Jo Kennedy of Kennedy & Turner Travel Associates recently returned from New York City. Here she shares her tips to making the most of Manhattan:
I spent 5 nights and 4 days in the city that never sleeps and true to form I rarely slept. Looking back I wish I could have spent 50 nights and 40 days in New York but instead I was left to try and make the most of my short time there and not miss a minute of the magic it has to offer. Here are some of my tips to make for the perfect holiday in New York.
Where to stay: Greenwich Hotel
Located in the downtown Manhattan neighbourhood of TriBeCa, I absolutely adored my stay at Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel. An incredibly stylish 88 room luxury hotel, some of the onsite features I loved included the Shibui Spa, pool and Locanda Verde restaurant (where I had breakfast every day).
During our stay we met a few people there who said they often pop in just to see if they can get a glimpse of a celebrity. It was rumoured Julie Roberts was staying on the floor above us, but alas, I never laid eyes on the pretty woman.
Another standout of the hotel was the complimentary chauffer car service that we used each day to reach the first spot on the day’s sightseeing itinerary. It meant that once we’d done our fair share of sightseeing we could come home and drop our day’s purchases, rest our legs for about 10 minutes, regroup and then head off to dinner.
Where to eat: anywhere in Greenwich Village
The restaurants nearby the hotel were amazing. One of my favourites was Buddakan on 9th Avenue which had a fantastic buzz and ambience to it. Balthazar in Lower Manhattan is another standout but it can be tricky to get a table so try and make a booking before you leave Australia. A good time to go is around 9:30 to 10pm. Yes it is the city that never sleeps so most restaurants are pumping at 10pm.
How to get around: the Subway
If you can master the Metro, navigating Manhattan is a breeze, so take the time to understand and work out how to get uptown and downtown. A helpful tip is to download the free app at one of the city’s free wifi spots like Apple Stores and Starbucks. Once you have the app you won’t need to hold on to a large fold-up map that screams ‘tourist.’
What to do: walk the Highline
What a wonderful thing to do! The Highline is the old railway track that was historically used to transfer products from the Hudson to the centre of old New York. With a location above the ground, the Highline not only offers a wonderful view but also a totally different perspective of New York. When the noise and bustle of Manhattan’s streets gets too much, you can simply leave it all behind by heading to the Highline. Relax, exercise, eat, sit, read, put your tired feet in the refreshing water feature, watch the busy street below from the amphitheatre seating area or just simply enjoy the incredible lush greenery.
What to hear: Jazz
A jazz club seemed like the perfect place to be in New York City at 1am - so off we went. When we arrived at the club they asked if we wanted to put our name down and join in. Thankfully, we decided against it because once I heard the talented performers inside, I quickly realised that this was a serious place, with some serious talent.
Where to explore: Brooklyn
A trip to Brooklyn really is a must do and the best way to get there is by catching the train. For my day in Brooklyn I spent a lot of it shopping and exploring the markets (flea markets take place once a month in Fort Greene and Williamsburg). While there are plenty of fantastic restaurants in Brooklyn, I couldn’t resist a traditional ‘slice’ from the world famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, wonderfully located under the Brooklyn Bridge. You can’t go past a piece of signature Margherita pizza.
What to wear: comfortable shoes
Comfortable shoes are practically mandatory when holidaying in New York. With so much to see and do, you don’t want to waste time in cabs. I spent easily around 6 to 8 hours a day walking. Streets are mapped in an easy , grid-like fashion so you don’t need to worry about getting lost. One of the best walks I did was in and around the 911 Ground Zero area. The people of Manhattan should be proud of what they have done to remember the many people whose lives were cut short. This is a very moving place to visit.
To arrange your own special New York holiday, phone Jo Kennedy on (07) 3278 6664.