A fantastic amalgamation of sights, smells and sounds, New York City is visited by millions of captivated tourists each year. The bright lights, yellow taxis, whooping sirens and steaming subway vents immediately let you know that you can only be in one place. We visited in February of this year.
As I emerged out of the Lincoln tunnel and began to spot iconic landmarks such as the Empire state building, it was hard not to feel overcome with excitement. It certainly lived up to expectations.
If New York City is a place you haven’t experienced, then planning a trip can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience; Where should I stay? Where should I eat? How much spending money should I take? What percentage should I tip the bellboys? Eating on its own can become mind boggling considering there are over 24,000 eateries in Manhattan alone! However, If you do your research and look in the right places, you can really make the most of a short time there and come home with unforgettable memories, your nerves intact and an irrepressible appetite to return!
The USA’s most vibrant city is situated on its North Eastern seaboard of the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature in New York can vary dramatically depending on what time of year you choose to visit. Icy winds and snowfall are common during the winter months whilst it can become swelteringly hot in July and August. We visited in February a day after a foot of snow had fallen, making for some instagrammable scenery in Central Park but also a need to wrap up in multiple layers of warm clothing! Most recommend Spring or Fall (sorry…Autumn) as the best time of year to avoid the weather extremities. If a trip to the city that never sleeps is something you are interested in ticking off your bucket list, here are a few hints and tips to ensure making the most of all this spectacular city has to offer.
Where to stay:
New York is split up into 5 different famous boroughs: Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, The Bronx and Brooklyn. Most tourists visiting New York tend to stay in Manhattan as although slightly more pricey, the location is ideal for accessing the majority of must see attractions such as Times Square, Central Park and The Statue of Liberty. We were lucky enough to stay in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel which is a shining example of the city’s glamorous past. Not only is the Waldorf famous for giving the world Waldorf Salads and Red Velvet cake (thank you!) but it is also where the rich and famous used to reside when they visited New York. John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra are just some of it’s past guests. As soon as we were ushered in through the wooden revolving doors, into the stunning marble lobby and through to the plush, mahogany piano bar, the place oozed sophistication and style.
I watched as old school Manhattans enjoyed a sunday brunch of lobster and mimosas and couldn’t help appreciating this slice of 1930s art deco heaven. Unfortunately, this great hotel has been sold to a Chinese property owner who at the end of March shut the hotel door’s for up to 3 years of refurbishment. However, there are many other fabulous places you can stay and enjoy feeling the old spirit and hospitality of the city.
Fans of this bygone era or possibly of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York will recognise The Plaza Hotel as one of these and it definitely does not disappoint. The stunning rooms and suites can be pricey but the views over Central Park as well as the attentive white gloved service and the opportunity of afternoon tea at the Palm Court makes this a destination not to be passed upon. If you’re looking for something slightly different, The Ganesvoort Meatpacking offers sophistication with a more contemporary twist. Clean lines, moody lighting and chic interiors mean this gem located, as suggested, in Manhattan’s trendy meatpacking district is a firm favorite with guests. We visited for a drink and were impressed with the selection of cocktails. A highlight for the Summer months is a modern rooftop pool and bar to allow you to temporarily escape the bustling streets and admire the magnificent city skyline.
Where to eat:
For that authentic New Yorker vibe, we recommend the original Wolfgang’s Steakhouse on Park Avenue. This has been a staple with New Yorkers for over four decades and not many tourists know about it, meaning that the atmosphere feels a lot more authentic than some places you might visit in Midtown. The low, arching tiled ceilings and candlelight create an intimate eatery worth visiting. We went for a King crab salad to start and a fillet mignon for main. The crab was fresh and succulent whilst the filet was one of the best I have eaten. Apologies for the cliche but I’m not lying when I say my knife literally cut through it like butter. Mouthwatering good food and a genuine Manhattan buzz- this is a culinary experience not to miss! Tip: Avoid taking photos in here as you expose yourself as an undercover tourist!
Where to drink:
We visited The Dead Rabbit in downtown’s Financial District and were wowed by the selection of cocktails and whisky they were offering. Seen as one of the best cocktail bars in New York, The Dead Rabbit looks inconspicuous from the outside and has a relaxed, chilled out vibe inside. We tried a Tom, Dick and Harry and loved the freshness of fennel and strawberry used in the cocktail. Not one to be missed! If hipster mustaches and mason jar cocktails aren’t for you, we also loved visiting the blink and you’ll miss it Jimmy’s Corner off Times Square. Don’t be put off by first appearances, this traditional american bar is owned by a former trainer of some of the greatest boxers of all time including Joe Frazier and is another great example of authentic New York. Considering it’s location, a pint of ice cold Blue Moon was just $4 making it a rare place to sit back with a drink and enjoy people watching without breaking the bank.
Don’t forget to visit:
- Rockefeller- better views of the Empire State
- National September 11 Memorial & Museum
- Private helicopter flight around island – amazing!
- Central Park
- Musical on Broadway
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
- Guggenheim Museum
- Ladurée New-York Madison