A weekend getaway in Midtown Manhattan is an excellent way to indulge in the arts, culture and fine food of New York City. A location ideal for visiting attractions such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Morgan Library, Carnegie Hall, Broadway theaters and Fifth Avenue stores, Midtown has no shortage of fine hotels from which to choose. The area also is a worthy home base from which to explore other neighborhoods. It simply comes down to a matter of taste and interest.
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Head to Midtown after touching down in the Big Apple to take advantage of a long weekend near Broadway. Check into your Manhattan address of choice — with the opening of the new Baccarat Hotel, the refurbishment of the public spaces at The Lowell and the opening of The Whitby, there is no absence of venerable accommodations in Midtown. Treat yourself to a fabulous early dinner at an Andrew Harper-favorite restaurant, and you'll certainly be well-rested before setting foot to the New York pavement tomorrow.
Set in the first 12 floors of a 50-story tower, this sophisticated hotel is conveniently located opposite the Museum of Modern Art.
Close to many notable museums, galleries and shops, this refined hotel with a serene residential atmosphere is set along a tree-lined street between Madison and Park avenues.
Set near Rockefeller Center and Central Park, this contemporary boutique property displays Kit Kemp’s imaginative and idiosyncratic style.
21 — This legendary establishment is the embodiment of a congenial club. The menu here and in the upstairs dining room features favorites such as the 21 Caesar salad, chicken hash, Dover sole grilled or sautéed, and, from the grill, a 14-ounce 28-day-aged prime New York sirloin. 21 West 52nd Street. Tel. (212) 582-7200.
La Grenouille — The elegant and romantic dining room has silk-sheathed walls, perfect lighting and a crowd of people who are quietly notable. The cooking is superb, and while the menu abounds with French classics, there is room for innovation in the seasonal daily specials. 3 East 52nd Street. Tel. (212) 752-1495.
The Grill — Major Food Group took over the Four Seasons space and has bettered the original. The iconic restaurant’s Grill Room has been reborn as The Grill. The real transformation here is on chef Rich Torrisi’s menu, a just-this-side-of-ironic homage to midcentury American fine dining. Showy tableside service includes a prime rib cart and chefs wearing sky-high toques behind a lavish buffet table. The Seagram Building, 99 East 52nd Streeet. Tel. (212) 375-9001.
Marea — This elegant space has a bar flanked by a wall of backlit onyx, and a main dining room with rosewood accents and mounted seashells. Chef Michael White is a master of seafood presentations. 240 Central Park South. Tel. (212) 582-5100.
Before going to the Museum of Modern Art, have breakfast at Tiffany. The renowned jeweler recently opened its Blue Box Cafe, and diners can enjoy their morning meal, along with lunch or tea service, in a room covered in iconic Tiffany blue. Afterward, head to the museum, where intriguing temporary exhibits and a timeless permanent collection will easily fill the hours. If you'd like to have lunch, eat at The Modern, the museum's kinetic, French-inspired dining room.
Head back to Fifth Avenue to stroll and shop after your midday meal. The offerings of the famed shopping street, such as Saks Fifth Avenue (611 Fifth Avenue), Henri Bendel (712 Fifth Avenue) and many flagship stores, are at once diverting and beautiful. If you're loaded with parcels from the inestimable MoMA bookshop and your stroll along Fifth, go back to your hotel to prepare for a pre-theater dinner.
Keep in mind that an evening show also lends itself to the indulgence of a stiff nightcap. Try one of Andrew Harper's favorite post-show cocktail lounges:
Bar Centrale — Hidden in an unmarked brownstone in the heart of the Theater District, this bar and restaurant is popular with people in the business. Bartenders mix classic cocktails such as sidecars and aviations with skill, and the small menu has an appealing list of simple appetizers to share. Reserve a table a week in advance. 324 West 46th Street. Tel. (212) 581-3130.
The Rum House — You might recognize this bar in the Hotel Edison as the place where Riggan confronted a theater critic in the film “Birdman.” Its clubby dark-wood interior feels wonderfully warm and cozy. A jazz pianist sometimes provides entertainment. 228 West 47th Street. Tel. (646) 490-6924.
A relaxing morning at one of Midtown's tranquil library retreats will pair perfectly with either an excursion downtown or time in and around Central Park. A late dinner will ensure that you don't miss a moment of the daylight thrills.
Theater-lovers: Keep in mind that an additional show – either matinee or evening performance – can easily be accommodated on your final full day.
If ambling downtown, make sure to stop by the new Whitney Museum (99 Gansevoort Street), housed on the West Side in a light-filled, Renzo Piano-designed building. We recommend trying the Whitney's Untitled eatery on the first floor, but restaurants and shopping options abound in this see-and-be-seen area of town. Sticking to the West Side, both the High Line and Chelsea Market are one-of-a-kind establishments, and have become regular Manhattan institutions for residents and visitors alike. For shopping, try Fifth Avenue south of Union Square, where you'll find the Marimekko flagship store, along with Madewell, Athleta and others.
The spoils of Central Park evolve seasonally. For instance, spring provides the perfect time for stopping by both boathouses: Kerbs Boathouse and The Loeb Boathouse; winter draws in old and young alike for ice skating at Wollman Rink. The park conveniently parallels some of New York's best museums. The Neue Galerie, with its delightful Viennese-themed Café Sabarsky, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art rest comfortably along the park's southeast end, while the American Museum of Natural History flanks the west side.
Depending on your departure time, Manhattan — and the Midtown area, in particular — lends itself to a final stroll. New York is a city best seen on foot and simply traversing a few blocks before hopping into a yellow cab or black car is an excellent farewell to this bustling city. Stop at Little Collins (667 Lexington Avenue) for a well-made espresso drink to go, and wander down Park Avenue before cutting across 50th Street to St. Patrick's Cathedral, which underwent a $117 million restoration that ended in 2015, and on to Rockefeller Center, where you can visit the Top of the Rock, go ice skating or tour Radio City Music Hall.
A sumptuous brunch, further shopping or an unrushed visit to another fabulous museum are just a few additional ways to occupy any time before you turn home.
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