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24 hours in New York

24 Hours in New York

Our seasoned travel expert, international broadcaster and Consumer Insight Expert Kate Hardcastle MBE shares her personal guide to 24 hours in New York with us today, a city that holds a special place in her heart, both professionally and personally.

Even when I travel solo, the familiarity of NYC always makes me think of my partner. Every visit is a new chapter in my ongoing love affair with this city - there is always something new to see or experience.

My 24-hour journey through the Big Apple is a testament to its endless capacity to inspire and energise me.

Stay: The Ned NoMad

My day begins at The Ned NoMad, a beacon of luxury and history in the vibrant NoMad district. The building, with its storied past, melds vintage charm with modern sophistication, offering a sanctuary amidst the city's hustle. I feel so fortunate that I can head back to my room where I can enjoy a deep tub and take in the beautiful views of the Empire State Building, providing a serene backdrop for reflection and inspiration.

Early AM: Central Park

Dawn finds me in Central Park, the city's verdant heart. I'm drawn to the Boating Lake, a personal favorite spot where the tranquility of nature contrasts sharply with the urban landscape. This park, with its rich history from the 1850s, offers a serene start to my day, connecting me to the many souls who've found solace here over the years. Head there and you will see the backdrop for so many of your favourite films.

Morning Rituals: Coffee and Breakfast

Bluestone Lane, near Central Park, is where I head for my first coffee of the day. The Australian-inspired café, with its inviting ambiance, serves as a perfect pit stop, energising me for the day ahead (Top Tip - like most establishments in NYC - make sure that you plan your restroom stops wisely - often a lot of these beautiful and established buildings have very limited facilities). 

Breakfast at the Tiffany Blue Box Café is an affair to remember - literally. Located within the iconic Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue, it's a whimsical world of luxury. Opting for the "Breakfast Afternoon Tea" is my tip, offering a taste of elegance amidst the brand's signature blue hue, beautiful art and service.

Mid-Morning: Bergdorf Goodman and Glacé

A visit to Bergdorf Goodman immerses me in New York's luxurious retail history, revered more by locals than the fleeting tourist crowds. It's a journey through time, reflecting the city's ever-evolving definition of luxury. There is always something new to see and I love the iconic building to bits.

Glace captivates me next with its Instagram-worthy hot chocolate, a modern ritual that embodies New York's culinary innovation - they flambé the beautiful marshmallow -and even if you share - it's a picture-worthy moment.

Afternoon Adventures: From Flatiron to Brooklyn

The Flatiron district's ABC Carpets and Home reveals a hidden gem within—its restaurant and bar. Here, drinks celebrating local and independent producers are set against a beautifully eclectic backdrop enjoy a beautiful mocktail and Marvel at the $30,000 Rugs.

A detour to Fishs Eddy presents a unique retail experience, showcasing quirky and vintage homewares that narrate the city's eclectic tales.  A perfect place to support a small business and buy 'non-tacky' presents and gifts to take hom. 

Bleecker Street brings me to all my beloved indie stores - and of course, LoveShackFancy, encapsulating a whimsical, romantic aesthetic that's been a favourite of mine for many years for its sartorial escapism.

The original Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street is a must-visit. Immortalised by "Sex and the City," it's a sweet reminder of the city's cultural footprint, with its classic American baked goods weaving into New York's culinary narrative.

Dusk: Brooklyn's Charms

As evening approaches, my journey takes me across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to DUMBO. The bridge, a marvel of Gothic architecture, offers breathtaking views, while the carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park provides a picturesque moment against the city skyline.

Dinner: The Rooftop at Restoration Hardware

My day concludes at The Rooftop at Restoration Hardware in Brooklyn, my latest favourite dining spot. The ambiance, the views, and the food come together to create an unforgettable experience, capping off a perfect 24 hours in New York City.

Top 5 tips 

1. When it comes to Broadway shows - take a chance. Have a few options on a shortlist and head to the theatre box offices on the day of the show. Ask what they have available and you should be able to snatch a brilliant seat or two - my recent wins have included Guttenburg and Some Like It Hot

2. The Early Bird... Go early - if you want to grab a picture in a prime spot like Times Square - go early. 

3. The Jazz Scene. There is an amazing Jazz Scene in New York and even if you are not a committed fan of the genre, there is something about enjoying a pre dinner moment listening to brilliant musicians giving feels of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett or Billy Joel

4. Prepare to Tip  - Whatever your feelings on the tipping culture in NYC and the USA generally, it is part of the make-up of the city. Allow for it in your budgeting in advance - rather than becoming stressed at the point of purchase. Between 18% - 22% is reasonable - but 25% for excellence. 

5 Don't overdo it - With so much to see, it's tempting to overdo it trying to fit it all in. You just have to hope that if you find your vibe with NYC you will hopefully return - but it's far better to do less and enjoy than to try and fit in everything and barely remember it. It's about the experience - not just the image 

This city, with its blend of history, culture, and modernity, continues to captivate me, each visit adding another layer to my profound connection with it. New York, you have my heart, always.


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