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Westin Wellness in Manhattan

Westin Wellness in Manhattan

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Trip Plan Tags: 
arts + culture,
outdoors + nature,
spa + wellness
Destinations: 
Midtown East,
Midtown West,
New York,
New York City,
North America,
Soho,
United States

This trip features our famous parks, restaurants, sights and The Westin New York at Times Square Hotel. Destinations change. Your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to.

ITEMS

The Westin New York at Times Square

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Midtown

It's no coincidence that when people think of shopping in New York, they think of midtown—the buzzy commercial center of Manhattan harbors some of the country's best, and most expensive, retail space. Upper Madison Avenue is a virtual encyclopedia of the world's finest luxury brands, while tony Fifth Avenue has its own share of gilded names (many top brands have outposts on both). New York's great department stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Henri Bendel, can each warrant full-day excursions in themselves.

There's no such thing as downtime at Tiffany & Co.'s Fifth Avenue flagship. From the moment those hallowed doors open until they clang shut at night, the place is crawling with dazzled tourists, Upper East Side dowagers looking to add to their collections, and starry-eyed couples shopping for the big one. There's no surer way to qualify for parent of the year than by taking junior family members to FAO Schwarz. File past the toy soldier doormen into a cavernous space filled with everything from life-size stuffed animals to charmingly old-fashioned wooden toys. Art and design lovers find nirvana at the MoMA store, with for-sale versions of the high-design exhibits, Alvar Aalto glass vases, wacky Lomo cameras, and plenty of oddball items such as oversize novelty phones that really work and a modernist Flexus glass menorah.

Tom Ford's three-story flagship near Barneys is tricked out like a gentlemen's pied à terre with everything the modern dandy needs, from a tailoring service to a fragrance department. A few blocks north is Christian Louboutin, whose iconic red-soled heels are the cornerstone of many a New York woman's shoe collection. You don't have to be a bride-to-be to appreciate the wares at Vera Wang, a study in understated chic, from the vases of dark purple lilies to the racks of beautifully tailored resort and ready-to-wear at the top of the spiral staircase. (Viewing bridal wear is by appointment only.)

It might not be on the gilded retail strip, but Jean's Silversmiths is a gem worth hunting down—an insider source for vintage and estate jewelry as well as over 2,000 flatware patterns and sterling silver sets from American, English, Danish, and European designers.

Eating

Esca, New York

402 W. 43rd Street, Midtown West
New York City, New York 10036
Tel: 212 564 7272
Website: www.esca-nyc.com

You might not expect an austere-looking fish place near the Port Authority Bus Terminal to be a hot table for six years running, but Esca—the name means "bait"—is still reeling in the foodies. Its success has as much to do with its big-name backers (Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich) as it does with its chef/owner: David Pasternack grew up fishing on Long Island and still catches much of what he cooks up in the kitchen—if it's cooked at all. His specialty is crudo, best described as the Italian love child of sushi and ceviche: bite-size pieces of raw big-eye tuna with unfiltered olive oil and chives, say, or sweet Nantucket bay scallops with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and chervil. From there, things get progressively hotter, both in temperature and kick. Our favorites include the grilled octopus with preserved lemon and corona beans; spaghetti with lobster, chilis, and mint; and the day's catch, grilled and served with salsa verde. The all-Italian wine list promotes lesser-known varietals, but the sommelier is as approachable as you'd expect from a branch of the populist Batali empire.

Esca is our top choice for pre- and post-theater dining, but if it's booked solid (call up to a month in advance), avoid Restaurant Row, the block of W. 46th St. between Eighth and Ninth avenues, lined with brownstones and mediocre food. Head slightly farther afield instead: ViceVersa has interesting but solid pasta (325 W. 51st St., 212-399-9291; www.viceversarestaurant.com); Sushi Zen flies in fish daily from Japan (108 W. 44th St., 212-302-0707; www.sushizen-ny.com); and the ethnic joints on Ninth Avenue—Thai, Puerto Rican, Greek, you name it—are cheerful, reliable, and cheap.

See + Do

Hudson River Park, New York

Between Battery Place and W. 59th Street along the Hudson River
New York City, New York
Website: www.hudsonriverpark.org

A five-mile sliver of green between the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, this is downtown's open-space alternative to Central Park. Reclamation of the downtrodden waterfront is ongoing—though the area south of 23rd Street is already flourishing. Chelsea Piers (between W. 18th and W. 21st streets) is a year-round sports and recreation center with a driving range, bowling alley, restaurants, marina, and more. Pier 54 (at W. 13th St.) hosts film screenings and concerts. Further south, kids splash in the fountains on the Pier 51 playground (at Jane St.), and picnic space on the grassy knolls can be hard to come by when the temperature rises, especially on cruisey Pier 45 (at W. 10th St.), where the West Village's gay population comes to preen and sunbathe—this is the best place to get a glimpse of locals' enviable roof decks and the Richard Meier towers at Perry and Charles streets. The park's southernmost tier is a multi-million-dollar work in progress: Construction is underway to create lawns, bike paths, beach volleyball courts, a dog run, boat moorings, and a whole lot more, with the majority of work due to be completed in 2010. (For updates on progress, visit www.hudsonriverpark.org) The popular Trapeze School New York, which teaches you to fly through the air 24 feet up (with a safety net, naturally), has relocated to the top of Pier 40 for the duration of the construction. Aspiring trapeze artists can test their mettle from April until October while taking in views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty (212 242 8769, newyork.trapezeschool.com).

ALT HERE

See + Do

Central Park, New York

New York City, New York
Website: www.centralparknyc.org

New York City without the park is a dismal thought. Created by visionary landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the mid-1800s, the 843-acre park stands as the calming yang to the city's fervent go-go yin, with ample nooks and open fields to allow for just about any pursuit. (Did you catch that guy playing violin on a unicycle?) Its boundaries run from 59th St. north to 110th St. and from Fifth Ave. on the east side to Central Park West. There are simply too many attractions to list: First-timers might pick a section and wander-go-lucky, or hunt down specific sights. A good option is to begin from the southeast corner at 59th St. and Fifth Ave., near the iconic, newly revamped Plaza Hotel, and head diagonally northwest—you'll likely pass the Zoo (sorry—the Wildlife Center); the Sheep Meadow, a 15-acre field that serves as a prime summer tanning and pickup spot; the area near the volleyball nets where a faithful set of characters roller-skate to old disco tunes every weekend; and then arrive at the Bethesda Terrace, where two sets of stately stairs lead down to the Angel of the Waters Fountain and its lake. The area is the most picturesque spot in the park. The Loeb Boathouse, on the east side near 72nd St., is where New Yorkers come to have brunch and watch boaters; if they're feeling romantic (and energetic), they might even rent a boat themselves (212-517-2233; www.thecentralparkboathouse.com). If you find yourself in the northern tier, stroll through the Conservatory Gardens on the east side at 105th St.. The cheapest thrill in all of Manhattan is the Carousel at 64th Street—$1.50! The north end of the park, past the Reservoir, feels wilder and more remote, with trails that lead into the woods and past streams—you won't even feel like you're in New York. Always, you'll find characters, musicians, and a spot to be left alone—heaven in the city.

Eating

Jean Georges, New York

1 Central Park West, Midtown West
New York City, New York 10023
Tel: 212 299 3900
Website: www.jean-georges.com

Open since 1997, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's signature restaurant on Columbus Circle remains one of the world's greatest, despite the fact that the jet-setting chef's ever-expanding empire now comprises 17 restaurants across the globe. The nexus of this greatness springs from the master himself, who is often in the kitchen, checking plates as they go out. In the elegant dining room (resplendent in quiet beiges and whites with floor-to-ceiling windows), Vongerichten's army of impeccably trained waitstaff flits about, spooning Château Chalon sauce over turbot and rich jus over squab. The experience is swoon-worthy and you're charged accordingly, though thanks to the gently priced lunch (one of the city's best bargains) and the more casual Nougatine next door, even mere mortals can join the fun.

See + Do

Statue of Liberty, New York

Liberty Island
New York City, New York
Tel: 212 363 3200
Website: www.nps.gov/stli

It's hard to imagine a more evocative and familiar symbol of the United States than the lady with the torch, who has been welcoming travelers from across the ocean for more than 120 years. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's copper statue, which is wrapped around a framework designed by Gustav Eiffel, opened to the public in 1886. The statue's interior was temporarily closed following the September 11 attacks, but it reopened in 2004 with a new addition, a glass ceiling that allows visitors to look into the intricate inner structure of the statue. Visitors can also get a spellbinding view of the city from the observation deck in the crown, now (finally!) also reopened. Time passes are required and can be obtained by calling 866-782-8834 or reserving online at www.statuecruises.com.

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Soho

The area south of Houston has come in and out of fashion over the years, but one thing remains consistent: its high-hip shopping status. Weekends can be chaotic in these parts, between the harried locals, out-of-towners window shopping, and beautiful people clogging the cafés (Downtown Cipriani makes a prime coffee-break spot, if only for the chance to ogle the Euro jet set who frequent it). If possible, visit Soho during the week, when things are quieter and shop attendants aren't quite as preoccupied.

Start on Broadway, worship at the altar of Prada, and work your way over to Sixth Avenue by way of the neighborhood's cobblestone side streets. 3.1 Phillip Lim, an airy, uncluttered space, highlights the architectural dresses and diaphanous cardigans of one of the city's biggest design stars. For something a little racier, head to Kiki de Montparnasse, an upscale lingerie and "intimacy products" store that feels like the parlor of a particularly sophisticated dominatrix. Ina is the place to go for near-new designer wear like Chanel and Balenciaga that's often only a season out of date (sometimes less).

Natural history buffs will love Evolution, where every kind of fossil, bone, skull, medical model, and animal skin can be found, as well as less startling specimens like tribal art and seashells. Continue the theme at Distant Origin, where you'll find antler-based table lamps, zebra-skin poufs, and fur throw pillows mixed with Lucite stag heads, Fortuny silk lamps, and black glass chandeliers. Further east, drop in on Filipino jeweler Federico de Vera, whose madcap shop is filled with interesting antiques like Khmer sculptures, ivory combs, tortoiseshell boxes, and blown-glass insects. Moss feels like a small museum with carefully curated items that run the gamut from porcelain busts to Scandinavian side tables. You'll find more classic pieces at Ted Muehling's small shop on Howard Street, on the neighborhood's southeast fringe. The delicate silver and gold pieces include slightly asymmetrical oval bangles and earrings resembling grains of rice.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.