanel, Dior, Gucci… you’ll find them all here.
For the iconic NYC retail experience, make for Bloomingdale’s 59th street flagship store, a fave for fashionistas housed in a giant art deco building. Macy’s is a must and don’t miss glamorous department stores, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks or UNIQLO on Fifth. Shop-’til-you-drop at South Street Seaport, Barneys and unique boutiques along Madison Avenue. Head downtown to hip’n’trendy SoHo’s ultra-stylish shops or increasingly chic Brooklyn’s boutiques. Apple’s largest-ever store’s in Grand Central, while Upper West Side’s newly-launched Century 21 features private-sale high fashion at discounted prices.
Hot Hotels for Celestial Nights
From boutique hotels to luxury apartments, sophisticated stopovers include Midtown’s Gramercy Park, boasting Haute Bohemian heritage in spades and the recently-renovated Roosevelt, known as the ‘Grand Dame of Madison Avenue’. Downtown at The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park, sweeping waterfront views command your attention at every turn, while The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park offers decadent afternoon tea. Both offer Ultimate Indulgence packages, including champagne and couples’ massages in your luxurious suite. Feel like a star at Park Avenue’s celebrity haven, Loews Regency. Their Personal Shopper package is perfect for some retail therapy. For cutting-edge design and jaw-dropping views, the Hotel on Rivington’s the place to rest your head on up-andcoming Lower East Side, the place-to-be-seen for aspiring rock stars, fashion designers and a hotel-of-the-moment, The Bowery. Other supercool hotels include Midtown’s Ace, the Financial District’s Gild Hall, boutique Hudson and The Pierre on Fifth Avenue.
NYC’s undergone a hotel building boom lately. Starwood debuted its environmentally-friendly Element brand in Times Square, the Setai Fifth Avenue, a Capella Managed Hotel, brought luxury mix-used property, including a hotel and residences, to Fifth, while other notable openings include Sheraton’s Four Points, Long Island City and Hilton’s Conrad, with fabulous Hudson river views from Battery Park City.
The conversion of 1904 landmark Lamb’s Club on 44th Street recreates 1930’s art deco glamour at The Chatwal, while boutique-designed Ink48 boasts mind-blowing city views and an eco-friendly spa in a former printing house.
Fine Wining & Dining
Kick off with cool cocktails, like the classic Cosmo (Cosmopolitan) or must-have Manhattan, at hip hangouts The Flatiron Lounge in the Flatiron district, the Empire State Building’s Empire Room or rub shoulders with socialites, politicians, movie stars and moguls at the legendary Gold Coast’s timeless watering-hole, Bemelmans. Midtown, the glass-walled Salon de Ning bar on Peninsula hotel’s rooftop features sensational high-rise views, while the Ava Lounge atop the Dream hotel flaunts multiple fireplaces. The Champagne Bar at The Plaza, where F. Scott Fitzgerald set scenes from The Great Gatsby, is frequented by the sparkling social set and has been graced by the Prince of Wales. From exclusive eateries like West Side’s palatial, Michelin-starred Del Posto to innovative Japanese food at Uptown
celebrity favourite, Robert De Niro’s Nobu, when it comes to quality cuisine gastronomes are spoilt for choice.
Upper West Side contemporary eatery Boulud Sud serves Mediterranean-influenced fare. Gotham offers haute cuisine in Greenwich Village, while nearby One if by Land, Two if by Sea, set in a historic carriage house, consistently tops the list of the city’s most romantic restaurants. Water’s Edge in Queens offers spectacular skyline views.
Despite fears it could become a ghost town, the Financial District’s enjoyed a renaissance in the last decade, with new restaurants, shops and waterfront access transforming it into a lively, inviting neighbourhood. In the former Cotton Exchange at historical One Hanover Square, elegant Bayard’s respects the integrity of centuries-old architecture, gracefully incorporating a modern twist. Also worth a pitstop are Broad Street’s stylish SHO Shaun Hergatt, classy Capital Grille and Cipriani Club 55, both on Wall Street, and SoHo’s David Burke Kitchen, offering wholesome’n’hearty modern American food.
Off to Broadway? Eat your heart out at Barbetta, NY’s oldest Italian restaurant. Central Park South’s Marea presents a fresh interpretation of distinguished Italian coastal cuisine, or eat your way through Italy’s regions at Eataly, an emporium encompassing the world’s largest Italian food and wine marketplace on Fifth.
Romance Reigns in The Big Apple
With skyline views and city lights to make anyone swoon, the numerous love affair-themed films set in this iconic city have endorsed its reputation for romance. Who can forget Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr’s plight in An Affair To Remember, on which Sleepless in Seattle was based, putting the Empire State Building firmly on the romance map? Make a date for dusk to watch the city illuminate here before setting sail on a Spirit City Cruise schooner from Chelsea Piers or sampling caviar’n’champers on a World Yacht Dining Cruise. Feeling green? Statue Cruises’ $7m Hornblower Hybrid runs on renewable energy.
Planning to Pop The Question?
With romantic settings a-go-go, whether it’s atop a skyscraper, on a promenade across Brooklyn Bridge or via the Yankee Stadium scoreboard, you’re sure to find the perfect place to propose. A sunset stroll throughWave Hill public garden offers a serene setting, while Central Park’s Conservatory Garden’s a hidden treasure tucked away in acres of lush flora. Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island offer beautiful botanical gardens and Brooklyn Bridge Park’s charmingly-restored 1922 Carousel appreciates to-die-for skyline views.
NYC’s at its most romantic when it snows. For the coolest of proposals, take to the ice at The Rockefeller Center… the perfect excuse for falling into your loved one’s arms! Engagement on Ice packages include victory laps for newly-engaged couples plus a champagne toast. Alternatively, light up his/her life with a special message on Broadway’s LED screens at the Crossroads of the World. Money no object? Get down on one knee at the Algonquin, where exclusive Martinis on the Rock contain a $10,000 diamond!
Couples flock here to wed and the list of unique venues goes on and on… with something for all tastes, even the zoo! Renowned NYC institution, the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf=Astoria is the place for large wedding parties. A testament to timeless elegance and the epitome of opulence, Central Park’s lavish Plaza hosted Donald Trump and Marla Maples’ nuptials and Capote’s famed Black and White Ball, dubbed the ‘Party of the Century’. Not forgetting the Public Library, setting for Carrie’s dream wedding in Sex & the City. For a groom (and bride) with a view, secure Brooklyn’s River Café or Mandarin Oriental ballroom’s pretty Central Park panorama. Head for heights? Exchange vows in the Rockefeller Plaza’s meticulously-manicured garden, where 620 Loft & Garden comes complete with reflection pool and dramatic views. Back down to earth, Lower Manhattan’s refurbished marriage bureau offers a choice of chapels. The dream dress? Kleinfeld offers brides-to-be the world’s largest selection of designer gowns.