The city that never sleeps… The Big Apple… So good they named it twice… If you make it there, you can make it anywhere… New York is a city that has been eulogised by artists, writers, songmakers, photographers and filmmakers the world over. A thriving, buzzing, energetic, exciting, passionate, trend-setting metropolis where cultures clash happily. Arguably, one of the finest cities on earth, there’s only one way to ‘do’ New York: and that’s on a limitless budget. Come with us on our credit card-punishing journey that guides you through one of our favourite places on earth. Welcome to New York…
WHAT TO SEE:
1. Take in the view…
To get a real handle on the enormity and splendour of this metropolis, you’ve got to head up high to see it. One of our favourite spots from which to view the metropolis is with a cocktail in hand. Of course! A few of our favourite watering holes in the sky include:
* GRAMERCY PARK
The Gramercy Park’s Private Roof Club and Garden, floating 16 stories above the streets, has Ian Schrager’s stamp all over it, effortlessly mixing the feel of a private gentleman’s club with that of a boho’ New York hangout. This is where the celebrities come to party, drink and smoke outdoors, flouting the city’s smoking ban.
* 60 THOMPSON
The rooftop bar at 60 Thompson is where you’ll get a beautifully poured Martini poured by a beautiful bartender whilst looking north out onto the city with the Empire State bathed in sunlight.
* RITZ-CARLTON CENTRAL PARK CLUB LEVEL
From the Club Level at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park you can sup (free) Champagne whilst looking out across the tree tops of the park, as far as the eye can see, bordered on each side by some of Manhattan’s most expensive real estate. Watch the tourists queue for buggy rides while you take in the view, and just one more glass of bubbly. We wiled away an afternoon and were the first to dip into the bubbly, followed soon after by the rest of the inhabitants. Who said the Brits hold back?
* HOTEL GANSEVOORT
The Gansevoort’s roof terrace may no longer be the supermodel haunt du jour, but the views of the Hudson at sunset make this one of the most beautiful spots from which to sup an expertly mixed drink. And at least you’ll no longer get a sharp, skinny elbow to the ribs as you make you way to the bar. Look up and you’ll see sky and ‘scrapers, and look down and you’ll spot Soho House’s roof terrace and famed pool.
2. Check out some art…
Manhattan is a great place to view some art: from independently-owned galleries to the behemoths; from iconic images housed in iconic gallery spaces, to houses of art where the food is as beautiful as the canvases. Here are just a few cultural outposts to whet your appetite:
* ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE PAINTINGS
Swing by the gallery space owned by the heir to the Estée Lauder fortune to take in the world’s most expensive painting, circa 2008. Bought for $135 million, Gustav Klimt’s ‘Adele Bloch-Bauer 1’ is a glittering portrait painted in 1907, influenced by his visit to Italy where he saw beautiful Byzantine mosaics. We doubt Lauder will accept even a reasonable offer on this iconic piece of work, but it’s worth the visit nonetheless.
Neue Galerie, 1048 Fifth Avenue, New York
Tel: +1 212 628 6200
Housed in the spiralling white Frank Lloyd Wright building on Fifth Avenue, New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s new Art After Dark evenings on the first Friday of the month mix art with music from some of the city’s hottest musicians and DJs.
3. Pound The Streets
Thanks to the grid-iron layout, Manhattan is one of the most satisfying cities to navigate on foot. Be sure to pack your walking shoes (as well as the Louboutin’s for after-dark activities).
* TAKE A WALK ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRACKS
See Manhattan from a unique angle, from one of the world’s most unique parks. Located on the West Side, above the fashionable Meatpacking District, the High Line is a former freight railway that has been transformed into pathways and parkland, designed by famed Dutch gardener Piet Oudolf, as well as a space for public art. When the sun’s shining the area’s residents take to the High Line to walk, chat, flirt and take in the views. One of the most exciting and inspiring city regeneration projects that we have seen.
WHEN TO GO:
When it gets hot in the city, it gets really hot. Summers in New York are a steamy affair and when the temperature rises in Manhattan, there’s only one place to be: on the top floor of New York’s outpost of Soho House, taking in the views of the rooftops as you lounge, poolside, sipping cocktails and people watching. Immortalised in an episode of Sex And The City, even Samantha had to beg, borrow and steal to secure herself membership. Lie back, slap on the factor 20 and send a bottle of Champagne across to the gorgeous people lounging across from you.
Soho House New York, 29-35 9th Avenue, New York.
For membership enquiries, tel: +1 212 627 4710
Despite the exchange rate not really doing European visitors too many favours, NYC is still one of our favourite shopping spots just before Christmas. As the temperatures plunge and the lights twinkle (let’s face it, the Yanks do Christmas brilliantly), not even the most humbugging of visitors will be able to resist Manhattan’s infectious Christmas spirit. Pack light and hit the shops.
Whenever you touch down on JFK’s tarmac, you’re bound to find a festival or attention-grabbing event taking place in Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs. Key events that draw visitors (and make bagging a hotel bargain a little trickier) and show off the city’s ability to party with the best of them include Chinese New Year in February; the St Patrick’s Day Parade in March; the 4th of July celebrations; New York’s acclaimed film festival (and accompanying parties) in September; Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November; and Times Square’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you’re an opera buff, then a visit in June and July is a must with evening performances being offered in many of the city’s parks; September sees Manhattan looking even more fabulous than usual with the arrival of fashionistas and their hangers-on from all over the world; if you’re a fan of pounding the pavements (and we’re not talking about professional shopping here), then the world’s largest Marathon takes over the city’s streets in November.
WHERE TO EAT:
1. THE ULTIMATE BURGER
NYC is one of the best cities on earth for carnivores. Steak houses abound, and the slabs of beef served are some of the best you’ll ever bite into. You’ve got to indulge in a burger when you’re Stateside, and where better to do that than a top-class restaurant with an acclaimed three Michelin star chef at the grill? db Bistro Moderne is owned by renowned restauteur Daniel Boulud, and his Original db Burger wins hands down in the city’s ‘burger war’. The burger, priced at $32, is a sirloin burger with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle, served on a Parmesan bun with pommes frites.
55 West 44th Street, New York
Tel: +1 212 391 2400
2. THE BEST SLAB OF MEAT
You want steak? You got it. Read our full review of Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Prime to get your taste buds charged (and go online to the BLT group of restaurants’ website to be hit aurally by some excellent New York-inspired tunes.
BLT Prime, 111 East 22nd Street, New York
Tel: 212 995 8500
3. A TASTE OF ENGLAND (& ITALY)
A gastropub in the heart of Manhattan with an English woman at the stove is not an obvious success story, but the Michelin-starred Spotted Pig is still wowing the critics and foodies alike with its pared-down classics, seasonal ingredients and shabby chic interior. Dishes include Devils On Horseback, Poached Duck Egg with Lamb’s Tongue and Flageolot Beans, Smoked Haddock Chowder, Chorizo Stuffed Quail with Goat’s Cheese Pudding, with Banoffee Pie and Crème Caramel bringing up the rear.
Chef April Bloomfield, who has worked at the River Café in London and in the hallowed kitchen of Chéz Panisse in California, has succeeded in Manattan, where so many other Brit cooks have failed, and while her latest venture, the upscale seafood restaurant John Dory may have closed its doors (albeit temporarily as it awaits a new location/economic upturn), it seems that the Spotted Pig (in its fifth year of holding a Michelin star) can do no wrong.
314 West 11th Street (at Greenwich Street), New York
Tel: 212 620 0393
The Michelin Guide caused something of a stir when it arrived in Manhattan, and now foodies across the city are lapping up its annual awards. If you’re a fan of high-end food destinations, then New York has plenty on offer. Currently holding three Michelin stars are:
Daniel (newly-starred); Jean Georges; Le Benardin; Masa; Per Se
Others star-holders of note include:
Thai restaurant Rhong Tiam in Greenwich Village; Go for WD-50’s tasting menu at this hot spot with its playful, beautifully executed food; Extravagant eatery Gilt, courtesy of British chef Paul Liebrandt; Great food in a casual setting at Gramercy Tavern
PIZZA THE ACTION
Never get into an argument with a New Yorker about where the best pizza is served. With favourites changing with seasons, favourites in the pizza-eating world change from one month to the next. If you like your pizza in the Naples style (with a slightly charred, soft, doughy crust), then head to Kesté on Bleecker Street. For a pizza baked in a wood-burning stove, then Emporio near Prince Street (on Mott) is a young pretender to the pizza throne: Roman-style pizzas (thin-crust, just the way we like them). For a New York style pizza, then Lombardi’s, with its brash service, chequered, wipe-clean table cloths and huge pizzas is a real slice of Manhattan. The first, and still one of the best.
WHERE TO STAY:
1. Four Seasons
Super-cool boutique hotels are not for everyone. While we do like to hang out with the hip crowd, sometimes only opulent five-star surroundings will do. Four Seasons’ beautiful New York property now boasts the city’s most expensive hotel penthouse suite, at a cool $30,000 per night (if you book both rooms). They even managed to get famed architect I M Pei to come out of retirement to design the two Presidential Suites. Sitting pretty on the 51st floor, the rooms are accessed by private elevator and offer floor-to-ceiling views of the city and Central Park. With a massive floor space of 139-square-metres, the rooms boast a Grand Piano and even a library – just in case the late nights and superlative dining opportunities are beginning to tire you.
If your budget can’t quite stretch to the penthouse levels, then you’re still guaranteed sumptuous living and superlative service a few floors down, too. One of our favourite features when we checked in to an enormous double room after a long, bumpy, internal flight from the West Coast to NYC was the enormous bath that was guaranteed to fill in less than a minute. And it duly did. The next morning we took breakfast on our balcony, supping our coffee to the symphony of cab horns and Manhattan life below (which was blocked out wonderfully by the hotel’s triple glazing – had we not known, our hotel room could have been in the middle of rural nowhere, such was the quiet in our room).
2. Trump SoHo
Mr Trump’s latest NYC hotel venture – and we have to say, we’re enormous fans of his hotelier work – is smack bang in the heart of SoHo. Sitting pretty on the corner of Spring and Varick, the new-build 46-storey glass tower is home to 391 rooms and suites, with bespoke furniture by Fendi Casa and jaw-dropping views thanks to the floor-t0-ceiling windows. As well as a signature restaurant, there’s the excellent The Spa at Trump (where we were pummeled, preened and rubbed in Trump’s Chicago outpost at expert hands) and a now de-rigeur rooftop bar with outdoor pool. What’s not to like?
3. Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo
When we’re next in New York, we’ll be checking into Firmdale’s first outpost across the Atlantic. Bringing British quirkiness and design to Gotham, Crosby Street Hotel is the place to be seen right now. And if you’re a regular of Firmdale’s properties in the UK, you’ll see some familiar faces as key members of staff have been shipped out across the Atlantic to deliver the company’s unique service levels.
4. Ritz-Carlton Central Park
One of our favourite hostelries in New York City, read our full review here.
5. Hotel Gansevoort
Style and substance at Hotel Gansevoort. Read our full review here.
WHAT TO BUY:
New York on a budget? Are you crazy? This is consumerism at its most fervent, so if you’re hitting the Big Apple, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s in style. Read on for the most extravagant and down-right gorgeous ways to splash your cash in Gotham…
1. The Most Beautiful Souvenir
There’s no argument that New York is one of the most visually striking cities on earth; its soaring skyscrapers make for the most breathtaking of backdrops. As well as snapping away in order to create a beautiful collage upon your return, another great way of remembering your trip is to indulge in spot of art shopping. Such an inspiring city, it’s influenced many great artists. One of the most beautiful collections of work we uncovered and coveted was by Austrian-born artist, Gottfried Salzmann. Mixing medium, he has created a series of visually arresting, large-scale canvases that beautifully evoke the passion, pace and architecture of this amazing city. Get one shipped home for your return.
The Franklin Bowles Gallery, West Broadway, SoHo, New York. Tel: +1 212 226 1616
2. The Ultimate Shopping Spree
By day, you’ll have to fight through the tourists coming to take photos and buy silver nick-nacks within their meagre budgets, but Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue does sell some exquisite pieces of finely crafted jewellery, so get your PA or concierge service to arrange some private shopping time after hours, for a truly special spree. We’d highly recommend the Frank Gehry-designed treasures for a more sophisticated gift option.
Tiffany & Co., Fifth Avenue at 57th Street,
New York. Tel: +1 212 755 8000
3. Shop a city block
The best way to spend a Saturday morning is with the rest of Manhattan, shopping in SoHo. While the guidebooks might tell you to avoid this area of a weekend, when it’s jam-packed with New Yorkers abusing their credit cards, and you have to fight to get a table for a restorative coffee or cocktail, it’s the only time we’ll visit. The buzz, brashness and pace of the place is something to behold, as impeccably dressed Manhattanites strut their stuff taking in independent galleries, boutiques and stores selling beautiful objéts and designer must-haves. And for post-purchase drinkies you’re spoilt rotten, with the opulent lounge at the new soaring Trump Hotel (pictured above) or in quirky chic at Brit outpost the Crosby Street Hotel.
HOW TO GET THERE:
The Fastest Airport Transfer
While Resource’s Editor Lisa prefers a good old-fashioned limo from airport to hotel (due to an aggressive phobia of helicopters, she opted for Royal Way Limousine Inc’s superb service), the rest of the team jumped onto New York’s hottest transfer service, courtesy of US Helicopter. 12, hourly flights whisk you from JFK to the downtown Manhattan heliport in just eight minutes, sweeping above the rush hour traffic in the luxury of a dual-engine Sikorsky S76 helicopter which seats eight in its luxury interior.
Royal Way Limos Inc., New York
Tel: +1 212 593 3291, www.royalwaylimo.com
US Helicopter, $159 for a one-way journey
Way To Fly
Now that our beloved all-business-class carriers have folded, we turn left into Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin, after having abused the hospitality at the Heathrow Clubhouse – still the very best airport lounge. Read our full review here.