No matter how many times we visit New York City, there are always new places to see and hidden gems to uncover. To discover the latest in the city, we talked to Susanne Carter, chef concierge of Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.
She knows this city. Not only has Carter worked at the luxury hotel for 15 years, she’s is a member of Les Clefs d’Or — the preeminent concierge association — and the New York City Association of Hotel Concierges, and is a 20-year New Yorker.
What is the best way to spend a day in New York City?
On a nice day, I like to take a stroll at Hudson River Park, a waterside park on the Hudson River that stretches from 59th Street to Battery Park. You will see New Yorkers and tourists alike taking their bikes out, rollerblading or just walking.
One of my favorite activities during the summer is the free kayak lessons offered at different piers on the Hudson. There are classes for beginners and tours for advanced and pros.
I also love the trapeze school on the Hudson. Taking a class at the school is an amazing experience, not only because it is fun and the staff is really encouraging, but there are also amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Following this, it is definitely time for a beverage. One of my favorite places is Gigino at Wagner Park, where you can sit outside and enjoy the view of the Hudson and the Statue of Liberty. There is also the unique SeaGlass carousel, which is fascinating with its large, iridescent fiberglass fish and lighting that makes you feel you are on the bottom of the sea.
Summer is also the time for boating: the North River Lobster Company calls itself the largest floating lobster shack in NYC. You can enjoy great seafood, cocktails, and spectacular views in a casual atmosphere while you are sailing.
I also love to take a sunset sail at least once every summer on a small sailing ship where you can watch the sunset while you enjoy the view of the skyline, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Battery Park. I am such a tourist, but I just can’t help it!
What is new in the city?
New York is constantly changing, which makes it so exciting to be a concierge in this city. Many neighborhoods have changed their faces completely, such as downtown with its recent renaissance, Brooklyn, Meatpacking District and ever hip Lower East Side.
There is nothing better than to walk these neighborhoods to experience a different persona of New York City, and to enjoy and take in the diversity this city has to offer.
Oculus, the World Trade Center transportation hub, has proved to be a remarkable sight to see and an architectural must in the city. It’s a social media darling, so don’t forget to snap a few photos.
What are New York City’s most underrated attractions?
There are many! But, to mention a few, in my opinion: The Cloisters, though the most comprehensive art museum in the city, most visitors have never heard of it; Shakespeare Garden in Central Park and New-York Historical Society are near each other, so plan a visit to both.
What are the hottest restaurants right now?
The Grill — fabulously redone. Swanky and elegant, yet cool at the same time.
Cosme, I just love, and it’s still really hot for all the right reasons. Now, chef Enrique Olvera has opened Alta, which is more casual than Cosme, but still oh so excellent.
4 Charles Prime Rib — my new favorite place to grab a cheeseburger and its ambience can’t be beat. It’s intimate with vibes of a supper club.
What are some great bars to get a drink?
One of my favorites is still the original Raines Law Room. It is a speakeasy with a ’20s vibe. To get inside, you have to go down a narrow staircase and ring the door buzzer. Once inside and ready to drink one of the fabulously crafted cocktails, you ring the wall buzzer for the waiter.
Some other favorites are The Dead Rabbit and The Campbell Apartment.
Give us your favorite insider tip.
One of my favorites is the walking tour at Museum of Chinese in America. The museum exhibits Chinese American history, but also offers tours exploring Chinatown.
Although I had been to Chinatown many times, I learned so much and would never have seen all the details and history pointed out during the tour.