A city of mostly canyons made of sky-high towers and neon, New York has always been the benchmark for first-rate dining, unparalleled shopping, cultural events and total coolness. Its diversity shines as bright as the high-voltage hues of Times Square — and its busy streets are dusted with an urban mix of museums, restaurants, shopping districts and more than a generously irresistible amount of compelling chaos.
For hopeless romantics, New York also has an unmistakable romantic allure. Love is always in the air and bliss can be found practically anywhere. From carriage rides and rowboat rides in Central Park to sunset-watching and whispered sweet nothings perched above the city at the Empire State Building — very little comes close to making a romantic statement like New York.
We’ve put together a few itinerary suggestions to get you lovebirds started.
Home Away From Home
Check into the fashionably genteel and Edith Wharton-esque Inn at Irving Place at 17th Street — it’s ideal for popping open Champagne and curling up in a bed made of crisp white linens. The neighborhood is perfect for hand-holding strolls around Gramercy Park — which also happens to be Manhattan’s oldest residential neighborhood (some say the best streets to wend your way along are Irving Place and 19th Street).
Another great option? W New York (it’s got five chic outposts around the city, including Midtown, Union Square and Times Square).
When it’s time to hit the streets, start by stealing kisses in front of the famous gated verdant park, but keep an eye out for the house where Teddy Roosevelt was born (28 E. 20th Street), the Gramercy Park Hotel where an 11-year-old JFK lived (2 Lexington Avenue) and the National Arts Club, the city’s largest Victorian mansion (15 Gramercy Park South). Cuddle and coo over espresso at Pete’s Tavern — the city’s oldest bar — then move on with a taxi to Central Park. Work up an appetite by skating at the Wollman Rink followed up by a spin to the tunes of a calliope on the 1908 carousel that’s one of the country’s largest — then show up at Central Park Boathouse for lunch.
Afterwards, hail a horse-drawn carriage for the ride out (be warned, though, the rides are not cheap) to Fifth Avenue’s homage to high-style fashion. Don’t forget to share a few smooches on the way.
Start window-browsing at Tiffany’s at 57th Street, and by the time you get to Saks Fifth Avenue at 50th Street you’ll be at the Art Deco Rockefeller Center. Sure, it can be a bit touristy, but it still will take your breath away — and the view of the skating rink, topped off by the famous Paul Marship gold sculpture of Prometheus, is kiss-inspiring. Continue strolling down Fifth to Bryant Park at 42nd Street. Rest a bit on a bench amid statues commemorating literary figures ranging from Goethe to Gertrude Stein before setting out to nuzzle up for a memorable sunset and “O say can you see” views from the Observation Deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.
For dinner, book a table for two in the sumptuously romantic dining room of Turkish Kitchen, which serves up some of the best Turkish food in the city.
After breakfast, spend your morning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of the finest collections in the world, the museum boasts more than 2,000,000 works of art spanning more than 5,000 years. More than 50 galleries are just devoted to vast collections of European art and nearly as many for American art. The ancient Egyptian art rivals anything outside of Cairo and the Greco-Roman galleries are filled with some of the most important pieces in the world. Don’t forget to see Rembrandt’s sketch of DeVinci’s “Last Supper,” Botticelli’s “Annunciation” and the living room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Have lunch at the Met’s Petrie Court Cafe before catching the M4 bus in front of the museum that will take you to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park near 190th Street. The Cloisters are a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so the same ticket will get you in. On a four-acre stretch, with stunning views of the Hudson River, you’ll find art and architecture of the European Middle Ages.
After returning to Midtown, have an early dinner at Le Madeleine in the Theater District — so there’s plenty of dining time before the curtain goes up on anyone of dozens of shows to choose from. After the final curtain call, stop in for a nightcap at Sardi’s before heading back to your hotel.
Head downtown on the 4 or 5 subway to Bowling Green to board the Statue Cruises ferry, which departs year-round from downtown at Battery Park, stopping at both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Follow that up with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge for lunch at the River Cafe — perhaps the most romantic restaurant in all of New York with consistently fabulous food to match the fabulous views.
After lunch, grab a taxi back to Manhattan for your late afternoon side-by-side massage appointment at the Oasis Day Spa, which also happens to be a stone’s throw from the inn. Opt for a light bite at the Cibar Lounge, albeit one with some fab martinis, for more winding down, back at the hotel before turning in for the night.
–-written by Lauren Price