The Downtown Project reached out to Barbara Taylor Bradford about the launch of her new novel, “Letter from a Stranger” and asked the New Yorker what she enjoys doing when she has friends in town.
I love New York and never tire of rediscovering the city when my husband Robert and I have guests in town visiting. Here are a few of my favorite destinations when I’ve got two days to work with:
1) Start one of the days at the moving and historic 9/11 Memorial. This powerful, sacred ground was dedicated on the 10th Anniversary of the tragedy and is a place you need to see and experience to truly comprehend. Advance visitor passes to the memorial are required, so don’t show up without a little pre-planning or you’ll be terribly disappointed. Nearby the site, you’ll also find a museum filled with genuine artifacts and rotating exhibits. Click here for more information, including pass reservations.
2) If it’s Sunday, walk over to Marc Forgione’s for brunch. The eatery is named after the Chef/Owner who was also a past winner on the Next Iron Chef on Food Network. Often referred to as “farmhouse-chic,” this charming neighborhood restaurant serves up consistently delicious and inventive dishes and hasn’t gone unnoticed by foodies. Note: other than Sunday brunch, the restaurant is only open for dinner. If you’re set on brunch or lunch and can’t make it to Marc Forgione’s when they’re open, than try the simpler Plein Sud, a French brasserie located in the Smyth Hotel and a mere 5 blocks away from the 9/11 Memorial.
3) If the weather’s right, head over to Battery Park where you can catch a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and/or Ellis Island. Purchase tickets to one or both attractions (or simply take a ferry ride to enjoy the stunning skyline!). The Statue of Liberty has been looking out over the New York harbor since 1886 when it was given to us by the French. Click here to view the Statue from one of its five live webcams. Ellis Island, known as America’s “Golden Door” (it was the entrance to America for over 12 million immigrants) is absolutely fascinating, especially if you have ancestors you’re interested in tracking.
4) Chances are you’re exhausted by now, so save the next two suggestions for another day — or night. One of my absolutely favorite places to dine in New York is the still family-owned Le Cirque, where I can always expect to be greeted by Sirio, the owner, or Mario, the manager. As Sirio says, “The history of Le Cirque is the history of New York,” and he couldn’t be more right about that as he’s helped launch the careers of many a famous chef, including Daniel Boulud, David Bouley and Jacques Torres, to name but a few.
5) After dinner, walk up Madison to another New York classic, The Carlyle Hotel, where you can enjoy live music any night of the week. And, if it’s Monday night, you can catch Woody Allen playing clarinet with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band. If you’re just in the mood for a drink, drop into the stunning art deco Bemelmans Bar (go in even if you’re not drinking to see the gorgeous interior), which is named after Ludwig Bemelman, best-known for the beloved Madeline book series.
Honestly, when it comes comes to New York I could go on and on. Hope you enjoy yourself on this tour as much as I did!