A ripple of relief rolled round Manhattan’s uptown locked-downers as The Mark Hotel (where rooms start from £623/night) announced it is to re-open on June 15. A hotel representative told The Telegraph, "We have received increasing numbers of enquiries for bookings and decided to open our doors with great caution and care in mind for our guests and staff members".
The hotel will follow new guidelines from the New York Hotel and Lodging Association as well as the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Measures for staff and guest safety will include six feet of social distancing between people who don’t know each other, masks to be worn in all public places and the likelihood of room service waiting staff wearing full PPE.
Upper East Side locals who use the hotel as their home-from-home dining room will also be thrilled to hear of the re-opening: "The Mark Restaurant will open on June 15 for room service as well as the Mark To-Go-Menu by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten which can be picked up or delivered.”
The hotel rep also told us that, in addition, The Mark’s ultra-popular outdoor Hot Dog Stand by Jean Georges will also re-open soon. This black-and-white striped stand always attracts a high-low crowd that feels so typical of an old, movie version of New York.
Chosen by Meghan Markle for her February 2019 baby shower, the Upper East Side spot at 77th Street and Madison Avenue is known for a nimble approach to top-tier clientele demands. Her baby shower was kept off the public radar until the Duchess-to-be arrived, despite a guest list including US.A-listers Serena Williams and Gayle King. No mean feat in New York, where every luxe hotel doorman is a whisper away from a New York Post reporter.
There is no chance of Meghan's baby shower dinner spot, Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar re-opening quite yet though. The underground location much missed by the Midtown Sunday brunch crowd will no doubt wait until new interior rules for restaurants are introduced.
Manhattan has yet to follow other states in the U.S regarding post-lockdown dining rules. In nearby Connecticut for instance, outdoor dining and drinking with social distancing have already begun. However, there is good news for the city’s designer diners as top-tier restaurants gradually re-open for take-out.
While people-watching is still on hold at hotspots including Jennifer Aniston’s favourite Il Mulino, or always-packed Pastis, signature dishes such as the lobster menu (starting at $90.00 for two at Il Mulino) or filet mignon steak frites at Pastis are available to order.
Nobu Downtown is also doing take out. Yours truly is looking forward to a night in enjoying black cod miso and watching Mrs America in my jim-jams, instead of sucking in my tummy via Spanx and trying not to slurp at actual Nobu.
Should Harry and Meghan be contemplating a New York move as has been occasionally rumoured, the Mark’s Upper East Side location would be a good base to house-hunt from. A number of luxury apartment buildings on the UES have underground car parks for extra security and easy access to airport routes, something the Obamas were rumoured to be factoring into a possible New York move.
The not-so-royal-now Sussexes could probably still take Madonna up on her February 2020 offer, too. “I’ll let them sublet my apartment on Central Park West," wrote the superstar in her post while getting make-up done for a London Palladium appearance, adding that the two bedroom mini-palace has the “best view of Manhattan”.
Whatever damage Covid-19 has done to our great city, the fabulous views remain. There is a touch of comfort for everyone in the thought of businesses reopening, travellers returning and dollars changing hands once more.
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