Romancing the Big Apple

Cuddling up on a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park, fine French dining, an embrace at the top of the Empire State Building - here are 10 of the best romantic moments New York has to offer.

By Joanna Hall (Photography by Ben Hall)


It’s a scene which is repeated hundreds and possibly thousands of times every day: couples strolling arm in arm through Central Park in the shadows of the world’s most recognisable skyline.

New York City, despite all its bluster and attitude, is one of the most romantic places in the world with a mind-blowing array of experiences for couples to indulge in.

Everything seems to revolve around Manhattan - a long sliver of an island which cuts the Hudson River on one side and East River on the other - and its street-level craziness is as fun as it is overwhelming.

A most beautiful, and romantic, time of year to visit this majestic city is after the summer heat, when the leaves on the trees are turning golden, and the days are still pleasantly mild.

Here are 10 ways to enjoy the Big Apple with your 'significant other'.

1. A Room With A View

It’s no secret that even average hotel rooms cost the proverbial arm and a leg on Manhattan, so you may as well go for broke. For unrivalled views over Central Park and the Midtown skyline, the Mandarin Oriental on floors 35 to 54 of the Time Warner Building is regarded as the leading innovator on the New York Hotel scene.


2. Riding Through Central Park

After a stroll through one of the world’s great parks, time to take a horse drawn carriage, or 'hansom cab', and clip-clop your way around the southern end of the park. The carriages operate from near the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Don’t worry if it’s a bit chilly - your driver will give you a blanket to snuggle under. Rickshaw rides are also an option, and local riders are more than happy to give you the lowdown on their city.





3. The Boathouse Cafe

Your driver or rider will happily drop you off at the Boathouse Cafe in Central Park - it’s quite simply the most relaxed and elegant way to do lunch on Manhattan, and surprisingly it’s moderately priced given its reputation and superb setting. It was the location for a scene with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal from When Harry Met Sally (not Meg’s famous big 'O' performance) and it also pops up occasionally as a lunch venue for the ladies in the television series Sex and the City.


4. Floating On Water

It’s a romantic cliché which has to be done at least once in a lifetime - with your partner on the bow of rowboat, or behind the oars, on a stretch of water simply called The Lake. Ducks and swans glide up to you, probably looking for scraps of bread, and all around you is the serenity of Central Park. Just beyond is that famous skyline and its street life which appears remarkably calm from this perspective.


5. The Empire State Building

It’s been dubbed the Cathedral of the Skies, and to really get a feeling of the scale New York City, the journey to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building is a rite of passage for anyone who visits. It has a hypnotic effect, and it’s no wonder the Observation Deck has been used in romantic feature films Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember. Even King Kong brought his date up here!


6. Ice Skating

From October to April, ice skating at Rockerfeller Center is a very New York thing to do. And even if you’ve never skated before, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. And besides, if you have someone with you, it means you have something to hang on to if you’re about to fall.


7. Shopping At Tiffany’s

Shopaholics beware! This place will send you on a bender to beat all shopping binges. If you can show self-restraint, save it for Fifth Avenue where clothes shops and department stores compete for your credit card.

Tiffany’s - made famous by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s - has high quality jewellery, china and crystal. And if their prices scare you off, make like Hepburn’s character Holly Golightly and grab a coffee and pastry. It’s on 727 Fifth Avenue, (57th St)


8. Be Pampered At Bliss

After running around the streets of Manhattan, you want to look good for your big night out and the oh-so-cool Bliss Spa (various locations) is very 'Sex and the City'. For guys the 'Homme Improvement' is a masculine triple oxygen facial and for the ladies the 'Oxygen Blast' freshens and revives.


9. Dinner For Two

Paris aside, Manhattan is one of the best places in the world for dining à deux, and Alain Ducasse’s Essex House restaurant is rated THE place to go for culinary decadence. Traditionally French with a sumptuous setting, the Essex House serves up all the romantic classic dishes - foie gras, truffles, lobster, soufflés etc. It’s on 155 W58 Street.


10. The Times Square Kodak Moment

Newlyweds bunch up together with the bawdy neon billboards as a backdrop and have their wedding photos taken, and elsewhere other couples dodge the madding crowd to do the same. Times Square typifies New York’s street level grit and glamour.


FACT FILE

Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver via Honolulu, and connects from Vancouver to New York. Call 1300 655 767 or visit www.aircanada.com. Virgin Blue connects from most Australian cities to Sydney. Call 13 67 89 or visit www.virginblue.com.au.

For more information on the Mandarin Oriental, New York, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/newyork

For the best in luxury travel, visit www.ultimatetravel.net.au












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