New York on a full moon
The full moon is auspicious. Perched at a corner table bordering the wall of windows on the 35th floor of Asiate restaurant with the view spilling out to Columbus Circle and Central Park, the lunar illumination can only spell good luck.
I’d already jogged effortlessly in Central Park, New York City’s forested gem, that morning.
And now, my wife, Kerry, and I are dining in the sky in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s signature resto overlooking it.
Louis Roederer Champagne is sipped.
Foie gras and halibut is consumed.
And plans are made to cycle the 10-kilometre circumference of Central Park the next morning.
Back in our sumptuous room on the 46th floor, with the same jaw-dropping vista, our resolve doesn’t waver.
An alarm is set for 9 a.m. (we don’t want to get up too early) and by 10 a.m. (after a yogurt-and-granola breakfast at Asiate, of course) we’re on the ground procuring two-wheelers from Bikerent.nyc.
The resulting peddling is magical.
We glide in dappled sunlight parallel to Central Park South for a bit before cruising along Central Park East for a stretch, with dog walkers and the doorman-protected regal apartment buildings of Fifth Avenue to our right and little-league baseball games to our left.
Central Park truly is an 843acre playground for all.
We pass Museum Row, with its Metropolitan and the Guggenheim, before stopping at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir for reflection.
Then it’s a mad peddle push past Harlem, up and down the Great Hill before we can stop at the famous Tavern on the Green for rose wine on its live-jazz-infused courtyard.
We return the bikes tired, but determined to conquer yet more of Manhattan.
New York City is the kind of place that begs to be devoured, both high-brow and low-brow.
Thus, we enjoy polished Brazilian jazz at Dizzy’s Club at the Lincoln Centre below the Mandarin Oriental and strolling through tacky Times Square.
We take in the hot new Broadway show The Donna Summer Musical (Bad Girls, anyone?) and follow the hordes up the elevator to the 68th-floor Top of the Rock observatory at the Rockefeller Centre.
Sated by Midtown, we transfer to Lower Manhattan and check into the new and trendy Four Seasons Downtown.
This isn’t your mom and dad’s Four Seasons.
It’s hip and boutique and the concierge there suggests we spend the afternoon at the High Line.
It’s the abandoned, elevated rail line turned leafy, linear park spanning from the Whitney Museum of American Art through the Meatpacking District.
We detour off the High Line to Chelsea Market at 15th Street to sip yet more rose at Corkbuzz, a wine bar by master sommelier Laura Maniec.
Then it’s back to the Four Seasons to swim in the stylish thirdfloor pool before sprucing up to dine on filet mignons at Cut, the steakhouse by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, just off the lobby.
Next morning, to jog off the indulgence, I follow the Esplanade along the Hudson River from Tribeca to Battery Park, saying hello to the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island along the way.
That evening, we’ll return to the riverfront at North Cove Marina to board the 35-foot wooden sailboat Tara with Tribeca Sailing to venture into the Hudson, and ultimately New York Harbor, to say hi to Lady Liberty again.
It’s a surreal and intimate cruise, juxtaposing serene outdoor activity with the skyscraper-choked skyline of Lower Manhattan.
Befitting our bespoke experience of Manhattan, Kerry I and arrived at the Big Apple from Vancouver via Air Canada’s Signature Service, not in New York but in Newark, N.J., which is the handiest airport for Manhattan.
Air Canada flies into Newark from five cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Signature Service amps up business class with fast-tracking through immigration, so you can start enjoying New York sooner. Check out Nycgo.com, Aircanada.com, Mandarinoriental.com and Fourseasons.com.
A runner makes her way along the Hudson River Esplanade through Tribeca.
Cycling along Central Park West past the art deco Eldorado housing co-operative.
The abandoned elevated railway High Line has been transformed into a linear park through the Meatpacking District.