Mixing Business and Pleasure: A Week in Manhattan's Midtown East
So you've got business in New York? Chances are, you're going to have a brush with Midtown East. True, the neighborhood is a base camp for many a well-heeled tourist, given its central Manhattan location and iconic architectural marvels like Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building. But the concentration of company headquarters here means it's also prime deal-making territory. The result: a vibe that makes doing business oh-so pleasurable.
Of course, because this is "mogul-ville," the pleasures here tend to be pricey, so it's ideal if you can tap into that expense account to enjoy the best of what Midtown East has to offer. Assuming that’s the case, browse our picks for your next NYC business jaunt (and for a few “just for fun” days afterward).
Many of the area's luxury hotels cater to titans of industry. If you're here to swing a deal, check in at business-friendly properties like the New York Palace (where the ultra-plush rooms come with full-sized work desks), The Four Seasons Hotel New York (boasting some of the largest rooms and best views of Central Park in the city), or Andaz Fifth Avenue (a high-fashion modern boutique with tech-y perks like desk-less check-in).
When it comes to power lunches and dinners, Midtown East pulls out all the stops. The Four Seasons (no relation to the hotel), a swanky New American spot that’s Grill Room inspired the term “power lunch,” and Le Cirque, a haute French circus-themed restaurant, are quintessential deal-making spots for media moguls and corporate kings. Business types also cut into 28-day aged porterhouses at Wolfgang's Steakhouse and dig into Nordic smorgasbord at Aquavit. For a more casual spin on the business lunch, you can't beat oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant or steak frites at futuristic French Brasserie.
After hours, the loosened-tie set gravitates toward cocktailing spots like the Campbell Apartment, a Prohibition-era-themed bar hidden in Grand Central Terminal, and The Ginger Man, a beer lover's paradise. For a different kind of business-friendly "nightlife," though, the 24-hour Apple store (fun to visit late at night!) will meet all your tech geek needs.
If you have time after business for some fun, Midtown East will pamper you in style. For a modern take on luxury, join the "it" crowd at trendy Gansevoort Park Avenue hotel (don't miss the sexy Gansevoort Park Rooftop). On the other end of the spectrum, hotels like The St. Regis New York and The Sherry-Netherland boast gilded, crystal-chandeliered, Old World grandeur. Knocking back a Red Snapper (a version of the Bloody Mary) in the St. Regis's dark, intimate King Cole Bar or a classic cocktail at Monkey Bar at the charming Hotel Elysée will transport you straight to the Jazz Age. Hotels here also play host to the city’s most luxe spas, including the sparkling white Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Aside from tourist magnets like the Chrysler Building, lesser-known sights here are equally compelling. Peruse everything from a Gutenberg Bible to Bob Dylan's song lyrics at the Morgan Library & Museum, scope the altars by Tiffany & Co. at historic St. Patrick's Cathedral, and step into international territory at United Nations Headquarters.
For a formal meal, chic Italian spots Bice New York (with its fresh Milanese pastas) and Bottega del Vino (with its expansive wine cellar) are two of our favorites, and Kurumazushi consistently astounds with the freshness of its sushi and sashimi (with certain fish flown in weekly from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market). But we're also always down for a casual bite at Daniel's Bagels with its super-fresh bagels.
Let's face it, though: The cherry on this sundae is Midtown East's fabulous shopping. The main shopping artery is legendary Fifth Avenue, anchored by iconic, one-stop-designer-shop department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue. There's also a critical mass of specialty stores on and around Fifth Avenue, like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel, for couture enthusiasts. Casual standbys like J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Anthropologie can be found here, too. Plus, for kids, there're oodles of toys at FAO Schwarz—proof that even with its down-to-business demeanor, Midtown East is a grown-up kid at heart.
For more information on these as well as many other chic venues in New York City, check out The Purple Passport’s New York Guide.
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Photos courtesy of The Purple Passport.
The Purple Passport is a web-based collection of chic, one-stop-shop guides to experiencing the world's cities in style. The site provides the full range of urban travel planning needs, from researching a trip start to finish, to reserving hotels, to creating an itinerary to be shared with travel companions. The Purple Passport team personally visits every spot that it reviews and never accepts compensation for featuring a venue on the site. First-person accounts of the team's travel experiences can be found on the companion blog, The Diary of The Purple Passport.More from this Author