Welcome to the Neighborhood! LHC in NYCPublished: March 30th, 2018
Hotel staff in NYC are only as good as the service and the information they provide.
“How long to the airport?” “Anywhere good to eat around there?” “What can we do if it rains?”
These are questions we field on any given day. The truth is you can eat out in Manhattan 3 times a day without going to the same restaurant for roughly 7 years! “The City that never sleeps” is estimated to have about 1,600 bar establishments, 32 museums, a constantly evolving number of sight-seeing attractions, and all of the “people watching” one could ever ask for. So, as an award winning hotel brand, the expertise of our concierge is demonstrated by how efficient our recommendations are when fitting into our beloveds guests’ travel itineraries.
Admittedly, one could write volumes about what to do in NYC. Each New Yorker has their own “go-to” bars, restaurants and attractions they love and would suggest to anyone seeing the city for the first time. This post is devoted to one Queens native’s favorite places around the neighborhoods that surround the 4 Manhattan hotels of the Library Hotel Collection. No need for a “tourist map” for this journey. I will take you around the borough of Manhattan and tell you how to get to each neighborhood in the most suitable NYC fashion; our subway system! Let’s start in Midtown East, home to both our Elysée and Library Hotels. Guests of the Hotel Elysée get a taste of what a business-centric area of Manhattan looks like. Between Madison & Park Avenues, guests are steps away from the famous shopping along 5th Avenue. To enjoy a meal or a drink around the Elysee, you should look no further than the famous Monkey Bar.
Located in the lobby of the hotel and dating back to the Prohibition era, the Monkey Bar is certainly one of New York’s classic watering holes. The American eatery has even been featured in television shows such as “Sex and the City” and “Mad Men”. For those who intend to step outside of the hotel, there are many other great places to dine. One restaurant that comes to mind is Fig and Olive, an upscale Mediterranean dining experience that features a variety of olive oil flavors.
My favorite item was the crostini sampler! For blog post’s sake, let’s imagine that after exploring the Elysée’s neighborhood, you now want to see Grand Central Station. It’s just a brisk 15 minute walk or quick subway ride away; the number 6 (green) subway line. Heading east from the Elysee, you only have to go 2 street corners to get to the entrance to this subway on Lexington Avenue and 53rd street. Take the subway downtown just one stop. The subway will let you out directly below Grand Central Station’s Main Concourse. Folks who take pleasure in “people watching” beware; you can spend a day in Grand Central. There is a truly wonderful culmination of walks of life here.Before you leave, lunch at the Oyster Bar is certainly a treat. Seating for this famous restaurant is right there in the Main Concourse.
From Grand Central, we step out to 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. One block south to 41st street, where our Library Hotel is located. On this same street is my favorite steakhouse, Benjamin’s. A tidbit about Benjamin’s for steak enthusiasts: their Executive Chef, Arturo McLeod, was a chef at the world famous Peter Luger’s for many years before opening Benjamin Steakhouse with the owners. Mr. Benjamin has certainly seen to it that his classic cuts of steak are, as their slogan proclaims, “a cut above the rest,” and the service in this high-end midtown restaurant is second-to-none. Experienced wait staff are happy to help you pair your meal with the perfect wine and delicious sides. Their lobster bisque is one of my favorites, followed by a medium-rare rib eye steak! If you haven’t turned in for the night, and if your sense of adventure is trumping the impending food coma, let’s make our way back to Grand Central. This time, let’s hop aboard the S line, also known as the shuttle between Grand Central and Times Square. If you’re getting sleepy, Times Square is sure to pump some wind into your sails.
The bright lights and constant liveliness will provide an experience that is truly unlike anywhere else in the world. In the heart of this tourist/thrill-seekers haven is our very own Casablanca Hotel. Named after the Hollywood classic with the same name, the Casablanca truly captures the same rambunctious yet serene setting that the movie aimed to portray. Outside the doors of this 45 room hotel you will be plunged into the excitement of Times Square, but when inside, peace and tranquility abound. Their in-house restaurant, Tony’s di Napoli, is a must try! Tony’s provides a wonderful atmosphere for pre and post-theatre crowds. A favorite of mine is their seafood linguine fra diavolo; all of your favorite seafood items (mussels, salmon, shrimp, clams, and more) in one dish with just the right amount of spice.
Next stop, BXL; a Belgian bar that is excellent for those looking to stop in for a drink after work, theatre, or dinner, or even to catch a soccer match. Try the tasty house beer, BXL. It’s a perfect meet-up or wind-down spot. The staff is very friendly! Before heading back to the Elysée to turn in, we have one more stop. Another advantageous quality of Times Square is that almost every subway line has a connection there. You can use Time Square as an origin point for any destination in the five boroughs. However, our last stop is a quick subway ride from 42nd Street. In the Times Square subway station, you’ll want to head over to the R (yellow) line. Go downtown (I bet you are feeling like a true New York navigator now) to 23rd street.
From the 23rd street station, you are but a few blocks from our final New York property, the Hotel Giraffe. Our “day” of food and drink has but one last neighborhood to discover: NoMad. No, the neighborhood does not get its name because its inhabitants have no home. It is short for “North Of Madison Square Park”. The Hotel Giraffe is located on the corner of 26th Street and Park Avenue. The Hotel Giraffe is one of our more modern properties, but holds true to its neighborhood’s roots with an Art Modern architectural design; a type of architecture that was quite popular in the NoMad neighborhood throughout the 1920s and 30s. We can marvel at the architecture of the hotel, or at the Grand Lobby, or Penthouse, but it has been a long day for us weary travelers. Let’s keep our energy for one more great place; Maysville. I recently dined at Maysville, and was excited about the experience. For whiskey and bourbon lovers, Maysville does not disappoint. Aside from the lengthy bourbon list they have, you can also order a “Whiskey and a Beer”, which pairs a shot with a tasty beer to go with it. After wetting your beak, I suggest a round of crispy grits. The spin on a southern favorite is delicious with their bourbon aioli. For dinner, I shared the “Grilled and Braised Hog for Two”. It was both scrumptious and the portion a challenge to finish. If you haven’t fallen asleep at the bar, let’s begin our ride back home to the Hotel Elysée.
Our loop of Manhattan neighborhoods that feature LHC properties concludes with a ride on the M (orange line) subway from 23rd street and 6th Avenue. Just head back uptown to 53rd street and 5th Avenue (one block from the Hotel Elysée, but I am sure you already knew that, you accomplished New York City navigator!) I hope that you were able to gain useful knowledge of subways and fun eateries for the next time you are in NYC! We hope to see you at one of our properties soon!
By: Joseph Bode