Just Back From: New York City

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One of our editors just returned from a five-day trip to New York City. While she lived in the area for more than a decade, she decided to fully embrace the role of tourist on this visit and see some of the more popular attractions that have popped up since she was last there. Museums, parks, restaurants, Broadway and boutiques were all on her agenda. We talk to her about her short but very full vacation.

Overall impressions: New York City is open for business, and fall is a great time to visit. The crowds are still pretty thin, and the weather is phenomenal. Restaurants and tourist sites require proof of vaccination, which gave me a distinct feeling of safety and security.

Favorite moments: Having drinks in the retro sunken bar at the TWA Hotel and in Connie, the decommissioned 1958 Lockheed Constellation airplane turned cocktail lounge (the ashtrays in the original TWA seats really take you back!). It was also exciting sitting on the observation deck and watching the planes taxi and take off. Next time I’ll bring my bathing suit so I can see it all in from the rooftop pool.


You can’t stop thinking about: Our Blade helicopter ride from the West Side of Manhattan to JFK International Airport. It took all of five minutes, and the views were astounding. (Look for a review in the November Hideaway Report.)

Favorite meal: A foodie friend recommended we eat dinner at GupShup (which means “chitchat”) for Bombay-inspired Indian cuisine near Union Square. The acclaimed chef, Gurpreet Singh, is direct from New Delhi, and his contemporary take on traditional dishes did not disappoint.

Favorite museum: The New York Public Library holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I conducted research as a young magazine intern in the city. What I never realized is that this iconic institution holds 56 million items, spanning 4,000 years, in its collection. We stumbled upon the exhibition Treasures and saw a trove of historic artifacts up close. Highlights included Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence; the largest book in the library, James Audubon’s “Birds of America”; the original stuffed animals that served as inspiration for the Winnie-the-Pooh series; and the 1924 prospectus for The New Yorker, written by Harold Ross (which declares that the magazine will be “sophisticated,” “assume a reasonable degree of enlightenment on the part of its readers” and — delightfully — “will hate bunk”).

Where to get a drink: Bryant Park is a relaxing, leafy spot to stop for a late-afternoon drink at the Fever Tree Porch and people-watch. And at JFK, I highly recommend waiting for your flight with a cocktail in hand at the 1850 speakeasy tucked behind a door in the new Centurion Lounge in Terminal 4.


Neighborhood to explore: Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan. Located between 10th and 12th avenues and 30th and 34th streets, this multi-building complex hosts over 100 shops and restaurants; 14 acres of public parks and plazas; a cutting-edge cultural center called the Shed; an outdoor deck on the 100th floor called the Edge; and the Vessel, a spiral staircase with 154 flights (it was closed at the time of our visit, but this architectural wonder is still an amazing sight from below). I highly recommend getting a glass of Champagne at the Edge bar and looking out over the immense city.

Outdoor excursion: A bike tour of Central Park. Over two hours, we rode at a leisurely pace and stopped several times to take photos and learn about the park’s history from our guide.

Surprising fact: The lamp posts in Central Park indicate the corresponding cross streets — this would have helped me immensely had I known this when I lived in New York because its easy to get disoriented and a bit lost on the park’s winding roads.

Souvenir: TWA Hotel swizzle sticks, each representing a different destination to which the airline originally flew.

Insider’s tip: In case you find yourself using the New York City Subway — invariably the fastest means of transportation — keep in mind that it now accepts contactless payments through some smartphones and credit cards. Just tap and go. No more MetroCard needed.

Anything else? Broadway is back! And while we didn’t see a Broadway show this time, we did get advance tickets to see the “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in the Ed Sullivan Theater. It was loads of fun seeing the comedian and the talented Jon Batiste and his band, Stay Human.

By Andrew Harper Editor Andrew Harper editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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