I’d dreamt of New York since the day my sister forced me to watch Sex And The City. Yes forced! She had been going on about Gossip Girl and SATC for so many years I thought I would give it a go. I rarely watch TV so it’s not as crazy as it sounds. A decade later and I’ve watched every episode about ten times through. I firstly fell in love with the clothes – God bless Pat Field and Eric Daman – and then I fell in love with New York City.
So in January I made five New Year resolutions…
So with a suitcase pretty much full of stilettos I headed off to NYC with my favourite person. Autumn is the perfect time of year to head to the big apple the weather is just right and Central Park is so pretty with the autumnal leaves in an array of oranges.
We stayed at Hotel Elysee by The Library Collection – a great location right next to Central Park and the 5th Avenue shops. Even if it’s just to window shop The Plaza, Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany’s are definitely worth a browse. I took mental note of the Tiffany rings… just in case Prince Charming ever decides to turn up.
Hotel Elysee was built in the 1920’s and has since been home to many movie stars, artists and writers. It’s a beautiful, tranquil, oasis in the midst of the busy city – perfect to put up your feet up in between shopping! Most of all the adjoining Monkey Bar is the place where Carrie and Big meet the Jazz man! I realised part way through my trip that this could potentially turn into a SATC and Gossip Girl city tour.
I always judge a hotel on their breakfast – if the foods on point I’m happy. With a full continental breakfast included, daily passes to the nearby New York Sports Club and evening complimentary Prosecco me and my sister were both in a very happy place.
If you’re anything like me you will love this itinerary. If you’re a sports loving, history enthusiast then I’m warning you now this is not for you!
Yes Central Park is beautiful and a late afternoon walk would be very romantic, but if you’re single like me I had two cupcakes in one hand and my sister in the other so equally as good if not slightly better (multicoloured sprinkles). Skip the zoo area as it’s very busy and get lost in the middle where you will find the boathouse and row a boat if that’s your kind of thing, perfect if the weather is warm and still which it was in October. I skipped the boat as an absolute clutz I had visions of me going overboard, camera and heels to follow. So instead we grabbed tea and lunch at The Loeb Boathouse, a classy restaurant overlooking the lake. There are a few really nice places to eat in the park itself – Tavern On The Green, Le Pain Quotidien.
After Central Park head south and you will fall upon The Plaza – similar to Harrods food hall in the basement and then The Palm Court and The Champagne Bar on the ground floor if you want something a bit more high-end. I obviously opted for the mini doughnuts and a good old cup of tea in The Todd English Food Hall and continued the theme of a cupcake a day throughout the trip!
The Plaza is right next to Tiffany’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales and all the other big juicy department store goodness. So if you’re hitting up NYC for a big shop then this is the area for you!
Doughnuttery -The Todd English Food Hall, The Plaza
Magnolia Bakery – Bleecker Street, by Carrie’s flat!
Sprinkles Cupcakes – specifically the chocolate and vanilla flavour.
Eat by Chloe – vegan cupcakes!
Head West to The High Line, it’s an old elevated rail line which has been converted into a park. If you walk south it will lead you to my favourite area of New York City – West Village. I can totally understand why Carrie Bradshaw lives in Greenwich Village!
First stop obviously head to 66 Perry Street and take a selfie outside Carrie’s flat. Grab a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery moments away from the famous steps where Big used to pull up in his town car. Then head down Bleecker Street, aka the most perfect shopping street in the whole of New York. It’s a lot quieter than the rest of New York City but has the best boutiques of your favourite shops, from Burberry to Mac. You can even take a slight detour and check out the ‘Friends’ apartment on Bedford Street.
My ultimate favourite is The Butcher’s Daughter (Hudson Street) a completely vegetarian Instagrammable hotspot. It’s not just the aesthetics – you have to order the quesadilla it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten! Eat by Chloe is also a good spot for vegan healthy options. For more of an evening meal Olio e Piú on Greenwich Avenue is the most incredible homely Italian!
Head straight to the Staten Island Ferry which you will find at the lowest part of Manhattan. There are many ferries that take you to see the Statue of Liberty where you can get off on the island. However if all you want is a selfie with the girl like me then head on the Staten Island Ferry – it’s free. You can get a great view of the city from the water and it sails right past the Statue of Liberty.
Head up the city to Ground Zero, it’s by no means a tourist attraction but it’s honestly the most beautiful tribute to those that lost there lives there. It’s quite overwhelming to imagine what happened and definitely worth paying respects to if you’re in the area.
You can probably walk the width of Manhattan easily in 45 minutes or grab the subway so it’s very easy to get around. Brooklyn Bridge situated on the East side is beautiful at sunset. Grab a Starbucks and head across to catch the sunset at Brooklyn Heights Promenade where you can watch the sun go down over the bridge and NYC.
Many people pay around $40 to head up to the top of The Rockefeller Center to get that picturesque shot of the whole of New York City. A great tip and also the perfect date spot is Bar 65 at The Rainbow Room – it’s just below the top floor and it’s free. Just grab a cocktail and watch the views from the warmth of the restaurant/bar or outside on the balcony. There also an ice rink there – I was very tempted but as accident prone as I am I thought it was best to skip it.
Bread & Tulips is located on Park Avenue and reminds me of a speakeasy which I know are so present all over NYC. From the street you would never imagine the beautiful decor as you descend the steps into the restaurant. The staff are just wonderful and if you like Italian the food it’s divine. It has a very rich rustic atmosphere, lit softly by candle light. The food mirrors the vibe making it my absolute favourite for pizza and a glass of red wine.
230 FIFTH Rooftop bar is a really laid back but great place to chill with friends, eat and drink whilst overlooking the Empire State Building. It’s both casual and classy at the same time, anything goes which what I love about the place. It has outside heaters and an indoor enclosure to create a perfect scenario in all temperatures.
Go in, get your picture, get out!