Alone in New York
Who doesn't know the movie - Kevin alone in New York - and who doesn't dream of travelling to New York in the pre-Christmas period. Ok, I mean my age is not the same as Kevin's but I was also alone in one of the most exciting cities. Also it was not as turbulent as in the movie, but I still had many experiences and noop, I didn't meet Trump in the hotel lobby - thank God. ;)
My Airport Advice
New York is served by the airports John F Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark. For Intercontintal flights from Europe, JFK is probably the best known. Some airlines also fly to Newark. Here's my advice: If possible, fly to Newark. The airport's much smaller. Here there are only little waiting times at the immigration and passport controls, everything is much more relaxed and above all much more friendly. Also the transfer by taxi is much faster. In about 30 minutes you reach Manhattan Downtown. (Taxi costs are about 70 - 100 dollars)
One person's joy is another person's sorrow...
And again a common thing with Kevin... Like in the movie, it was also snowing which I found super beautiful. For me it was an experience, however, I can imagine that it have to be pure horror for the drivers on the roads. Here are some impressions from the snow-covered New York.
The NoMo SoHo Hotel
Where coolness meets elegance...
Contrary to Kevin, I made it to the Nomo Soho Hotel. The NoMo SoHo is beautifully located in Soho-Manhattan. I love the district Soho with its shops, bars and restaurants. The long entrance area of the hotel is beautifully arranged with plants - definitely an eye-catcher and the perfect spot for some pictures. The reception is located on the 1st floor. In order to get there, there are several elevators available. The staff in the entrance area and the lobby are very pleased to help. What is a little confusing here is that the concierge is located in the entrance area and the reception one floor above, here it can happen, that if you have questions, you are sent back and forth between the two floors. In my opinion, this could surely be better solved.
My room Deluxe King on the 21st floor with the room number 2104 (my birthday date) had a beautiful view towards Lower Manhattan. The interior is a combination of coolness and elegance. The size I would say is average for the hotel category in Manhattan. The room also have all other amenities and lots of storage space. The minibar is equipped with a nice selection of drinks and snacks. There is no coffee machine and water boiler in the room, but this is not really of relevance for me as I most of the time never use them during my trips. The big bed is very comfortable and provided enough sleep and sweet dreams. Shower and bathroom have also enough space and are provided with the usual body care products. Here, it is to mention that the mirror and the washing basin are integrated in the room and are not separate.
I loved the free evening aperitif with different wines. It is very much appreciated by the hotel guests. The ideal moment to meet people and make contacts, specially if you travel alone. (If you are looking for peace and quiet, the lobby is not an ideal place at this time of day.
Nomo Kitchen is the hotel's own restaurant. I had lunch in this super cool winter garden location once. As a single traveller I like to eat at the bar. This was no problem here. The small but nice lunch menu offers something for every taste. Also the drink and cocktail menu invites to stay.
Definitely one of my insider tips - the restaurant is open for the public, so a perfect spot even if you're not staying at the Hotel.
My conclusion about the NoMo SoHo
I would recommend the Nomo Soho to everybody who does not like the typical 5-star service, although there are a lot of extras offered here. I will surely be back.
Dining in New York
I love to discover trendy restaurants. But as a solo traveller not always recommendable in New York. Often here more attention is paid to couples and groups. Nevertheless I would like to introduce you two hot spots and as a goodie still my one and only favorite restaurant in New York.
The Zuma Restaurants are a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya style of normal eating and drinking; co-founded by Rainer Becker and Arjun Waney in 2002, Zuma has 11 venues globally and 3 pop up location. (official description Zuma) I must say that contrary to the Zuma restaurants in Miami and Dubai which I also visited in the past, New York is really disappointing. The arrogance of the staff here is hard to beat. As a single guest, you're literally dispatched. I have very rarely seen the dishes placed in front of me so quickly. Whether hot or cold dishes, everything has been served at the same time. It seemed to be, that solo guests are not really welcome here. Perhaps it could be said that it was a coincidence - although this has happened to me several times in Zuma New York. However I recommend to visit Zuma as a solo traveller in other cities, as I have never been disappointed there before.
Beauty And Essex Restaurant
The Beauty and Essex is a really cool dining concept in New York Lower East Side. Besides New York there are other restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. To get to the restaurant you first walk through the in house shop. The restaurant itself is totally trendy and has a cool interior design. The food is really good and the staff is friendly and courteous. However, it is very noisy in the restaurant and at my stay there was mostly large groups of people dining. So as a solo guest here, I was feeling a little uncomfortable.
My one and only... The River Café
Hmmm... Why the River Cafe Restaurant?
The location - absolutely! Situated at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, you have the best view of the Manhattan skyline. Inside the location - of course! There are plenty of flowers and the atmosphere is as if you have returned to the 70s. Ok - I wasn't even born then but it doesn't matter ;) The atmosphere is simply unbeatable! The tables are set in white and the highlights are the small electric lamps on each table. From every table you have an incredible view. Probably The River Café is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever dined in. The food - gourmets will be delighted! The Michelin star awarded restaurant fascinates with classic American cuisine. The wine list is unique. The staff is very courteous and incredibly professional. Minor flaw - A suit is obligatory here - but maybe that's exactly what gives this unique location its final touch. If you are in New York - this is definitely a must visit.
Places to visit
Rockefeller Christmas Tree
Probably the most famous Christmas tree in the world can be found at Rockefeller Center. It is certainly worth a visit. To be honest, I was there almost every day despite the huge crowds. The Lightning Ceremony is also cool to watch, but here you need good nerves and good endurance. To get a nice space you have to be there hours before the event will begin - to be honest, nothing for me. On TV it is more comfortable and warmer. By the way: to find the right tree, Rockefeller Center doesn't take any effort and is searching at the whole New York State and the surrounding areas as well as Canada for the right one.
While you're there, it's also worth taking a look at the opposite Shopping Center Saks on 5th Avenue.
The shop windows are incredibly decorated and the Christmas light show including music on the facade is as worth seeing.
Ice skating in New York
A must do is ice skating in New York. While this is an expensive affair at Rockefeller Center, there are other rinks in breathtaking locations like Central Park or Bryant Park.
Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
All Christmas enthusiasts must have seen this show. OK, it couldn't be more cheesy but it's incredible to see what the performers do on stage. One thing is for sure, if you are not in the Christmas mood afterwards, you must have slept in the show ;)
Experience Central Park
After all the crowds and shopping, it is also worthwhile to enjoy the peace and nature in Central Park. I was lucky that it snowed and I really felt like Kevin - however, I did not find the pigeon lady. Beautiful is the view to the Plaza Hotel and the New York skyline. All surrounded by curious squirrels and birdsong or let's say pigeonsong. If you want it a little bit extravagant, you can be chauffeured through the park by a Christmassy decorated horse-drawn carriage.
The Vessel is consisting of a staircase and resembles a honeycomb-like 16 storey high structure. It was created as part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment project and the plans by British designer Thomas Heatherwick. For more than a year now this is a new attraction and photo hotspot in Manhattan. Dressing warmly is definitely worthwhile here. The free tickets are available via app or in the shopping centre opposite. This is also very suitable for warming up afterwards, or for buying a hat and gloves before the visit. In case of bad weather and snowfall, it is possible that the Vessel is closed due to icy stairs.
High Line New York
For me rather worth a visit between May and September, as the variety of plants is also to be seen here. In winter warm clothing is also a must. The High Line is a 2.33 kilometre long freight train track in the west of Manhattan that is no longer used as such. It was converted into a park, the High Line Park, between 2006 and 2019. Here you can see new impressions of Manhattan everywhere. The views are stunning.
And much, much more
There are so many more attractions to visit in New York. So of course Times Square, Museum of Modern Art Momah, Guggenheim Museum, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, the trendy district Wilimasburg, Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.
New York from above
For those who want to see the whole city from another perspective, I recommend a helicopter tour over Manhattan. The good thing about being a solo traveller is that you usually sit next to the pilot and have the best view. I already had the opportunity to experience a helicopter flight over Manhattan. Not during this visit but some years ago.
Last but not least - my favorite Musicals on Broadway.
The Lion King
Disney's story of the little lion Simba growing up is very convincing.
The Phantom of the Opera
Taken from the novel of the same name, Phantom of the Opera is the longest running musical on Broadway. Definitely worth seeing.
The still young musical comes along cheekily and keeps what it promises.
The Witches of Oz putting a spell on you in a magical performance.
My personal flop - Frozen the Musical - seen at this New York trip
Honestly, here I rather watched the movie again on the plane on my return journey. The musical absolutely can't keep up with it.
My conclusion about New York in the pre-Christmas time
Sure, there are quieter periods in New York than Christmas time and of course, this city is always worth a visit. But the magic that can be experienced here in December is unique. Of course there is also a little bit of cheesiness like the Americans love and as a solo traveller it is not always easy at this time period. But if you don't fly home with Christmas spirit and excess baggage, you have definitely done something wrong.
Every time again!
As Frank Sinatra said - the greatest city in the world!
New York, New York