Friday, August 16, 2019

New York at Night: Glitz, glamour from Hornblower to Hell's Kitchen

Viewing the New York skyline from the water aboard Hornblower makes for a splendid evening.

Lady Liberty aglow viewed from  a Hornblower cruise.



"I want to wake up in that city that doesn't sleep
And find I'm king of the hill -- top of the heap."
--"New York, New York," by Fred Ebb & John Kander

NO OTHER city in the world offers the nighttime magic that New York does.
Vegas is a close second, but it doesn't have the water. Nor does it boast the history.  After all, President George Washington first took office in New York City.
From left, Bruce Keller, Cookie Meyers,
Misha and David Minesinger about to board
Hornblower's New York evening dinner cruise.
It's no prettier than from inside a cozy boat, transiting the waterways at night.  The city's lights and the water's beauty make a Hornblower evening cruise a spectacular way to see one of the world's great cities.
Sister time:  Misha and Cookie pause to 
reminisce before joining others on deck.
WE BOARDED Hornblower's City Lights Dinner Cruise with my sister and her husband, celebrating our reunion and a Broadway binge.  The evening marked the 55th anniversary of a fondly remembered family trip to New York to witness the 1964 World's Fair.  In honor of that my show-biz sister Misha dressed us alike, as our mother had over a half-century ago. Our husbands were gracious good sports, donning look-alike shirts to match our blouses and jeans.
For free:  strolling New York at night, to
admire its classic and new buildings.
New York's Brooklyn Bridge, a treat to pass under.
Our family has a long, happy history with Hornblower. It's a sentimental favorite at reunions on both coasts. We've toasted birthdays and anniversaries aboard Hornblower vessels in San Francisco, San Diego, Newport and New York with festive brunches, dinners and whale watching treks.  This trip we booked a delightful three-course meal surrounded by other happy cruisers from around the globe.  An Indian couple was celebrating their 20th anniversary.  A family from Boston was celebrating with their recent Columbia Medical School graduate. 
Guantanamera serves up spicy
Cuban fare late, with live music.
New York's "The Imbible" is a fast-paced history of drinking. 
BARTENDERS served up artisan cocktails so we could stroll out on deck to admire the city's architectural mix -- from Art Deco to modern. Breathtaking. As our amiable DJ announced our approach to Lady Liberty, champagne was delivered and our international group toasted the statue. Hornblower offers a leisurely way to admire famous New York landmarks -- the Chrysler Building with its ornate spire, the World Trade Center standing proudly rebuilt, Rockefeller Center and the Empire State building.  We picked out these landmarks as we dined to soft background jazz. A perfect evening's afterglow.
Dawn breaks over the bridges and skyline.
OFF THE boat, it was still prime time for New York, although it isn't exactly true that the city never sleeps. However, a good reporter can find intimate bars and neighborhood restaurants that stay open into the wee hours. As in Europe, diners often don't take a table until 9 or 10 p.m., and some joints offer live music and dining until 3, even 4 a.m.  One of my favorites was the popular French diner, Florent, which closed, sadly, in 2008.  It was "the" destination for those who had too much medicine, serving up legendary goat-cheese omelettes and black coffee in a noisy "New York" after hours atmosphere.
Near Tiimes Square, the action is lit up and lively all night long.
UPHOLDING the Florent standard for the hangover crowd are Taco Mix, at East 116th St., with fabulous spicy fare; the Penrose on East 82nd Street with smoked gouda on its mac and cheese; Guantanamera on 8th Avenue,  with delicious calamari, magnificent Cuban sandwiches and live music; Vida Verde between Hell's Kitchen and the Theater District, with tasty nachos and fish tacos.
WE DISCOVERED a delightful play, "The Imbible," a spirited musical comedy tracing the history of alcohol from the cave man to modern times.  A little science, a lot musical theater, the show is clever, quick-paced and includes several drinks and another evening option.
If you're in the mood for a walk, nothing is prettier than the historic buildings and new skyscrapers of Manhattan's mid-town.  Take a walk -- it's free -- then taxi back to your hotel.

New York's Bryant Park provides chairs, tables and a
lovely green expanse for residents and tourists to enjoy.

UP NEXT: A pair to draw to.  New Yorkers love their parks and there are dozens of them -- from large, welcoming and expansive public spaces to small neighborhood parks accessible only to residents. Then there are lovely alcoves within museums and businesses.  We take you to our two favorites -- Central Park and Bryant Park, much beloved by tourists and native New Yorkers alike. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a novel look at the arts, travel, nature, family and more.


  1. Well done with glitzy photos. Love the sister and brother-in-law two know how to party! And see the world.

  2. Yes, we, too love Hornblower's dinner cruises and New York is our favorite, for the grand buildings, light, bridges and river life. Thanks for this lovely piece.

  3. Bethesda BicyclistsAugust 18, 2019 at 6:52 AM

    Enjoy your travelogues....this one strikes a chord because we too love New York. Fun.

  4. Great photos, especially Times Square and Lady Liberty! Fun yarn, too.