Sampling the Scene in New York
Starting in Long Island…
The last jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, is rapidly approaching. It always seems to creep up just a little faster than any of us expect. The pre-Kentucky Derby hype turns into a five-week Triple Crown whirlwind, which is then swept swiftly under the rug for another year.
That being said, the five-week ride is enough to suffice if you play your cards just right.
My recommendation … be there. Experience every racetrack and atmosphere that you can. Sample the scene - eat, play, race. You certainly will be in for a wild ride and an unforgettable one at that.
If you’re heading to Elmont, N.Y. in Long Island for the Belmont, be sure to carve out some extra time to check out these local attractions:
Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York state and located right on the tip of Long Island. Dating back to 1792, when the lighthouse was approved by President George Washington, this local gem, which is still used to aid in navigation today, is a part of the history of our country. Check out the visitor’s center, be sure to take a tour, and round out the visit with a stop at the lighthouse’s gift shop. This is surely not a sight that you will see every day, so take in the scenery and snap a few pictures!
Plan on sticking around the area for a few days after the Belmont? Be sure to make an appearance at the Bay Street Theatre, a 299-seat non-profit theatre opened at Sag Harbor in 1991. The June 10 performance features Jim Breuer, more affectionately remembered as “The Goat” on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Also on the comedians list of accomplishments (as YES, they are most certainly humorous accomplishments!!) are stints on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Dick, Once in the Life, Beer League and most recently Zookeeper. Breuer is sure to make you laugh and lighten your Belmont experience. Tickets are $69, and the show starts at 8 p.m. … be there or be square.
So you (and a few accomplices) have pounded the pavement and made the trip to the “Big Apple” for the final leg of the Triple Crown. This clearly requires a killer outfit to rock, and where better to look than Main St., East Hampton. A shopping paradise for all, you are guaranteed to find the perfect head-to-toe outfit to wear while betting the ponies. From the luxurious one-of-a-kind boutiques to the big names such as Coach and Tiffany & Co., Main St. appeals to all tastes. Mark, Fore & Strike boasts preppy Vineyard Vine’s dresses, while Cashmere Hampton offers a totally different (cashmere-based) look. No shoes, no problem! Cynthia Rowley will outfit you in sexy, sophisticated, a little bit edgy pumps to round out your polished outfit. All class, racegoers!
After sufficiently covering the ‘play’ and ‘race’ aspects of my aforementioned advice, we’re left with one key final task: eat. A trip to Long Island will leave you absolutely spoiled for choices, and I will do my very best to recommend one joint that will rock your world (and hopefully taste buds). Grab your friends and head to Matsuya Japanese Restaurant for a meal that will leave an impression. Yes, I’m aware, we’re in New York, and I haven’t recommended a deli, pizza joint, or hot dog stand (the audacity!). However, take my word and check this place out. Termed an Asian Japanese fusion restaurant boasting 30 unique sushi rolls (with equally unique names - how about a Funky Mantas, Itsy Bitsy Spider, or a Mad Hatter?), the restaurant also offers steak, tapas, and wok dishes. My advice, give the Prix Fixe option a go, scoring yourself a four-course meal for an impressive $25.88 (yes, pricing adds to the unique vibe of this culinary gem). Request a table next to the 25 foot tropical fish tank, and make a toast to a delicious meal.
On to Manhattan…
A trip to New York without a stop in America’s sweetheart city, NYC? No chance. You simply cannot head to New York without making a pit stop in NYC, so sculpt a few days of your schedule to dedicate to the most patriotic city in our fabulous nation. It will be well worth your while, and you certainly won’t be at a loss for things to do.
Start your stay in NYC in traditional form, and get in touch with your appreciation for art and excellence as well as your childhood with a trip to The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre. After a renovation calling for 200 craftsmen and artisans working tirelessly for six months, the Minskoff Theatre is where The Lion King finally calls home. Buy your tickets and secure your spot in a theatre that seats more than 1,500 guests to experience an awe-inspiring Broadway performance fit for Simba himself. You will be whisked away to another world for just short of three hours, a feast for your eyes, ears, and imagination.
Tourists know the most common ‘lookout spots’ in NYC (hello, Lady Liberty and Empire State Building), so for our next spot, I thought I’d change it up a bit. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck, located on the top of the Rockefeller Center itself, is my recommendation. The three-tiered observation deck was reopened in 2005 and will grant you the view of a lifetime without the crowds that accompany the Empire State Building – something you will be thankful for before or after a packed Belmont stint! With panoramic views of Central Park, the Empire State Building and all of Manhattan, you definitely will want to pack your camera for this endeavor!
Drumroll, please … and yes, we absolutely need one. The city that never sleeps is at your fingertips, and I am about to provide you with the pinnacle of night life experiences for your “Big Apple” stay. Ladies and gentlemen, I announce Take Me Out, your one stop shop to all things nightlife! Deemed New York’s newest nightlife sensation, this service will pilot your entire crew around for a night on the town. Debauchery is sure to ensue (but hey, this is vacation isn’t it?!) as you take your own personal tour of the best cocktail bars, nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants New York has to offer. Take Me Out has been featured in both local, national, and international publications for its cutting edge take on the town, so grab your friends, buckle up, and enjoy the ride!
Take lots of pictures, bring lots of friends, and head to the “Big Apple” for some brilliant racing and endless fun. Any excuse to step away from day to day life and experience racing at the pinnacle of class is one that should be taken.
Make your pick for the Belmont, and see you at the track!