In October 2016, we went to the Mandarin Oriental (MO) New York to celebrate our 6 year anniversary. It was a perfect weekend overlooking the Fall colors of Central Park. If you are looking for a quick couple’s getaway or an anniversary trip idea, The Mandarin Oriental New York is a fabulous choice. The views over Central Park is a must! The location is perfect surrounded by everything you want; shopping, dining, art, park, entertainment, and the MO Hotel is on top of a Whole Foods and a shopping mall, whoa! Just take the elevator to the relevant floors and poof! You’ve arrived!
If you do get a fantastic view, be sure to enjoy it with Room Service at least once. It’s a splendid experience.
October is a get month to visit because it’s not cold yet and it’s a low tourist month, so chances are you can get room upgrades. We originally booked the Hudson River view thinking it was the better view but upon arrival the hotel graciously upgraded us to this amazing scene instead. Water views are always nice, but at MO New York, the Central Park view is the most desired among guests. We enjoyed 3 wonderful nights and 4 days in The Big Apple. Here was our itinerary.
Day 1: River Dinner Cruise with The Bateaux New York
After flights, we like to relax a little bit to get our bearings and prepare for a leisure activity to break into our trip. I’ve always wanted to see NYC lights from the river. We took a river dinner cruise with The Bateaux New York. The food was pretty good but the views were great! The boat is made almost completely out of glass so no matter where you sat, you’d be able to see the sights.
We saw the main attractions: The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Brooklyn Bridge. It was romantic to be on the Hudson River and see NYC by boat.
Day 2: NYC Full Day Tour
After a wonderful evening on the water, we toured NYC by tour guide the next day. It was a long day, about 8 hours of sightseeing. Some of the highlights was being able to see the inside of the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, St. Peter’s Cathedral, and The 9/11 Memorial.
The Statue of Liberty has an interesting history and it was fun to see how she was built from the inside and the views at her vantage point. You gotta take the Ferry to get to her island.
Grand Central Station was one of my faves. It’s just cool place to visit with an amazing celestial ceiling.
It was unfortunately a foggy day with a bit of rain. The Empire State building is iconic, but we weren’t able to experience the stellar views that day. The City management did give us the option to return without extra fees if we wanted to save our tickets for anther day, up to 6 months I believe. We weren’t able reschedule so we made the best of it.
St. Peter’s was absolutely grandeur. I was impressed on the amount of community programs they offer for all people. Great mix of the arts, history, culture, and community service.
The 9/11 Memorial was deep and emotional for many locals and tourists. We still felt the pain during our visit.
The “Survivor Tree” was very interesting to learn about. A Callery Pear tree has been preserved and protected after it endured the terrorist attack at The World Trade Center. The City saved it after finding it under severe damage. After being nurtured back to life, the tree was restored back to it’s home as a symbol of resilience, survival, and rebirth.
Day 3: Carriage Ride through Central Park and Anniversary Dinner
On day 3 in NYC was our anniversary date. We began the celebration with brunch and room service. I had the MO Hotel rearrange the room a little bit for us so we could enjoy the spectacular Fall views Central Park. Everything from the Waffles to Eggs Benedict was wonderful. The presentation was perfect and it all tasted really delicious. Service was with a smile.
Afterwards, it was on to the popular horse drawn Carriage Ride through Central Park that’s been romanticized in so many movies. And guess what, it was! We enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a little chilly out on a sightly overcasted day, but the drivers carry blankets to keep you cozy.
The driver was flexible and would stop at any spot for photos.
The carriage lasted about an hour and then we were off to do a little shopping. I wanted to get an outfit for dinner tonight. Great shopping is endless in NYC. So many stores, so little time, but we both managed to get something for our special evening.
We had dinner at Jean Georges, it was literally right next door to our hotel in the Trump Tower. It was a Michelin 3 Star restaurant at the time, but since been downgraded to a 2 star since 2018. I can totally see that as our meal started out unimpressive but progressively got better as they got into it. The table breads they started with tasted stale and cold. First impressions should be very important at a fine dining restaurant. I also question any restaurant that doesn’t respect their bread. However, thankfully the tasting menu itself was quite good.
Day 4: Brooklyn Food Tour and Bridge Walk
The next day, our flight wasn’t until late that evening so we had a day to explore Brooklyn. As foodies that meant food tour! It was a blast as we learned about Brooklyn and learned about their diverse cultures through food. The purpose of the tour was to learn how to eat like a Brooklyn local. Here are a few highlights of the Brooklyn Food Tour.
My favorite stop of the day was Table 87. It won a Shark Tank investment and is the first in Brooklyn to offer coal oven pizza by the slice. The Margherita pizza was off the chain. I had several slices it was soooooo goooood.
My hubby’s fave spot of the day was a Meatball shop. Since rent is at astronomical heights in Manhattan, much of the eclectic Chefs have moved their creativity to Brooklyn. This Meatball shop is wildly popular.
An interesting part of the tour was a mini sample of a Polish feast at Krowlewski Jadlo Polish Restaurant. Everyone enjoyed getting to know each other over the family style sampler.
For dessert, we stopped by some authentic bakeries and chocolatiers. Monteleone’s Bakery in Brooklyn is a true Italian bakery and it was really yummy. Try the authentic cannoli.
Craving chocolate? Jacques Torres Chocolatier has fantastic bon bon’s that and too many good flavors to choose from.
We were totally full when we finished the food tour and we were ready to walk! The last stop of the tour was to see DUMBO, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. It’s a trendy spot among the locals with cobblestone streets and converted Brooklyn warehouses. We really enjoyed the views here.
The tour guide gave us an option of driving us back to Manhattan or if we wanted to walk over by the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a nice day and we had calories to burn so we totally walked the Brooklyn Bridge. What we learned is that New Yorkers do not like to break their stride, so keep it moving!
At the end of the Brooklyn Bridge, we were close to the Financial District. I always wanted to see the Bull.
After all that walking, we were ready for another snack before heading back to the airport. We had to stop by Bouchon Bakery for some last minute macaroons. Owner of the bakery, Chef Thomas Keller is one of my hubby’s faves and since we weren’t able to get into his restaurant Per Se NYC, we were happy to get the treats.
We loved our stay at The Mandarin Hotel and touring NYC and Brooklyn. We hope to get back to New York and get to know her better. Let us know some of your favorite places to go in NYC.