Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Destination New York, USA

There is something special about New York! No matter how many times I visit, I always get an adrenalin-filled rush when I arrive. The city fizzes with energy. You can almost taste the “can-do attitude” in the air. Americans are proud of their national identity. They know who they are and that is infectious. 

Long ago I ticked off the sights. My first visit as a young girl felt like I had walked into a movie set. The tall granite buildings, the yellow taxis, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and the views from the top of the Empire State Building which had seemed another world  away when I saw them on the TV, had spun to life in front of my own eyes. New York was a far cry from London. Things always seemed bigger and better and more exciting. I was hooked. New York had caught me up in its spin and l did not want to get off.

Fifth Avenue

Over the years the things that I loved on my first visit still thrill me. However, the Big Apple has kept reinventing itself, changing more radically than most cities I regularly travel to. Areas become gentrified and quickly touted as the new trendy neighbourhoods. The shows on Broadway are constantly being refreshed. Restaurants come and go. What is hot one week maybe not the next. 

This time I was told Asian fusion was the cuisine of the moment. I would not attempt to recommend restaurants here. No sooner than I would have written this post, there would be something newer and glitzier being hailed as the must-go to spot. 

With globalisation, most brands found in Britain’s big cities can be now found across the pond, even Pret A Mangers are littered all over Manhattan. While some institutions that have the city’s DNA in their walls may go unchanged, others have had makeovers to bring them crash bang into the 21st century.

Central Park

But, here is the thing: New York’s constant metamorphosis only adds to its allure. The thrill of walking around this melting pot of cultures is still there even after all the trips. 

Of course, if it is your first time in the city you will want to hop on a tour bus and see the fabled landmarks and take a look at the new 9/11 museum that pays homage to the worst day in New York’s history. But the best way to get around is walking. You can marvel at the architecture and you are sure to discover something new each time you are in town.  

I love the incredible number of parks scattered through the city, so you will always find somewhere to sit and recharge the batteries while you people watch. Central Park, for me, still has a romantic feel and I can saunter around there for hours.

Totally relaxed, I was in the mood for some retail therapy. I headed for Century 21, at Lincoln Square on Broadway (between 66th and 67th), the well-known discount store. It can be extremely hit and miss. If you are lucky you may find some interesting little numbers from designers such as Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu. You should go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.  

It was not my lucky day. After mooching around in some small boutiques I found on the Upper West Side, it was on to the chic Upper East Side where you get a sense of classic New York. Designer stores such as Prada and Barneys New York which attracts sophisticated fashionistas and celebrities, line Madison Avenue. Though nowadays, there are some high street stalwarts in between. 

A stroll along Fifth Avenue tempted me to pop into two legendary department stores: Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. 

Flatiron Building

I also picked out a few neighbourhoods that I wanted to visit. For cutting-edge fashion, it had to be the cobblestoned streets of the Meat Packing District. The Flatiron District, named after the amazing wedge-shaped 1900s Flatiron Building, is the place for design aficionados to head for. Greenwich Village with Washington Square Park at its heart, oozes charm and is a haunt for old-time jazz clubs, bars  delis and restaurants.

SoHo and TriBeCa are full of the fashion-conscious taking in the high-end boutiques and galleries. It is always buzzing, especially on a Saturday. It is a great place for brunch.

Full of zest and zeal and with my thigh muscles thoroughly toned, it was sadly, time to return to London.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

London City

British Airways operates an exclusive 32-seat all-business class jet service from London City to New York 11 times a week

Fares start from £2,250.19 return including taxes and charges

To book or for more information visit York or call 0844 4930787


British Airways operates several daily services from London Heathrow to New York

Fares start from £566 return including taxes and charges

To book or for more information and other airports visit  or call 0844 4930787

When I fly with BA I feel as if my holiday as been extended until I reach Heathrow as you are so pampered. Club World offers the perfect combination of exemplary service, good food and wine and amazing comfort. You can relax in the private departure lounge and even fit in an Elemis treatment before you leave for London

I stayed at the Sofitel New York. This midtown hotel is a few paces from 5th Avenue and a few minutes’ walk from Times Square. Rates from $339 per night. Prices are subject to change. For more information and the best rates visit