Off Duty: New York
New York is so full of thrills and new experiences that it would be a criminal waste of a transatlantic business trip not to take a bite out of this unique city. For fashion lovers, there's the new Gucci store (
www.gucci.com) on Fifth Avenue.
In true Big Apple style, this towering glass edifice claims to be 'the biggest Gucci store in the world' and, to celebrate its opening, a host of special New York-branded apparel is on offer for those who want to take home something a little swankier than a Yankees cap. When it comes to department stores, it's hard to beat Bloomingdales ( www.bloomingdales.com): everything from children's clothes to jewellery to shoes and homeware is here, and most of it for much cheaper than you would find in the UK.
Broadway shows have been drawing tourists to New York for decades but that changed at the end of 2007 when a strike by stagehands virtually closed the famous old thoroughfare down. Thankfully, an agreement was reached and Broadway is back in full flow again. Young Frankenstein ( www.youngfrankensteinthemusical.com/), Mel Brooks’ latest effort, is the pick of the productions currently playing. For tickets to all shows, go to either of the TKTS booths, located in front of the New York Marriot Marquis Hotel and at the South Street Seaport ( www.tdf.org).
The jewel in the crown of the city’s museums is the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( www.metmuseum.org). The sheer range of art, sculpture, glasswork, historical items and decorative art on show will take your breath away, and during 2008 there’s an extra special reason to visit: ‘Jeff Koons On The Roof’. Sculptures by the American artist will be on show in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, which offers a spectacular view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.
Manhattan today is incredibly rich and exclusive, but that hasn’t always been the case. The Lower East Side, for example, was once the hub of the city’s large Jewish working class community and that history – as well as the history of New York’s many other immigrant communities - is remembered at the Tenement Museum ( www.tenement.org). The museum operates on a guided-tour only basis and booking ahead is advised
For a comprehensive look at the city, get on board a Circle Line Cruise ( www.circleline42.com) at Pier 83 on the Hudson River. A three-hour tour circumnavigates Manhattan and you’ll get a great view of all of New York’s most famous sites - and some of its less famous ones too.
Eating in New York is a 24-hour business: this is the city, after all, that decided breakfast and lunch just weren’t cutting it and invented brunch instead. To get a real taste of that open-all-hours flavour, head to the 2nd Avenue Deli ( www.2ndavedeli.com/), which, rather confusingly, is not situated on 2nd Avenue. Why? The original venue closed in 2006 following a dispute over rent. Plenty of grown men wept salty tears over that but their pain became joy at the end of last year when this NY institution re-opened in a new venue. Try the house-cured corned beef.
Fashion dictates much of what gets eaten in New York’s more exclusive venues but some places are oblivious to that. One such venue is Brooklyn’s Peter Luger Steak House (www.peterluger.com), whose porterhouse steak is a city institution. Equally impressive if less storied is L’Ecole, the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute in New York ( www.frenchculinary.com/lecole).
American beer has a terrible reputation that it no longer merits. Head for the Blind Tiger in Greenwich Village (212-462-4682), which offers a wide variety of microbrewery beers, including some from local legends the Brooklyn Brewery. For those who fancy something a soupcon more refined, try the Sajitos (sake mojitos) at the Orchid Lounge (212-254-4090), a worryingly chic Asian-themed bar in the Lower East Side.
After that you’ll need somewhere to lay your head and the Philippe Starck-designed Hudson Hotel ( www.hudsonhotel.com) fits the bill perfectly with its small but stylish and well-stocked rooms. A more boutique option is the wildly glamorous Mercer ( www.mercerhotel.com), the sister hotel to Los Angeles’ legendary Chateau Marmont, which occupies six floors of a Romanesque-style building in Soho.
Many visitors to New York never get leave Manhattan but the four other boroughs offer plenty for the inquisitive traveller. A good way to get a taste for the rest of the city is to jump in a cab with Famous Fat Dave ( www.famousfatdave.com), New York’s resident food expert. He’ll take you on a culinary tour of the city’s lesser-known food highlights from Sicilian rice balls in Brooklyn to jerk chicken in the Bronx.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Win a trip to Tobago for two
Dreamland: Britain's oldest amusement park is set to reopen this summer in Margate
The Atlas of Beauty: Photographer travels around the world to capture cultural diversity through stunning portraits of women
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
Germany's great outdoors: The Black Forest, wine country and Saxon Switzerland
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...