in New York
Michael Berchtel shows us what we must be sure to enjoy in New York when we don’t have much time. The 29-year-old Flight Attendant has worked for SWISS since mid-2015, and has already visited New York more than ten times. It is the most exciting city in the world: «It really is a magical place», enthuses Michael. «There is something new to enjoy every day!»
New York inspires more people than almost any other city. The world seems to turn twice as fast here - so it is hardly surprising that the metropolis is affectionately known as «The City That Never Sleeps». But what must you be sure to enjoy if you are only in New York for a short time?
SWISS flies to New York from Zurich and Geneva. It is a good hour from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Manhattan, and about half that from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). «If you land at JFK, you will be able to pick out the first skyscrapers at Queens, on your way to Manhattan.» It won’t take long to reach your destination.
The jet-lag is not exactly great, but the time change comes in handy for Michael, because he can start the next day in New York early in the morning: «I order myself a coffee, and watch the business people going to work while I drink it.» The Little Collins, a small and minimalist coffee shop on Lexington Ave in Midtown, is the perfect place to do this.
The sunrise is not to be missed! Michael takes the Roosevelt Island Tramway to the little island in the centre of the East River. The magic of watching the morning sun slowly light up the Manhattan skyline never palls. «You can take the subway from here to anywhere in the city.»
«It is an amazing experience, looking down on the city from above», enthuses Michael. Many spots in New York promise a breathtaking view. «But my favourite is most definitely the Top of the Rock!» Book the trip in advance from the Rockefeller Center, to avoid the queues.
After the spectacle of the metropolis, it’s back to Downtown from 30th Street. But don’t use the subway or a taxi, go on foot - on the legendary High Line that runs from Chelsea to the Meatpacking District. «There are some great shops and cafés along this walk.»
«It is only a few minutes walk from the Meatpacking District to the hip NoHo quartier», says Michael. If your stomach is grumbling again, it is worth stopping for a vegetarian lunch at by CHLOE. But if you prefer a late breakfast, you should definitely go to Little Italy: The Grey Dog not only offers fantastic food in a rustic setting, it also has «the best chai latte» that Michael has ever drunk.
If you love sneakers, make sure you pop in to KITH on Broadway. The shop is one of the most famous in the United States, and is owned by the internationally-renowned sneakers designer Ronnie Fieg.
A bike is a brilliant way to enjoy New York: «You simply grab yourself one from a Citibike-Station, and away you go.» Michael’s tour takes us from Tribeca down to the World Trade Center, and finally over the Brooklyn Bridge. «You get a fantastic view over to Manhattan from here.»
When you get to Brooklyn, deposit the bike in a station and walk down to Water Street. This district is called D.U.M.B.O. (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) - it’s crystal clear why you just have to take this snap, «the subject even comes up in Gossip Girl.» All it takes is a bit of practice.
Right next door in Brooklyn Bridge Park, you come across children playing, fitness enthusiasts and dog lovers. «Make sure that you take a ride on Jane’s Carousel», recommends Michael. This gem dates back to 1922, and has been lovingly restored.
After your historic carousel ride, take the East River Ferry upriver to North Williamsburg. «You can get to the Wythe Hotel quickly from there on foot.» The Ides Bar on the roof has some exquisite drinks and - most importantly - «a spectacular view over Manhattan, especially as the sun drops below the skyline.»
If, after this eventful trip through the vibrant metropolis, you still have some energy left, make sure you head for Tribeca, to finish the evening amongst the restaurants and cool bars. For Michael, the Manhattan district is like «Old New York»: «Very authentic! I really like Macao at 311 Church Street, a great bar with a restaurant in the style of the former Portuguese colony Macau in China.»
If you would prefer to stay in Brooklyn, there are many culinary highlights to enjoy, including a certain ramen restaurant: «The Yuji is without doubt one of the best. They have omakase at weekends», reveals Michael. This special must be reserved online in advance and comprises a selected ramen arrangement to savour.
Should you then start to feel slightly tired, you can round off your day with a pleasant drink in a nearby bar. The Freehold is a credit to this hip district, and according to Michael, is «the only place that has a hotel lobby and a hotel bar, but no hotel.»