Author Rose Levy Beranbaum Photography Joshua Paul
DAY ONE / Wake up at the Four Seasons Hotel on East 57th Street, showcasing a contemporary I.M. Pei design with all the luxuries of a grand hotel, including an ideal Midtown location. Walk or taxi the few long blocks crosstown to breakfast at Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner building. Fortify yourself with some of the best pastries in the city before taxiing to the 42nd Street West Side Pier for a three-hour Circle Line boat ride around Manhattan. Yes, Manhattan is an island— something New Yorkers tend to lose sight of unless required to cross the water to surrounding boroughs or New Jersey. Natives delight in this excuse to show off the city to visitors, as the boat ride offers the ideal way to take in the sheer breadth and grandeur of New York. Enjoy the spectacular vistas of the New Jersey Palisades, the best views of the Statue of Liberty, the sand-castlelike skyscrapers of Wall Street, the underpinnings of the majestic Brooklyn Bridge, and the ever-changing beauty of the skyline.
Hungry for lunch? You’ll be glad that it’s only a crosstown bus or cab ride away at L’Impero, a secluded, romantic, southern Italian gem in Tudor City, with a lovely little park across the way. Re-energize with the deeply flavorful cuisine of famed chef Michael White. Order the oxtail ravioli, the crispy pork-belly appetizer, the braised Vermont goat, or the ragu of pork shoulder with a fabulous creamy emulsion of cacciocavalo, a cow’s milk cheese from Campania. Indulge in a glass or two of 2001 Calabria Rosso IGT Ceraudo Petraro, Val di Neto, a felicitous blending of Gaglioppo and Cabernet grapes. After lunch, take in dramatic views of the UN on the way to the nearby, graceful Chrysler Building, the favorite building of most New Yorkers. Make a quick stop in the lobby to admire the exquisite art deco décor. It’s only a short walk over to your next stop, the symbol of New York, the Empire State Building. Take in the fantastic view from the top where you can survey the many intriguing places you’ll visit during your next two days in the city.
Back at the hotel, change for the evening’s entertainment, which begins with dinner at Picholine. In this fast-paced city, Picholine provides a welcome oasis of calm elegance. Chef/owner Terrance Brenan and chef de cuisine Craig Hopson are true culinary artists. Game birds and truffles will be on the menu this time of year, and be sure to order the most ethereal gnocchi this side of heaven. The wine list is breathtakingly extensive, with excellent selections by the glass. Brenan is known for having introduced the great cheese course to New York dining, but come back for it after the upcoming performance or you risk falling asleep during. Now rush across the street to Lincoln Center so you don’t miss curtain call at the opera, ballet, or Philharmonic.