A high-density, vertical city with tourists and locals from everywhere on the planet, New York delivers — no matter who you are or when you visit. But the holidays are a particularly nice time to head to the Big Apple, when the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, the holiday shops at Union Square, and the ice-skating rink in Central Park put the city in the holiday spirit. Lined with iconic museums, Central Park draws class field trips, jogging locals, and Hollywood film crews all year long. At Union Square, students take to the streets on skateboards and New York’s premier chefs seek out locally grown produce from the farmers’ market. Shoppers can splurge on Chanel, Prada, and Gucci along 5th Avenue, or venture deep into SoHo, the West Village, or the Lower East Side for insider boutiques, where one might glimpse New York’s acting elite. Meanwhile, art lovers can bask in the grand museums of the Upper East Side or preview up-and-coming imagery at Chelsea galleries.
Throughout the city, expect to pay a premium for cramped rooms — a cozy 200 square feet is about the norm. But remember that in New York, it’s not so much about the room as the location, location, location, instead. For old-world grandeur, Midtown East and the Upper East Side are home to the Waldorf-Astoria, the Peninsula, and the Pierre, an elegant, historic hotel across the street from Central Park, which offers a taste of grand old New York to those staying in any of its 189 small — but freshly renovated — guest rooms. Hip downtown spots include such notables as the Gramercy Park Hotel and the Soho Grand, where guests can find an authentic but accessible taste of the trendy downtown scene. And the hotel still attracts its fair share of celebrities. Of course, you’ll also find outposts of every major hotel franchise — from the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental up by Central Park to the more down-to-earth Hilton,Westin, and Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
- Oyster.com Staff
More on the Holidays in New York City:
Best Holiday Shopping in New York
Best New York Hotel Holiday Decorations
Christmas in New York City
Host of Travel Channel’s Paranormal Paparazzi, Aaron Sagers shares his first-hand account of Hurricane Sandy‘s devastating hit on New York City.
Zombies come to mind. When the lights went out and the world seemed to shut down, as it did in my neighborhood near the East River in lower Manhattan, I automatically began thinking about the dozens of zombie flicks I grew up watching. But The Walking Dead this is not; instead, the source of my troubles is a Frankenstorm named Sandy.
Travel Channel’s Paranormal Paparazzi host, Aaron Sagers braves Hurricane Sandy in New York City.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that the Eastern Seaboard of the US is still reeling from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. Powerful wind gusts, up to 80 mph, have left more than 7 million people without power. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of evacuees have been rushed to emergency shelters; to help with disaster relief, consider a donation to the American Red Cross.
And unfortunately travelers haven’t been able to escape Sandy’s stormy grip. Airports in NYC and Philadelphia remain closed, and more than 13,000 flights were cancelled at airports in some states near the Great Lakes, where heavy snow is expected. And according to The New York Times, flooding in some areas has forced subways from Boston to Washington, DC, to shut down.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we’ve put together a few helpful tips just in case you’re stranded or you need to reschedule your travel plans. Cut through the clutter and get your travels back on track with our hurricane safety tips — what travelers should do before, during and after stormy weather strikes.
Looking for more travel tips and warm weather getaways?
From the Cayman Islands to Central Park, see where The Daily Escape took us this week.
Amazon River in South America | Stingray City in the Cayman Islands | Central Park in New York, NY | Villa Oliviero in Positano, Italy
By Kate Hards
“There’s a guy here wearing a PETA shirt,” wrote my confused co-worker in a text message. Liz met me at the 35th Street East River ferry landing for a quick boat ride to Meatopia on Randall’s Island. We were about to attend a one-day food festival featuring meat-centric dishes prepared by chefs from around the world … and there were vegans about to board?
At the dock, I inspected said t-shirt. In this case, PETA didn’t stand for the animal activist group, but rather “People Eating Tasty Animals,” a theme that was evident throughout Meatopia. Hoards of hungry carnivores descended upon the park and lined up to taste small plates and bites of tasty, tasty animals. The event was organized into Meat-themed neighborhoods in a large grassy field on the island: The Deckle District, Offalwood, Beaktown, Embassy Row, Meatopia Heights, Carcass Hill, The Quarter and the Game Reserve each had tents serving unique dishes prepared with humanely and naturally-raised meats. READ MORE
Ever wanted to tour one of the most historic ballparks in all of baseball? Tonight at 9|8c, watch as Trip Flip’s Bert Kreischer gives 2 vacationers the opportunity of a lifetime as he takes them on an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City – including a tour of Yankee Stadium led by former Major League Baseball star Harold Reynolds. READ MORE
Here at Travel Channel, we like tips — tips on how to pack, how to get a deal, where to go … you name it. The world is a pretty big place and it’s pretty difficult to know where and how to get everywhere. But the travel blogosphere is an even bigger place, so we scour it for even more ideas about how to travel like a pro.
Check out what we found this week:
The Everywhereist got a peek into the offices of Facebook in Palo Alto, CA, from its shrubbery (shaped like the Facebook logo!) to its mural-covered walls.
A storm rolled through New York City yesterday afternoon with black skies and unexpected hail, but through the power of social media, NYC was able to see what was coming before they could even Google “weather.”
- Courtesy of @dhanijones / d0057 on Instagram
From the vantage point of an airplane window, former NFL linebacker and Travel Channel host, Dhani Jones, Instagram-ed the storm and posted it to his Twitter feed, starting a storm of his own. While our Travel Channel offices in New York and DC were pummeled by the thunder, we were too excited about our old friend’s social media frenzy to even notice.
Find some of Dhani’s Travel Channel videos here and follow him on Twitter to see what he’s up to now.
Yesterday, the world lost the queen of romantic comedies: Nora Ephron. The movies that she wrote and directed are not only romantic movie staples, they are also about the cities where the relationships blossomed.
Although Nora Ephron is best known for writing and directing Sleepless in Seattle, which highlighted the waterfront communities of Seattle and Baltimore, her other movies celebrated another equally exciting place: Manhattan. When Harry Met Sally, Ephron’s first big hit, and You’ve Got Mail, which reunited actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan via dial-up internet, are both romantic comedy classics, as well as love letters to the city that gave her a voice — New York.
Relive Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s cross-country romance with our photos of Seattle’s sights and our gallery of Extreme Houseboats, which features homes like Tom’s in the movie.
by Holly Corbett
Paris may be the city of love, but New York is the city of sexiness. There’s enough food porn, chic wine bars and anonymity to put most couples in the mood to let their inhibitions go. If you’re looking to take your sweetheart to New York for Valentine’s Day, check out these hotels that are offering special packages to help electrify your romance.
For Couples Who Want … a Hot Night Out
Try the… The Room Mate Grace Hotel
The boutique hotel boasts NYC’s only indoor swim-up bar, which has a sexy club atmosphere with an extensive cocktail menu and a DJ who spins 5 nights a week. (If you also like to rock out together to live music, bands play regularly next door at Connolly’s Pub). The Room Mate Grace Hotel’s central location on one of the less busy avenues off Times Square is ideal for exploring some of NYC’s more iconic destinations, such as Broadway, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park.
Ask for the “Month of Love” specials any time in February and you’ll receive all of the Valentine’s Day necessities: a double room; 30-minute massage for 2; box of chocolates; bottle of champagne; use of the sauna and steam room; and — of course — rose petals on your table. The price without tax and tip is $425, and the regular price would be $810. (If you want only the above features and use of the aqua lounge minus the overnight stay, you can buy the package for $275). Email or call (212) 702-1643.