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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-06-28 07:29:35

new york

new york




Norah Casey delves under the touristy veneer of the
Big Apple, uncovers Manhattan’s secrets and shares the

famous city’s hidden gems and must-see attractions.
Prepare to learn something you never knew about a city

that attracts over 50 million tourists annually.

travel special

Ihave to admit to my own little secret metropolis. But I was destined to go. Why? Manhattan. And while he chattered about the
about NewYork. But let me explain first Well let me make a slight detour to explain. long list of places he wanted to see I groaned
before I reveal all. Because the clichés inwardly at the thoughts of trudging around
surrounding Manhattan are ingrained A famous celebrity couple announced the tourist attractions, paying over the odds
in us from an early age there is almost an in recent times a “conscious uncoupling”. for average food and fighting for the privilege
expectation that you couldn’t possibly not Intriguing phrase and a bit perplexing. But if of spending long periods with a grumpy taxi
be excited by a trip to New York. The mere you have children and you pay a small fortune driver in the permanently traffic-clogged
mention of a forthcoming visit to the Big to take them to far flung corners of the earth streets. I can almost hear you saying, “Pity
Apple elicits envious comments of “lucky to broaden their minds and transform them for you HAVING to go to Manhattan.” But
you” and catapults even the most laid back into mini-globe trotters I have news for you. it is because I was dreading the trip that I
traveller into a whirlwind of planning for fear It’s a waste of time and money. They hardly unearthed all the amazing secrets and things
any of that magical, must-have “excitement” ever remember it. I now realise (too late) that that I am now about to share with you.
might be missed. But after a few visits you there is such a thing as“conscious holidaying”
realise that like all great capitals, New York with your off-spring. So it is that the 15-year- So instead of criticising me for being a
is a complex multi-layered city and tourists old had a stand up row when I said he had spoiled brat who should be grateful for a
rarely scratch the surface. already been to New York three times with trip to New York you are going to thank
me when he was younger. It wasn’t until me… because I guarantee that by the time
And here’s the admission. Sometimes the I unearthed the pictures of him at various you read this you will have learned things
excitement is more about the expectation iconic landmarks – the Empire State Building, you never ever knew about New York. You
than the reality. I have been to New York Time Square, Grand Central – that he realised will approach your next trip with genuine
many times for work and pleasure and after I was telling the truth. But it doesn’t count he excitement and you will come back with tales
the first couple of trips I hardly dared admit told me because he doesn’t remember. far more interesting. Nothing stays a secret
to myself let alone friends that I was a little too long in New York and for a brief period
underwhelmed with the prospect of another So after much begging and promises to of time you have the edge. Don’t spoil it too
stint in that frenetic, concrete jungle of a study harder for the Junior Cert the plan soon.
was hatched to return “consciously” to


1BEST PLACE TO STAYBeforeyougoinsearch location is great (near Central Park CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group in North America
of the holy grail of New and Bloomingdales!), the price is (he has a second boutique hotel at Grand Central
York’s hidden gems the very competitive, facilities are just on 44th street). The same family owns the Fitzpatrick
in downtown, high-rise on the Castle Hotel in Dublin (formerly Killiney Castle). John’s
Upper East Side, traditional luxury, family have been in the hotel business for decades. In
contemporary‘spaces’at all price 1991 he opened Fitzpatrick’s Manhattan and among
his early hotel guests were the Taoiseach of the day
most important decision levels from budget to blow the bank. right and the service is exceptional. Albert Reynolds, President Mary Robinson and iconic
actor Gregory Peck. The hotel has evolved into a home
of all is where to base But the one place I go back to again In a city not always known for its from home for Ireland’s famous and not so famous
visitors and became a nucleus for the Irish community
yourself. I have done my fair share of and again is Fitzpatrick’s Manhattan warmth and helpfulness, Fitzpatrick’s in New York. John’s philanthropic work, primarily for
a peace and reconciliation centre in Northern Ireland
New York’s varied accommodation (57th and Lexington). Yes, because is a haven. I suspect the front of and Barrettstown, earned him an OBE from the Queen.
John’s drive and reputation has seen the hotel host
options from apartments to it’s Irish-owned and I feel a sense of house team take their impeccable fundraisers for New York’s elite including President and
Hilary Clinton with famous Irish faces such as Liam
boutique hotels. I’ve covered new loyalty but mostly because it just cues from the main man himself Neeson and Gabriel Byrne frequenting the bar. But all
that aside – whether you’re known or not known you
luxury hotel openings, low-rise works. The rooms are spacious, the John Fitzpatrick, President and will be treated the same by the front of house team at
SHOPPINGTIPSNewYork is a mecca for Madison Avenue (60th/61st); Upper Fitzpatrick’s. The concierge in particular was incredibly
knowledgeable and nothing was too big a problem.
2 shopaholics but if, like me, East; telephone 212.826.8900; email I can’t emphasise how rare that is, even in New York’s
high-end hotels. So the best secret I can impart is when
it comes to finding a base that ticks all the boxes and
allows you the freedom to explore and experiment in
NYC pick Fitzpatrick’s .

Unusual Shopping

you have some in your [email protected] Iconic designer Rebecca Minkoff is always
ahead of the trend (Twitter live streams
group not as keen on shopping as you SAKS FIFTH AVENUE backlight her runways) and now she has taken
her digital design focus one step further with
are then advance preparation will make; 611 Fifth Avenue Sentient Dressing Rooms at her 96 Prince
Street store (in partnership with eBay).

sure you make the most of your time. (49th/50th); Midtown; telephone The first challenge is
an easy one – place an
Download the main department store 212.753.4000; email [email protected] order for coffee using
the giant touchscreen
apps (it will save you lots of time if you BLOOMINGDALES; Bloomingdales. and then browse the
collection to request
know what brands they stock and what com 1000 Third Avenue (59th) Upper items to be placed in your dressing room. You can
also do some old fashioned touch and feel shopping
items are on sale). East; telephone 212.705.2000; 504 if you would prefer. The dressing room, however,
is where all the action takes place. The mirror acts
BERGDORF GOODMAN Broadway; Soho; 212.729.5900. as your personal assistant – just hold up the item
of clothing – a jacket or trousers for instance - and; 754 Fifth MACY’S;; 151 west 34th it will tell you what colours and sizes it’s available
in and despatch them to your dressing room.
Avenue (58th), Midtown; telephone Street Midtown (and other locations);

212.753.7300; email clientservices@ telephone 212.695.4400 (sign up for Best Kept Secret email alerts on the web site).


Sample Sales & ShoppingTours This place is much more than a boutique. For

New York has great sample sales but you need to check the listings close to the something different and a genuine bargain, this is the
time when you plan to visit or even when you arrive. The following websites
are good sources of sales listings. Some require registration and at the time of place. Selling new and“gently-used”high-end designer
writing this all of these sites were free.
Top Button Comprehensive sample sales listings. items (think Chanel belts, Prada jackets Pucci classic
The Budget Fashionista For latest sales listings.
New York Magazine Daily updates including what’s hot (see tote bag), this mecca has been the best kept NYC
Best Bets Daily) register for the Fashion Alert for upcoming sample sales.
Time Out New York See Shop Talk (Check Out section) also shopping secret for more than two decades. And as if
lists weekly sample sales in print edition.
Shopping tours that’s not enough, all of the profits go to a homeless
Guided shopping trips are one way to shop as the Manhattanites do. Christina
Stanton has been around since 1994 and is widely regarded as a licensed New charity, ACE (owner of the shop Henry Buhl is the
York City Tour Guide. While she does the usual sights my recommendation is for
her shopping tours (and it comes from a good source). founder of ACE). Use Your Head also has some beautiful
Check out her web site clothing and
vintage items and stock turns

over regularly with donations

from some of New York’s top

designers, well-heeled ladies

and even super models drop off

some coveted items. Well worth a


THE LITTLE PEOPLE and more importantly…how to get in
BEAUTY & ESSEX This fantastic secret haunt is
(INDULGEYOURINNERCHILD)BROOKLYNSUPERHERO fronted by a pretty authentic pawn shop at street spiral staircase leading to a VIP bar for after dinner
SUPPLYCO;3725THAVENUEBROOKLYNNY; level with vintage jewellery (necklaces and Rolexes) fun and drinks. It gets my top marks (and I am
SUPERHEROSUPPLIES.COM hanging in cabinets. It also featured a very large very, very fussy) for the best ladies powder room
bouncer standing tall and firm at the back of the complete with a Champagne bar (free and no
This is a fantastic place – especially if you’re in the shop. But we said the magic words: ”We have a one was leaving anytime soon), beautiful vintage
market for high quality crime fighting merchandise. reservation”, and he opened the door with a smile perfume bottles, makeup, toiletries and brilliant
Here you can practice your cape flying skills and to reveal one of NYC’s coolest dining spots. We had gossip (even though I didn’t know any of the
get your hands on some handy lab supplies – x-ray made a booking for dinner but as with all hip and people they were talking about). 146 Essex Street
vision powder, superpower tonics and a personal happening New York night spots it is almost de (Lower East Side);
flight shield. You can adopt a multitude of secret rigueur to wait for the table even if you turn up on
identities and get your hands on a particle gun or time. But it was no hardship to hang out at the bar
a photon shooter. Superheroes flock to this uber sipping cocktails, watching the action and taking in
cool Brooklyn shop but it has the cool décor. And when we did get to our table
a secret. There’s a doorway the tapas style food was great (sashimi of tuna; beef
hidden behind a swinging Carpaccio; lobster tacos) and perfect for our table
bookshelf that leads to a of eight. And we quickly realised that there was
secret lair where kids from no need to leave as the night moved on around
six years old up to 18 learn us – great music across three floors with a stunning
how to read and write. The
store is a funding source THE BLIND BARBER PDT
for bestselling author
Dave Eggers’student Old-fashioned barber shop at For something that started
literacy programme – the front but walk through for as the acronym for Please
it’s cool in every way a great cocktail bar and sample Don’t Tell – this was one of the
possible. a Sweeney Ted or a Smoke first of NYC’s famous hidden
& Dagger. Cool hipster vibe. speakeasies for a short period
MUSEUMWITHADIFFERENCE Barber shop by day and a bar at the back, open from of time before becoming so famous that queues began
6pm to 4am, no reservations. 39 E 10TH STREET (EAST to form. In order to get into this reservations-only
THE MORBID ANATOMY MUSEUM; 424 3rd Avenue VILLAGE); BLINDBARBER.COM speakeasy bar, enter the phone booth in Crif Dogs (the
Brooklyn (corner of 7th street); www.morbidanatomy hot dog place next door) pick up the phone, and press THE GARRET the buzzer once (and only once). A hostess answers and
— if approved — the wall of the phone booth opens to
Billed as a museum that explores“death and beauty This hidden haunt is above let you into this secret bar with taxidermied animals and
and that which falls between the cracks”you can West Village Five Guys (burger trendy cocktails. 113 ST MARKS, EAST VILLAGE;
expect to learn something new. Well I certainly did joint), you access it via the PDTNY.COM
and came away with a few unusual anecdotes for stairwell, past the burger
dinner conversations. The permanent collection counter (turn left at the BATHTUB GIN
features over 2000 books and unusual memorial ketchup dispenser) and go up two floors. The enormous
artworks including natural history specimens and chandeliers will give you a clue that you are in the right During the day the Stone
wax embryological models. If you’re lucky you might place – that and the well-stocked bar. Think rockers Street Coffee Company is
be there for one of the museums lecture series or and art-house in terms of vibe. Great classic cocktails really a coffee shop but come
workshops on topics such as bejewelled skeletons, – gimlets, highballs along with more contemporary evening there is yet another
books bound in human skin and anthropomorphic creations and yes, it also sells burgers. 296 BLEEKER NYC speakeasy lounge
mouse taxidermy. At the moment the Museum is STREET ; GARRETNYC.COM behind an unmarked door and the reason for the
showcasing a temporary exhibition titled the Art name is all too apparent, with a copper bathtub right
of Mourning. As you might expect it features some THE RAINES LAW in the centre of the bar. 132 9TH AVENUE (CHELSEA);
strange paraphernalia on mourning including ROOM BATHTUBGINNY.COM
post-mortem photography; death masks and hair
art shadowboxes ( I bet you don’t know the first Head for the unmarked NITECAP Not technically
thing about hair art – I even got to examine a broach stairwell – yes you are in the
with six different strands of hair entwined). A visit right place, ring the doorbell a hidden speakeasy this little
to the shop is a must for gifts with a difference – a and voilà, an upmarket bar basement gem opened last
two headed chic taxidermy; histology plates, cardiac where you don’t even have to leave your table to get year and quickly built up a loyal
wallpaper, girl in a coffin doll… buy buy buy because served – just press the button and the waiting staff will following – the entrance is just
you’ll never see the like again. come get your order. 48 W. 17TH STREET (FLATIRON); to the left of Schapiro’s on the
Visit the website for the full calendar of events. RAINESLAWROOM.COM Lower East Side. The 18-page cocktail booklet is strong
on rye and the vibe is unpretentious and witty. Perfect
APOTHEKE As the name suggests Apotheke is a for a nightcap and with seating for 40 it’s first come first
cross between a chemist lab and a pharmacy. Cocktails TELEPHONE 212.466.3361 EMAIL INFO@NITECAPNYC.
include prescriptions of stimulants and aphrodisiacs COM
and the bar proclaims that all of the ingredients are
local and organic and many from the rooftop garden. 9 THE BACK ROOM
A fake delivery side entrance door implies this is a toy
EMPLOYEES ONLY Spot the fortune teller at shop but this speakeasy bar does beer in paper bags
and cocktails in teacups. 102 NORFOLK STREET (LOWER
the front and walk past to enter a high end bar with EAST SIDE); BACKROOMNYC.COM
great cocktails. 510 HUDSON STREET (WEST VILLAGE)


this Meatpacking district restaurant has been around
for a decade and when it opened it broke the mould in

12ROOMWITHAVIEWthis space – others have since emulated it. It was a busy

night and we had great fun and enjoyed the sharing
and banter so go with that in mind and enjoy.
Spice Market 403 West 13th Street; tel: 212 6752322;

If you want to really get to the underbelly of New York’s A tough one
foodie haunts then a bit of groundwork in advance because NYC Mingle with the world’s diplomats at the United Nations
will pay off. For supper and entertainment look no has some of Delegates Dining Room now open to the public from
further than Spring St Society which organises eclectic the best ice 11.30am to 2.30pm for a fixed price weekday global
gatherings that might include a cabaret, a variety show cream shops in lunch buffet ($34.99) – reservations 24 hours in advance
or a pop-up dining experience. Join the mailing list the world and are a must (call 1-917-367-3314). The dining room is
through as a new one on the 4th floor of the UN Headquarters with floor to
opens the fickle ceiling windows and a panoramic view of the East
6THESECRETTOEATINGIN Manhattanites River and NYC skyline. The buffet is a mix of salads and
STRANGE LOCATIONS switch allegiance to the newcomer with queues carvery station and it changes daily. UNITED NATIONS
quickly forming to sample the latest offering. I have a PLAZA, 1ST AVENUE BETWEEN 42ND AND 48TH
Avant garde dining/performance art group, A Razor, good friend in the Upper West Side who is addicted STREET; VISIT.UN.ORG
A Shiny Knife was founded by three men with an eye to ice cream and will travel all over the city to chase a
for culinary theatrics. Describing themselves as an new offering. So acting as my guide she brought me 13 THE SECRET GARDEN
experimental marketing and media agency this supper to some fantastic ice cream havens and I now have an
club was co-founded by chef and artist Michael J official favourite ice cream store in Manhattan – that’s 1STSTREETGARDEN,48
Cirino. In the past this group has turned a subway car how local I am. You have to be prepared to experiment EAST 1ST ST.
into a full service restaurant. If you want to know more at Odd Fellows. It offers eight rotating flavours daily,
then get on the mailing list, only a few make the grade and when I say unusual here is a typical selection of Lots of gardens in the
for each event but it could be you. some of the 130-plus flavours they have created to East Village from the well- date: Lychee Cilantro; Cornbread; Buttermilk Blueberry manicured to the quirky
Honey, Chorizo Caramel Swirl; Burnt Marshmallow; PB – 1st Street Garden was
7 BEST SEAFOOD & J (peanut butter & jelly) With Toast; Miso Butterscotch saved from the property
Cherry; Tobacco Leaf Smoked Chili Huckleberry; Beet developers by a group of
The first night we arrived in New York we asked for a Pistachio. 75 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second neighbours who now own and tend to this hidden little
recommendation from the concierge at Fitzpatrick’s Avenue); gem. At the moment there are murals of“Women who
Hotel and he directed us to this amazing restaurant made a difference in America.”
called The Seafire Grill. The menu features a raw bar 10BESTTOURISTYTHINGTODO
with East and West Coast oysters, Chilled Lobster, and
our own choice for five of us was the Seafood Sampler I am a big fan of those hop-on,hop-off bus tours – I
($32) with clams, shrimp, oysters, and lobster. We also know they might be touristy but it’s a really great way
sampled the yellow fin tuna tartar (served with wasabi to get to know the city and what to go back to and
and seaweed salad) – excellent. The popular choice of explore further. We had a few first timers in my party
main course was the Sea Fire Grill’s Surf & Turf which all including the teenager who claimed never to have
but the big guys couldn’t get through – it features SFG been, so we opted for a boat tour to get up close and
buttery whole Maine lobster and delicious dry-aged personal with the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and
filled mignon. Manhattan’s iconic buildings and bridges. We took the
Landmark Cruise ($35 per adult, $24 per child) with
As if that wasn’t enough we had a side order of the New York Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises (ticket
Lobster Mac & Cheese – by far the best version we had booths at Pier 83 West 42nd St) reserve in advance at
in NYC but incredibly rich and filling (and fattening!). I’ve done tours with them in the past
Seafire Grill 158 East 48th Street (btw Lexington & 3rd and they’re reliable with good commentary. You pass
Aves; tel: 212 9353785; email [email protected]; every sight twice so double the chances of getting the perfect picture. The teenager got some good selfies
with the Statue of Liberty from every angle! We also
8 BEST BUZZ got to see the Titanic Pier (Pier 54), Wall Street, Brooklyn
Bridge, the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building
Best to book in advance and be prepared to wait for without moving from our spot on the deck. We did
your table even if you turn up on time but the Spice our fair share of walking in New York so this cruise
Market is worth it for theatrics and fun factor alone. was a nice leisurely way of viewing the best of lower
Some restaurants you go to for the food and some for Manhattan.
the atmosphere – Spice Market is for the latter. Best
described as reimagined high-end Asian street food 11 BEST KARAOKE 14THE EMPIRE STATE
One of the best nights in New York involved karaoke
and Saki until 4am followed by great food from

a nearby street cart. Possibly the only time I have There is an ill-conceived 200-foot airship mooring mast

experienced first-hand the“city that doesn’t sleep”. on the top of the Empire State Building and although

We sauntered home at 6am relishing the fact that treacherous winds ensured that it never did become a

at last we had experienced an all-nighter in NYC. docking station for dirigibles (think Graf Zeppelin and

We were with locals who knew the best speakeasy, Goodyear Blimp) it was nonetheless a very clever move

neighbourhood restaurant and best of all a cool on behalf of the investors and architects to ensure it

karaoke bar that stayed open until 4am. Pulse Karaoke took its place at the world’s tallest building for nearly

in Time Square was great fun and you can dream you 40 years. The famous photo of the dirigible Los Angeles

were a rock star for at least one night. docking at the Empire State Building is a fake.


15 AND BECAUSE 16The SecretTrain
WE’RE IRISH Platform under the
poignant reminder of the Great Famine, those Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan
who lost their lives and those who landed on
Ellis Island in the 1840s (the memorial offers So here’s a secret about New York that not even many New Yorkers
a panoramic view of the Statue of Liberty know about. Underneath the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel there is a train
and Ellis Island). The memorial was opened track that was once used by Franklin D. Roosevelt and other VIPs
in 2002 complete with turf from the west of to access the hotel in privacy. Track 61, first used in 1938, is now
Ireland and stones from different counties. abandoned but a large private elevator which still exists used to
The cottage was donated by the Slack family transport Roosevelt’s armoured car to the hotel’s garage. The train car
in Mayo in memory of the generations who that was used to transport him is parked on the abandoned track,
immigrated to the US. and sadly, is not open to visitors. In 1965 Andy Warhol staged an
Underground Party on the secret platform and in the 1970s squatters
THE IRISH WOMAN took up home. I discovered this little known secret because earlier
THEMOSTMEMORABLEPLACETO WHO LANDED FIRST this year a group of staff from the Waldorf Astoria took a personalised
STOP(ESPECIALLYIFYOU’REIRISH) Ellis Island is a must for first timers – the first tour of the Grand Central Concourse and Station which is adjacent
stop for arriving immigrants – some 12 million to the hotel and saw President Roosevelt’s train first hand. In 1944
The Five Points: If you’ve seen Martin between 1892 and 12 November, 1954 when the President was campaigning for his fourth term and arrived at the
Scorsese’s film the Gangs of New York you Waldorf at 7.35pm on 21 October to attend a conference and dinner.
it ceased to be the main inspection point. He left on time but his train stayed behind and there it remains, under
will already know a bit about this area of the hotel for over 70 years. The hotel’s archivist wrote a blog which you
The first arrival recorded at the immigrant can read yourself at
New York even if the movie version strayed inspection centre on 1 January 1892 was takes-a-tour/.
a little on the history. Get your hands on the a 15-year-old girl from Cork, Annie Moore
book which first immortalised this notorious Like everyone else I remember that Tuesday on 11 September, 2001
neighbourhood of the 1980s – Gangs of New who travelled across the Atlantic with her when nearly 3,000 people lost their lives. I had visited the original
two brothers to meet their parents who had World Trade Centre and had been back to see the devastation left by
moved to New York two years beforehand. the collapse of the Twin Towers so the newly opened Memorial and
The best information about Ellis Island and Museum was on my list of things that had to be done. This is a vast
11 STREETStreet and Baxter Street – the other sGtrReeEtEs NWICHNa; tWionWalWPa.r9k1S1erMvicEeMwOebRsIiAteL, N.OpRs.gGov. space so the best place to access the memorial is at the intersection
York by Herbert Asbury (published in 1928). of Liberty Street and either Greenwich Street, Liberty Street or Fulton
Now it is hard to see what life might have Street. It’s an emotional experience and be prepared to be there much
longer than you expect. The footprint of the twin towers are now
9/11 MEMORIAL LIBERTYbeen like there at the axis of Anthony Street, home to two large pools, 30 foot waterfalls cascade into the pools
Orange Street and Cross Street (now Worth the Statue of Liberty is available on the official each descending into a centre void intended to symbolise the absence
of those who lost their lives.
no longer exist) in the notorious slum in

lower Manhattan. Hordes of Irish immigrants

fleeing the famine crowed in impossible living

conditions in the inaptly named Paradise

Square (which was actually a triangle created

by the five point intersection – some in the

insect and disease ridden buildings, others

underground in precarious burrows. Tensions

ran high and bloody pitch battles at the Five

Points between the Irish gangs and other

immigrant groups were commonplace. It’s

quite something to stand in that space and

feel the history of our country all around you. THE BEST TESTAMENT

THEMOSTUNUSUALIRISH St. Patrick’s Cathedral 5th Avenue
between 50th/51st Streets New York.
The Irish Hunger Memorial (Corner of If you ever wonder at the ability of the Irish
Vesey Street and North End Avenue). to survive and thrive against the odds a visit
The incongruous sight of an abandoned to the magnificent New York landmark St
19th century Irish cottage nestled amid Patrick’s Cathedral rising above 5th Avenue
the sky scrapers of Manhattan’s financial is a must. I have been lighting candles here
district is worth a detour. Irish influences are for as long as I can remember and although
everywhere in New York but this memorial is a I am sitting in a church in the centre of one
of the most powerful cities in the world I
feel that Ireland and the fortitude of the
Irish are ingrained in the marble and wood
that adorns this cavernous space. St Patrick’s
is a testament to the thousands of Irish
immigrants who escaped the famine and
endured the harsh realities of life in New
York and yet within a generation had built
this incredibly beautiful Gothic Cathedral,
named for Ireland’s patron saint St Patrick
and dedicated on Saint Patrick’s Day 1868.

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