Explore New York City

Best Things to Do in NYC According to a Concierge: Emily Giannelli

We asked Emily Giannelli, concierge at the New York Park Lane Hotel, to give us her best recommendations for your next visit to NYC.

“There is always something new to explore in New York City! Whether it be a new restaurant, exhibit or structure, the city is constantly changing,” says Emily Giannelli. “I often suggest to our hotel guests that they visit the outer boroughs. Many people come to see Manhattan’s main attractions as it is known for its iconic buildings, but the vessels to the heart of the city are out in the boroughs. They are definitely worth a visit.”

Here’s what Giannelli recommends:

• Being a native New Yorker, I love exploring anything new. I recently walked around Hudson Yards. There is an array of new shops, restaurants, cafés and even an observation deck. It’s an amazing new addition to the city and a food haven. Hudson Yards has a structure called the Vessel, and it’s the newest hot spot for a  great selfie. You need to book online in advance or log in here at 8 am each day for same-day tickets which are FREE.

• One of the best places to take kids of all ages is the Brooklyn Bridge. Walking across the bridge and taking in those incredible views, always blows everyone away. 

(Courtesy Smorgasburg)

• Visiting foodies should go to Smorgasburg. The food and flea market operates outdoors in spring and summer and indoors in fall and winter. Locations are in different boroughs on different days, and the Oculus location in Lower Manhattan has been added on Fridays. It’s a local favorite, and the Hornblower ferry is an easy way to get to some of the locations on the water.

• For guests looking for a night on the town, I would recommend one of my go-to restaurants: Upland in Gramercy Park, a spacious, casually chic brasserie with hearty dishes featuring Californian and Italian influences. It’s nothing short of excellent every time. Then I would suggest heading to Bar SixtyFive at the Rainbow Room for drinks and a stunning view. Or you can head down to the Meatpacking District for dinner at one of the many outstanding restaurants there and then on to a lounge or nightclub. The area has no shortage.

• For those looking for something under-the-radar, I suggest taking a day trip up the Hudson Valley from Grand Central Terminal. It’s one of my favorite things to do on a day off. When you disembark the train, most of the shops and restaurants are within walking distance of the station. Just an hour out of Manhattan is Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown, which is full of spooky history. This is where to have the best Halloween.

• Farther north are two of my favorite areas in the Hudson Valley, Rhinebeck and Beacon, which have an abundance of Victorian architecture, collectibles shops, emerging art galleries, museums and fine dining. When the weather warms up, take the direct ferry to Rockaway Beach, which has a large flea market on weekends.