Was the ‘Dream Hotel’ a dreamy NYC experience?

Even though this was my 5th visit to New York City, a stay in town is always a complete pleasure and I realise for many people it is still simply a “dream” to be able to visit. Feeling like I had the whole of NYC to choose from I chose the Dream Hotel just off Broadway on W 55th Street due to its proximity to Central Park (just 4 streets away), Times Square (8 streets away) and its Midtown location (which I generally know better than any other part of Manhattan). So was it a dream experience?

The view of the Dream Hotel on 55th Street

The view of the Dream Hotel on 55th Street

The hotel doesn’t have a sweeping, set-back entrance so its frontage is up against the sidewalk but once through the front doors you are welcomed into a dark, marble-floored reception area along with a stylish floor to ceiling aquarium.

The Dream Hotel frontage

The Dream Hotel frontage

The aquarium in the Dream Hotel foyer

The aquarium in the Dream Hotel foyer

The hotel also doubles as a hotspot for the ‘PHD Terrace bar’ located on the top floor and in the evening one of the three lifts serves as an express lift straight up to it. It was nice to know as a guest it was my “local” bar and the party had come to me without me having to go to the party. Arriving late on the Saturday night there was a small queue of beautiful looking people queuing up in the right-hand side reception of the foyer patiently waiting their turn to visit the roof. In the summer months it’s fully exposed but as it was March temporary plastic covers draped down from the roof to keep away any chills. Only the next day for a quick post work drink did I have a proper look around over a bottle of Samuel Adams Boston lager and it certainly ticked the cool NYC rooftop bar tickbox.

Enjoying a Samuel Adams beer in the PHD roof terrace bar

Enjoying a Samuel Adams beer in the PHD roof terrace bar

Attached to the side of the hotel is the ‘Serafina’ restaurant and on the opposite side ‘The Rickey Bar’, dimly lit in the late afternoon slot when I visited so presumably even darker at night time.

I appreciate carpeted bedrooms and hallways as they tend to feel more homely and the Dream Hotel didn’t let me down. The room was small but perfectly formed with an opulent bathroom off towards the foot of the bed. The view out of my window was of … another hotel’s window but the cosy, dark feel of the bedroom’s décor didn’t warrant the need for me wanting to open the curtains anyway.

my-dream-hotel-bedroom

My cosy Dream Hotel bedroom

 

My tastefully decorated Dream Hotel bathroom

My tastefully decorated Dream Hotel bathroom

So dreamy? Location wise you’re located right in the centre of the action. No distance at all to the Broadway theatres, and an equal stone’s throw to both Times Square and Central Park. For those who love Midtown or are visiting NYC for the first time and want a luxurious bolthole to explore the sights by day, and to have a cosy, romantic setting on your return, then the Dream Hotel is just for you. For those who love to lounge in a cavernous, brightly-lit reception allowing you to people watch, read the newspapers and watch the world go by then this place probably isn’t your cup of cafwee. Have a nice day! 🙂

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Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York

When you think of crowd-lined parades full of huge balloon cartoon characters floating down the street, one event that springs to mind is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York. It starts level with Central Park up at 75th Street, continues down 6th Avenue, before finishing outside the Macy’s departure store on 34th Street.

The start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in 2014

The start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 2014

There are numerous hints and tips to get the best spectator spots, none of which I adhered to, so I ended up  standing with everybody else at the top of 6th Avenue level with 56th Street. Many rows of people in front of me looked like they’d camped out for hours in advance, commandeering barrier space and spreading out their folding chairs, close enough that nobody could sneak through any gaps but sufficiently far apart so that they took up as much space for their family as possible.

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The Thanksgiving Parade Turkey

I walked backwards and forwards over a few blocks in an attempt to get closer to the front, but realising the futility of this attempt I eventually stood on a raised bit of kerb, trying to make sure that I had a darker office block in the background (rather than a gap) to make sure my photos of the floats didn’t come out too silhouetted. I probably didn’t get that right either lol.

Spiderman flying down 6th Ave

Spiderman flying down 6th Ave

I’d grown up expecting to see Spiderman and Snoopy and the parade didn’t disappoint. Also appearing were Thomas the Tank Engine, Paddington Bear, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Skylanders Eruptor, Holiday Pikachu, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Papa Smurf but Spiderman was probably my favourite. The floating characters were interspersed with marching bands, cheerleaders, acrobats, Harlem Globetrotters, even the rock band KISS appeared on a float! All in all it was an enjoyably fun affair and another famous global event to tick off the list 🙂

My limited number of tips, if any, would include:

  1. getting there early to get a good spot – preferably near a bakery/coffee shop.
  2. not standing on a chilly street corner where the cold wind is going to whistle around your ear lobes for a few hours.
  3. trying to get some dark building in the background (as that might allow the floating balloons to stand out better in your photos).

Here’s Time Out’s guide to the 2016 proceedings

thanksgiving-parade-thomas-the-tank-engine

Thomas the Tank Engine steaming down 6th Ave