Your Personal Concierge
Summer in the Big Apple
From seaside fun on Queens’ sandy beaches to elegant cocktail lounges to answers to some of the most-asked questions of hotel guests, Robert D. Geist of The St. Regis New York (2 E. 55th St., 212.753.4500) recommends his top picks for August in NYC!
Q: What are three off-the-beaten-path spots you’d recommend?
A: In Central Park, the Conservatory Garden is a hidden gem. Those looking for a beautiful sandy beach this summer should visit Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway, Queens. The beach’s natural grassy dunes trace the shoreline. Also, take a sunset sail on NYC’s most overlooked resource: the waterfront! Try a sunset sail on the Schooner Adirondack.
Q: Areas to check out off the island?
A: Neighborhoods that are charming, surprisingly non-touristy and have yet to be transformed into hipster magnets are Forest Hills and Forest Hills Gardens, both in Queens. About 30 minutes from Midtown Manhattan via the E or F subway line, Forest Hills’ Austin Street boasts several shops and restaurants to enjoy. One of the highest-rated Italian restaurants in the neighborhood is Tuscan Hills: Try either the lasagna or the Cacciucco Alla Livornese—a traditional Tuscan fish stew baked with a delicious bread crust! The gastropub Forest Hills Station House is the stop for craft beers, whiskeys and incredible eats. Forest Hills Gardens is home to beautiful English Tudor-style homes and castlelike dwellings on winding streets lined with tall stately trees. Elsewhere, Flushing, Queens, has become the new Chinatown of choice for authentic dim sum. The best soup dumplings I have ever tasted in New York City are found at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao. I suggest ordering the crab or pork soup dumplings, which are to die for! Also check out Flushing’s New World Mall, with its fascinating food hall downstairs.
Q: What are the top three questions guests have been asking lately?
A: People have asked, “Where do I get a Cronut?” Go to Dominique Ansel Bakery early and wait in line to purchase a Cronut, or my hotel offers a courier service: For a fee, we have someone stand in line for the guest and then deliver to the hotel. For even more baked goods, Maison Kayser offers breads and viennoiseries made on premises. Another question is “Where do you recommend I have drinks pre-theater or after dinner?” I suggest trying either the King Cole Bar at The St. Regis New York for its Red Snapper—the original Bloody Mary—or the SixtyFive bar at the Rainbow Room for great city views. I’m also asked, “Where should I start walking The High Line?” I suggest starting at the northern end at W. 34th St., btw 11th and 12th aves., and work your way down through Chelsea into the Meatpacking District, where you can enjoy the many shopping opportunities and food venues.