With its soaring skyscrapers and bustling taxi-filled streets, world-class entertainment – from ballet to Broadway – and top restaurants, not to mention the 24-hour neon glow of Times Square, Manhattan is arguably the most exciting island on the planet. A hub of publishing, finance and the arts, be forewarned: New York City will sweep you off your feet.
Located on floors 35-54 of the Time Warner Center’s northern tower on the southwest corner of Central Park, Mandarin Oriental, New York is a quick elevator ride away from The Shops at Columbus Circle for fashion favourites such as Coach, True Religion, Hugo Boss and a playground for cooks, Williams-Sonoma. Stroll across the park to Madison Avenue for Gucci, Louboutin and Chanel, to name a few, plus gems such as Yuta Powell’s beautifully curated womenswear. And sip bubbly while you shop at the new Ralph Lauren women’s store (across the street from the men’s ‘Polo Mansion’). For up-and-coming designers and independent labels, head south to Nolita. Check out Duncan Quinn for slim-fitting men’s suits, and Blue Bag (+1 212 966 8566) for unique totes. The flagship Sigerson Morrison on Prince Street is a must for shoe lovers, while bibliophiles will adore the neighbouring McNally Jackson bookstore.
Make time to explore Central Park’s Zoo, Conservatory Garden and Belvedere Castle, and miles of walking and biking paths. Concerts are held on the Great Lawn in the summer, and in the winter there’s ice-skating. While wandering through, visit the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side and the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side.
Skip the queues for the Empire State Building and enjoy a better view from the Top of the Rock observation deck at the Rockefeller Center. At sunset, walk across the mile-long Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan for amazing skyline views.
Watch a performance at the newly refurbished Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and American Ballet Theater, and view the latest modern art exhibition at MoMA before refreshing your art history among the Old Masters of The Frick Collection, on show in the neoclassical mansion of former steel magnate and arts patron Henry Clay Frick. It’s worth a visit just for the house and garden. New York’s contemporary art hub is in West Chelsea, where the High Line – a mile-long elevated park made out of an abandoned railway freight line – allows art lovers to gallery-hop from Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street. Check out photography at Bruce Silverstein Gallery and for collectors looking for the next Jeff Koons there’s James Cohan Gallery. Art critic Merrily Kerr of New York Art Tours leads excellent tours of the district.