I have a new benchmark for the high life after my most recent trip to New York City, when I dined at chic East Village hangout Indochine.
We were waiting for a table when a gorgeous amazon in a sparkly jumpsuit swept past and it was Heidi Klum. We then got seated close enough that I could marvel at her beautiful skin and stunning make-up. And see that she only had soup. (So that's how you maintain a slender silhouette.) On the way out, she stopped in front of us to pose for a photo for her friend, saying, by way of an apology, "He has to take 50 to get a good one." I think not, Ms Klum!
New York's famous skyline is one of its top features and you can see it for free in a million spots, but it's best to be having a cocktail on high. Try the Cantor Roof Garden Bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You might never get an invite to the Met's fabled gala, but you can sip on something frou-frou while gazing out over Central Park. Downtown, we queued to get into Broken Shaker atop the new Freehand Hotel in the Flatiron district, but all the outdoor tables were booked so we ended up at the inside bar. This would have been a womp-womp moment except we got talking to a local who gave us a great itinerary for the following day. Result!
Department stores Barneys and Bergdorfs are where the Upper East Side ladies who lunch fling around their credit cards, but if you want to go full stiletto, book a session with personal shopper Joan Kaufman.
If you had the readies, why schlepp around trying to find the perfect shoe when you could get her, a stylist on films and commercials, to do it? Without the cash, I advise mooching around the cobbled streets and boutiques of SoHo. I always spot a celebrity and can even pretend I'm one of them over a prosecco at the Mercer Kitchen.
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without a visit to Central Park. But stomping around the 280-hectare "lungs of the city" in your trainers is not glamorous.
The lakeside Loeb Boathouse restaurant, however, is. Looking out over the rentable row boats so recognisable from a thousand movies, it should be on every must-do list. Bookings can be tricky, but here's a tip – rock up anyway, give your name to the maître d' and they'll hand over a buzzer that goes off when a table is ready. Have a drink at the bar and lap up the scenery – who cares how long the wait is? And unlike a lot of New York eateries, I thought the prices reasonable considering the view.
In 1913, the Woolworth Building in Tribeca was the epitome of elegance. Built by business tycoon Frank Woolworth, it remained the tallest building in the world for years. They sure don't make them like this any more. No longer open to the public, I took a 90-minute tour of the mind-bogglingly ornate lobby. Every cornice tells a story and if you're lucky, you might get taken down to see the remains of the subway station purpose-built to lure tenants and their workers into the offices. Close your eyes and smell the shoe polish – a blast of days gone by.
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