A few weeks ago the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Baz Luhrmann, Mario Testino and Anna Wintour “made a fashion scene” at The Mark hotel before descending upon the steps of The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the 2012 Costume Institute Gala, dubbed “the Oscars of the Fashion World.” When I visited the Upper East Side hotel on a recent misty morning, there was not a celebrity in sight but the charming sophistication of The Mark’s lobby made me feel like one.
Now that the Met Gala has passed, The Mark can go back to doing what it does best – combining old world charm (it’s housed in a 1927 landmark building) with all the stylish creature comforts that come with close proximity to Central Park, Museum Mile and some of the best restaurants and shopping in town. And following suit with some of the coolest hotels in Manhattan, The Mark now owns a brand new fleet of custom bicycles exclusively available to guests who wish to tour around Central Park in style.
Made by Republic Bike, they reflect the Jacques Grange designs of the hotel including a black and white striped chain case (mirroring the lobby’s floors) and adorable monogrammed bells. Helmets and baskets are also included and let’s be honest, the latter is most important when there’s an option to fill it with a picnic to go (blanket included). Don’t think that because it’s going on the front of your bike, your meal won’t be as superb as if you were eating in the hotel’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant. The celeb chef has prepared the picnic menu as well and it includes burrata crostini with grilled ramps and fava beans, steamed shrimp salad, artisanal cheeses, red velvet cupcakes and much more.
Careful not to leave you to your own wits, chief concierge Isabelle Hogan has curated an illustrated bike map for guests unfamiliar with the daunting 843 acres of Central Park. One of my favorite spots in all of Manhattan is Central Park’s Conservatory Gardens located at 105th Street and Fifth Avenue. Here lies the park’s only “formal garden,” which is an oasis from the sometimes-crazy bike and runner traffic found elsewhere.