New York City: An Affair to Remember
|Welcome to your own private ice capades: Central Park's Wollman Skating Rink (PhotoDisc)|
Celebrated in movie and song, New York City and romance go together like champagne and strawberries. The vibrant theaters of 42nd Street, the shopping on 5th Avenue, and the abundant restaurants and bars all create a monument of magica place where literally anything can happen. Visitors feel like they're starring in their own silver-screen love story as they meander down the quaint, café-lined streets of Greenwich Village, romp in the uptown luxury hotels, and stare starry-eyed at the unending display of lights and iconic skyscrapers.
When it comes to the daytime, New York has no shortage of options, especially in Central Park, one of the country's largest urban parks that somehow feels as if it's made just for two. Ice skate at the Wollman Skating Rink in winter, rent rowboats from The Boathouse in the warmer months, and snuggle up on a horse-drawn carriage ride any time of year. You could spend your entire vacation in and around this urban oasis, but be sure to break out to do a few of the more typical NYC things; aerial views atop the Empire State Building and sunsets over the Hudson River are New York experiences not to be missed.
There are bounteous displays of culture everywhere in this mecca of sophistication. Traditionalists embrace the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, 212-535-7710, www.metmuseum.org; free admission for museum members, $15 recommended admission for adults). But The Frick Collection (1 East 70th Street, between Madison and Fifth, 212.288.0700), a French-style mansion just a few blocks down, offers something a little more low-key. With a tranquil indoor garden, an impressive Western art collection, and an intimate setting, it's a little-known secret you won't want to let out of the bag.
Despite being the city that never sleeps, New York offers a wealth of lodging options. The St. Regis Hotel on 5th Avenue is one of the most elegant and luxurious addresses in town. Not only does a butler (one for each floor) cater to your every whim, the piano bar downstairs is a great place to grab a drink before setting out for a night on the town. Another option that boasts startling city, park, and river views is the newly opened Mandarin Oriental (80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street). The ultimate in stylish Zen-minimalism, this hotel makes it easy to slip away into a private universe away from the city's world-famous bustle. Enjoy a glass of champagne from its dramatic windowed lobby and indulge your senses with a massage for two in the high-tech spa.
Of course, New York nights are some of the most sizzling around. There's Broadway shows in Times Square, hip hotel bars like the poolside Plunge at the Hotel Gansevoort (18 Ninth Ave at 13th Street), and little out-of-the-way places that remind one of those old New York speakeasies. For just such an experience, try the upscale jazz club/restaurant, Blue Smoke (116 E 27 Street, 212.447.7733, www.bluesmoke.com). With finger-licking-good barbecue and a downstairs venue featuring some of the best names in the business, it's a one-stop way to delight you and your companion.
And speaking of foodwith nearly 12,000 restaurants in the city, New York tempts every palate and provides a universe of dining venues destined to impress. For a taste of the exotic in a cool downtown setting, Kittichai (60 Thompson Street, 212.219.2000, www.kittichairestaurant.com) will not disappoint. This restaurant is the reigning hot spot, with a reflecting pool and a Thai menu that has all the critics buzzing. But when it comes to old-world glamour on a grand scale, nothing beats the startling water and Manhattan skyline views from The River Café (1 Water Street, Brooklyn, 212.219.2000, www.rivercafe.com). Located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge and boasting a reputation as one of the most memorable culinary experiences in town, it's the perfect way to cap off that amorous trip to the Big Apple.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication