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Issue Date: March 2009


New You in New York


Sky Barsch
Working, commuting, cooking, cleaning — life can be so crazy that, for long stretches of time, my only brush with luxury is a quick and shallow bubble bath.

So when my fiancé and I hit New York City for an indulgent, romantic weekend in the spirit of Big Apple excess, we decide to spare nothing.

A stay in one of New York’s preeminent hotels? Check. A relaxing spa treatment for both of us? Oh, yeah. Working out in a state-of-the-art gym? ... We’ll see. Josh is dedicated, but I have the feeling I’m not getting out of my super-comfy bathrobe.

Dropping our bags off at the sleek and luxurious Hotel Gansevoort before heading out shopping, we accidentally stumble onto a film set before we can even walk one block. Oh, how I love New York.

We watch for a while as dancers twirl umbrellas and the presumed star sings “My Favorite Things,” then we window-shop high-end stores such as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.

Before long, it’s time for my favorite indulgence: a spa pampering. We return to the 14-floor hotel (the deluxe accommodations, by the way, draw celebrities such as actress Salma Hayek and gossip blogger Perez Hilton). The rooms are sandwiched between a lower-level spa and an upper-level bar and rooftop pool. They are contemporary and sexy, and ours offers a sweeping view of the Hudson River.

After soaking in a mineral pool, Josh heads behind a curtain for a massage, while I enjoy a calming facial. My esthetician, Nicole, lathers my face in lotions, exfoliants and masks as I slip into a comalike state of relaxation.

Not ones to waste an afternoon, the two of us set out afterward with fresh faces and soothed muscles for another favorite luxury: world-class food. For all of the area’s pricey boutiques, the restaurants here are pretty reasonable, allowing us to spoil ourselves, guilt-free.

For our brunch at Dublin 6, I try eggs Benedict, and Josh goes for the brioche French toast — giant triangles of battered bread topped with oranges and maple syrup — washing it all down with bubbly Bellinis. Then, feeling a little bubbly ourselves, we stroll through Greenwich Village. The employees at Murray’s Cheese Shop indulge us with samples of every cheese we want, then we head to Varsano’s Chocolate in search of savory sweets. Heaven.

Returning to the hotel to freshen up, we switch into evening mode and head to the intimate Ara Wine Bar for a glass of wine and a cheese plate. We sit next to each other on a cozy, cushioned bench and listen to a couple near us go through the awkward yet sweet conversation topics of a first date: “How many siblings do you have? Where did you grow up? I always lose my hats, too!” (I’m not sure about that one.) But it brings back memories of our own.

For dinner, we head to Palma, an Italian eatery where you can finish the sweet red sauce off with a nice bottle of Valpolicella. And live jazz is just across the road at Cornelia Street Cafe.

After returning to the Hotel Gansevoort’s pillowy bed and soft cotton sheets, we could have stayed in the following morning. But with so much to see in this city, we resist the temptation.

Following a leisurely breakfast over the SundayNew York Times, we venture uptown to Tiffany & Co. to retrace Audrey Hepburn’s classic footsteps. Refreshed, romanced and really full, I’m crossing my fingers there aren’t too many mediocre bubble baths between now and the next time I get another weekend like this.



Pit stopIf You Go:
Hotel Gansevoort, 18 Ninth Ave.; hotelgansevoort.com; Dublin 6, 575 Hudson St., (646) 638-2900; dublin6nyc.com; Murray’s Cheese Shop, 254 Bleecker St.; murrayscheese.com; Varsano’s Chocolate, 172 W. Fourth St.; varsanos.com;Palma, 28 Cornelia St.; palmanyc.com; Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia St.; corneliastreetcafe.com; Tiffany & Co., Fifth Avenue and 57th Street; tiffany.comPhiladelphia Candies will satisfy any sweet tooth with croquettes, truffles, caramels and more. This factory has been making sugary treats for 90 years. 1546 E. State St., Hermitage, Pa.; phillyc.com
 
Laurel Wines boutique wine shop is a relaxing break from the car. Sip red, white and fruit wines while exploring its antique tool museum. 1754 Old Grade Road, Falls Creek, Pa.; laurelwines.com
 
Black Moshannon State Park has over 3,000 acres: It’s one of the top 20 must-see parks in the state, according to the state’s parks service, and a good place to stretch your legs. 4216 Beaver Road, Philipsburg, Pa.; dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparksNew York, continued from page 97Take a dip while enjoying the vista in the Hotel Gansevoort’s rooftop pool.
 

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