#TravelTuesday: What’s En Vogue in NYC (It’s Not the Cosmopolitan)

by Brook Benten on September 13, 2022 in General, Travel,
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Many of us fell in love with New York to the tune of Sex and the City. We wore camisoles with tulle skirts and necklaces with our names engraved. We clinked cosmos with our girl friends. We romanticized a city that we only visited vicariously on HBO on Sunday nights. Twenty-five years later, I couldn’t help but wonder, what’s en vogue in NYC now? A recent visit revealed it’s not the cosmopolitan.

 

The Must Drink

Walking the streets of Manhattan, there’s a speakeasy on every block. At the corner of 50th and Broadway, I saw an A-frame sign outside of a bar that read “Happy Hour 4-6pm $6 Bud Lites and Cosmopolitans.” I gasped, coughing on a whiff of secondhand marijuana smoke in the air, as I turned to give the sign a double-take – with the same expression Carrie had after getting splashed by a bus in the intro to Sex and the City. 

Had the cosmopolitan really been diminished to the company of Bud Lite? It felt tantamount to pairing a Manolo Blahnik with a flip flop. But, there it was, slapping me in the face like a post-it to the computer: the cosmo is out. A few blocks away at NYY Steak, the glitzy new “it” place on 48th and 7th Avenue, I learned what’s in.

Hickory Old Fashioned is the new Cosmo.

Hickory Old Fashioned, NYY Steak, 159 W 48th St. New York, New York. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel New York

Bourbon is in. It’s smooth, masculine, strong, sexy, and timelessly stylish. If the show Yellowstone was a drink, it would be an old fashioned. NYY Steak uses smoked hickory chips, chocolate mole bitters, ramazzotti, and Blade and Bow bourbon to strike the perfect balance of smoky, savory, and deeply satisfying.

If you find yourself walking a ways to the Manhattan business district, take a stop at the guest-welcoming Royalton Rooftop pool at Royalton Park Avenue.  Get a daybed with an umbrella and order the bourbon drink “Over The Hills & Far Away.” It’s a mix of bourbon, basil and lemon. 

The Must Eat

Brunch was all the rage two decades ago. We watched Carrie and crew order martinis around the breakfast table in cavalier fashion. Outside of television, was it ever really stylish to sip cocktails on idle weekday mornings? I have my doubts.

Photo Credit NYC & Company

But one thing’s for sure now: early dinner is “the” meal. It’s an easy after-work stop before settling home, getting comfortable, and wishing you hadn’t made plans. Also, intermittent fasting is a thing now that wasn’t in Sex and the City times – so breakfast is out, early dinner is in. {Let me speed date you on intermittent fasting. It involves not eating for 12-hours+. A local Austin dietitian, Laura Mangum, RD, LD, explains why this “thing” is now a thing – and a compelling reason to try it. “The body can’t ‘deep clean’ while digesting around the clock. By embracing a hard stop time for eating, the body will have more time to repair. Because it is effective in insulin reduction, it is also effective in blood sugar reduction/regulation and fat storage.”}

Photo Credit Hard Rock Hotel New York

NYY Steak opened in May 2022. This new steakhouse is a stone’s throw from Times Square, and one of only four steakhouses in all New York to serve strip loin, “snow beef” hokaido. We have to recommend that you make your early dinner reservation here.  Word of the new “it place” travels fast in Manhattan, so call and lock it in about a week in advance. 

In addition to incredible steaks and seafood, you’ll be entertained by this ensemble, playing tunes like Heart and Soul – with far more swagger than Tom Hanks in Big, 1988, NYC. Photo Brook Benten Jimenez

The Must Stay

Opened in the heart of Midtown Manhattan in April 2022, Hard Rock Hotel New York is bigger than Mr. Big. (An intentional dig from an Aidan fan)

A pale yellow Max Azria dress, worn by Alicia Keys at a Vanity Fair Oscar party, is the centerpiece of the lobby at the newly-opened venue. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel New York

The brand’s hotel graces the skyline at 159 West 48th Street. Everything is on brand, all the way from the “dirty deets” non-plastic, eco-friendly laundry bag to the “Rock Om®” yoga program that meets vinyasa flow with DJ beats. Hard Rock Hotel New York has so much GenX sophistication, you can wear your shades indoors and look stylish – with all the swagger of Samantha’s model boyfriend, Smith Jerrod, in Sex and the City. On the end of every hallway, there’s a notorious music artist with factoids, similar to VH1 music videos with pop-up factoid bubbles – a reference remembered fondly by middle-aged music fanatics, like myself. Hard Rock Hotel New York is situated between the Theater District and Radio City Music Hall. Consider it your backstage pass to Music Row. Rooms average $495/night. Book one of the hotel’s 446 luxe guest rooms at hardrockhotels.com/new-york.

Hard Rock Hotel Rockstar Suite bedroom. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Hotel New York

The Must See

Broadway will never go out of style. Like a sequined corset – unapologetically audacious, glitzy, gay, glamorous, larger-than-life, and fully confident that it knows what it is. The iconic acting, detailed sets, and impeccable singing and dancing fill us with wow and wonder. Over the global pandemic, when Broadway shut down, a part of our footloose and fancy free merriment shut down with it. But it returned and swept us off our feet, like John Preston in Paris on the final episode of SATC.

There is not a bad show in the Broadway bunch. Expect to be blown away by the artistry in every unique play. If you’re traveling with children, Aladdin is a must-see. If you’re on a date, Moulin Rouge: The Musical is the one for you. And if you want to see Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster deliver “the best performances of their careers,” says Dana Maass, a TLM contributor, see THE MUSIC MAN.

Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster, and the cast of THE MUSIC MAN. Photo Joan Marcus

The Must Wear

Without addressing fashion changes over the past two and a half decades, we’d hardly be paying homage to ca-ca-ca-Carrie Bradshaw. (To understand the stutter, see Season 2, Episode 18: The Way We Were).  There are some timeless styles that you could rock then and rock now.  Those include the denim jacket, a high ponytail, hoop earrings, and winter white pants. But two words have changed the fashion world since pre-Y2K. You know it, I know it, and anyone with a tweenage daughter knows it: Lululemon Athletica. Twenty-five years ago, I was just coming to accept that BONGO jeans were no longer the style. But nobody I knew or related to wore $130 stretchy leggings with a woman’s silhouette on the lumbar as a status symbol. Now, I dare you to walk into an Exhale Spa yoga class or first day of middle school without your Lulu. The flagship Lululemon store is on the corner of 5th Avenue and 49th Street. This 4-story retail epicenter is a “must shop” while in NYC.

Lululemon is the must-wear wardrobe of 2022. Photo Brook Benten Jimenez

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Cover photo courtesy NYC & Company

Brook Benten Jimenez, M.Ed. is a fitness expert in Austin, TX. She recently completed writing a book on resistance training, low impact cardio, nutrition, and wellness for active aging women. It is scheduled to release in March 2023, published by Hearst. In addition to inspiring people to fitness through written and video content, she enjoys traveling the world and gabbing about wellness travel experiences. Follow Brook on Instagram at @BrookBenten.