One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.
For me, New York City has been everything from huge pizza slices in the Ninja Turtle’s lair to Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo Blahnik’s pounding the sidewalks. It was never a leisure destination, as the business day trips and one-nighters always took precedence.
So when the Empire Hotel popped up in a recent Top 20 with great summer rates, I booked it not only for its association with Chuck Bass (xoxo), but because it was finally time to give the city the time and exploration I was craving.
I figured mid-June would be a perfect time for sightseeing and grazing throughout the streets – little did I know a heat wave would be passing through the Eastern seaboard the exact couple days I was planning on walking through several neighborhoods.
While the sun was scorching, I found plenty of ways to blend in respite from the heat while hitting up all the tourist spots on my list. Armed with a big bottle of water and my NYC Subway map app, a little 90-plus degrees couldn’t stop me from climbing to the top of the Empire State Building or walking eight long blocks to get a bagel every morning.
The Empire Hotel sits at the southwest corner of Central Park, which offers plenty of shade with its looming trees. Wandering through the Lower East Side brought me to Washington Square Park, where plenty were dipping their toes into the fountain under the well-known arch, and where my toes soon joined them.
New York’s subway system proved not only to be efficient and quick, but provided good bouts of air conditioning in between sights - just be patient waiting in the thick air of the stops, soon a rush of cool air hits you when the car doors slide open.
And when the sun finally set over the Hudson River, the real heat radiated from the neon lights of Times Square filled with insomniac shoppers and street artists selling wares for as little as a $1.
Despite the heat wave, I left New York City with a suitcase full of Century 21 buys and a belly full of bagels. Don’t forget your sunscreen and go conquer the Concrete Jungle.