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Learn about the Caribbean's Culture, History, and Resorts

 

Things She Learned About New York

Evelyn Hannon

In the past couple of years I have had several occasions to visit New York both for work and for pleasure. This city is so exciting that I always take an extra day just to wander -- simply picking up woman-friendly tips that I can pass on to readers planning their own visits to the Big Apple. Here are my latest bits and pieces of what I hope you'll find to be useful advice.

Let's build this section together. Is NYC your home or are you simply New York savvy? Do you have any female-centered tips of your own you'd like to add to this section? We'd love to hear from you about them. Please put the words "NY Tip" in the subject line.


Ethnic restaurants are great fun...

I asked the concierge at Hotel Inter-Continental (112 Central Park South) for his list of favorite ethnic restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. These are his choices which I'd like to share with other JourneyWomen.

Mexican -- Hell's Kitchen (679 9th Ave. between 46th & 47th Sts)
Indian -- Utsav (1185 6th Ave. enter on 47th St. between 6th & 7th Aves)
Ethiopian -- Meskerem (468 West 47th St. between 9th & 10th Aves)
Moroccan -- Lotfi's (358 West 46th St. between 8th & 9th Aves)
Turkish -- Dervish (146 West 47th St. between 6th & 7th Aves)
Thai -- Topaz (127 West 56th St. between 6th & 7th Aves)

P.S. JW tried Topaz, the Thai choice and found it was a great neighbourhood restaurant -- intimate, tasty food, pleasant service and atmosphere, many single diners and very reasonable prices. Hopefully, the rest of this NY concierge's list is just as good. Let us know if you try any of his suggestions.


Books for Journeykiddies...

There is a little upscale bookshop in New York that I return to time and time again when I need a special gift for the kiddies that I love. Books of Wonder contains a fabulous collection of titles that are sometimes difficult to locate in other places. The staff here is so courteous and I never leave the store empty handed. Gift wrapping in bright, shiny, green or blue paper is complimentary and while books are not discounted here, the last time I visited I was given two $1.00 certificates towards my next purchase. P.S. Every Sunday at noon, Books of Wonder hosts a good old-fashioned storytelling time (16 W. 18th. Street).


Samples, samples, samples...

This old-time drug store at 109 Third Avenue is female-friendly plus, and definitely worth a visit. It is the original shop that Kiehl's opened in New York in 1851 and where they manufactured their first herbal face, body and hair products. The pictures on the wall date back to the beginning of their business as do the moldings, wooden floors and fabulous chandeliers in the area behind the front counter. Kiehl's has never been a traditional cosmetic company. They don't spend enormous amounts of money on advertising or fancy packaging. Instead, they invite women to actually test their products by generously offering sample size bottles of the shampoo, cleanser or grooming products in their catalogue. Be it Tea Tree Oil Body Cleanser for you or baby lip balm for your little ones, this shop has it all. A fun, informative stop with pleasant consultants ready to answer your questions. P.S. Can't get to NY? American JourneyWomen can call Kiehl's at 1-800-Kiehls-1, ask for their catalogue plus any two samples you'd like and they will send them out at no cost to you. A great offer.


I took my aunt to dinner...

The last time I was in New York, I invited my 87 year old, thoroughly modern, very elegant aunt to dinner. This woman has lived in Manhattan all of her life and has sampled food at some of the most successful dining rooms in the city. She chose the multilevel, "Russian Tea Room," a New York landmark that was originally opened in 1926 by Russian immigrants as a meeting place for ex-pat ballet corps members.

I
thought it was going to be a dull, touristy experience but it turned out to be a most delightful entertaining evening. We were escorted to our level by elevator and led into an extravagantly decorated dining room with mirrored walls, Tiffany glass leaded ceiling, hand blown Tiffany lanterns and huge vases of magnificent flower bouquets everywhere. Russian music, an ice-like sculpture of a dancing bear, affable servers sporting red uniforms, cushioned red banquettes and pear vanilla vodka helped to get us into "a Russian mood."

My aunt is a small woman with a bird-like appetite but that evening she surprised me with her capacity to keep sampling. We shared a Russian Caesar Salad complete with pumpernickel croutons and extra dill. Then came baked halibut with gorgeous mashed potatoes and salmon in lobster broth. Between courses the waiters came by to chat and my aunt regaled them with tales of what New York was like fifty years ago. They were enthralled with her. We, on the other hand, were enthralled with their dessert specialty -- cheese blinis with cherry preserves and sour cream. The Russian Tea Room is at 150 West 57th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenue). Look out for celebrities. The week we were there, Sydney Poitier came by, Candice Bergen had her wedding party and Hilary Clinton held a political fund raiser.


Help, I need a doctor...

I learned this from the marketing gurus at NYC & Company who wrote: No one likes to get sick on vacation but if it happens, a professional service like N.Y. Urgent Medical Services (212.737.1212) can help. Day or night, dedicated, board-certified physicians and dentists can assist visitors in the privacy of their hotel room, with fees and waiting times substantially lower than at hospital emergency rooms. Ed. note: If I used ANY medical service that comes to my hotel, I'd arrange for a female hotel staff member to be present for added security.


More than a train station...

If you are in the area of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, it's hard to miss the Grand Central Train Terminal that was built almost 100 years ago. Now, it is basically used as the station that brings about 500,000 commuters in and out of Manhattan every working day. I popped in to get a sense of these crowds and was rewarded with the building's inner architecture including a view of the soaring barrel vaulted ceiling. Quite a sight! P.S. Visitors should definitely seek out the terminal's extended food court with interesting possibilities in take-away goodies located on the lower-level concourse. It's almost impossible not to stop at The Little Pie Company offering such goodies as fresh lemon cake, Key Lime Pie and their specialty, Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie. I loved the large brown wooden chairs that look exactly like leather armchairs that are scattered about the hall. If you are lucky enough to find a free one, take a moment to rest your feet, sip a cup of coffee and survey the always interesting passing parade. P.P.S. Every Wednesday at 12:30 pm the Municipal Arts Society offers a "pay what you can" tour of the terminal. The information booth is their starting point. Have fun, ladies!

 

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