Rachel Leonditsis, who works in the Virgin Holidays concession in Debenhams Guildford, gives us her A to Z on NYC.
For a weekend break, what’s best?
“The World Trade Centre site’s a must-see. It’s amazing what’s been rebuilt since the devastation of 9/11 and the museum is really interesting.
Grab a slice of pizza from one of the Ray's Pizza outlets in the city. They’re enormous, and you'll never taste pizza that’s just so good! Top of the Rock is open until midnight, so go at night for dazzling views of the Big Apple. Walk as much as you can too, you’ll come across shops, sights, and landmarks that you’d have missed on the subway or in a cab.”
Best view of the Big Apple?
“There are so many amazing views of the city. I love the Staten Island ferry – it’s free, and you get amazing views of the Statue of Liberty on the way across, and breathtaking views of the city on the return.”
Best place to bag a bargain?
“Century 21 (opposite the World Trade Centre Site) is one of Carrie Bradshaw's (from Sex and the City) favourite haunts and has high end designer bargains. From Moschino to Manolo Blahnik, you’re sure to pick up a fantastic find at a fabulous price!”
Favourite spot to unwind?
“If you’re looking for a slower pace, try Central Park. Hire a gondola or rowboat from Loeb boathouse. Then explore the vast 22-acre lake, taking in all the exquisite views of the herons, egrets and loons.”
What’s a must-see in Central Park?
“If you’re visiting in summer, pack your swimsuit and have a dip in the park’s Lasker Pool. It’s free to use and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. During the winter months, it’s transformed into an ice skating rink, so it's equally unmissable.”
Most yummie place for foodies?
“The River Café restaurant, nestled by Brooklyn Bridge. The magnificent cuisine and spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline are a winning combination. And the chocolate Brooklyn Bridge dessert is a masterpiece!”
Best bar for a Long Island Ice Tea? Or Manhattan?
“The Hudson Hotel, designed by Philip Starck, is New York’s best-kept secret, It’s Sky Terrace is an outdoor oasis on the 15th floor. Open seasonally - you can enjoy unobstructed views of the Hudson River all the way to the Statue of Liberty. Or, if the weather’s not great, the hotel’s Library Bar offers an English drawing room ambience, serving fantastic cocktails in opulent surroundings.”
Where’s best for a little romance?
“A horse and carriage ride around Central Park is one of my favourite memories of New York. It’s an amazing way to see the beautiful park. In fact, you’d never believe you’re still in one of the busiest cities in the world.”
Taking the kids? What’s something they’ll never forget?
“Head to Ellen's 50's themed Stardust Diner on Times Square. The waiters and waitresses dance on the tables and sing while you enjoy delicious classic burgers and milkshakes.”
Anything else that’s a New York must?
“Grand Central Terminal is beautiful. With ceiling-to-floor marble, awe-inspiring chandeliers and amazing architecture, it’s hardly your average station. It's got a multitude of shops, and fantastic bars and restaurants too. Maybe I’m a little biased though as I did get married here!”
Rachel’s New York know-how’s second to none. And she’s just one of the hundreds of helpful Destination Gurus here at Virgin Holidays.