Travel Spotlight

NEW YORK CITY: If you are headed to New York City anytime soon, here is a good tip: purchase the CityPASS (www.citypass.com/new-york). New York sure does appreciate its Canadian tourists. By logging on to www.nycgo.com you can begin planning your activities.

We were only in town for a few days and while the other two members of the family saw some Broadway shows, I wanted to do some exploring. But where does one start? New York CityPASS includes admission to NYC’s top six attractions: the Empire State Building Observatory, The Met, American Museum of Natural History, MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art), Top of the Rock or Guggenheim and the Statue of Liberty or Circle Line Cruises. It is valid for nine days from first day of use. Not only do you get to skip ticket lines, you save 41 percent.

I had never been to MoMA (MoMA.org) before, described as the foremost museum of modern art in the world. Established in 1929 as an educational institution, MoMA is a place that fuels creativity, ignites minds, and provides inspiration. With extraordinary exhibitions and the world’s finest collection of modern and contemporary art, MoMA is dedicated to the conversation between the past and the present, the established and the experimental. Its mission is helping you understand and enjoy the art of our time.

Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889.

Starry Night by Van Gogh is on the fifth floor at MoMA.
Photograph © 2004 The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

MoMA is located in midtown Manhattan, at 11 West Fifty-third Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues. MoMA’s holdings include more than 150,000 individual pieces in addition to approximately 22,000 films and four million film stills. Upon arrival, pick up a mobile device free of charge on floors 1 or 6. Photo ID is required. You can also use your own handheld device via MoMA’s public Wi-Fi network or download the free APP at MomMA.org/mobile.

It is best to start off on the 6th floor to see any special exhibitions on and then work your way down. The fifth and fourth floors feature paintings and sculptures from the 1880s to the 1940s and the 1940s to the 1980s respectively: the likes of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Floor 3 focuses on architecture and design while contemporary galleries (prints, illustrated books and media) highlight the second floor. Near the lobby, on the main floor, you will find an art lab and a sculpture garden. There are theatres down below showing different films. You must go to the film desk to find out the schedule and get a special ticket.

Unquestionably “the draw” in New York City remains its extraordinary Broadway productions. Be prepared to pay big dollars, even for a seat that is the second to last spot in the house at the top. Here is a tip though. Go online via Ticketmaster or Telecharge, check out the precise availability and call the toll free number so that you can get a more accurate route of what is available. While they offer to mail the tickets at least 48 hours before the show, we recommend that you either print them out online or ask to pick them up at will call. In some cases you can even buy cancellation insurance. We purchased tickets for Beautiful, the Carol King Musical.

The large one-bedroom Madison Suites are well appointed with views of downtown Manhattan

The large one-bedroom Madison Suites are well appointed with views of downtown Manhattan

We stayed somewhere new on this trip, the Omni Berkshire Place (www.omnihotels.com/hotels/new-york-berkshire) at 21 East 52nd Street between 5th and Madison – a great location. I was particularly impressed with the live chat assistance available on their website as I planned the trip. With the simple click of the mouse there was someone at the opposite end answering all of my questions in real time. I also signed up free of charge for the Select Guest Loyalty Program, which provides you with complimentary perks such as free Wi-Fi Internet service, access to a 24-hour business center and a state-of-the-art fitness center with a sundeck overlooking midtown Manhattan. You also get a free shoe shine, pressings, the newspaper, morning beverage of your choice, express check-in and check-out, customized room preferences and bottled water.

This luxury Omni Berkshire Place is steps away from Fortune 500 companies and some of the city’s most illustrious sites like Fifth Avenue Shopping, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and Broadway theatres. One day, while heading to the lobby, I met a very friendly gentleman in the elevator. He introduced himself as Delfin Ortiz, the general manager of the Omni San Antonio at the Colonnade who was at the New York location on an interim basis. A day later he gave me the good news that he was being asked to move to the Big Apple full-time.

We stayed in a spacious Madison Suite, overlooking 52nd Street and Madison Avenue. These magnificent 781-square-foot suites feature a large master bedroom with an oversized bath that includes separate shower and soaking tub along with generous counter space. There are two telephones in the bathroom. We very much appreciated the in-room safe.  The separate living area has an extremely comfortable pull-out sleeper sofa, club chair, desk and an iHome© audio system. The hotel has a very helpful concierge desk. Across the street is Isadora’s Café, which has an absolutely endless array of items to choose from. It is just perfect to bring dinner back to the room before a show. For more information about the hotel; call 1-888-444-OMNI or locally at 212-753-5800.

Mike Cohen can be reached at info@mikecohen.ca. See his travel advice column at www.sandboxworld.com/travel.

Related Posts