WHY GO THERE NOW?
With less than two months to go until Christmas, New York is the perfect city for that quintessential shopping trip. It has Christmas all wrapped up, with upmarket department stores Bloomingdale’s, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman all vying to outdo each other with their extravagant window displays. Meanwhile, the atmospheric festive markets at Union Square and Grand Central Station make shopping a joy. Throw in a Broadway show, ice skating in front of the majestic Rockefeller Christmas tree, a drink at the rooftop bar of the new Moxy Hotel Chelsea and you’ve got a fabulous few days away…
WHERE CAN I DINE AND BE SEEN?
For a fun night out, complete with a bucking bronco, head down to Johnny Utah’s, Manhattan’s cool version of a cowboy dive bar. Named after Keanu Reeves’ sexy character in cult film Point Break, the bar is carved out of a converted bank vault. A word of advice – ride the mechanical bull before you eat dinner!
Drinks are obligatory in NYC, and OK! loved the cosy ambience of the wood-panelled bar at the Bowery Hotel, where the Regalo Verde was our favourite. We then ate at the hotel’s Gemma restaurant, where highlights from the Italian menu were the spaghetti carbonara and a deliciously rich white chocolate mousse topped with tangy physalis (an edible berry).
WHAT CAN I DO?
New York has some of the best museums in the world, with many – such as the Museum Of Modern Art and the Museum Of The Moving Image – free on Fridays. Also worth a visit is the New York Public Library, the site of Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw’s ill-fated wedding to Mr Big. On Fifth Avenue, you’ll find stores such as Tiffany & Co, Gucci and Prada, and nearby is Central Park – go for a spin on the seasonal ice rink, take a horse-drawn carriage ride or hire a bike. To get a different view of the city, stroll along The High Line, an elevated 1.45-mile-long walkway that runs along an old railway track.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
The recently-opened Moxy Chelsea is located in the city’s historic Flower District. Guests enter through a flower shop, and the glass enclosed conservatory-style lobby features an eye-catching three-storey living plant wall. It’s also home to the hotel’s atmospheric Italian restaurant Feroce, where OK! enjoyed a mozzarella focaccia followed by a creamy tiramisu. The hotel’s 349 rooms are small but perfectly formed with incredible views. Another place for great city views is the hotel’s Fleur Room, an impressive glass-encased rooftop lounge where OK! enjoyed drinks. The hotel is a short walk to Hudson Yards, a new waterfront entertainment district.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
British Airways (www.ba.com) flies to New York every day from London Heathrow. Rooms at the Moxy Chelsea, 105 W 28th Street (at 6th Avenue), cost from US$159 per night (approx. £124) for a double room. The hotel is offering a ‘Life’s A Picnic’ Package, which includes cycle hire and a picnic lunch for two, for $229 (aprrox £178) until November 15. For more details, visit www.moxychelsea.com. For general tourism information, and Christmas activities and markets, visit www.nycgo.com. For more on the restaurants mentioned, visit www.johnnyutahs.com and www.boweryhotel.com for the Gemma restaurant.
FEATURE: YASMINE GRIFFITHS
EDITED: ANNABEL MACKIE, OK! TRAVEL EDITOR