Few places are as classic as New York City. A picnic on a summer's day in Central Park, a crisp Manhattan poured by the legendary Norman Bukofzer, or a stroll through MoMA's latest exhibitions are all timeless Big Apple experiences. There are few hotels in NYC that are as enduring as the city's quintessential must-dos. The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is one such property that encapsulates the essence of the city and all its attractions.
Prominently placed along the south side of Central Park between 6th and 5th avenues, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park overlooks the 700-plus-acre park. When I arrived, I promptly dropped my bags and strolled across the street to one of the entrances to the pond area. Visitors can also rent a rowboat to experience Central Park from its quaint waterways. During the afternoon, via the Ritz's "Picnic in the Park" package, guests can savor a packed lunch by the hotel’s Executive Chef Mark Arnao. The package comes with a kite, Frisbee and stylish tote bag. Central Park is so massive that locating a little patch of green to toss a Frisbee or run about with a kite soaring above is quite feasible.
After a few hours outdoors, head to the cool hallways of the nearby Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), a quick 10-minute walk from the hotel, for a quiet respite. The museum is open daily and is complimentary during Target Free Friday Nights, held weekly from 4-8 p.m.
Back at the Ritz I returned just in time for Afternoon Tea. We weren't yearning for nibbles, thanks to our wholesome lunch, but the hotel’s teatime is consistently ranked among the top "must-dos" in the city. Held daily from 2-4 p.m. in the sophisticated splendor of the Star Lounge, afternoon tea is attended by the well-heeled traveler and New Yorker alike. The delicate stack of scones, mini cakes, delectable sandwiches and 20 or so premium teas make it a bona fide meal. Reservations are required.
In the evening, Norman Bukofzer, a Brooklyn native and a Ritz icon for decades often commands the Star Lounge. Known for his exquisite sips and pours, along with his uncanny, engaging New York style allure, Bukofzer has a longtime following with some of the city’s elite locals. He often wears ties donning ladybugs, New York State’s official insect. Prize pours include the Central Park Side Car with Grand Marnier and The Big Apple with Chilled Van Gogh Apple Vodka. Toasting one of Bukofzer’s Manhattans after a picturesque New York summer day is also divine.