Trip Coach: February 26, 2008
Maria Burwell, editor of "Fodor's New York City 2009," answered your questions on the Big Apple.
Maria Burwell: Ah, New York! What can compare to its electric energy, iconic landmarks, and cinematic streets? Just try to stop yourself from humming Frank Sinatra while walking through midtown on your first visit! But keeping up with the ever-changing hot new restaurants and hip museum openings is challenging, even for locals. Thankfully, New Yorkers are spoiled for choice, which means if you're pointed in the right direction, you can expect the best of everything: the best steakhouses, the best musicals, the best boutique shopping.
As editor of Fodor's New York City 2009, I'm here to help. Let's get to the good stuff...
Birmingham, Ala.: My husband and I are taking our 14-year-old daughter for a 3-night visit (her first) to NYC. We'll arrive at LaGuardia at 10 am. Our hotel (70 Park Ave) will store our bags till check-in, so where do you suggest we have brunch or lunch? What do you recommend that we'll have time to do before a 7 p.m. show on March 18? Should we start with a major tourist attraction or a museum? We'll have two full days and evenings to cram in as much as we can of sightseeing, museums, shopping, and good food. That leaves most of Good Friday for last-chance visits before our 10 p.m. departure. Please share your ideas on how to give our young teen a taste of New York without breaking the budget.
Maria Burwell: New York is terrific family fun, and at fourteen, your daughter can really appreciate all the pop culture and glitz New York offers. Your hotel is in the East 30's, so a good spot to hit for a simple, filling lunch could be the Turkish Kitchen: puffy, fresh breads, tangy hummus, and piles of grilled lamb. If it happens to be warm (a rare occasion in March) head to the Shake Shack in the middle of Madison Square Park. There you'll find some of the best burgers, fries, and heavenly thick milkshakes in NYC, all served outside. After lunch, you can run up to Rockefeller Center (in the 40's) and check out the home of the Today Show and 30 Rock. If your daughter is a budding fashionista, keep running uptown on 5th Avenue to window shop all the top designer stores: Saks, Henri Bendel (featured in a Gossip Girl episode), Prada, Bergdorf, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany's. You'll also see Trump Tower and the Plaza Hotel if you walk to 58th. Cut over on 57th to cruise past Chanel, Burberry, hit Barney's (on Madison), walk over to Bloomingdales (on Lexington), and finish at Dylan's Candy Bar on Third Avenue (run by the daughter of Ralph Lauren) where you can cop a huge sugar buzz just inhaling the chocolate-laced air and fortify yourself for a night of Broadway. All of this is free, aside from any Candyland splurge your treat yourself to at the end.
If she's not a fashion plate—and you'd rather do less walking—take her downtown after lunch to the Lower East Side. Visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum that documents the daily life of NYC's early immigrant families, and then swing by Il Laboratorio del Gelato AKA "The Gelato Laboratory" to grab a scoop of some of the richest, most buttery gelato before settling in for Broadway.
Lancaster, Pa.: Hi, this is Dave from Lancaster, PA. My fiance and I are sushi fanatics, and we were wondering where are some of the best spots for sushi in New York City.
Maria Burwell: Sushi-lovers, rejoice! New York is a bona fide sushi capital. Top sushi isn't a budget pursuit, but rest assured you won't be disappointed. Kuruma Zushi is crazy expensive, but they're known for thoughtfully prepared sushi and sashimi. For something more affordable, try Sushi of Gari that ranges from the usual rolls to Japanese Yellowtail. Sushi Yasuda also gets top marks for a beautiful selection with fish delivered daily from Japan. Can't beat that authenticity!
Seattle, Wash.: Where is the best place to have Easter Brunch in New York for two single gals in their 30's? (That we can still get a reservation for! Seems most places have already booked up.) Thanks! Erika
Maria Burwell: Erika, New York makes a great girls getaway! (There's a reason Sex and the City was filmed here¿) It sounds like you've got a fun trip planned. As for Easter brunch, if you're looking for something traditional, Sarabeth's is a popular choice as is Five Points (unfortunately, this was booked up for Easter). Truthfully, I think you should hit a place that doesn't take reservations, like Blue Ribbon Bakery (35 Downing Street) and go on the early side. New Yorkers love their lazy Sundays, and most brunch locations don't get slammed until noon. Camp out at eleven, and I'm betting you'll get a table first thing. Another idea: do a soul food brunch in Harlem. It's certainly a classic NYC experience. Amy Ruth's and Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too have great stick-to-your-ribs brunch. (Again, reservations not accepted so get there early and you'll be set.)