COME BACK AGAIN

An in­side guide to why you’ll never get tired of New York City

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - COVER STORY - KRISTIE KELLAHAN

EM­PIRE OUT­LETS WILL HAVE 125 DE­SIGNER SHOPS, RESTAU­RANTS AND GOBSMACKING VIEWS OF MAN­HAT­TAN

New York City should come with a warn­ing: once bit­ten, for­ever smit­ten. This is not a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion you can visit once and tick off your “to do” list as done. There’s an en­ergy of pos­si­bil­ity, an ir­re­sistible vibe and pace that will get in your veins and make you fall in love so hard that you’ll be book­ing a re­turn trip be­fore you’ve even flown out of JFK.

I should know. A decade ago, I sub­let an apart­ment on the Up­per East Side for the sum­mer to im­merse my­self in all Man­hat­tan had to of­fer. I couldn’t have imag­ined that three months would turn into 10 years, that NYC would be­come my sec­ond home, a place where I’ve put down roots and made life­long friends.

If your first visit left you crav­ing more, you’re not alone. Statis­tics from Visit USA re­veal that of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of Aussies who visit NYC each year, al­most three-quar­ters of them are re­peat vis­i­tors. Go­ing back for a sec­ond or third bite of the Big Ap­ple is a great chance to ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent sea­sons, see what’s new, or dis­cover an­other bor­ough.

Here’s a lo­cal’s take on where to go on your next trip, plus a few in­sider tips on get­ting the most from the city.

WHERE TO STAY NOW

Try a new ho­tel. The lat­est open­ings the lo­cals are talk­ing about in­clude Mr C Sea­port by Cipri­ani (mrc­sea­port.com) with knock­out views of Brook­lyn Bridge and on­point Belli­nis, and Ian Schrager’s stylish Times Square EDI­TION (mar­riott.com).

All eyes are on the mam­moth Hud­son Yards de­vel­op­ment, where the city’s first fit­ness-themed Equinox ho­tel is set to open. And the most hotly an­tic­i­pated ho­tel open­ing of 2019 would have to be the TWA Ho­tel at JFK Air­port (twa­ho­tel.com), which promises to trans­port us all back to the golden age of fly­ing.

Low-cost ho­tels do ex­ist in Man­hat­tan, though you need to book well in ad­vance to get the best rates. The Pod Ho­tel (the­p­od­ho­tel.com), The Free­hand (free­hand­ho­tels.com) and The Jane (the­ja­nenyc.com) reg­u­larly of­fer well-priced deals.

Con­sider a stay off the is­land of Man­hat­tan and save on ho­tels such as Z NYC Ho­tel and Pa­per Fac­tory Ho­tel in Queens, and Aloft in Brook­lyn. Con­nected to the city by sub­way, the bor­oughs of­fer some of the best ac­com­mo­da­tion dis­counts.

If you’re trav­el­ling in early Jan­uary, take ad­van­tage of Ho­tel Week NYC (hotel­weeknyc.com); rates are slashed to $US100, $US200 or $US300 at more than a dozen New York City ho­tels which typ­i­cally charge up­wards of $US500 a night.

IT’S IN THE BAG

Real talk: the Aussie dol­lar has lost some mojo this year, so bar­gain shop­ping has be­come even more at­trac­tive. In NYC that means trawl­ing the dis­count de­signer racks at Cen­tury 21 (c21­s­tores.com), near Wall St and at the new lo­ca­tion on the Up­per West Side. Fol­low the lo­cals to other money-sav­ing stores such as TJ Maxx (tj­maxx.com), De­signer Shoe Ware­house (dsw.com) and Bloom­ing­dale’s Up­per West Side Out­let (bloom­ing­dales.com).

Se­ri­ous shop­pers can head out of town for a day trip to Wood­bury Com­mon Premium Out­lets (pre­mi­u­mout­lets.com). The trip takes about 90 min­utes; buses depart reg­u­larly from Port Author­ity Ter­mi­nal in Man­hat­tan’s Mid­town. Wood­bury Com­mon’s 220 out­lets of­fer pulse-quick­en­ing sav­ings, of­ten up to 80 per cent off.

Soon, you won’t need to leave the city for these kinds of bar­gains. Any day now, Em­pire Out­lets is set to open on Staten Is­land. NYC’s first out­let des­ti­na­tion will have 125 de­signer shops, restau­rants and gobsmacking views of Man­hat­tan.

If you want to shop for lo­cal brands, ex­plore Soho, Wil­liams­burg and trendy Dumbo, all neigh­bour­hoods where you’ll find in­de­pen­dent fash­ion bou­tiques, art gal­leries and vin­tage stores full of one-of-a-kind trea­sures.

Also worth check­ing out: the gift shops at many of the city’s mu­se­ums and gal­leries. Stocked with fab­u­lous books on NYC’s his­tory and cul­ture, as well as cool gifts and city-branded sou­venirs, they should be on every shop­per’s go-to list. Three of the best are: Brook­lyn Mu­seum, the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art, and the Mu­seum of the City of New York.

TAKE A BITE

New restau­rants and bars open in NYC at such a rapid pace, it can be a de­li­cious chal­lenge to keep up. The lat­est buzzy open­ings in­clude The Blue Box Cafe at Tif­fany (tif­fany.com) on Fifth Ave and Frenchette (frenchet­tenyc.com) in Tribeca. If you can’t get a reser­va­tion, try your luck as a walk-in.

At lunchtime, the views are bet­ter and the reser­va­tions more easy to come by at the lat­est of­fer­ing from

Danny Meyer, Man­hatta (man­hattarestau­rant.com). The FiDi restau­rant serves a three-course prix fixe menu at $US78 (about $110), in­clud­ing tip, in line with Meyer’s pol­icy to stamp out the awk­ward prac­tice of adding gra­tu­ities to bills – a pol­icy Aussies will no doubt ap­plaud.

The best money-sav­ing tip for food­ies is to for­get the din­ner menu and opt for lunch in­stead. Many fives­tar restau­rants of­fer a wal­let-pleas­ing three-course lunch prix fixe for less than $US50. Chef Jean-Ge­orges Von­gerichten is a crowd-pleaser, serv­ing great food at a great price in his restau­rants in­clud­ing Nouga­tine, Perry St and ABC Kitchen.

If you’re sav­ing your money to spend on shoes but you still need to eat, food trucks are your friend. Pop­u­lar in NYC, they serve waf­fles, dumplings, fried chicken and more. Fol­low the tweets of the Big Gay Ice Cream truck to find its lo­ca­tion, and look out for the Red Hook Lob­ster Pound’s rov­ing van.

Queues wrap around the block for the $US6 lamb and chicken plates from The Ha­lal Guys food truck on the cor­ner of 53rd St and 6th Ave.

LOVE YOUR SELFIE

Ob­sessed with get­ting the right shot on your In­sta feed? For that “hey, here I am on top of the city” pic, you’ll need to get high.

Em­pire State Build­ing is iconic, but lo­cals know Top of the Rock (topofthe­rock­nyc.com) is also a must. The sweep­ing views from its 70thfloor Ob­ser­va­tion Deck at Rock­e­feller Cen­ter in­clude a bird’s-eye look at Em­pire State Build­ing. Go dur­ing golden hour – the hour af­ter sun­rise and the hour be­fore sun­set – for the most flat­ter­ing nat­u­ral light­ing.

For fab­u­lous views from a down­town van­tage point, take the su­per-fast el­e­va­tor to the top of One World Ob­ser­va­tory (oneworld ob­ser­va­tory.com). Mov­ing and iconic, the ob­ser­va­tory is at the top of the tallest build­ing in the Western Hemi­sphere, One World Trade Cen­ter. Re­built as a sym­bol of New York City’s re­silience, a visit here is un­for­get­table, with views that stretch out to Brook­lyn, Staten Is­land and be­yond.

PIC­TURES: COURT PRATHER, DAVID MITCHELL, TIF­FANY & CO, DANIEL KRIEGER

Lo­cals know Top of the Rock views are a must; TWA Ho­tel’s open­ing is hotly an­tic­i­pated; blue’s in vogue for break­fast at Tif­fany’s; and lunchtime is a good time to make a reser­va­tion at Man­hatta.

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