INSIDE TRACK: NEW YORK

If you're joining us at the New York International Auto Show, let us be your guide to the fascinating Big Apple.

 

New York is home to old favourites and a place for new discoveries. Let us be your guide to the finer experiences of a city constantly reinventing itself.

In 1900 the New York International Automobile Show became North America’s first motor show. Whether in times of boom or bust, it has been one of the world’s best motor shows, hosting exciting world debuts. This year’s show, from 1st to 12th April 2015, is no different as McLaren will unveil its first ever sports car. The Sport Series, a pure McLaren, offers class-leading levels of performance, coupled with optimised handling characteristics and driving dynamics.

If you’re visiting New York, there’s so much more to be found besides the bright lights of Times Square. New York is a dynamic city where you can find anything at any hour. It has a relentless appetite for the very latest cultural trends, while respecting its remarkable history. It’s a beloved place for old favourites and new discoveries. Ahead of the 115th New York International Auto Show, here are some luxury New York experiences that reflect the ongoing appeal of a singular city. 


 

 

The hotel at the heart of New York: Baccarat Hotel & Residences

For an unforgettable stay, head to Baccarat Hotel & Residences. The renowned French crystal maker has just opened its first hotel in Midtown Manhattan – directly opposite the Museum of Modern Art – and it’s as opulent as you would expect. It has what you hope to find from a world-class hotel: indoor pool, modern restaurant and luxurious spa. It also has unique touches specific to the 251-year-old company: elegant chandeliers, and a beautiful bar with 15,000 Baccarat crystal glasses perfectly suited to whatever you’re drinking, whether that’s fine wine, a Martini or whisky.

It’s a relatively small hotel with 114 rooms, including 26 suites, and this allows General Manager Andrew Turner and his team to offer a personalised service, whether that’s reserving space in the petit salon for a business meeting, or making a reservation at Chevalier, the hotel’s highly anticipated new French restaurant. Everything has been considered at the Baccarat – it’s an instant classic in the heart of the city.

 

General Manager Andrew Turner in the beautiful bar of the Baccarat Hotel & Residences


 

 

The art gallery: David Zwirner Gallery

If you’re feeling cultural, make a pilgrimage to the David Zwirner Gallery, owned by the renowned art dealer, which has established itself as a force in the global art world. It just keeps getting better, holding exhibitions from international heavy hitters such as Jeff Koons and Yayoi Kusama, and emerging artists like Oscar Murillo. In addition to the gallery on West 19th Street in Chelsea, a remarkable five-storey space designed by architect Annabelle Selldorf recently opened one block away. Christopher D’Amelio, a partner at the gallery, says that every detail was considered in the new building: ‘The space was built from the ground up to be state-of-the-art,’ he says.

There’s also a Zwirner Gallery in London’s Mayfair, but it’s at the New York galleries where you can see the true range of thoughtful exhibitions. Interest continues to drive Zwirner’s ambitions, says Christopher. ‘More people are interested in contemporary art than ever before. The art world is global, it’s never asleep and it’s expanding.’

 

Christopher D’Amelio, a partner at David Zwirner Gallery, New York


 

 

The restaurant: Keens Steakhouse

New York’s restaurant scene evolves at a rapid pace – it can be exhausting chasing down the next up-and-coming chef in an outer borough. So it’s reassuring to go to a time-honored classic eaterie, and that’s Keens Steakhouse. Keens, which dates back to 1885, is on West 36th Street, near Madison Square Garden, and hits all the right notes: dark panelled walls, old photos, low ceilings and wonderful rooms for private events. Keens is really known for two things: its collection of pipes and its mutton chops. The white clay pipes were smoked during and after meals by club members, who included the likes of US President Teddy Roosevelt and baseball star Babe Ruth. They cover the entire ceiling and some are kept in storage – there are more than 90,000 in all.

You can’t smoke here any longer, but you can still eat a mutton chop, which is immense both in size and popularity (Keens sold its one millionth mutton chop way back in 1935). ‘People tell us they plan their trip to New York City around the mutton chop,’ says manager James Conley. It also offers steaks, of course, which are dry-aged on the premises. And while the wine list is suitably robust, don’t overlook the Scotch menu, which has a choice of over 300 varieties, as well as a decent selection of American bourbon. People are definitely in the spirit when they come to Keens. As James says: ‘I have never see appetites like the ones on display here.

 

James Conley oversees Keens Steakhouse on West 36th Street, which boasts an astonishing collection of white clay pipes


 

Image: Celia Rogge

 

Helicopter to the Hamptons: The Blade App

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for the weekend, you can hop on a helicopter and escape to the Hamptons in around 40 minutes. All you need is the Blade app, which has been designed so you can generate your own flight easily, or find a seat on an existing flight. It’s seamless technology that matches a seamless travel experience. You show up at the Blade lounge at the East 34th Street Heliport in Manhattan, check in, have a drink, and then you’re on your way.

Evan Licht, General Manager at Fly Blade, says: ‘The experience starts when you download the app, and the weekend starts when you walk through our doors.’ And if you want to skip the ridiculous New York traffic to JFK, a helicopter can get you to the airport in five minutes. For those who value their time, that’s a beautiful thing.

 

The Blade app offers customers a seamless travel experience from the moment they arrive in the beautiful private lounge


 

 

The hotel in the Hamptons: Topping Rose House

The Hamptons, longstanding vacation area for well-heeled New Yorkers, can be hectic during the summer. But the Topping Rose House, which opened in Bridgehampton in 2013, offers a welcome respite with a smart, well-appointed update to the area’s traditional architecture. “We’re the only five star, full service hotel in the Hamptons,” says general manager Fiona Riesch. “And we’re open all year round.” There are 22 highly sought-after rooms – some people book them for months on end – including cottage suites that offer private rooftop terraces where you can relax on loungers and look across at the ocean.
 
Many visitors take an active approach: The hotel can arrange kite-surfing, horseback riding, canoeing and more. If you’re looking for a more sedate experience there’s a full-service spa. Ms. Riesch explains the popularity of the suites: “They sit on top of the Hamptons. You can look out over the water but are very secluded.” The staff can arrange anything you like, from a visit to local wineries to car service to the nearest helipad.
 

Topping Rose House takes pride in being the first full-service hotel in the Hamptons, overseen by General Manager Fiona Riesch


 

 

The chartered yacht: Moonraker

If you want to go further than the Hamptons, take the scenic route out to Montauk, the fishing town at the far eastern tip of Long Island. You can’t do much better than chartering Moonraker, a sleek 50m yacht. While it has been named after a Bond film, the Moonraker, which was built last year, is more advanced than anything in Ian Fleming’s day. ‘This boat is built for entertaining,’ says Matt Ploof, who captains the Moonraker. ‘She’s fun, she’s fast.’ Indeed, it has been designed for speed, reaching 40 knots and cruising at 33.

The Moonraker can also take you further ashore (so to speak) than Montauk, including scenic Block Island, or Newport, Rhode Island (the historic home of American sailing), or up to Nantucket. To get used to the new boat, Matt took it down to the Mediterranean and was docked in the port during the Monaco Grand Prix. Matt adds a truism familiar to any McLaren driver: ‘Speed is a great luxury.’

 

As you would expect from a yacht named after a Bond film, the 50m luxury Moonraker can reach speeds of up to 40 knots

 

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