Recently, I was very privileged to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding at The Plaza. The glittering evening also provided a welcome trip to New York City – or The City, as it is affectionately called by New Yorkers – one of my favorite and fondest places in the world.
I could not praise The City enough. It really is a magical place, and I am always enamored with the streets – over the years of broken glass and body glitter, they have a permanent sparkle to them. Especially in the Autumn and Winter, when New York City is truly at its most beautiful, you cannot help but be enchanted by The City’s spell.
The best place to begin is at brunch – and the best place for brunch is Norma’s. I would recommend the Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata, at a steep $1000 price tag, or the more realistic Eggs Benedict, which are served on lemon pancakes instead of English muffins. The atmosphere is very posh, upscale, NYC with plenty of hustle-and-bustle for that New York Minute feel.
After that, you will need a good walk – trust me – so take a troll down 6th Ave to 46 Street. You’ll pass Radio City Music Hall, Christie’s and the back side of Rockefeller Center. Cross over to 5th and the real fun begins – all the shops you could ever imagine, plus Rockefeller Center and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (to add a bit of culture to your trip, naturally).
A quick peek at the Cathedral will be enough to overwhelm you with beauty. I always enjoy a quiet walk through the sacred space, which is a welcome escape from the madness of Rockefeller Center. Whether you are deeply spiritual or just full of spirit, you’ll love the architecture, serenity, and peace from this gorgeous New York City landmark.
For shopping, I recommend Saks and Bergdorf Goodman, along with browsing at the iconic flagships such as Harry Winston, Versace, and Cartier. The department stores are where you can get some real shopping done, while the boutiques are mostly for show. The best service in the world comes from Saks and Bergdorfs. Their shoe floors (Saks’ shoe floor has its own zip code!) are world wonders to behond. Along with the department stores and boutiques, there are some fabulous upscale shops – think Chanel and Versace – that are worth a browse. Don’t forget to check out the Roberto Cavalli shop – their crystal elephant door knobs are a real treat.
A few hours of shopping will make you famished, so as you make your way uptown pop into The Plaza for a bite. The Todd English Food Hall will quench any thirst or craving you might have – from macarons to dumplings to pizza – in a very posh setting. I recently dined here and enjoyed one too many Pimm’s cups (be wary of those yummy cocktails!). In the evening, there is no shortage of things to do, with plenty of lounges and bars to fill your evening. I recommend getting to bed early (1 a.m. by NYC standards) to prepare for the next day.
As always, the day starts with brunch – this time at Sarabeth’s at Central Park South. A morning cocktail is a must-do, and everything on the menu is scrumdiddlyumptious. Enjoy a leisurely meal with an appetizer, entree, and dessert – you won’t be sorry. Sarabeth’s is another iconic brunch spot, so you’ll feel very New Yorker by the end of it.
Again, you’ll need a walk – trust me – and there is no better place than Central Park. Arm yourself with an excellent map and a coffee to-go. You’ll be walking a little over a mile, but it will feel like a leisurely stroll. Central Park has many wonders to behold, from statues, to street performers, to fashion vixens and victims. Take East Drive and you’ll pass the Central Park Zoo, the Balto Statue, Alice in Wonderland, and The Boathouse. Take the 79th Street Traverse to your next destination…
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is my favorite art museum in the country. The building itself is a piece of art, which is why it features in many of our favorite shows and movies. You can get lost and spend hours wandering the halls of great portraits, paintings, sculptures, and antiques. Entry is technically free (although a donation is suggested), and the little M pin they give you is an iconic keepsake. Take your time and really enjoy the masterpieces you’re viewing – this, to me, is a great privilege many will never experience.
Following your cultural indulgence, stroll down Madison Avenue to the uber-posh Carlyle Hotel. Pippa Middleton, along with plenty of other celebrities, choose The Carlyle for its quiet elegance. I choose it for afternoon tea, the best I have had in NYC. The setting is quiet and luxurious, and I always expect Zelda Fitzgerald to turn the corner at any moment. Order the Imperial Tea and the Lapsong Souchong. Trust me.
The rest of the evening is yours to explore, shop, and indulge. There is so much more to do in New York, so look forward to a warm-weather 48 Hours installment in the spring!