Expert Tips From a Concierge Expert
Nobody knows a city like the local concierge team. With the inside track on all the best places to dine, shows to see, and things to do, they’re a wealth of knowledge for all travelers. We talk with a top local hotel concierge in New York City to get the inside scoop on all their expert tips.
Jordan Judd, Marketing Manager for Arlo Hotels NYC
WT: Why do you refer your guests to WHERE Traveler®, and what makes WhereTraveler an important resource for you?
Judd: Before the question is what to do—it’s ‘where should we go?’ WHERE Traveler® answers that question for our guests. WHERE Traveler® offers curated guides and recommendations in a convenient and clear manner, which is number one; when guests arrive, they are excited and typically overwhelmed by the choice overload that is New York City – WHERE Traveler® solves that problem. With a few page flips or a click on the web, WHERE Traveler® puts the “This is where we are going” right into the minds and mouths of our guests.
WT: What are your best tips for exploring your city like a local?
Judd: Do something you have never done before; locals like to keep it fresh while also familiar, although we all end up at that same coffee shop every morning or bar on Friday night.
Walk everywhere! Take the subway or taxi if, and only if necessary. NYC by foot will put you in front of everything. You will see it all, smell it all, hear it all and most importantly, have access to it all. Most New Yorkers go to their same favorite coffee shop by morning and bar by night, but more often than not, they walk there and perhaps stop into a new place on the way that may catch their eye. The key is to be open to doing new things. NYC by foot is a great way to accomplish a taste of this local lifestyle.
WT: What should be on every visitor’s “bucket list” when visiting?
Judd: Two of my favorite things in life are tacos and long walks - living in New York City, this has manifested as frequenting Chelsea Market and devouring Los Tacos and walking Central Park bottom to top and top to bottom. Although these two activities may not seem groundbreaking – they are exceptional experiences which is why I am placing them on your bucket list. Chelsea Market is loaded with cultural expositions, delicious food and great finds, like Artist and Fleas and Los Tacos. Central Park is the heart of New York City, beating on display. No matter which way you look, you will spot a new strand of DNA that makes up this city. Free dance shows, concerts, chess in the park, any sport you want—it is all there, and even if you do not participate (I don’t), observing will bring on a newfound sense of place and appreciation for your time in the city.
WT: What’s a good spot to capture a great selfie?
Judd: DUMBO—the Manhattan Bridge View is a must if this is a ‘selfie’ being taken by someone else. If this is a front-facing selfie, I suggest heading over to the Color Factory dressed with a bright lip color or accessory. Secondly, I suggest hopping on a Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise and snapping a shot with Lady Liberty.
WT: Where’s the best place to take kids of all ages?
Judd: No one is ever too old for ice cream. Head over to the Museum of Ice Cream to experience a three-leveled playground with unlimited ice cream. No way anyone is passing that up. They even have dairy-free options to make way for everyone to comfortably enjoy.
WT: For a guest looking for a night on the town, what would you recommend?
Judd: When planning a night out—I prefer to keep everything in the same neighborhood. Happy hour, dinner and the after-party will be much more enjoyable the more time you are sitting and drinking rather than transporting or waiting in line. For a lowkey night out, I suggest starting at the Arlo NoMad rooftop to catch the sunset over a crafted cocktail. Then, head over to Eataly for a delicious meal at one of their restaurants. End the night at Flatiron’s underground hideaway, Thyme Bar, for a drink experience like no other. Once you’re down there, you will not want to come out.
WT: Any suggestions for the best under-the-radar sites or uncommon things to do?
Judd: TikTok and Instagram are great sources, even if you just download them for the time you are there. Many uncommon recommendations can be found by searching NYC hashtags or visiting the explore page. Whether you are a foodie, in search of a good sample sale, or looking for a full weekend itinerary, social media is your best source. Many accounts now offer ‘guides’ – which help relieve some of the planning stress ones may have. My favorite food account is @nyceeeeeats. A few hashtags to search for food are #newyorkcity #newyork #nycfoodie #nyceats.
WT: What is your expert tip?
Judd: To optimize your time in the city—wear comfortable shoes, drop your expectations, and make time in your agenda to do unexpected activities. The best thing you can do is make friends with your server, barista, front desk receptionist, etc. Ask them for their recommendations and explore. Those who come to the city with a full itinerary may miss out on something they would have rather enjoyed more than what was pre-planned months before they even touched down in New York City and allowed the magic to overtake them. With so much to see and so much to do, don’t try to do it all; the city will always be waiting to welcome you home.