“Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it - New York, New York.”
My latest trip was in June and my virgin journey to the city that never sleeps. It was a profound trip with the hustle and bustle of a city that provides endless experiences, amazing food and extraordinary hotels.
We were fortunate enough to stay at the Gramercy Park Hotel, which successfully balances fine art with rich and multi-coloured designs to create one of the most unique and fascinating experiences in New York City. It sets the standard for pure unadulterated glamour, especially their renowned Rose Bar, a low-key escape for A-listers in search of a quiet cocktail and where Lady Gaga gave an impromptu performance with jazz star Brian Newman earlier in May.
A bucket-list item is to jump aboard one of ZIP Aviation’s state of the art Bell helicopters for a breath-taking view over lower Manhattan’s Battery Park, the famous Wall Street, past historic Governor’s Island and continue to glide on over to greet the Statue of Liberty. Truly spectacular, but be warned it’s on the pricy side.
The red open top, double-decker busses are a must-do while visiting NYC for the first time. Get the best views of the top landmarks and attractions whilst the guides tell you interesting facts and stories about the city. Get on board for an overview of the various neighbourhoods or hop off to explore Uptown, Downtown, the Bronx and Brooklyn. Otherwise jump into a cab or put on your most comfy shoes and enjoy the city of New York walking, like most New Yorkers do.
A stroll through Central Park is a must, or if you prefer the more unique and historical way to experience the beauty, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the winding trails of Central Park.
Don’t forget to visit the constantly buzzing tourist magnet, Times Square - the lights, the people, the energy that is New York, right there in the heart of the city.
New York City has some great restaurants, but ensure that you do your research. It is a necessity to experience their legendary lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar in Greenwich Village, enjoy some of the most dazzling modern Japanese cuisine at Megu in Tribeka, feast on cheeseburger spring rolls at Delicatessen in Little Italy, and enjoy sharing dishes like pan roasted scallops and Asian spice rubbed pork ribs at Beauty and Essex in the Lower East Side. Beauty and Essex also boasts a champagne bar in the ladies loo – on the house.
The two restaurants that will shake your wallet but are worth every jiggle are Gramercy Tavern and Daniel Restaurant. Gramercy Tavern’s executive chef Michael Anthony received the prestigious James Beard Awards for “Best Chef: NYC” in 2012. We enjoyed their seasonal tasting menu which included marinated scallops, warm lobster salad, smoked sturgeon, roasted duck breast and more! The outright climax of my trip was Chef Daniel Boulud’s renowned restaurant Daniel, one of the few Manhattan restaurants to have The New York Times’ coveted four-star rating as well as three Michelin stars. The menu was a mouthwatering seven course food and wine pairing, sampling dishes such as the Hudson Valley sautéed duck foie gras, trio of hamachi, butter poached jade tiger abalone with sea buckthorn ~ you get the idea. We tasted amazing wines from Mosel, Burgundy, Saint-Joseph in Rhône, the Anderson Valley in California and Bordeaux. We finished off the meal with a tropical coconut vacherin accompanied by one of the world’s best dessert wines (in my humble opinion) the Château Pajzos 5 Puttonyos Aszú, Tokaji 2003 highlighting notes of honey, fig and apricot with an intense richness and perfectly balanced acidity.
Being more of a European girl myself, I thought that New York had a lot to offer for the sophisticated traveller with charming gems discovered and appreciated ~