North America

A lux weekend in New York City


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New York is an annual destination for me for the last 15 years. Sometimes, I even manage to make it a twice-yearly event – there is something about the city that never sleeps. The energy, the noise, the iconic buildings – you truly feel at the top of the world.

My last trip was actually a really long one – 10 days, 8 of which for work, so that left me with a weekend to enjoy the Big Apple. I was fortunate enough to stay at a friend’s incredible Philip Starck-designed penthouse in Gramercy, and this was the view from my bedroom every day. Staying at an apartment (and a fab one at that), provided a very different experience – and I loved it.

A room with a view in NYC

A room with a view in NYC

 

Friday Evening

When in Rome, or New York, rather, one must get acclimatised asap. After landing and settling in at our apartment, my friend Stephane (who was in NYC for the first time) and I needed to stay awake and ready for an amazing weekend. And that meant cocktails, of course.

Make mine extra dirty, please!

Make mine extra dirty, please!

The Four Seasons New York was the chosen venue to begin our fab evening in town – with a fab location on 57th Street between Park and Madison Avenues. The cocktail list is extensive, the bar snacks divine, but I knew what I wanted – a perfectly-prepared dirty martini. And a little bit of Jennifer Aniston, because we should totally become best friends. It did not happen that night, but I know it will in the future – she just needs to meet me.

My friend Katie from Travel Panties and the lovely Jen. She looked stunning.

My friend Katie from Travel Panties and the lovely Jen. She looked stunning.

After a round of cocktails or three, it was time for dinner – and meet two of my favourite New Yorkers: the fab Ashley and Carolyn from The Lazy Travelers. We decided that we should remain local and headed to the Upper East Side, which doubles as the ladies’ playground.

Il Ristorante, by Chef Casella was where we met and stayed for the whole evening. We were actually lucky enough to spend some time with Cesare, who gave us more than the rosemary he always carries in his chef white’s pocket. Great stories, great conversation and, most of all, amazing food.

We had a great evening in the Upper East Side. And loved meeting Chef Casella

We had a great evening in the Upper East Side. And loved meeting Chef Casella

The evening ended at some local bars – I would love to tell you where I went, but these ladies know better.

So great to see Ashley and Carolyn from the Lazy Travelers in their natural habitat...

So great to see Ashley and Carolyn from the Lazy Travelers in their natural habitat…

Before we knew it, we made it past midnight, which was the objective of the evening. But not before I crossed a line…

Making new friends, always...

Making new friends, always…

 

Saturday

After a good night’s sleep, it was time to start helping the local economy. Because one must. Always. As we were so close, we headed to Eataly for breakfast – and obviously were not disappointed. Located on 5th Avenue and 23rd Street, right by Madison Park, it is an Italian food emporium, where you can experience various Italian cuisine experiences and buy lovely things to bring home.

The Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building

Just outside, you will also see one of New York’s most iconic buildings – the Flatiron building. And if you continue 5th Avenue down to Union Square, on 14th Street, you won’t be disappointed by the shopping experience.

Before we knew it, it was time to eat again. Shopping can be tiring and one burns a lot of calories. For lunch, I took Stephane to Olives at the W Hotel in Union Square – I have been there many times and it is always a good experience. And a great place for one to drop the shopping bags before planning the rest of the day. It would be rude to deny my friend Stephane the pleasure of her first bellini in NYC. And baby burger, of course.

A small meal…. at Olives NYC

A small meal…. at Olives NYC

We spent the rest of the afternoon in and around Union Square looking for bargains. We were particularly lucky at Nordstrom Rack and DSW Warehouse. Oh well!

A shop with a view (taken at DSW Shoes)

A shop with a view (taken at DSW Shoes)

Before we knew it, it was time to head back home, change and head back out again. We seriously had very limited ‘touristy’ time in NYC and had to make the most of it.

We spent most of our evening at Saxon and Parole – we had an issue with our reservation (which kind of vanished during the evening), but ended up getting a table for dinner, which we enjoyed. The bar scene was also very cool and we were not disappointed.

Saxon and Parole (before everyone arrives!!)

Saxon and Parole (before everyone arrives!!)

We did not have a late night as jet lag meant that our beds were calling our name. Which was fine by us!

I was even lucky to see my good friend Lauren di Marco from Lola Travels in NYC. It is the centre of the world.

I was even lucky to see my good friend Lauren di Marco from Lola Travels in NYC. It is the centre of the world.

 

Sunday

My friend Stephane was all smiles during our trip to NYC

My friend Stephane was all smiles during our trip to NYC

After another great breakfast at Eataly, we went to the landmark we saw the most times in NYC – right from our fabulous penthouse, every day, all day. I confess it must have been a good 10 years since I last went to the Empire State building, but as it was Stephane’s first visit to NYC, we could not go. Bright and early to beat the queues, we made it. And we were lucky that we got some good views as the weather was strange during our stay.

Empire State of Mind indeed! Fab views from the Observatory at the Empire State Building

Empire State of Mind indeed! Fab views from the Observatory at the Empire State Building

Obviously, we were very hungry after this experience, and walking 20 blocks up to Bloomingdales, where yet another interesting experience awaited. We met Steven (the founder of Walks of Italy and now Walks of New York) and Jeff (who is running Walks of New York) – you may remember some excellent experiences I had with this company in Rome and Milan. I was particularly excited as we were doing the inaugural ‘Highlights of New York‘… walk.

But first things first, and that was a lovely brunch at Le Train Bleu, located on the 6th floor of Bloomingdales (which also went through a refurbishment and was looking particularly fab, I have to say).

Le Train Bleu at Bloomingdales

Le Train Bleu at Bloomingdales

For the tour to start properly, we needed to get on the subway. Me and subways are not particularly good friends, but I thought I would give it a go as it was only for a few stops – and we had strong men with us (just in case). It was a hot summer day, but it all worked OK. Here is a photo you won’t see very often…

Not in my natural habitat.

Not in my natural habitat.

On this tour, which is a group tour and lasts 3 hours, we uncovered the secrets of Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building, the New York Public Library, and Times Square.

One day, I will take a train from here

One day, I will take a train from here

We spent a great amount of time at Grand Central station (but I cannot tell you the secrets we were told). I did give the Campbell Apartment (an amazing bar) a miss as it was too early – which means I need to go back on my return to the big Apple.

When in New York, you never know who you will run into. And while we walked from Times Square to Rockefeller Centre, we were joined by someone quite special…

Of course Elmo walks with you every time!

Of course Elmo walks with you every time!

I really enjoyed this walking tour, and would love to thank Walks of New York for doing this special tour for me and Stephane more than 6 months before they launched – tours can be booked from April 18th 2014. The Highlights of New York tour costs $35 per person.

And to end the day in style (after all that walking), we watched the sun set at 230 Fifth Avenue’s rooftop bar. And of course I had to jump!

Oh yes I did!

Oh yes I did!

It was the perfect end to a fantastic weekend. We packed a little bit in, but we also got to spend a lot of time with friends who showed us their favourite parts of this amazing city. Every time I return, I discover something new.

 

Until next time, New York, until next time!

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer: on this visit to NYC, I was a guest of my friend Elyse (who I cannot thank enough). I was also a guest of the Four Seasons New York, Il Ristorante, Olives and Walks of New York. Opinions are, as always, my own.


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28 Comments

  1. Anna B

    May 11, 2014 at 5:55 am

    What a nice post. I was just shopping at Bloomingdale’s & stopped for lunch at David Burke. I wish I would’ve found this post sooner. Le Train Bleu looks adorable. One thing I can’t understand though is why people call it the city that never sleeps. There are a lot of Asian cities that never sleep. Las Vegas never sleeps. I guess the markets never sleep. New York, on the whole, has bars that stay open late, then the city is dead silent for a several hours until morning. Not that I mind, that is my secret time to take romantic walks around Times Square & other sites that are overrun with tourists during business hours.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Anna that is a very good point, I have no idea why! Let me know if you make it to Train Bleu and what yours thoughts were.

  2. Jeanette Hummel

    April 23, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Looks like an amazing time! That martini sounds delicious – and, I’m sure if Jennifer Aniston met you, she would be your best friend. 🙂 Attended a FRIENDS taping way back in the day and got to see her at work – she’s even more gorgeous in person!
    Jeanette Hummel recently posted..Our Fave Views on Kauai HawaiiMy Profile

  3. Natalie

    April 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    I absolutely love the rooftop bar at 230 Fifth Avenue. Your post made me long for NYC. I’ll definitely add this destination as an annual trip on my itinerary as well!
    Natalie recently posted..90 Day Makeover: Listen to your MotherF$%#cking BodyMy Profile

  4. Traveling Ted

    March 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Looks like a fantastic night in the city that never sleeps, or at least not until midnight. Great that you got to hang out with the Lazy Travelers.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Breaking out of a Florida cold snap on the beautiful IchetuckneeMy Profile

  5. Leah

    March 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I can’t wait to try out Walks of New York. If they’re half as good as Walks of Italy I’m in for a real treat. Oh, I <3 NYC. This looks like a great trip filled with friends.
    Leah recently posted..French Lesson: A Study of Wine & Cheese in ParisMy Profile

  6. Erin at The World Wanderer

    March 27, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Great times are always had in NYC! Aww, I love Olives! It’s where we met for the first time! xx
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Music Monday: I See Fire.My Profile

  7. Lance | Trips By Lance

    March 26, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    What a wonderful weekend in one of our favorite cities in the world. And so lovely to see so many wonderful people making appearances in this post. I look forward to checking out Walks of New York when we are there next. Stephen is a great guy.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..New Orleans With Kids on #NBARoadTripMy Profile

  8. Stephane

    March 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    An amazing time with the most delicious friend! I loved it, loved it, loved it! We met great people, experienced a tons of incredible moments, and….since I’ve been living in the Middle-East for the past 8 years, walking that much was….terribly…difficult but enjoyable – lol! When are we going back?

  9. Cassia

    March 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    If I had to describe you in one word it’ll be “Inspiration” xoxo

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you, that is so sweet. Lost for words and you made my day.

  10. Travelogged

    March 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    I love reading about bloggers visiting my hometown! Sounds like you had a fantastic time. And I love that you spent a lot of time on the Upper East Side (where I grew up and currently live, although I just moved further downtown close to Bloomingdales). The UES is often forgotten in favor of the hipper neighborhoods but it’s really worth a visit beyond the museums. Hope to meet you next time you’re in NYC.
    Travelogged recently posted..Geneva and the South of France: My 10-Day IntineraryMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 25, 2014 at 12:22 am

      I love the UES – has always been my playground on more than half my NYC trips. And I know exactly what you mean re the hipster neighbourhoods!

  11. Laura (@cocktailsandgelato.com)

    March 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Looks like you hit all the perfect places! Love the Four Seasons and it’s always been my go to spot for martinis, literally since it opened forever ago. My girlfriends and I used to pool our pennies and make our cocktail shakers last as long as possible. And I’ve never ever failed to see someone famous there. Last time was Claire Danes. Haven’t tried Eataly for breakfast but we’ll be there in a few weeks and will have to try it. Cheers! Laura
    Laura (@cocktailsandgelato.com) recently posted..Maine Monday: Paris in PortlandMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 25, 2014 at 12:20 am

      Laura, yup the FS was fab. Clare Danes, huh? 😉 Breakfast at Eataly was simple – just like the way I like it. We were a couple blocks away and it was a nice ‘home’ comfort

  12. Amy

    March 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Love this post! I’m going next month and this just makes me giddy (especially for the food)!
    Amy recently posted..breakfast burritos in BarcelonaMy Profile

  13. the lazy travelers

    March 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    we loved this night with you!! and chef casella <3 the first bar was called the stumble inn because we like to take mrs. o out of her comfort zone every once in awhile, and the second was a piano bar called brandy's! xoxo
    the lazy travelers recently posted..laws to travel by – #52My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      The stumble inn was quite something! And I loved the piano bar! Thank you for taking me out of my comfort zone ;0

  14. Jeff Dobbins

    March 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    It was SO much fun spending the day with you! Great city…fantastic company. Can’t wait for you to return for another walk and lots more fun.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      March 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you Jeff! It was a great day – thank you so much!

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