Explore New York City

Editor's Itinerary: Playing NYC Visitor

Playing the role of leisure traveler is a delightful exercise when you are a New York native. On a recent summer afternoon, I visited Top of the Rock; lunched at Rock Center Café and shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Playing the role of leisure traveler is a delightful exercise when you are a New York native, more used to sweating out a copy deadline than gazing at a view of the New York skyline. So, on a recent summer afternoon, I did just that. I ducked out of the office and spent the morning looking at the grandeur of Central Park from Top of the Rock; lunched at Rock Center Café, while eavesdropping on conversations in multiple languages; and played Cinderella at the shoe salon of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock (©Paul Warchol)

» MORNING

Videos of great moments from NBC television shows are screened on the ceiling of the elevator that whisks you up to the 70th floor of Top of the Rock. To the north, the scope of Central Park is inspiring; to the south, One World Trade Center and the Lower Manhattan skyline can leave you breathless. There are glass partitions that allow you to stand both outside and in, and the breeze from this top-of-the-world spot feels like no other.

» MIDDAY

The towering statue of Prometheus can be seen from both the indoor café and outdoor garden of Rock Center Café, a favorite of the international crowd. On the patio, large white square umbrellas provide shade at the tables, and an outdoor bar offers yummy summery cocktails like white peach bellinis. In terms of eats, the Café has a wide range of choices, from shared plates (summer guacamole, Mediterranean garden dips, shrimp chop-chp salad, as well as such tantalizing apps as chilled half lobster, tomato watermelon salad and chilled gazpacho soup. Main courses include a lightly grilled Atlnatic salmon, housemade tagliatelle pasta and seared flat iron steak. For an additional $10 you can add a 1/2 lobster to any item on the menu. Eat, drink and be merry in Midtown!

» AFTERNOON

Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue (Courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue)

A uniformed doorman opens the door, and a marble-and-wrought- iron entranceway lets you know you are at Saks Fifth Avenue. Stroll down the main floor and watch faces being beautified at chic cosmetic counters. But the ninth floor is what beckons me, with a dazzling array of shoes designed to make any girl swoon. Since 1924, when Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel first opened the store, fashionistas, celebrities, and the oh-so-posh have been coming to this haute department store, shoping for clothing, footwear, bedding, jewelry, furniture, jewelry, beauty products and more.