Don’t bite off more than you chew, when planning a swag in New York City, writes Mike Yardley.
The Big Apple is best enjoyed in bite-sized chunks, so why not plump for some stylish highlights from the city’s great cache of cultural treasures?
Head Uptown, to Central Park and the iconic museums, starting with the dinosaur-sized American Museum of Natural History. (Yes, dinosaurs are included.) You probably won’t bump into Ben Stiller, but the feverish popularity of the movie brand, based on this museum, have spawned a Night at the Museum tour, where you can see the real exhibits behind the characters that featured in the blockbusters, including Rapa Nui, the cheeky Capuchin Monkeys and the colossal Tyrannosaurus-Rex.
Another excellent guided excursion is the Theodore Roosevelt Tour, which showcases why this visionary leader is universally regarded as America’s first Conservation President. (Robin Williams certainly did a cracking impression.) When you’ve had your full of natural wonder, take a leisurely walk across Central Park by Strawberry Fields, to the Upper East Side, where 5th Avenue, from 82nd to 104 street, is lovingly lauded as Museum Mile
The Guggenheim is probably best known for its eye-catching exterior, than for the masterpieces that it contains. Frank Lloyd Wright’s striking modernist dome design is a triumph, but after walking the grand curvaceous ramp to enter the building, you’ll be treated to a plethora of works from the modern masters, including Picasso, Kadinsky and van Gogh.
Widely considered as one the world’s leading art galleries, The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art ) spans 5000 years of humanity, with a spell-binding collection of over two million works. You’ll have to pick and choose what you want to peruse, unless you’re in town for a week, but, for me, the unmissables are the New American Wing and the Egyptian Treasures. You’ll never know what surprises are in-store, because The Met also complements its permanent collection with dozens of temporary exhibitions. For a spectacular skyline view, overlooking Central Park, revive yourself after you’ve walked your legs off, with a restorative drink at The Met’s Roof Garden.
The World Trade Centre
One of the hottest tickets in town is One World Observatory, that crowns the sky-piercing One World Trade Center. You’ll rapidly be whisked up to the 102nd floor in less than 60 seconds. Immersive, floor-to-ceiling LED technology in each elevator serves up a virtual time-lapse, recreating the development of New York City’s feted skyline from the 1500s to the present day. From the main observatory, the 360 degree horizon-searching panoramas, are vast and wondrous. An ingenious touch is the Sky Portal, where you can step onto a 14-foot wide circular disc, which delivers a jaw-dropping view, using real-time, high-definition footage of the streets below. (The Edge is another sky-high observation deck that’s turning heads in Hudson Yards.) The 9/11 Memorial Museum and the Ground Zero reflecting pools are equally unmissable, if you haven’t experienced them before.
Down at ground level, I still think one of the best ways to survey Manhattan’s architectural majesty, is to hop on board a New York Harbour cruise. Circle Line Cruises, not only serves up ravishing skyline vistas, but zips you across to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. To accentuate the experience, commune with Lady Liberty, with a tour right up to the statue’s lofty top.
Where to stay:
Dreaming of indulging in a splashy, effervescent stay in the Big Apple? Lording above Midtown Manhattan in a 60-storey limestone skyscraper, The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue beckons as a world-class sanctuary of luxury in the heart of the metropolis. Located on Fifth Avenue and 36 Street in the Fashion District area, your prime location is in easy reach of so many iconic attractions, from Times Square and Broadway to the Empire State Building, just two blocks away.
With 234 guest rooms and suites, The Langham has created a new benchmark in luxury accommodations with the addition of three penthouse suites, with extra bedrooms, vast living and dining areas, and a custom design by French home décor company Roche Bobois. The ethos is definitely understated and sophisticated, but unmistakeably elegant, thanks to touches like the multi-million-dollar art collection that draws heavily on the vibrant works of American artist Alex Katz. Pleasingly, for Kiwis who prefer to travel in more casual attire, there’s also no pretence. You’re not going to feel self-conscious about what to wear or dressing up.
Guest rooms are beautifully-appointed and undeniably spacious by Manhattan standards (they average about 750 square feet). Room décor is simple and chic, with white linens, grey accents and Italian walnut furniture. Luxury amenities are laid on lavishly, like Swedish Duxiana beds, Italian linens, flat-screen TVs, Nespresso machines, robes and slippers. The Langham, New York.
If you’re planning your first ever visit to the metropolis, Big Bus New York serves up the Big Apple in perfect slices, on its uptown and downtown hop-on, hop-off tours. Whether you want to capture panoramic views of icons like the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge, or dive into the city’s famous neighbourhoods, it’s a stress-free way to hop about. Big Bus Tours, New York