North America, Travel features

New York, the Big Apple, the city that famously never sleeps, is a must-see for anyone with some spare change who wants to experience this fabulous metropolis in all its extravagance and luxury. From famous boutique hotels to top-notch designer outlets packed with the best brands, New York has it all, and then some. Hit the buzzing streets for the iconic sights before heading downtown to dine in restaurants that ooze charm and sophistication and offer fine cuisine served up by some of the world’s top chefs.

Top restaurants

For dedicated gourmets, New York has become something of a Mecca, a wonderland for the taste buds, with a range of fine dining opportunities unequalled anywhere else. The Le Bernardin on 155 W. 51st Street is simply formidable, and has scooped top prize in several leading restaurant surveys, but of course you expect to pay top dollar for the French Chef’s incomparable creations, served up in a setting of leather seating and art nouveau decor, with a party room upstairs. The formality of restaurants like Le Bernardin can be supplemented by more relaxed exclusive venues such as the New York Palace Hotel with its fabulous views across Manhattan and its sumptuous First Manhattan restaurant, presided over by Chef Michel Richard. Or try The French Room for French-Japanese fusion cuisine in stylish surroundings, or get comfortable for a Sunday caviar brunch in the Caviar Russe Boutique. The list is endless, and just writing about it gets the buds salivating.

Legendary shopping in New York

For shopping, Fifth Avenue is the place to head for in New York to pick up some serious world-class designer items. Start at the Saks Fifth Avenue department store and then take your time strolling uptown and dropping in to iconic stores like Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman, where you can enjoy the company of rich old ladies chatting over long lunches, paid for by old money naturally. You’ll also see plenty of personal shoppers around here, whose employers are simply too busy with facelifts and spas to have any time for such tedious matters. At Tiffany’s, you can look out of Audrey Hepburn’s famous window, though breakfasts are no longer served here, before continuing along to the new FAO Schwartz, which has its own dance floor and outsize concert piano.

Famous sights in New York

New York has some of the world’s most instantly recognisable buildings, many of which you’ve probably seen in movies.  The Empire State Building, for instance, has a spectacular view even if it’s not now the city’s tallest building, and the iconic Statue of Liberty is often open for the climb up inside. Opened in 1931 it stands at 102 storeys tall and was the world’s tallest building for 40 years. Its observation deck is definitely something to tick off your list when in New York.

Grand Central Station was opened in 1913 and is still a hub for the region’s transport system as well as containing numerous fine restaurants and designer outlets, all in a beautiful Beaux-Arts, old-world, stylish setting.

Don’t forget to check out the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Institute in midtown Manhattan, either, the Radio City Music Hall, and the great shopping and fine dining venues close by.