Beginning the day at Madison Square Park, on Madison and 23rd is just about the most peaceful start possible in this beehive of a city. Tree-lined, two centuries old, and surrounded by a quiet neighborhood, the five-acre park makes for the perfect place to have an outdoor brunch.
Just six blocks up are the architectural wonder, The Carlton. A perfect blend of new and old, the hotel’s lobby offers breathtaking scenery all its own. Rich brass and leather, and Art Deco galore. Then stand outside and enjoy the lovely facade of this New York landmark.
Continue your leisurely walk up to 36th Street and take in the Morgan Library. Closed for three years for renovations, the re-opened library of the ‘banker who saved the country’ is small but well worth a tour. During J.P. Morgan’s lifetime, it housed his book collection and served as an office away from his mansion uptown. Walking through, it’s difficult to absorb that this was once a private residence, so perfectly does it serve as a museum.
Stop off, if you’re inclined, at the New York Public Library – Science and Industry, at 34th Street. The collection is extensive and the surroundings continue the peaceful tour up Madison.
Now that you’re fully awake, get ready for the shopping and dining part of the route.
Slide into Brooks Brothers at 42nd and Grand Central Station for a suit. Worn by Abraham Lincoln, the tailors are ready to make the perfect accouterment even for those without political ambitions. Ladies can occupy their time equally well at any of the nearby boutiques, but save some balance on that credit card for further uptown.
Now that you’re dressed for the occasion prepare (if you made reservations far in advance) to have lunch at one of New York’s finest: the Gilt, at 50th Street. Located in the former location of Le Cirque in the Villard Mansion dining room, now part of the New York Palace Hotel, the food and atmosphere are unmatched. You’re sure to see some celebrities at a nearby table.
Well-fed, if a little less well-off (Gilt is pricey), get ready for some serious shopping. Looking for that leather bag you couldn’t find elsewhere? Conch is certain to have something that appeals. But save some of that plastic to visit Prada, nearby.
Assuming you didn’t max out your credit cards already, Barney’s at 61st Street is waiting to do that for you. Both men and women will find the service here tailored to their tastes. Calvin Klein is just down at 60th if you don’t care for the décor.
Get someone to take the bags back to the hotel, though, because you’ll need at least one arm to carry a stellar vintage away from Sherry-Lehman’s Wine and Spirits. If you don’t find what you want here, you just don’t drink.
If you’re not exhausted or broke by now, you can continue on uptown to the Upper East Side to shop at Prada on 70th or Bang and Olufsen on 75th.
But sooner or later you’re going to run out of money and energy. Head back down to the Little Church at 29th and say a prayer that you still have enough to get back home.
“Nomad – Lower Madison Avenue in the 20s, NYC” by Jeffrey