Check Out the View
In the Heart of Town
620 Loft & Garden
There’s an undeniable romance to the splendor of Rockefeller Center come holiday time. And if you’re lucky enough to hold your reception between late November and early January, you can take advantage of one of the most dramatic winter wedding spots in the city. The beautifully manicured, indoor-outdoor space overlooks Fifth Avenue and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. From the wall-to-wall windows inside the light-flooded Soho-style loft, guests can also take in views of the Rockefeller Center tree and the storied ice skating rink. A portion of the outdoor garden is tented and can be heated year-round. There’s no in-house catering, but with a plum list of preferred vendors, you’ll be in good hands. Holds 100 for seated dinner and dancing; 165 for cocktails. Prices upon request. 620 Fifth Ave., entrance on 50th St., seventh fl.; 212-593-9499; rockefeller center.com/privateevents.
Empire Hotel Rooftop
What could be cooler than having your wedding in the shadow of the hotel’s huge neon sign? Up on the twelfth floor, guests will be welcomed into an intimate, candlelit lounge decked out with plush, modern seating, dark-wood chairs, and tropical plants. Outside, there’s a vast area with cozy nooks and chaise longues—all covered by a retractable-glass roof that allows the luminous views of Broadway and Columbus Avenue to shine through day or night. Seats up to 400 for a cocktail-style or buffet reception and dancing. Prices upon request. 44 W. 63rd St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-265-7400; empirehotelnyc.com.
For unforgettable dining, you can’t beat Thomas Keller’s East Coast answer to Napa’s famed French Laundry. His New York place devotes an entire wall to windows overlooking Central Park and Columbus Circle. Book the West Room, which accommodates 60 guests; the main dining room, which seats 75; or go all out and reserve the whole restaurant, which seats 135. Signature dishes include salmon cornets and Keller’s famous oysters and pearls, a sabayon of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and sturgeon caviar from Northern California. Prices upon request. 10 Columbus Circle, nr. 58th St., fourth fl.; 212-823-9349; perseny.com.
This subtly industrial penthouse duplex is in high demand, thanks to its spectacular views of the Hudson River and the Empire State Building. A bonus is its exceptional rooftop space, which features a glass “room” with a wraparound outdoor terrace. The loft’s all-white interior walls move, so you can tailor the space to suit your vision. Note that party rentals and kosher catering are exclusive, and you’ll have to pay a fee to bring in your own vendors. Seats up to 220 guests for dinner, 275 for cocktails; wedding-venue fees start at $6,000. 450 W. 31st St., nr. Tenth Ave., twelfth fl.; 212-290-1400; studio450ny.com.
Top of the Strand
These days, many couples are skipping the seated dinner altogether. If cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are more your speed, check out the Top of the Strand. From this inviting, greenery-lined cabana-style aerie, the Empire State Building looks so close, it seems like you could touch it. In addition to the glass roof and alabaster bar, the space also features a new sound system and 65-inch flat-screen available for use (hello, home videos!). Capacity is 100. Pricing starts at $7,000 for three hours (hors d’oeuvres and drinks included), plus an 18 percent service fee; each additional hour costs $1,500. 33 W. 37th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 646-368-6385; topofthestrand.com.
Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel
Nothing says urban Art Deco fabulosity like a front-and-center view of the iconic Chrysler Building. Add to that a sleekly outfitted, 3,000-square-foot space with a retractable-glass ceiling and walls, and you’ve got a new venue that should soon rank among the city’s best. Your guests take a private express elevator to the hotel’s 30th-floor indoor-outdoor lounge, where they are regaled with offerings by Marcus Samuelsson–trained chef David Andrews. Worried about cool temperatures? Ask about the venue’s heated floors (no kidding). Fits up to 250 for cocktails, and up to 110 for a seated dinner. Prices upon request. 145 E. 50th St., nr. Third Ave., penthouse; 212-702-1685; upstairsnyc.com.
From the Winter 2013 New York Wedding Guide