Where To Stay in Manhattan When You Want to Feel Like a Real New Yorker

Where To Stay in Manhattan When You Want to Feel Like a Real New Yorker

Garden Suites Hotel By Affinia

Upper East Side, New York City
Address215 E 64th St, New York, NY 10065
Phone(212) 355-1230
Web: https://www.affinia.com/gardens-suites-hotel/

I always love going to New York. Or, going back to New York, I should say. I went to college downtown and spent a handful of years living and breathing that coveted NYC “energy” we’ve all heard about in countless movies and songs.

Eventually, though, I grew tired of the things I’m sure all New Yorkers, at one point or another, grow tired of (the inevitable reliance on public transportation, that incessant traffic and noise, the just-too-tiny living quarters, and those less-than-savory smells). So, unlike those thicker-skinned NYC-lifers, I opted for a slower-paced, more suburban lifestyle. That being said, I always jump at the opportunity to visit my forever-favorite big city, and staying at the Upper East Side’s Garden Suites Hotel By Affinia was the perfect place for our recent trip.

First Impressions

Tucked away on the mostly-residential East 64th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, Garden Suites by Affinia looks more like an understated, Uptown doorman building than a hotel. Lucky for me, that’s exactly what I wanted. Since I’m the only one in my family-of-four who’s lived in the city, I always want to make sure my husband and kids get a true taste of what life was like before I knew them (and secretly sell them on the idea of someday having an apartment there). We were greeted by Kris, the friendly, Polish bellman/hotelier with a literal feather in his cap, who took our suitcases in exchange for glasses of wine, and gave the kids a ride on the luggage trolley. I loved the place already. 

Kris- the friendly, Polish Bellman/Hotelier

The Room

Kris escorted us up thirteen floors to Penthouse 3- a generously-sized (by hotel and NYC standards both), one-bedroom, apartment-style suite with a small but functional kitchen, a large living space and a massive wrap-around rooftop terrace. It was bright, clean and, with roughly nine-hundred square feet, I thought to myself (outloud) “We could totally live in a place like this!” (…I’m still letting the fam marinate on that one.)

Sitting pretty on the dining table were some treats for the kids— two bright, colorful bags from the famous NYC Dylan’s Candy Bar, whose flagship store is just a few blocks from the hotel. Garden Suites really thought of everything because (spoiler alert!) the enclosed gifts were one-thousand percent sugar-free… They were blankets! Perfectly plush blankets with images of sweet treats printed all over them. It was ingenious! The kids loved them and Ryan and I were appreciative of the fact that we wouldn’t need to deal with the aftermath of a sugar high. 

Treats courtesy of NYC Dylan’s Candy Bar

And there, next to the kids’ blankets was a glistening, stainless steel ice bucket, chilled and filled, with a celebratory bottle of champagne for Ryan and I to enjoy on my upcoming birthday. Cheers to being back in New York.

Birthday Goodies on the Rooftop Terrace

The Location

Tree-lined and tranquil, the Upper-East Side is one of the go-to neighborhoods for families seeking a (quasi) quiet retreat amongst the madness that comes along with major city-living. Steps to Central Park as well as some of Manhattan’s best restaurants, shopping, and the famed Museum Mile, there’s much to see, do- and eat- for those of all ages. 

NYC Dylan’s Candy Bar

Food – Nearby and Noteworthy

Agora Restaurant
Address2644, 1565 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone(212) 717-1220
Web: http://agoraturkishrestaurant.com/

This place is a true Turkish delight. Located on 2nd Avenue, a ten minute walk from the hotel, we enjoyed a plethora of Middle Eastern foodie favorites- including but not limited to: Sigara Borek (crispy phyllo dough, rolled and filled with feta cheese and parsley- and ugh, I want some now), Chef’s Borek (more crispy- a.k.a. fried- phyllo dough- this time stuffed with goat cheese and leeks, served over a sweet tomato marmalade), some freshly-made Falafal, an assortment of Mediterranean dips (Hummus, Babaganoush, Spinach Tarator to name a few) and let me not neglect to mention the out.of.this.world. Turkish Pide (no, it’s not pita) bread. Everything was phenomenal and the four of us left pleasantly full. 

H&H Bagels
Address1551 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Phone(212) 734-7441
Web: www.hhbagels.nyc

Seinfeld fans, take note. This is the tried-and-true Manhattan landmark joint for bagels, and they’ll deliver right to the hotel! It’s no secret that the best mornings in NYC begin with a bagel and schmear, and H&H is just the place to get the job done. 

Alice’s Tea Cup
Address156 E 64th St, New York, NY 10065
Phone(212) 486-9200
Web: alicesteacup.com

It’s my party, I’ll eat cake if I want to. 

July 1, 2019- a birthday that will go down in imfamy. I made it my business to find the. best. cupcake. on the Upper East Side, and was not disappointed with the decadent Red Velvets we got from Alice’s Tea Cup. Topped with a perfectly sweet-but-not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting, fresh as can be and not the least bit dry, these bad boys were the real deal. Alice’s Tea Cup itself is cute as a button, and being only a few feet from Affinia Garden Suites, you really have no excuse not to stop in.

Why We’ll Be Back

Fun fact: when I lived in lower Manhattan, there was a period of time when I actually enjoyed the late-night, loud sounds of the city, and would sleep with the windows open, really basking in the commotion. Some might say this was a strange alternative to using a sound machine, or ask why I didn’t just sleep with the fan on. I guess I preferred the (insert Simon + Garfunkle melody) sound of sirens… I’ve since outgrown that, I think.

Another fun fact: My husband hates all of the above, except for Simon + Garfunkle, and really likes both peace and quiet. 

Fortunately for everyone, Garden Suites Hotel is peaceful. It’s quiet. They have black-out, noise-softening curtains, unbelievable outdoor living space and a daily, complimentary happy hour for guests (I mean really, what more could one want?) The rooms are certainly bigger than any Manhattan hotel we’ve stayed at before, and the location is calm and convenient. Sure, sometimes it’s fun to take a trip and voluntarily play tourist (i.e. staying in Times Square to see a Broadway Show, or coming into the City in December for the Christmas chaos at Rockefeller Center), but every now and again, you want to- in fact, you need to- go somewhere and live like a local. It brings traveling to a whole new level, and that’s what we were able to do do last week on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, thanks to Affinia. 

To anyone wanting a similar experience, and the chance to feel like a real New Yorker, Garden Suites Hotel is an ideal place for a home base during your next NYC stay. The ultimate plus? The people who work there are kind, and really do want their guests to have the best time possible while there. That’s why we’ll be back. 

And, if we ever do get our own apartment in the City and no longer need a hotel, we know where we’ll be sending our out-of-towner friends – because, let’s be honest- there won’t be be any extra room for them at our place.

A traveler since childhood, Juliana has always had a love for exploring. She is a published writer and an accomplished business owner with a background in music and art.

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