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Concierge Corner: AKA Sutton Place

Concierge Corner: AKA Sutton Place

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.

John Johnston, Managing Director at AKA Sutton Place

What should be on every visitor’s “bucket list” when visiting?

Johnston: Central Park, a Broadway play and a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge (©Piotr Kwiatkowski)
Brooklyn Bridge (©Piotr Kwiatkowski)

What are your best tips for exploring NYC like a local?

Johnston: Ask a New Yorker for the local neighborhood eats—New Yorkers are more friendly than we get credit for! Get a bite in Little Italy or Williamsburg. The food is to die for.

What’s an excellent spot to capture a great selfie?

Johnston: In NYC, there are so many great selfie spots. There’s the top of the Empire State Building, Times Square, on a ferry ride on the East River or the Hudson, just to name a few.

Times Square (©Melanie Lee)
Times Square (©Melanie Lee)

What is the best suggestion you can give a first-time visitor?

Johnston: If someone is visiting the city for the first time, I would suggest slowing down and taking it all in. When it comes to transportation, riding the subway can save you so much time. The subway can be overwhelming at first, but I think it’s easier than it appears (my tip would be to learn some of the subways beforehand). I’d also suggest doing something different and visiting a one-of-a-kind NYC museum or heading up to The Bronx and visiting the New York Botanical Gardens.

If someone only had 24 hours in NYC, where would you send them?

Johnston: I would highly recommend a hop-on, hop-off ticket to get in as much as you can in 24 hours. The sights and unique features are one of a kind in NYC and have to be explored—from the High Line to Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center. I would make sure to enjoy a nice dinner at Trattoria Trecolori right in the Times Square area with delectable NYC authentic Italian food.

Broadway Marquees (©Melanie Lee)
Broadway Marquees (©Melanie Lee)

Where’s the best place to take kids of all ages?

Johnston: Madame Tussauds, Central Park Zoo, or the Bronx Zoo are the perfect spots to take kids of all ages. You could also head down to Brooklyn and visit the New York Aquarium and Coney Island.

For a guest looking for a night on the town, what would you recommend?

Johnston: Start with a fantastic dinner in any of the five boroughs, visit a cocktail bar like ARORA in Manhattan and end the night with a comedy show at the Comedy Cellar.

Any suggestions for the best under-the-radar sites or uncommon things to do?

Johnston: For those looking to enjoy under-the-radar sites or uncommon activities, I’d suggest the NYC underground subway tour, a tram ride over to Roosevelt Island, or a visit to the Lexington Candy Shop (the oldest family-run luncheonette in New York, last renovated in 1948, which still serves food and drinks the old-fashioned way). 

NYC Subway (©Adi Goldstein)
NYC Subway (©Adi Goldstein)
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