I'm a sucker for flowers and dark chocolate with ginger on the pillow. Beyond sparking clean, it is details that make a hotel either noteworthy or just average.
The Bryant Park Hotel has a small footprint, but the rooms are largish by New York standards. The rooms feature Red Oak wood flooring and a fully updated marble bathroom, therefore, putting it above average on my lodging barometer.
What makes this hotel noteworthy is the location across the street from Bryant Park between 40th W Street and 42nd W Street. Even on a lower floor, the view of the park is grand; towering oaks that have to be 100+ years old are a welcome sight in the city. I haven't been in many heavily populated parks, but I like this one. It hosts yoga sessions, a kiosk with board games that are free to take to a table, a mid-size carousel, and Shakespeare plays on the weekends. Seating is in sunshine and shade, and the space somehow feels intimate even though hundreds of people walk by.
The first night in NYC was one of Eric Clapton's final tour concerts. Clapton says, "I swear this is it, no more…..I know I’ve been threatening retirement for the last fifty years.”
I've listened to Clapton's music for over three decades but fully appreciated him while watching a performance at the Minneapolis Excel Center and after reading his self-authored book Clapton. At concerts, it seems at times he is playing and singing just for himself - head down, eyes closed and fingers that move quicker than a cat. I wonder, is it still fun? Nerve wracking? Or is it like any job: sometimes you just have to talk yourself into doing it day after day for 50 years?
Clapton is a serious performer. Only at the very end of the performances has he cracked a smile on stage, and I sense that is more for his bandmates than anyone else; as if to say to the musicians "well done, thank you, well done." But that single smile lights up a stadium. I wait for it with binoculars in hand. Walking out after this performance onto 4 Penn Plaza, we talked about going the next night. It was that sensational.
While you will never see my words, Eric, I will write them anyway: You are my Forever Man.
'Hamilton' by Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda
Hamilton is everything that people talk about, so save money and GO when you have an opportunity. Minnesota, it is arriving next year.
Ah, pastry and tea time.
Even on this brief trip, I learned a great strategy for getting through a long tourist day: hang out in a pastry shop. Order calming tea, find a table in the back so you can recharge phones, and prop your feet up on a chair for an hour of relaxing.
You will thank me for that insight.
What I didn't expect.
I didn't anticipate being utterly charmed by the spaces at Rockefeller Center, which are casual, and families are welcomed. The entire plaza is flanked by flags from every nation. I loved the outdoor Rock Garden Cafe complete with couches in front of the waterfall for shareable desserts.
"I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individual’s highest fulfillment, greatest happiness, and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His will. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might." ~ John Rockefeller
"Everybody goes every way all the time." ~Jerry Seinfeld
Walking is my thing. I usually don’t prefer ragged sidewalks, bumping shoulder to shoulder, and feeling like a minnow swimming upstream, but I liked that we could walk to everything we wanted to see. Madison Square Garden, where Clapton performed, is an easy 20-minute walk from the hotel. Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theater near Times Square is a 13-minute walk door to door. Spyglass Rooftop Bar and The Refinery Rooftop Restaurant, both on West 38th Street, are 7 minutes from The Bryant Hotel.
Hitting the pavement is a show of its own kind. Manhattan is a style mecca where anything goes, and walking in any direction seems to be acceptable too.
By: Julie Oliver