In a city that sees millions of visitors a year, surprisingly there are a number of places people just don’t go in New York. So, forget Times Square, the Empire State Building and Little Italy — with these suggestions, you can see NYC like you live in the place in just two days.
To start, choose what area you want to be in. If luxury near nature is your thing, book a room at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park a lush hotel located right off the massive park. Or, for a slice of European-meets-Marrakesh sensibilities, you could check into nearby Four-Star The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York, which also hosts Sirio Ristorante, an elegant Italian restaurant by the Maccioni Group.
Whatever you decide, after you have dropped off your bags, grab a latte and a fresh pastry from Bouchon Bakery at the Time Warner Center, then take horse and carriage or your walking shoes and explore the grandeur of the 156-year-old park. Even better, take a free tour and learn all about the history of Seneca Village and the Northern Forts (see the full tour schedule here). After that, take advantage of the services at the Four-Star La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, and follow that with tiny sandwiches and gourmet scones during an in-house afternoon tea at Star Lounge. Yes, you can pair your tea with a sparking glass of Mumm Brut if you are so inclined. By now you’ll be feeling relaxed, so it’s the perfect time to wander around the nearby Museum of Art and Design and marvel at their current exhibition of fashion jewelry and the use of wood in contemporary art.
From here, your body may be crying to sit down; good thing it’s dinnertime. If you want to dine in opulence, planning can secure you a reservation at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Per Se in the Time Warner Center. At this award-winning restaurant, chef and owner Thomas Keller has perfected the art of the tasting menu (there are two unique menus each day), allowing guests to indulge in a multicourse spread. If you don’t make it to Per Se, fear not, you can easily indulge in an Italian-inspired meal at Abboccato and catch one of the stellar shows onstage right now such as Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots or Broadway staple Mamma Mia!
On day two, you must absolutely head to Museum Mile, but not before having breakfast at the Russian Tea Room where you can eat like a czar by ordering eggs with gold leaf and caviar, a basket of fresh pastries, truffle-laced quiche and a hearty cup of black tea. After that, hop on the number six train to the 86th Street stop or just jump in a cab for an even faster ride. Once there, choose from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Guggenheim, all of which are wonderful reasons to get lost in the world of creativity for a few hours.
By now, it’s time for lunch, and the nearby David Burke Townhouse is the place to go for solid, high-end American food. Here, a three-course meal gives you options including lobster wonton soup, seared diver scallops, and orange chocolate mousse. Even though you may feel you have had enough art, make sure to check out the paintings on the walls. After all, it’s a little known fact that chef Burke is an art aficionado. Finally, head across town to the West side and walk off your hearty mid-day meal with a stroll along the High Line park. Built along defunct train tracks in 2009, this spot is a whole other animal and features hundreds of native plants, amazing views, views into buildings and plenty of places to lounge and watch clouds or cars zip by. Start at the 30th Street entrance and, while stopping to pick up a scoop of peach gelato from L’Arte del Gelato or a roasted plum frozen pop from La Newyorkina, make your way to 14th Street. Once there, you can treat yourself to a stiff drink, the sunset and a dip in the rooftop pool, if you are so inclined, at the hip party spot Le Bain on the roof of The Standard hotel.
As for last-night meal options, you are now in the heart of chic, model, artist, and stylish people land, so you might as well roll with it. Head to Brasserie Beaumarchais for an excellent French feast of lamb chops with eggplant Cannelloni, pan-seared organic salmon, lobster and Manila clams and more. Don’t worry, cabs are standing by to whisk you back to the Upper East Side or, if you would rather skip the party spot and stay close to your temporary home, have an elegant, quiet meal featuring a wide range of mouth-watering options such as housemade pastas Pipette (shrimp and seppia ragu, pecorino, garbanzo beans), mare (lobster, halibut fin, sea urchin) and more at Michael White’s acclaimed Four-Star Marea. With that, you may be full, but after these two days, you will be hungry for more of NYC.
Photos Courtesy of PerSe, istock-mategkrajcovic, Iwan Baan and The Indian Hotels Company Limited