I’m often asked for advice and tips on favorite spots in New York City. So here’s my list and while it doesn’t capture everything, it does include many must-see spots.
There are so many, but here are a few of my favorites (and favorites of so many whom I’ve sent to visit these places!)
Sarabeth’s (4 locations around the city), very cozy, a ladies’ place, serves brunch all day, amazing pumpkin waffles, wonderful muffins and yummy egg dishes. The Lemon Ricotta pancakes are truly memorable!
Norma’s – the best b’fast in town, pricey but a real experience, located in the Parker Meridien Hotel on 57th between 5th and 6th Avenues, love the breakfast quesadillas and the brioche French toast. Can never go wrong at Norma’s!
My very favorite is BG the restaurant on the 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman at corner of 57th and 5th Avenue. It is Hollywood Glamour style all the way thanks to designer Kelly Wearstler, very pricey but very worth it. Make reservations and get there early for the best seats which overlook The Plaza Hotel and Central Park.
Saks Fifth Avenue has a great café with wonderful views overlooking Rockefeller Center and 5th Avenue, yummy salads and sandwiches, good coffee, good prices.
The Mangia small lunch spots are great, locations all over the city
Diners — Any of the diners are good, menus are vast and prices are reasonable
John’s Pizzeria or Patsy’s Pizzeria – these are true NYC style pizza spots, very reasonable prices and locations all over the city, including one near Bloomingdales (right across from Serendipity.)
Serendipity – fun for lunch or dinner, lines get really long so go at odd hours if you can, they’re famous for their Frozen Hot Chocolate, vast menu, prices are medium range
Dinner (or lunches too)
Balthazar – very hip and famous, located in Soho, wonderful meals, medium-priced, great french fries, my favorite is the trout, can’t go wrong with this place, lots of other great restaurants in Soho, can’t go wrong at most!
Ruby Foo’s – several locations, one in Times Square, great asian, fun atmosphere, medium priced
Tony’s Di Napoli – 43rd and 7th Avenue (near Times Square), family style Italian, Mayor Giuliani’s favorite restaurant in town, wonderful food and reasonable prices, we go here every week on Sunday nights after church!
Rue 57 – corner of 6th avenue and 57th Street, great food, variety of choices, medium-priced
There are some great shopping options, my favorites include:
Vintage & Consignment — Very fave vintage shop is Shareen Vintage, check out her website for the hours of operation as they are open unusual times. It’s located in a brownstone in the heart of Chelsea, you know she’s open when there’s a red dress hanging out of the window. Prices are fabulous and selection varies. Take your creative eye and go for it. Fave consignment shops are on the upper east side. Imagine all the very well-off ladies who buy many wonderful treasures but never get around to wearing them so they consign for you and I all over the upper east side! Michael’s is my fave, 79th and Madison upstairs and next to the J.Crew. Lots of Chanel, and I’ve snagged several never-worn Louboutins at this little treasure-of-a-shop. Several others in this neighborhood, google for specifics.
ZARA – these are my favorite of all the fashion spots in the city, they copy all the European designers but at very good prices, locations all over including 5th Avenue and one right across from Bloomingdales (59th and Lexington)
Bergdorf Goodman — corner of 57th and 5th Ave., best restrooms in town on the lower level, love their restaurant on 8th floor, it’s my current favorite lunch spot, a bit pricey but super fun with amazing views of the Park. Their clothes are great, several floors are high designer but a couple are mid-range. Great shoe dept.
Saks 5th Ave. — 50th and 5th Ave., best Saks in the nation, check out their amazing shoe floor on 8th floor (where I’ve done many book signing and speaking events), also great restaurant overlooking Rockefeller Center
New York Look — there are several of these around town, one on 5th Ave. at 45th, very cute clothes, shoes and accessories
D&D Building — if you love decorating check out this building at 3rd Avenue and 57th) where all the furniture and decorating designers have showrooms, you can only buy if you’re a designer but it is an INCREDIBLE experience looking at these showrooms, I only found this recently, always thought it was only open to designers but I go crazy in here seeing every fabric, furniture, accessories that all the high-end designer magazines feature, it’s quite the experience!
ABC Carpet and Home — this is my fave store in the entire city, 8 floors of the most incredible home furnishings, rugs, pillows, it is an experience all its own, at Broadway and 18th St., very famous store and women love this place.
Soho — this is a fantastic destination area of town for several hours of shopping, is also on the edge of Canal Street if you want any knock-off bags, etc. So many cute shops and boutiques plus excellent restaurants our favorite of which is Balthazar.
Century 21 — across from Ground Zero downtown and one on the upper west side near Lincoln Center, this is famous too, large store full of off-price designer stuff, it’s all about timing at this store and you have to scrounge through a lot to find the treasures but it can be fun.
Other Spots and Things To Do:
Empire State Building – very fun at night, go only if it’s very clear and not cloudy outside
Ground Zero – Admission is free to the 9/11 Memorial but visitor passes are required so visit www.911Memorial.org
Rockefeller Center – best to see at Christmas but fun all the time, good shops inside the plaza area (downstairs), and the observation deck is awesome, a great alternative to the Empire State Bldg.
Central Park – wonderful to go through near Central Park South (the horse-drawn carriages line up along there near The Plaza at 59th and 5th Avenue). Fun to walk through at 72nd Street, you’ll see many famous landmarks that you’ve seen in movies!
Grand Central Station – this is truly a WONDER, the architecture of this landmark inside the main passageway is awesome!
Lincoln Center – if you go the NYC Ballet or the Vivian Beaumont Theatre (for Broadway shows) at Lincoln Center there are plenty of fun restaurants across the street, including Josephina’s, and some places where you can sit outside if it’s nice, all are good along that area.
The Today Show – fun to go to in the morning if you don’t mind fighting the crowd. Go into the Dean and Deluca right there (at Rockefeller Center) and warm up or get a good cup of coffee and a snack!
Columbus Circle – The Time Warner Center here (where CNN is located) is a new mall with great shops and a HUGE Whole Foods downstairs, fun to see this area of town, very close to Lincoln Center
Broadway Shows – you can stand in line and buy discount tickets (typically 50% off) for the same day showings, at the TKTS booth in Times Square or downtown near Ground Zero, ask at your hotel for more details, or buy tickets online at www.playbill.com.
Have fun and enjoy the greatest city in the world!!!