Hello! Breaking away from ginger jars, interior design and pretty things to talk about NYC today. I get lots of people from time to time who will email me or contact me via social media wanting suggestions for places in NYC to go and visit, restaurants to dine in, hotels to stay in, shops,etc……. I regretfully do not have time to write back to each and every person as my list cannot stop at just a few things:) So thought it was long overdue to do a post on New York, as seen through my eyes. I am by no means, an “expert” and for every restaurant I like and recommend there are probably 1000 new ones that I know nothing about. However based upon what I do know and where I have been, these are my tried and true travel suggestions! ________________________ NEW YORK CITY- HOTELS- Let me first say- there are hotels literally for every budget so you can easily find a hotel to fit into any price range you have in mind. If you are splurging I love the St. Regis or the Carlyle for a true classic New York experience. Both luxuriously appointed and in prime wonderful walking neighborhoods. They each have great bars/restaurants and the Carlyle in particular houses the iconic Bremelmans Bar known for their jazz, just love the atmosphere there:) RESTAURANTS- Deciding on a favorite NY restaurant is like trying to pick your favorite white paint:) The selection is vast and there are so many good ones. But here are some that I have been to, enjoyed enough to go back to and always recommend to visitors (in no particular order) Scarpetta Minetta Tavern Maiolino ABC Kitchen Le Cou Cou Blue Ribbon Sushi Grammercy Tavern The Grill Brunch at The Mark hotel Momfuku Noodle Bar Cipriani 11 Madison Park 21 Club Lunch at Bergdorf Goodman, BG *7th floor The Polo Bar SHOPPING- How does one go to NYC and not shop? You don’t! That is part of the NYC experience. There is of course famous 5th Avenue lined with various high end dept. stores and tony designer boutiques though truthfully this is not my favorite area to go shopping it is crowded and typically loaded with tourists busy taking pictures:) I like Madison Ave between 60th and around 80th for beautiful, unique more boutique type shops, many names you know and some you won’t. Be sure to stop in at the spectacular Ralph Lauren store, it is jaw droppingly beautiful (especially around the holidays). There are several wonderful small restaurants in that area alongside Madison Ave that offer outdoor seating during the warmer months and it even feels kind of “European”. A few faves are St. Ambroeus, Nello, Serafina. To me, however some of the most fun kind of shopping or at least observing is found in the unique “districts” that make NYC so special. I think its worth a visit just to walk into the floral district and see the hustle and bustle of flower brokers from all over the world negotiating while flowers are flying all over the place (literally and figuratively), it is pretty fascinating even if you can’t take any loot home:) Then there is the textile district lined with store after store of fabrics and trimmings (could stay there all day). And how about the diamond/jewelry district- something so uniquely NY that it is worth a trip to just go and see what it’s all about. And if you are a first timer, it is kind of fascinating to venture downtown to Little Italy and Chinatown (located right next to each other). Once you are inside each of these unique communities, you will literally feel like you have been transported to China and Italy respectively. I generally do not eat down there so cannot recommend restaurants, I admit I am a serious germaphob and those areas being as congested and crowded as they are generally are not my cup of tea. But they are so much fun to walk or drive through. For Chinatown, it is a sight unlike any other to see the fish and herb markets with all the signs in Chinese. It is a pretty unique experience. Last time, we had relatives in, we just drove through each so they could get a taste of what it is like. I really like several shopping areas downtown, they have over the years become “hip” places to see and be seen. Though it feels young, it is for people of all ages and there is a plethora of amazing restaurants in Soho, East Village and the Meatpacking district. Part of the fun is just walking and taking it all in. If downtown there is a beautiful “home emporium” of sorts called Roman and Williams Guild with a great little restaurant La Mercerie for lunch or dinner, definitely worth visiting. In the Union St. area there are many many more home related type shops along Broadway with one of the biggest being ABC Carpet and Home (if you go make sure to have lunch in ABC kitchen, it’s really good. Its a fun place to wander around. So if your travels find you there during lunchtime its a good stop. Nor far from there in the Flatiron district is Eataly which is a really fun 50,000 sq foot food emporium of sorts where you can shop for foods to your hearts content and have a great meal all under one roof. It’s a very cool place. BROADWAY- What is a trip to NY without seeing at least one Broadway show! However don’t ask my husband who does not enjoy it one bit:) I do however love the experience of seeing a great show and try to see at least a few shows a year, more if there are lots of good ones! If you are going to see only one or two you need to see a classic- along the lines of Phantom of the Opera (an all time fave), Lion King, Wicked, Hamilton, etc…..there are also new classics like Dear Evan Hanson and The Book of Mormon. There are new ones which I am seeing in the coming months- Pretty Woman and Summer (Donna Summer musical). There are plenty of restaurants locally to have lunch or dinner in pre show. A quick but good one is Bond 45 or you can have a true dining experience at Becco, Joe Allen or if you like Sushi, Sushi of Gari 46 (very good). It is magical, chaotic, exciting and sometimes overwhelming (if you are not fond of crowds) to be in the theater district, but its loads of fun and quintessentially “New York”! TOURIST-Y THINGS- As cliche as it might sound, if you have never been, going to things like the Statue of Liberty or atop the Empire State building are a NYC must. Nothing says NYC like those monuments and not going would almost be sacrilegious. I would add to those The new Freedom Tower and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a must see, and you simply must walk through Central Park, maybe stop and have a drink or cocktail at the Boathouse Cafe. To me, Tavern on the Green is really touristy and super busy, and there are just so many other amazing restaurants but a visit to Central Park is a must. In the fall it is a magical place and when I am there during my most favorite season, I swear I feel and sometimes pretend that I am walking on a movie set:) MUSEUMS- NYC is blessed to have several world class museums which I have been lucky to have visited many times, they never get old and how lucky are we to have these a stones throw away. It would be wise to check online what exhibits are being offered prior to your visit so you can plan accordingly. Really popular events or exhibits can draw large crowds so getting there early is advised for highly publicized events. My faves are of course The Metropolitan Museum of Art, truly an incredible place that I could easily spend the day in. Then if you lke modern art there is Moma and a smaller more intimate museum would be The Frick, which is a wonderful art museum and very much worth the visit. Lots of old world master paintings but plenty of textiles and porcelains too. If you have children (or even if you don’t) American Museum of Natural History is fantastic and will take you to another side of the city, the Upper West Side which is such a fun neighborhood, a walk down Columbus Ave lined with shops and restaurants is a good idea either before or after. I did not know that it’s one of the largest museums in the world! There is also a more specialized museum, the Neue Gallery where we recently attended a fundraiser, a beautiful building that is devoted exclusively to Austrian and German fine arts. WHEN TO GO- NYC Is easily a four season destination. There is something magical about every season though for me summer is least desirable. It is hot and clammy and just doesn’t compare to visiting in the fall or winter when it really shines. After Thanksgiving you still have fairly mild weather but the added bonus of seeing the city turn into a holiday wonderland with all the incredible holiday decorations on full display. If I were visiting, I would choose early fall if you want to include the Hamptons in your travels or late fall as the optimal time to visit because of the holiday festivities that really make this city come to life in a way few cities can. TOURS- There are boatloads of all kinds of tours, big group tours, bus and private coach tours, the open bus that roams around the city. And funny enough, as touristy as that open bus can be, it is a great way to get a birds eyes view of the entire city. There are many private tours that a hotel concierge will be able to connect you to as well. And there are plenty of fun, unique tours specific to special interests. As an example a cousin came to NY with her 14 year old son and his friend, they love pizza so they went on this really neat 1/2 day pizza tour where they taste tested various well know pizzerias throughout the city. He said it was one of the major highlights of his trip:) I think this was done through Scott’s Pizza tours FYI. There are art tours, architectural tours, subway graffiti tours (I kid you. not), Harlem food tours, Wall Street tours and so much more. You can google these or again your hotel concierge can help with these and make personal recommendations of tried and true reliable tour operators. It can personalize a trip to NYC specific to what you are interested in, always recommended to book these in advance. OUTSIDE OF NYC EXCURSIONS- Even just writing this made me realize how much we have around us. My favorite excursion and most recommended would be taking a 2+ hour trip to visit the iconic Hamptons. I would strongly suggest you rent a car and have fun exploring. East Hampton and Southampton are my faves in terms of towns to visit for the day. Sag Harbor is pretty incredible too. A few good restaurants in East Hampton would be the classic The Palm, Nick and Tonis 1770 house for fine dining and in Southampton for lunch or early dinner St. Ambroeous or Tutto II Giorno . In East Hampton if you want the best fish or lobster taco, go to Bostwicks for a casual quick bite. And “Lunch” or Lobster Roll in Amagansett for the best lobster roll in NY and possibly the best Manhattan clam chowder I have ever had. It is well worth the extra minutes to drive a bit further out east. In East Hampton be sure to drive along the famous Further Lane and in Southampton, Gin Lane to see homes that beach house dreams are made of with their pristine privet hedges and exploding hydrangea bushes:) You will no doubt ooh and ahh over the incredible homes and landscape with the sea as a backdrop, it is a truly beautiful sight and even a little bit, in the most wonderful way, intoxicating:) There are no “hotels” in the traditional sense but plenty of wonderful bed and breakfasts, a few would be- The Maidstone Arms and The 1770 House in East Hampton, the charming American Hotel in Sag Harbor and for a larger resort type hotel in Montauk, there is Gurneys Inn and Montauk Yacht Club. HUDSON VALLEY- There is also the beautiful Hudson Valley which has a history uniquely it’s own. I love Blue Hill At Stone Barns for a wonderful unique dining experience (farm to table and akin to what French Laundry is to Californians). It is a working farm that has a fabulous restaurant and offers private events as well. Tehy have an extensive tasting dinner menu and it is a really fantastic dining experience in a beautiful setting. Known for its farms, orchards and wineries. Also the home of the famous Hudson River Art School, this is a unique and historically rich region. _______________________________ Well this sure was fun putting this together. There is so much more, but I feel like this is plenty and covers most of the essentials:) Part of the magic of NYC is that you never really fully discover it all, there are always new things happening and always something to see and do 24/7. I am continuously fascinated by all the city has to offer and feel so lucky to be so close. This is most certainly not the end all/be all list but these are all tried and true favorites for a visit to NYC through my eyes. I am always on the prowl for great new shows, restaurants, shopping destinations so by all means if you have some to share please do! If you have been, do you have a favorite NYC memory? Some of my best memories involve being a new mom and our little family just walking on a cool fall evening block after block, stopping for dinner, window shopping…such good times! Hope you enjoyed this and hopefully this post might help someone out with a future trip to the big apple. Thanks for stopping in, wishing you a wonderful day as we gear up for the big holiday weekend.