Lovers’ Itinerary

Lincoln Center Photo: Courtesy of Lincoln Center

Day One: Uptown
You can’t put a price on love, so mix in some splurges alongside simpler pleasures.

9:30 a.m.: Start with an over-the-top breakfast. At Norma’s, the premier restaurant of Le Parker Meridien Hotel, the prices are steep ($24–$26 for pancakes; $100 for the lobster frittata), but for sheer decadence, the shareable fruit-stuffed waffles and French toast à la foie gras can’t be beat.

11 a.m.: Swoon over Central Park. Enter at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue (just across from the Plaza Hotel, where Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones got hitched), then head north past Wollman Rink (featured in the classic tearjerker Love Story) before catching a ride on the antique carousel. Merge onto the Literary Walk, a path lined with statues of Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, and the like. Up ahead is the Naumburg Bandshell, which played a part in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; to the west (beyond Lilac Walk) is Strawberry Fields, the teardrop-shaped green space adopted by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

1:30 p.m.: Ramble over to the Boathouse Restaurant. There are a few options here—an express café, or an outdoor grill in warmer months—but the most romantic by far is the lakeside dining room, where lunch is served from noon until 4 p.m. Enjoy the seafood-rich menu while gazing at gondolas on the lake and the surrounding formal gardens.

3 p.m.: Practice your partnering skills on a paddleboat. Pick up a vessel at Central Park Lake’s Loeb Boathouse near 74th Street and East Drive ($12 for the first hour; $3 each additional fifteen minutes; $30 cash deposit), then make some waves on the water. Boats must be returned by 6:30 p.m. Hey, you’ve got places to go.

6:30 p.m.: Toast to the night ahead from on high. After getting gussied up back at the hotel, revel in the view from the 35th floor at MObar, the classy watering hole of the Mandarin Oriental, New York.

8 p.m.: Soak up some serious culture at Lincoln Center. Depending on the season, you can often get last-minute tickets for the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, or the Philharmonic. During intermission, a stroll around the main courtyard will find you as flatteringly lit as the fountains and the spectacular architecture.

10 p.m.: Wind down with some dazzle. Take a taxi down to 42nd Street and Ninth Avenue for a late meal at Chez Josephine, a shrine to American-born Paris sensation Josephine Baker. Previously run by her adopted son, the late Jean-Claude Baker, this intimate jewel box is done up in red-velvet walls with twinkling chandeliers.

The River CaféPhoto: Carmen Lopez and AJ Wilhelm

Day Two
If you’re looking for some romanticism to write home about, tap into the storybook charms of downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights.

9:30 a.m.: Wake up to old-fashioned eats. Tuck into omelettes ($13–$16) or blueberry-packed pancakes ($15) at Friend of a Farmer, a country-inn restaurant on picturesque Irving Place, off Gramercy Park. In summer, request a seat outside; in winter, snuggle up to one of two working fireplaces.

10:30 a.m.: Relive a movie moment. After picking up some farm-fresh fruit or baked goods at the Union Square Greenmarket (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), walk one block west to Fifth Avenue, then hang a left until you reach the arch in Washington Square Park. It’s time for your When Harry Met Sally moment.

11:30 a.m.: Get in touch with Village history. Go west on Waverly Place, then take a left on Seventh Avenue until you hit Bleecker Street. (Detour on tiny Jones Street to reenact the arm-in-arm cover of Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ album.) On Bleecker (familiar to anyone who’s watched Sex and the City), continue west before looping south on Hudson Street, home to St. Luke’s garden. Just beyond the “St. Luke’s School” sign is a footpath leading to a well-tended green space—a spot made for stolen kisses or, if you’re really feeling it, a proposal.

1:30 p.m.: While away some time near Wall Street. By cab or subway, haul down to lower Manhattan for lunch at Financier Patisserie on Stone Street, a pedestrian lane that’s part New York, part European town square. Sit outside while the raucous Wall Street traders spill out of nearby pubs and wine bars. We recommend the Fraisier ($4.50)—a French pastry of vanilla biscuits, fresh strawberries, and Grand Marnier–infused mousse—for dessert.

3 p.m.: Take in views of New York Harbor. Stroll through Battery Park, which lines the southern perimeter of Manhattan, then tuck into the Dead Rabbit for a specialty cocktail—it’s a world-class cocktail joint, boutique beer bar, and familial Celtic pub, all under one roof.

7 p.m.: Cross the river to the River Café. Back at sea level, take a fifteen-minute ride on the New York Water Taxi to Brooklyn. You can pick up one of the company’s checkered yellow boats at Slip 6 in Battery Park, then motor around the tip of Manhattan to Fulton Ferry Landing. Dine on lobster, caviar, and handmade chocolates at the legendary River Café, which sits prettily under the Brooklyn Bridge. (Call ahead for a reservation.)

9 p.m.: Make the most of the moon over Manhattan. Take a postprandial stroll along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (it’s uphill, but only ten minutes away). Once there, you can enjoy the unbeatable Gotham skyline from the city’s most perfectly placed walkway.

Silk Day Spa. Photo: Courtesy of Silk Day Spa

Day Three
Impress your paramour with your sense of polish, then eat like a king (three times over).

10 a.m.: Treat yourself to a gilded breakfast. A breakfast buffet may not sound glitzy, but at Arabelle Restaurant it can mean farm-fresh poached eggs with a side of asparagus served under a domed ceiling of gold. If you’re staying at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, you’re basically stepping out of opulence into more opulence.

11 a.m.: Hurry over to the Frick Collection. Housed in a lovely nineteenth-century mansion, the museum has a stellar collection of bronzes, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs, and dreamy European paintings. Be sure not to miss Fragonard’s ten-painting “Progress of Love” series in the Fragonard Room.

1 p.m.: Savor sushi for lunch. Long among the top ranks of sushi in New York, Sushi Yasuda will impress you with the variety and freshness of its food, both raw and cooked. Menu highlights include soft-shell crab, shimaaji, sea urchin, and the sawani.

2:30 p.m.: Indulge in a spa service for two. The Asian-inspired Silk Day Spa’s three-hour Silk Emperor/Empress treatment ($780 for a three-hour treatment for two) includes a hot-tub soak, body scrub, mud mask, shampoo rinse, and full-body massage—all performed in a dimly lit couples’ room. Therapists will even show you how to apply the mud, then leave you alone for some private time. (Book in advance at 212-255-6457.)

6 p.m.: Throw back a few predinner cocktails. Make your way uptown to the Time Warner Center, then zip over to Stone Rose, nightlife king (and Cindy Crawford spouse) Rande Gerber’s sexy, spacious lounge with killer views of Central Park. Sink into a plush banquette while sipping the house twist on the cosmo.

8:30 p.m.: Splurge on the ultimate New York meal. A nine-course tasting dinner at Per Se runs $310, but celebrated chef Thomas Keller’s ingenious creations, his staff’s impeccable service, and the stunning park views are without peer in the city. (Reservations are a must and can be made through OpenTable.)

Kykuit.Photo: Courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley

Day Four: Excursions
Seek serenity in the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and the sleepy side of the Bronx.

1. Get a taste of the historic Hudson Valley with a visit to Kykuit, the hilltop home for four generations of Rockefellers. The vast grounds and six-story stone house include a collection of Picasso tapestries, a classic-car museum, and beautiful gardens overlooking the river. Nearby, the quaint town of Sleepy Hollow features author Washington Irving’s house. Take the Metro-North railroad from Grand Central Terminal to Tarrytown, then cab it to Kykuit.

2. Ditch the city for award-winning vineyards along Long Island’s North Fork. Take the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station, disembarking in Greenport, Mattituck, or Southold. Each hamlet has its share of antique stores, sandy spots, and gourmet restaurants, but the primary attractions are the wineries, 48 of which are now scattered around the fork. Go to Long Island Wine Country for a full list of tasting rooms.

3. Overlooking the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades, Wave Hill is a public green space and cultural center with 28 acres of spectacular, themed gardens. (It’s also one of the city’s most sought-after wedding spots.) Pack a lunch and make a day of it, traveling via either the 1 train or the Metro-North Railroad out of Grand Central Station. (Go to for more detailed travel instructions.) Alternatively, spend an afternoon in Fort Tryon Park at the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to medieval Europe. Tapestries, manuscripts, stained glass, and works by silver- and goldsmiths are on display in a building made from imported twelfth- and thirteenth-century architectural pieces. The Cloisters is accessible by subway or bus; see here for details.

Arabelle Restaurant
Hotel Plaza Athenee
37 E. 64th St., nr. Madison Ave.

Battery Park
Battery Pl., at State St.

Boathouse Restaurant
Central Park
Park Dr. N., at 72nd St.

Calypso St. Barth
900 Madison Ave., at 74th St.

Central Park
Fifth Ave., at 59th St.

Chez Josephine
414 W. 42nd St., nr. Ninth Ave.

The Cloisters
Fort Tryon Park
99 Margaret Corbin Dr., nr. Park Dr.

The Dead Rabbit
30 Water St., nr. Broad St.

Financier Patisserie
World Financial Center
62 Stone St., at Mill Ln.

The Frick Collection
1 E. 70th St., nr. Fifth Ave.

Friend of a Farmer
77 Irving Pl., nr. 19th St.

Gramercy Park
Lexington Ave., at 21st St.

Grand Central Terminal
Lexington Ave., at 42nd St.

Le Parker Meridien Hotel
119 W. 56th St., nr. Sixth Ave.

Lincoln Center
10 Lincoln Center Plz.

Loeb Boathouse
Central Park
Fifth Ave., at 72nd St.

Madison Square Park
Madison Ave., at 23rd St.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd St.

Metropolitan Opera
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Columbus Ave., at 64th St.

New York Water Taxi
Wall St., at South St.

Le Parker Meridien
119 W. 56th St., nr. Sixth Ave.

Penn Station
Seventh Ave., at 32nd St.

Per Se
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Cir., at 60th St., fourth fl.

Plaza Hotel
Grand Army Plaza
768 Fifth Ave., at 59th St.

The River Café
1 Water St., Dumbo, Brooklyn

Some Odd Rubies
151 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St.

Silk Day Spa
47 W. 13th St., nr. Sixth Ave.

St. Luke’s
487 Hudson St., nr. Christopher St.

Sushi Yasuda
204 E. 43rd St., nr. Third Ave.

Stone Rose
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Cir., at 58th St., fourth fl.

Ten Thousand Things
7 Harrison St., nr. Hudson St.

Tiffany & Co.
727 Fifth Ave., nr. 56th St.

Washington Square Park
Fifth Ave., at Waverly Pl.

Union Square Greenmarket
Union Square Park
17th St., at Broadway

Wave Hill
675 W. 252nd St., Riverdale, the Bronx

Wollman Rink
Central Park
Fifth Ave., at 65th St.


Calypso St. Barth
Island-inspired costume jewelry reigns in this hippie-chic boutique.

Some Odd Rubies
A mix of affordable and pricey vintage pieces, with a predilection for delicate, yellow-gold necklaces and earrings.

Ten Thousand Things
An elegant small store full of organic, handworked dangly earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

Tiffany & Co.
Four floors of ruby, sapphire, and sterling-silver baubles—all of which come wrapped in a blue box.

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Lovers’ Itinerary