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Work and Play – New York City

Do Manhattan better than everyone else, thanks to Waldo Hernandez, concierge at the legendary Carlyle Hotel.

Waldo Hernandez is the man to know in New York. After working at the Beverley Wilshire in LA, where he was named best concierge in the city, he made the switch to New York and is now Chief Concierge at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, one of the most famous and welcoming luxury hotels in the city and, indeed, the world. Hernandez is a member of Les Clefs d’Or, the top rank of concierges recognisable by a gold key badge on their jackets, and can get a table at even the most hard-to-book restaurants, bars and clubs faster than anyone else in town.

What to do with a free day…
First, the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side to see the historic houses, which were the first American homes for thousands of incoming immigrants. After that, brunch at Cosme, a contemporary Mexican-inspired restaurant that uses only local and seasonal ingredients from the Hudson Valley and surrounding area: it’s very good. The afternoon would be filled with one of my favourite Broadway shows, Hamilton, about American founding father, Alexander Hamilton, and then dinner at the Polo Bar, Ralph Lauren’s casual-but-refined bar/restaurant.

Best place for a Friday night dinner…
The newly opened Le CouCou is great. Daniel Rose produces exceptional French food: think country terrines and stuffed lobster. Plus, the setting, designed by Roman and Williams, the Midtown design firm, is charming. I also like Carbone, an Italian-American restaurant in the Village which serves dishes like veal Marsala and lobster ravioli.

For a business lunch…
Café Boulud is the ideal place, on the Upper East Side. Chef Daniel Boulud has created a place with great service, food and ambiance.

At the moment, Lower Manhattan is a great area to discover. The restaurant scene seems to change by the day

Something to see that’s not part of ‘tourist bingo’…
At the moment, Lower Manhattan is a great area to discover. There are new interesting buildings popping up there by some great architects such as Álvaro Siza, Bjarke Ingels and Renzo Piano, and a restaurant scene that seems to change by the day.

For a spot of retail therapy…
The LA designer James Perse’s store in the West Village is my favourite. His clothes are cool and laidback.

To kill three hours before a flight…
There’s always something fun to do in New York, no matter how little time you have. I would recommend The Met Breuer on Madison Avenue. It houses the Met’s modern and contemporary art collection and you pay what you like for entry.

A hotel for business…
You should always try to stay close to where your appointments are, or close to your office. If you’re in Midtown, I’d recommend The St Regis, which is known for its famous King Cole Bar, among other things. If you’re situated near Wall Street, I recommend the newly opened Four Seasons Downtown. If you’re in New York for pleasure, try Soho House in the Meatpacking district or, in Midtown, The Ritz Carlton, which has great views of Central Park.

Somewhere peaceful to think…
When I’m stressed or just need to take time to myself, I usually like to take the 1.5-mile walk around the Jacqueline Onassis reservoir in Central Park, which is up off 87th Street. The views are so peaceful and calming, it always does the trick.

Where to get a drink late on…
The Blonde at the 11 Howard hotel has a sensual, inviting atmosphere and it’s certainly one of my personal favourites. Another great one is The Bar at Baccarat Hotel, inspired by both French ballrooms of the past and traditional American long bars. Though if I had to recommend one, it will, of course, always be Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, where we have a house pianist and the best martinis in the city.