72 Hours in New York City
Published 22 June 2016
© Catherine GloverThe High LineJust down the road from our hotel, the High Line is a park built on a raised section of abandoned railway line. We entered at West 30th Street, wandered the leafy pathways, took in the sculptures and shrubbery, and admired the aerial views over the streets below, a patchwork of tourist crowds and yellow taxi cabs. Returning to ground level at Gansevoort Street, we conveniently popped out by The Standard Grill, where we tucked into delicious lobster rolls and slurped cocktails with names like High Line Fling. Well, it would have been rude not to.
© Catherine GloverCarrie’s ApartmentWe wore off our now very full stomachs with a jaunt down to Perry Street and the apartment block used as Carrie’s home in Sex and the City. Strolling down the peaceful leafy street, we admired the iconic brownstone architecture, with stone stoops leading to huge front doors, and classic New York fire escapes zigzagging down the outside of the buildings.© Catherine GloverCentral ParkBy the time we reached Central Park, the sun was low and the trees were bathed in a glorious golden light. Sitting on Umpire Rock, an exposed ancient bedrock right in the park’s southwest corner, surrounded by shiny hotels and office blocks, I felt like I was on the set of a million movies. Everything was so familiar to me, even though I had never been there before.
Empire State BuildingThe queues (or should that be lines?) at the Empire State Building are legendary, so we cunningly booked our tickets online and bypassed the crowds. We entered the Art Deco lobby, took the elevator and then emerged on the top of the world – well, the 86th floor. The city buzzed below, lit up like a Christmas tree in the evening light, a grid of perfectly straight avenues and streets.
© Angela GriffinScenic Helicopter RideWe were up early for our helicopter ride over the city. We had signed up for a 20-minute Manhattan flight, but our chopper companions had booked a longer trip, so we got to fly over Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty too. Bonus! Taking off from Battery Park, we soared over Wall Street and the World Trade Center memorials, then north past Central Park to the Yankee Stadium up in the Bronx, before soaring back south via the East River and Brooklyn Bridge – an exhilarating experience and not one I will forget in a hurry.
© Angela GriffinBrooklynBack on terra firma we decided to cross Brooklyn Bridge on foot, which takes about half an hour. Brooklyn is leafier than Manhattan, and more peaceful, but continues the attractive brownstone architecture. We stopped for pizza, browsed the boutique stores and did a spot of shopping before heading back to Manhattan.
Grand Central StationLater that evening we gazed up at the spectacular astrological features and 2,500 gold stars painted on the ceiling of Grand Central Station, an impressive piece of Beaux-Arts architecture. To one side of the main concourse, we stumbled across a fabulous little cocktail bar, The Campbell Apartment, where, amid restored 1920s décor, we drank such delights as Prohibition Punch and Flapper’s Delight. Gatsby, drink your heart out.
Me inside the crown of the Statue of Liberty© Catherine GloverStatue of LibertyThe following morning we took the subway down to Battery Park and hopped onboard the ferry to Liberty Island. Having heard that tickets sell out a couple of months in advance, we pre-booked and were able to climb the spiral staircase inside the Statue of Liberty right up to the crown. It was rather hot and cramped, but gave great views across the Big Apple skyline.
© Angela GriffinKatz’s DeliBeing a huge fan of When Harry Met Sally, as well as sandwiches, I couldn’t come to NYC without visiting the famous Katz’s Deli, location of Meg Ryan’s legendary ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ scene. We had to queue for over half an hour just to get in, but once inside, service was quick and I was soon tucking into the most enormous Reuben I had ever seen. For those that don’t know, a Reuben is a hot sandwich filled with corned beef or pastrami, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, served on rye bread. It was the single most delicious sandwich I have ever had in my life. Fact.
© Angela GriffinCatherine and me outside Bloomingdale’sBloomingdale’sI’m not going to lie, shopping isn’t really my thing. I was more interested in sneaking around New York’s Public Library than browsing the diamond necklaces in Tiffany’s and pretending to be able to afford the handbags in Macy’s. So I was pleasantly surprised at the treasure-trove of affordable goodies on sale in Bloomingdales, and even treated myself to a snazzy new pair of earrings.
© Angela GriffinAfternoon Tea at The PlazaFor our final afternoon, we treated ourselves to high tea at the Plaza Hotel, the epitome of New York grandeur. Entering the opulent Palm Court, complete with palm trees and an exquisite glass ceiling, we were shown to our seats by our friendly waist-coated waiter. Soon we were indulging in delicate English cucumber sandwiches with pickled red onion cream cheese and scoffing scones with double Devonshire cream and lemon curd. We toasted our meal, and a fabulous three days, with a chilled glass of Champagne, plus of course the obligatory English breakfast tea, before hopping back on the bus and heading out of town.Of course I knew we wouldn’t see everything in New York in 72 hours. In fact, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t see everything in 72 years. But we definitely crammed in as much as we could and made the most of our time in the Big Apple. And now I have plenty of reasons to return.Inspired to visit New York City? Chat to our Experts for flights, hotels tours and more, or take a look here.You might also like:Restaurants with a viewThe Best Cities for Breakfast