As the regional director for public relations for Ritz Carlton, Middle East, Vivienne Gan has travelled to NYC about a dozen times in the last 15 years and tells Friday why her favourite city makes such a great winter destination.
"I tremendously enjoy the non-stop buzz of eight million people crammed into this narrow island, the fact that the majority of New Yorkers walk or take public transportation everywhere, that being loud is a badge of honour and a proud characteristic, that gawking tourists and city natives co-exist and not necessarily always amicably, its electric energy, its inhabitants and the juxtaposition of the grimy with the dazzling in just about everything I see.
"One thing that really struck me during my first trip to that city was how extraordinarily familiar everything was.
"I realised later that this feeling is most likely due to the pervasive and far-reaching images of New York City in our collective and individual consciousness.
"Many people from outside this city have known of, usually through magazines, movies, TV shows, songs, and posters, the iconic landmarks such as Times Square, Empire State Building (who can forget the image of King Kong fighting off jet planes atop that tower?), Central Park, the luxury shops of Fifth Avenue, Madison Square Garden, yellow cabs, Wall Street, Chinatown, the Statue of Liberty, neighbourhoods such as SoHo, Chelsea, Harlem, Little Italy, Chinatown, and many more."
Ice skating at the iconic Rockefeller Center. Yes, it is outdoors and therefore chilly, but it's great exercise amidst wonderful cityscape scenery. You can even get lessons from a pro.
Take in a Broadway show. Fight off the chill and snuggle down to catch any of the must-see musicals such as the Tony-award winning Memphis, The Addams Family, Elf and old favourites such as Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia and The Lion King.
Dim Sum in Chinatown. Sample some of the best Cantonese cuisine and dumplings outside of Hong Kong in this eclectic, vibrant, noisy and in-your-face neigbourhood. Personal recommendations are Jing Fong (20 Elizabeth Street) and Ping's Seafood (22 Mott Street).
Take a walking tour. As New York is one of the best cities in the world for sightseeing on foot, you can find a walking tour of just about anything in the city - neighbourhoods, food (including tours for pizza lovers and chocoholics), music, art, shopping, architecture, movie locations, and more. Bundle up and get those comfortable shoes on.
Map in a museum
Visit a museum. Another great beat-the-chill alternative while there is a visit to the museum in New York City. It's for just about everything and everybody. The must-visits: Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA,) as well as the American Museum of Natural History.
In the page
I know it's extremely touristy, but a ride through Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage starting from The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, is one of those quintessential ‘must-have' New York experiences. Afterwards, warm up with an indulgent mug of hot chocolate and signature afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton's Star Lounge.
Visit the Central Park Zoo. One of my favourite spots in the city and open all year round, everyday. "Resident" highlights include polar bears, red pandas and penguins.