It’s every mother’s challenge: connecting with her teenage daughter. My daughter recently turned 15 and while things have been pretty good on the drama scale, I still want to find ways to connect.
So when we had the opportunity to spend a night together at the Millennium Broadway Hotel for a Girls Night Out in New York City to see the city as girls, we took it.
My first winning moment came when, as we rode the train into the city my daughter thanked me for the trip and confessed how excited she was. A night out and an overnight at a fancy Manhattan hotel made her feel so grown up.
We checked into the Millennium Broadway Hotel a twin tower hotel literally steps from Times Square (really, like about 40) and right across the street from Good Morning America’s studio. Its dark marble Art Deco lobby gives it a classic old New York feel; but upstairs the rooms are comfortable and pampering. And being a tower right in Times Square, the views are fabulous. Our room looked right over the New Year’s Eve Ball—in fact, you can book a room there for New Year’s Eve and watch the ball drop from your window (room rates are about $400 a night that week and the hotel requires a 4 night minimum stay).
The hotel’s lobby is bustling and filled with business people, tourists and families, giving it a vibrant feel. The hotel’s bar and restaurant Charlotte are a relaxing space where we sat and had an iced tea while we waited for our room to be ready.
Next time we stay, though, I’d like to stay in The Premier Hotel, a concierge-type hotel within the Millennium; it has its own entrance, check in desk and a club on the second level that serves breakfast, snacks and happy hour cocktails. In contrast to the main hotel, which has 625 rooms and is a classic historic hotel, The Premier Hotel tower is newer and has a decidedly modern look and feel. Also, being the higher end of an already high-end hotel, The Premier’s 125 rooms are slightly larger than the rooms in the main tower but cost about $50 a night more.
As any New Yorker knows, staying in your neighborhood is the secret to life in the city. I was excited to show my daughter the neighborhood around the Millennium; I’d worked in the building across the street for the seven years before she was born, so this was my old neighborhood.
Shopping being the first priority, my daughter wanted to see the four-story Forever 21 just around the corner from the hotel. The store was so large and overwhelming, and we were on a schedule, so we only were able to give a cursory look at this temple of fast fashion.
Next, we headed over to Sephora for an eyebrow shaping at Anastasia. Having been an Anastasia client when we lived in Los Angeles, I’m a devotee. I’ve tried several of the boutiques in Sephora locations around the country and found the technicians to be well trained in the art of the arch. I was excited for my daughter to finally see her face framed by a classic, beautiful brow.
The Anastasia salon is set in the mezzanine level of the Sephora on 48th and Fifth Avenue, the old Scribner’s Bookstore space. A classic Beaux Arts building, it’s adorned in black cast iron and gold leaf, its interior finished top to bottom in white marble. It was always and still is one of the most beautiful spots in New York, and everyone worried when Scribner went out of business that the building would suffer. But no more fitting of a tenant moved in: Sephora. Not only is the space the perfect backdrop for beauty products, but all the white marble is the ideal setting to try on makeup: it’s naturally light, bright and glowing. (Brow shaping: $30)
After the brow shaping we headed north to Lincoln Center for MidSummer Night’s Swing. The summer-long dance series is set in Lincoln Center’s large southern courtyard and features an outdoor dance floor the size of half a football field with a stage at one end. During the first hour, people gather for a dance lesson, then for the next two hours a band takes the stage and everyone dances.
This evening we learned Cuban Son, a rhumba-salsa-like dance, taught by Carlos Mateu. Couples, friends, and parents and their kids lined up along the dance floor to learn the steps. When dancers need a break, there is an elegant tented lounge with several hundred seats (this one hosted by Royal Caribbean Cruise lines) where drinks are for sale.
After dancing for a bit we decided it was time for dinner, so we headed back toward the hotel and stopped at Bobby Van’s on 50th Street. This famous New York steak house, named for the restaurant in the Hamptons where Bobby Van played piano, is the setting of many power lunches and business dinners but also, where you can tuck into finger-food portions of steak without having to buy the whole cow: We sat at the bar and ordered a plate of West Side Sliders, slices of filet mignon on toast with horseradish sauce and melted gorgonzola. Oh wow.
But this is New York and we only had one night, so we decided to take our second course at an Italian restaurant near the hotel. We walked back to 44th street to Osteria al Doge, right across from the hotel. The restaurant boasts wonderful pasta risotto, chicken and fish, all served in a Venetian farm setting. But my favorite are the crisp, delicious pizzas. We shared a Napoletana (sans anchovies) before finishing the evening with a slice of apple tart.
If I’d had another week or so, I’d also have taken her to Virgil’s Barbeque, just next door to Osteria al Doge; 44, the restaurant at the Royalton Hotel (the hotel that defined modern chic when it first opened and continues to); Round Table at the Algonquin Hotel (where literary legend Dorothy Parker and other lions shared lunch and humor daily); DB Bistro Moderne (culinary star Daniel Bolud’s chic and somewhat affordable boîte); Strip House (a classic steak house with a ’50’s Theater District spin); the other Bobby Van’s (this one on 45th Street and featuring dining in the outdoor garden); Bryant Park Grill (just behind the New York Public Library, a beautiful respite in the center of Manhattan) and The View (the revolving restaurant at the top of the Marriott Marquis lets you take in the entire skyline while you sit and sip a cocktail). And that’s all pretty much within a block of the Millennium.
Disclosure: We were guests of the Millennium Broadway Hotel, but I’ve stayed there in the past and it’s a favorite. Opinions here are all my own.