By Wendy Wood-Prince
Last weekend, my sister, Sandy and I took a quick trip to New York to catch up and relax a bit. When it came time to write about it, I asked her to send me a few of her impressions and highlights from our trip. What she sent me was so well written and perfect, including the titles for the piece, that I asked if I could use her words verbatim. Luckily she agreed. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!
Two sisters take Manhattan By Sandy Collins
The island of Manhattan is one big bazaar, containing possibly the most intense concentration of shopping, dining, and entertainment the world has to offer. Dazzling, luxurious stores with legendary names vie for attention, one after another after another; looking out the window of a cab crawling through certain areas is like turning the pages of a glossy magazine – every big name is here, and surely every big name shops here.
The Whitby bar and restaurant. Designed by Kit Kemp, every corner is a visual feast.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Our midtown hotel, The Whitby, was so visually beautiful, so comfortable and inviting, the temptation was to just stay in and wrap one’s self in creature comforts. Upholstered walls created a sanctuary of quiet. Amenities were plentiful, practical, thoughtful. The Whitby, Firmdale Hotel group’s newest hotel, is owned by Tim and Kit Kemp. Kit Kemp is the design director of all the hotels and renowned for her original designs.
The designer’s unique vision meant that every corner of the hotel, came alive with fabrics, colors, and works of art; every space was thought out and developed into something way beyond pragmatic, venturing into the realm of magical. The British-trained eclectic staff handled every detail with aplomb, decorum, but with good cheer, not affectation or fake attitude.
Bergdorf Goodman, however, is an equally dazzling, beautiful place of shopping pleasure, and once arrived, we found it easy to spend hours there. From the luxurious makeup counters on the lower level to the fabulous jewelry, to the new Gucci home collection at the top and all the floors in between, Bergdorf’s is a world of quality just waiting to be enjoyed. The two floors of shoes have to be the most amazing spectacle in retail – which was more intriguing, more amazing: the incredible shoes or the chic customers perusing them?
For dinner the first night we ventured downtown to Augustine, a French eatery in the Beekman hotel. Here, the coolest of the younger professional set came to dine, hang, and check each other out – mirrored walls helped one sneak a peek without being uncool and actually turning around. An exquisite individual cheese soufflé, light as air, melted on the tongue – homemade butterscotch ice cream had a bite that conveyed sophistication – a lovely salad helped bridge these two rich, satisfying dishes.
Benoit, where we dined the second night, a midtown French bistro, was a bright, pleasant contrast to the dark intensity of Augustine. The clientele was eclectic, ranging from a table full of French-speaking business colleagues, to a pair of dreamy-eyed lovers slowly sharing a bowl of ice cream, to small families who probably walked in from a nearby townhouse or sleek high-rise for their evening repast. Kir Royales, our drink of choice, were produced tout de suite by the attentive staff. Here too, mirrors and sconces created a pleasing atmosphere in which to enjoy the satisfying cuisine, this time a shared plate of steak-frites, very French, very good.
Soon it was time to crawl back to the airport and leave New York City behind, where something interesting to see and do lies around every corner. But long after the visit, visions of hand-painted bags, gold brocade jeans, and fur-lined mules still dance in our heads.
Get the Worldwide connection through Wendy at Lake Forest Travel Bureau’s lakeforesttravel.com.