“Start spreading the news”, ole’ blue eyes crooned…
York, New York is a city so great it says its name
twice. Nicknamed “The Big Apple” in 1971, the
term was originally used in the 1920s and 1930s by jazz musicians as
a way of saying, “There are many apples on the success tree, but
when you pick New York City, you pick the Big
Apple.” It came to mean “the big
time”. It would take a lifetime to devour the entire
Big Apple. Ask any New Yorker. He’s still
|NEW YORK, NEW YORK: A CITY SO GREAT IT SAYS ITS NAME TWICE!|
the Big Apple, there are a number of neighborhoods that you must take a
bite out of. The easiest, and quickest, way to do that
is by taking a GrayLine Hop-on Hop-off bus tour. I am a
fan of GrayLine Hop-on Hop-offs around the world, and let me offer
you a tip. Sit on the right side of the bus for your first loop around the
city. For a second time around, switch to the left side to see what you
missed on the other side of the street. You will begin your
tour by Times Square.
CINCINNATIAN ANDREW LAZAROW ON NASDAQ SIGN AT TIMES SQUARE
When you board the bus, I recommend you have the New York Pass and/or the
New York City Pass books in hand. Both will give you
access to attractions at a price that is far less than paying the regular
admission fees. The Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA)…a must for devotees of
modern art…is included in both books.
SCULPTURE GARDEN AT MoMA
following are a few places at which you might want to hop-on and
hop-off the GrayLine bus.
EAST SIDE: At the turn-of-the-century, the Lower East Side was
no more than a slum that housed impoverished Jews from the ghettos
of Eastern Europe. Today, it is a popular
gentrified neighborhood for people who flock there hoping to buy
discounted items and devour garlic-perfumed kosher food that is high
in cholesterol and relatively low in price.
UPPER EAST SIDE: Once known as the Silk Stocking District,
the Upper East Side is the area of Manhattan that lies between the
East River and Central Park. Its real estate is among the highest
priced in the world. And so are the prices in the shops
CHINATOWN: Chinatown is the site of a rich history that not only tells the
story of the Chinese-American experience, but also that of early
Irish, Jewish and Italian immigrants. Today, The streets of Chinatown
provide a fascinating cultural experience.
|CHINATOWN IS A FASCINATING CULTURAL EXPERIENCE|
LITTLE ITALY: Walking beside narrow, cobblestoned streets …strolling
beneath the fire escapes of turn-of-the-century tenements… one is
transported back in time to the 19th and 20th century
immigration of Italians to New York’s lower East Side. Little
Italy is a fun food neighborhood of colorful streets
and interesting people.
GREENWICH VILLAGE and SOHO are kissing cousins related by the love of
the arts. The Village, with its gracious old houses,
friendly restaurants and funky shops, provides an historic setting
for the arts. In SoHo, handsome cast iron buildings have been
transformed into a cosmopolitan collection of smart
galleries, engaging restaurants and boutiques.
HARLEM is not only a famous neighborhood, but it is a state of
mind. The best way to see this community is on a
well-organized tour. My GrayLine bus tour captured its
history and milestones of jazz, hip-hop, gospel, and the art of
HISTORIC APOLLO THEATER IN HARLEM
trip to New York would be complete without strolling the Plaza at Rockefeller
Center. The recumbent golden Prometheus, who looks down on ice skaters in
the winter and cafe-goers in the summer, now has Jeff Koons’ colossal 37-foot
“Split Rocker” looking down on him. Similar to Koons’ “Puppy” at the
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the “Split Rocker” is covered in more
than 50,000 flowers.
“SPLIT ROCKER” LOOKS DOWN ON GILDED PROMETHEUS
it comes to bedding down in Manhattan, there are two main categories
of hotels: basic or boutique, and plain or posh. I
recently experienced one from each category and both were great in
their own way.
BOUTIQUE: THE QUIN, New York City’s newest luxury lifestyle, boutique
hotel, provides the sophisticated traveler a refined urban
sanctuary. Situated on 57th Street, a short block away
from Carnegie Hall, this elegant 17-story pre-War building has a
history that is fully intertwined with an entire era of world-class
music. The former Buckingham Hotel, once home to icons
like Paderewski and Tebaldi, has been rechristened the Quin and
re-imagined as a new luxury hotel where art, design and nature blend
seamlessly to create a sanctuary from the city. The Quin delivers
nothing less than the essence of New York in an atmosphere of serene
elegance. The Quin-tessential boutique hotel!
SERENE SLUMBER AND UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE AT THE QUIN
THE NEW YORK PALACE, the palatial hotel facing the world-renowned St.
Patrick’s Cathedral, is much more than just another luxury hotel.
It is a bit of New York history. The hotel’s public
spaces are housed in the reconstructed Villard Houses, a cluster of
brownstone townhouses constructed in 1882. The hotel’s
Courtyard was the original Madison Avenue carriage entrance of the
Villard Houses. Beyond the Courtyard, and the graceful
arches of the cloister facade, is the entrance to the hotel’s 2-story
marble lobby. This regal hotel is surrounded by Madison Avenue’s
fashionable boutiques, Fifth Avenue’s prestigious shops, and Park
Avenue’s architectural gems.
|PALATIAL ELEGANCE AT THE NEW YORK PALACE|
in New York offers food from almost every country in the world and in almost
every price range in the world. From the bright red and yellow food carts
of the Halal Guys offering chicken and rice dishes, to the Wayfarer Seafood
Grill in the Quin Hotel where I devoured a divine Big Eye Tuna with avocado and
soy lime dressing along with other goodies.
the summit of my dining spectrum was an exquisite dinner at THE
CARLYLE RESTAURANT. Nestled within the Carlyle hotel, a
pinnacle of luxury on New York’s Upper East
Side, the gracious setting transported me to an intimate
English manor House. My divine dinner transported me to heaven.
ELEGANT CARLYLE RESTAURANT
the Carlyle must be preceded, or followed, with a drink at the
hotel’s BEMELMANS BAR. The bar is a New York classic
named in honor of Ludwig Bemelmans, a successful artist and the
creator of the classic Madeline children’s books. In exchange for a year and a half of
accommodations at The Carlyle for himself and his family, Bemelmans transformed
the hotel’s bar with whimsical scenes of Central Park that included
picnicking rabbits and ice skating elephants.
|THE WHIMSICAL BEMELMANS BAR IN THE CARLYLE HOTEL|
of course, one must not dine in such style without a great
hairdo. I’ll let you in on a little secret if you promise to
keep it under your hat. For a price far less than that in
any salon in Midtown Manhattan, you can get a new hairdo at
DRYBAR. Just wash, blow, and go!
New York, New York…why do I love thee? Simply because you are
the single most interesting, most vital, and most exciting city in
JANET STEINBERG is an International Travel Consultant, Travel Writer, and
the winner of 40 National Travel Writer Awards.