The new Conrad New York Midtown is a stone’s throw from many of New York City’s most famous destinations — Times Square, Broadway, Central Park and Fifth Avenue.
“Go out the door in any direction and you’re going to find something amazing and iconic,” says Jared Gullekson, head concierge at Conrad New York Midtown. “And if you go just a little bit farther, then you’re going to find those little outer reaches,” with hidden gems.
Take dining. Midtown has long been home to 3-star Michelin temples like Le Bernardin. But now “the downtown restaurants are coming up here,” Gullekson says, citing the opening of foodie-approved spots like Alex Stupak’s Empellón in Midtown and a Blue Ribbon spinoff known as The Ribbon in Times Square.
On Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll find interesting ethnic cuisine — from Thai to Korean to noodle bars — at the kind of “smaller neighborhood spots where you’d become a regular,” Gullekson says. Among his favorites: Totto Ramen, Danji and Pure Thai Cookhouse.
The same is true for the drinks scene. Gullekson sends guests to nearby Rum House on 47th Street, which “if it was downtown would be one of the hardest places to get in,” he says. “They make some of the best cocktails in the city.” The area is ripe for oenophiles, with Mozzarella & Vino, Aldo Sohm and Casellula serving up impressive wine lists.
For some evening entertainment that’s “an alternative to doing a big show,” Gullekson suggests the cabaret performances at Feinstein’s/54 Below or the stand-up comedy at Carolines on Broadway. If music is more your speed, Birdland just off Times Square has “some of the best live jazz in the city,” he says.
For early risers in need of a caffeine fix, Gullekson recommends Zibetto Espresso Bar or heading over to Little Collins on Lexington Avenue, which also does an excellent Australian-inspired breakfast. “We have a lot of Australians who stay with us, and they are so particular about their coffee,” he says. “Little Collins is a place they have verified as one of their own.”
The nearby Museum of Modern Art boasts one of the world’s finest art collections, but for something more unexpected, check out a piece of the Berlin Wall on Madison Avenue, which is one of the “historical sites around here that are overlooked,” Gullekson says.
Midtown is not — Central Park aside — an area known for tranquility. Still, you can grab a moment of serenity inside the stamp-sized Paley Park on 53rd Street or in front of the 25-foot-high waterfall in Greenacre Park a few blocks farther east.
“You have all the major things like Rockefeller Center,” Gullekson says, “but there are these little enclaves to enjoy in the middle of everything.”
Allow head concierge, Jared Gullekson, to help plan your holiday at Conrad New York Midtown.