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Big Apple: tips from the concierge at The New York Helmsley Hotel in Manhattan.

Where do you recommend for business lunches and dinners in New York?

The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal offers fine dining and, having become an institution since 1913, provides a taste of old New York. It's a great location for power lunches and dinners. The Rainbow Grill on the 65th floor of the GE Building in Rockefeller Center has great food and a spectacular nighttime view of the city and New Jersey across the Hudson River. The '21' Club, which was once a speakeasy, has become one of the places to see and be seen by New York's business elite.

On my days off, what is the best way to impress a client?

I would take them on a helicopter ride over Manhattan. There are several routes to choose from and, although the tours are generally short, the experience is unforgettable. Most tourists walk around Manhattan looking up at the skyscrapers, but a helicopter ride provides a unique perspective from the sky looking down at the buildings and streets. In the evening, I would make sure to take the client to one of many Broadway shows.

Are there any golf clubs near the hotel? What about tennis?

Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx has one of the best municipal golf courses in the country, just a 30-minute taxi ride from midtown Manhattan. The Golf Club at the Chelsea Piers complex has a driving range overlooking the Hudson River, as well as state-of-the-art simulator play. For tennis, I usually arrange a permit to use the courts in Central Park. In winter, the Midtown Tennis Club and Club La Racquette offer year-round indoor tennis facilities. For a great New York experience, winter visitors should not miss ice skating at Rockefeller Center or at the Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park

Tell me about an unusual request during your career as a concierge.

One of the most memorable tasks that I handled was arranging for then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to have her hair done in her hotel suite during one of her many New York visits. Such a seemingly simple request, however, required several weeks of advance planning and coordination with a team of hairdressers, the U.S. Secret Service, Mrs. Thatcher's guards and hotel security staff. In the end, she looked great.

Kevin Edmonds has worked as a concierge at several of New York's top hotels for 22 years and is a member of concierge association Les Clefs d'Or USA.
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Author:Fittipaldi, Santiago
Publication:Latin Trade
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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