Welcome to My Place . . . Manhattan

Cathal Dolan shares his top tips for the best places to eat and visit

Cathal Dolan (left) and his  partner Ivor Connolly  in Central Park

Cathal Dolan (left) and his partner Ivor Connolly in Central Park

 

Cathal Dolan, from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, is director of rooms at The Plaza hotel in New York. In 2009, he left Ireland in search of adventure. He joined Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and after five years with the company he transferred from Vancouver to New York.

Where is the first place you always bring people to when they visit Manhattan?

It has to be Central Park north. It is not as manicured as the lower side of the park, there are fewer crowds, nice gardens, and you really don’t feel like you are in a big city like New York.

The Plaza hotel in Manhattan, where Cathal Dolan is director of rooms
The Plaza hotel in Manhattan, where Cathal Dolan is director of rooms

The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money, are . . .

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. You have the classic Manhattan skyline that is familiar from so many films, and you can take in the skyscraper views, including the impressive Freedom Tower.

Cathal Dolan and his friend Jesi Russel in Brooklyn
Cathal Dolan and his friend Jesi Russel in Brooklyn

Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Even if you’re not that into art, the building, the exhibitions and sculptures are impressive. Also the roof-top bar has amazing views of the park and city. Entry is free, however a small donation is suggested.

Walk Fifth Avenue from Central Park to Washington Park. It really feels like the New York celebrity walk and you are very likely to spot some real-life celebs on your way.

Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Manhattan?

The Milton bar on the Upper East Side
The Milton bar on the Upper East Side

That’s a tough one as New York has every type food in the world. In my neighbourhood, the Milton Bar on the Upper East Side is a great Irish bar. Also, Infirmary on Second Avenue serves Cajun-Creole food in a New Orleans-themed bar and has negronis on tap. But my all-time favourite restaurant in New York is Carbone. The wait lists are six months long, but worth it. You have amazing food and dine with celebrities – recently I sat next to P Diddy there.

Where is the best place to get a sense of Manhattan’s place in history? For me, it has to be the museum mile, where you find the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and many more. These galleries embody New York’s love of the arts and will be visited by people for centuries to come.

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Manhattan?

From the Upper East Side, it has to be some Lady M cake from the 78th and Madison store. This cake is amazing, see ladym.com

  • If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We’d love to hear from you.
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