Concierge Peter Kent reveals his top recommendations to experience summertime in New York City.
By Kirsti Correa
Regarded as the city that never sleeps, New York City has countless places for visitors and locals alike to discover. Come summer, the electric buzz of the city slows down, providing the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the season. Here, Peter Kent, a concierge with The St. Regis New York, crafts a bespoke summertime itinerary featuring his top suggestions for discovering the city.
If there’s one attraction guests must visit during their time in New York, Kent emphasizes it should be “Central Park, Central Park, Central Park.” Footsteps from The St Regis New York, there are myriad activities and sights to see at the park.
“FISHING AT HARLEM MEER is a favorite pastime in Central Park,” Kent says. The ecosystem is home to a variety of underwater species, including largemouth bass, pumpkinseed and bluegill sunfish, carp and chain pickerel for visitors to catch and release. “Free equipment and appropriate bait are available from the Charles A. Dana [Discovery] Center to the north of the Meer,” he adds.
For more active individuals, a run through Central Park is an energizing way to explore the area. “Central Park is a runner’s paradise,” Kent says. “There’s a combination of surfaces, both hills and flat terrain.” Kent recommends a jog through the RESERVOIR RUNNING TRACK, which is a 1.5-mile loop with the best view of the skyline. (centralparknyc.org)
“Summer is a great time for alfresco dining,” Kent says. Uncovered bistros abound in New York City, with a number of cuisine options. To help narrow down the list, Kent suggests a couple of places that will please all appetites while fulfilling the desire to sightsee and enjoy the fresh air.
Located on Bryant Park’s upper terrace between 40th and 42nd streets behind the New York Public Library, BRYANT PARK GRILL affords diners a taste of flavorful, American-inspired dishes with picturesque park vistas in the background. Complement a summer afternoon with the refreshing panko-crusted chicken sandwich prepared with roasted tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and market greens on a grilled brioche bun. For an incredible view, Kent suggests guests sit on the on the rooftop or the patio, which is open seasonally. (212-840-6500; bryantpark.org)
For a serene, yet elegant dining experience, the Loeb Boathouse’s LAKESIDE RESTAURANT is tucked away at the eastern tip of Central Park’s iconic lake. The lunch menu complements the peaceful atmosphere with fresh, light meals such as the country chicken roulade and lemon-oregano crusted salmon. (212-517-2233; thecentralparkboathouse.com)
Summertime brings large gatherings of professionals from both athletic and artistic realms to New York. Kent mentions two events in particular to experience firsthand the expertise of talented individuals in their respected avenues.
Beginning July 7, Manhattan transforms into a celebration of performing arts during the annual LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL. Dance, theater, opera and music performances from renowned artists take place at various venues throughout the city until Aug. 16. (lincolncenterfestival.org)
Acclaimed athletes also make an appearance at an iconic tournament that is highly anticipated every summer. “The world’s top tennis players come to Flushing Meadows for the U.S. OPEN tennis championships,” Kent says. “Many stay with us at The St. Regis New York.” Fans may cheer on their favorite players as they compete for the championship title at this two-week event, which takes place Aug. 25 to Sept. 8. (914-696-7000; usopen.org)
New York City’s summer weather beckons visitors to indulge in a frozen treat. Whether a fruity concoction or a creamy delight is desired, the city has offerings to satisfy any sweet tooth.
“For the younger visitors—and the child in all of us—go to SERENDIPITY 3,” Kent says. At this charming Manhattan eatery, it is truly difficult to turn down the “Can’t Say No” sundae, which is a slice of humble pie served with a scoop of ice cream and a banana, all topped with hot fudge and whipped cream. The cafe’s Frrrozen libations also tempt diners with flavors like pineapple and lime, along with caffeinated options ranging from espresso to mochaccino. Kent recommends the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate for an intriguing delight on a warm summer day. (212-838-3531; serendipity3.com)
For a quintessential summer afternoon in the city, Kent encourages guests to visit the city’s elevated park, the High Line, which features an outdoor food court with artisanal vendors. L’ARTE DEL GELATO offers homemade creations using fresh ingredients for flavors ranging from strawberry and fig to tiramisu and butterscotch. (lartedelgelato.com)
Also on the High Line, PEOPLE’S POPS serves fruit ice pops made with local ingredients. Stop by the Chelsea Market passage for a refreshing strawberry ice pop or peach-flavored shaved ice. (peoplespops.com)
Liven up your time in New York City with signature drinks from bars across town that offer a surprising twist to traditional cocktails. Kent suggests visitors start a tab at APOTHÉKE, an institution akin to an absinthe den in 19th-century Paris. Organized like a prescription list, the menu features drink categories such as “stress-relievers,” “painkillers” and “therapeutic treatments”—each with an impressive selection of creative cocktails. (212-406-0400; apothekenyc.com)
Drawing inspiration from a subterranean speak-easy, PRAVDA is a small Russian bar that complements its caviar-focused menu with more than 70 versions of vodka, including 10 infused varieties. Among the restaurant’s many interesting libations, the caviar martini—a mixture of vodka flavored with cucumber and dill—is a favorite amongst locals. (212-226-4944; pravdany.com)