New York et al – where sleeping is overrated!

‘Old blue eyes’ (and many others) sing, New York, New York is a city “that never sleeps.” To sleep in NYC is to miss out on seeing a city that offers its visitors a never-ending line-up of must see places and must do events. If you waste extra time sleeping you will miss out on the sun rising over the East River and setting over the Hudson River and all points in between, day and night.

Sunrise over the East River, NYC

Sunrise over the East River, NYC

Late afternoon over the Hudson River, NYC

Late afternoon over the Hudson River, NYC

New York is a place better visited in shorter blocks of time because you feel compelled to partake in the ongoing life that is NYC – which can be exhausting no matter how good of shape you’re in or how old you are. There is no better array of breakfast, lunch and dinner venues. From Harlem in upper Manhattan to Battery Park in lower Manhattan, from the five New York Burroughs to New Jersey, from the well-known hot spots to the unknown boutique neighborhoods – NYC has a life unlike any other in the world.

I made my first trek to NYC, at age 19, during the Christmas holiday season – undoubtedly the most magical time of the year in NYC. Starting with The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; then the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center; add in the holiday themed windows lining the shops on 5th Avenue; the Nutcracker performed by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall; hotels like the Plaza and the New York Palace decorated for the holidays; chestnuts roasting on the city corners; and finish off with the dropping of the ball on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall at the Christmas Spectacular, NYC

Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall at the Christmas Spectacular, NYC

Decorated for the holidays, New York Palace, NYC

Decorated for the holidays, New York Palace, NYC

But any time of the year is a good time of the year to visit NYC. The first couple of visits to NYC are all about seeing the main tourist sites: the Statue of Liberty which survived Hurricane Sandy: the Empire State Building with its top lit up in special colors to commemorate special events; Central Park where taking a bike ride and a ride in the horse-drawn carriages are a must; Times Square with the bright lights and shops that don’t close until the wee hours of the morning; a Broadway Show leaving you sitting on the edge of your seat in an air of pure entertainment; World Trade Center Memorial to pay homage to the fallen.

Empire State Building lit up in blue to commemorate Columbia University graduates, NYC

Empire State Building lit up in blue to commemorate Columbia University graduates, NYC

World Trade Center Memorial, NYC

World Trade Center Memorial, NYC

Living my whole life west of the Mississippi, NYC was rarely on my radar as a place I would visit often. But that all changed the day my daughter chose to go to university in NYC. This gave me a great reason to visit this great city – often! As the years have moved on my ‘never let the grass grow under your feet’ minded daughter has taken to checking out every nook and cranny of this marvelous city, and I have been lucky enough to reap the benefits of her curious personality.

I now have a personal tour guide who has not only shown me the next level of hotspots: Bryant Park – movies in the summer, skating in the winter; Mario Batali‘s restaurants and Eataly Deli; the Highline – a converted overhead railroad track now used for strolling; Katz Diner for melt in your mouth pastrami sandwiches – Shake Shack for melt in your mouth burgers  – Peter Luger for melt in your mouth steaks; museums – The Met, MoMA, Guggenheim, The Frick.

But she has also taken me beyond the borders of Manhattan to: Governor’s Island to ride bikes and drink a new St. Germaine infused cocktail while watching era dressed flappers dance to jazz; north of Harlem to the medieval architecture of The Cloisters museum and gardens; the elaborate Brooklyn Botanical Gardens; Flushing Meadows to watch the fast paced U.S. Open tennis tourney; Carlo’s Bakery in Jersey for “ta die for” cupcakes.

U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, NYC

U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, NYC

Carlo's Bake Shop, New Jersey

Carlo’s Bake Shop, New Jersey

This may be my first NYC blog posting, but it certainly won’t be the last about this great city!

Where to stay: The Plaza for opulence or The Surrey for Upper East Boutique (5-star); The New York Palace for reasonable midtown luxury or the London New York for modern roominess in midtown (4+star); the Hotel Belleclaire boutique style on the Upper Westside or the Sofitel for larger rooms and great midtown location (3+star).

Where to eat: I can safely say almost anywhere. The competition is so fierce, the restauranteurs know they have to bring it or they won’t be around long. In the dozen times I’ve been to NYC I can’t recall having even a mediocre meal.

Check out more pictures in the Global Gallery: NYC.

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