A Guide to Falling in Love with New York City

April 24, 2013

“I was in love with New York. I do not mean ‘love’ in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again.” 

- Joan Didion

My lovely followers often write me for advice on what to see, where to eat, or where to stay when going away, in particular to New York. So when a lovely couple I met in Amalfi wrote to ask my advice on their upcoming trip to New York, I could not help but write this long overdue post.

I’ve had the good fortune of visiting this fascinating city many times, each experience gifting me with new and exciting memories. I first visited NYC when I was 10 years old and vividly remember seeing the lights of Times Square for the very first time. Even then I could feel the city’s energy pulse through me, awestruck by the enormity of it all, lost among skyscrapers, yellow taxis and sidewalks filled with fascinating people.

Since then I’ve returned to New York several times to enjoy a romantic carriage ride through Central Park, shopping on Fifth Avenue and delicious dinners at some the city’s finest restaurants. 

Though I usually prepare a small list of things I’d like to see or do before going away, my adventure generally ends up being about where the day takes me. Holidays are one of the only times we can truly be free to do what we want when we want, so I like to live vicariously in the moment.

That being said, my favorite thing to do in New York is stroll the streets and let the city guide me, but if you want to make sure you capture the important landmarks, here’s my breakdown for you.


  • Walk the streets of SoHo, Greenwich Village, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District to find all kinds of stylish boutiques, music stores, hip restaurants, etc.
  • Visit the Upper East Side and see the stunning multi-million dollar townhomes. I love art, so go visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum!
  • Central Park is obviously a must-see. Go for a walk, jog or just sit and enjoy the beauty. If you get the chance, take a carriage ride. I know it’s a bit touristy but it’s a lovely way to see the park and a bit fairy-tale like, and let’s face it, what woman doesn’t like a fairy-tale :)  
  • Go to Battery Park and watch the sunset over the Hudson River. It’s truly stunning!
  • Take a stroll along Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, the designer window displays are beautiful and all the make-up counters will apply your make-up for free. I did mine a few times when I was not up to doing it myself. (Professional makeup application for my pictures).    
  • You can’t go to NYC and not visit the infamous Canal Street in Chinatown where everyone purchases their cheap knockoffs. I had a laugh going into their private rooms to see their collections. They also had a lot of perfume at great prices.
  • Though packed with people and tourists, everyone should see Times Square's bright lights at night. All the Broadway theaters are also close by, so if you like the theatre book to see a show. I had the good fortune of visiting the David Letterman set. I sat at his desk and stood before the mirror where the celebrities stand before going on set. It felt surreal to say the least.
  • Visit the Empire State Building and enjoy a great panoramic view of the city.   
  • The famous Art Deco NYC landmark – Rockefeller Center – is also a must, especially if you go in the wintertime when the Christmas tree is lit up and everyone is out skating. So lovely! 


New York has some of the best restaurants in the world and though the city’s vast culinary landscape offers something for every taste and budget, selecting a restaurant can feel overwhelming, so here are my suggestions: ABC Kitchen in Gramercy; Babbo Ristorante and Enoteca or Bobo in the West Village; Dragonfly in the Upper East Side; 15 EAST, Daniel or Del Posto in Manhattan; Jean Georges in Central Park West. My advice is to look into restaurants and make reservations to the ones you really like because they can be very difficult to get into once you’re there.

There’s also Little Italy for Italian food or China Town for authentic Chinese/Cantonese, but note that it’s not like the amazing Italian food in Italy! (Nothing is for that matter).

Gourmet dining is wonderful, but during the day I always enjoy a warm pretzel with mustard, sandwiches at Dean & Deluca, and cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.


A hotel can either enhance your vacation experience or put a damper on it, so here are my picks for an exciting stay in New York City.

1|     Ace Hotel New York
2|     Andaz 5th Avenue
3|     Crosby Street Hotel
4|     Gramercy Park Hotel
5|     The Bowery Hotel
6|     The Bryant Park Hotel
7|     The Mercer
8|     Thompson LES

Regardless of whether you go to New York City for the Broadway shows and museums, or the great shopping and restaurants, this vibrant city will cast her magic spell on you and have you falling in love. 

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