The Dylan, formerly
the Chemists Club.

New York City – the center of the universe. It’s a concrete jungle lined with aisles of towering corporate sky scrapers. It’s a hustle and bustle town where the idea of jaywalking doesn’t seem to exist. A place where people have horns, and will not hesitate to use them. It’s a grid where streets go east and west, and avenues go north and south. Still though, thousands of tourists flutter about, overwhelmed by the breathtaking views, lost in their gigantic maps.

In the heart of New York City is Times Square; an overrated, over expensive, gravitron of tourists, souvenirs and advertisements that explode into a world of neon when the sun goes down. It’s where everyone wants to be, which is why I’ve arranged to stay at one of the classiest hotels in the area — the Dylan.

Formerly the Chemists Club built in 1903; the building was completely designed and restored by Jeffrey Beers. It projects a very metropolitan feel while maintaining a modern and professional tone. Most of the furniture is angular, everything is symmetrical, and the lighting gives off an almost surreal Metropolis feel.

King-sized class at the Dylan.

The rooms are elegant and urban with a ceiling that is high enough for me to jump on the bed without hitting my head. (I’m 6’5 by the way.) Soft, white cotton blankets and sheets bless the humongous king-sized beds and goose down pillows beckon even the most energized traveler to take a power nap.

Quite possibly the most expected but satisfying feature of the hotel is the low hum pumping fresh cool air throughout the room. For some reason, the air conditioning in hotel rooms always seems to be somewhat of a sedative, a symbol of vacations. And although not every guest of the Dylan is a vacationer, the classy design and modern architecture will make even the most frequent traveler feel quite at home.

A refrigerator fully stocked with beer, wine, candy and snacks temps guests to pay the extraordinary price for a conveniently easy fill. If you happen to be made of money and eat all the candy and snacks in one setting, you may want to take a visit to the marble covered bathroom. Here, you’ll notice that there are beakers in place of water glasses, and a sink that looks reminiscent of a mixing bowl placed neatly atop a marble counter, echoing the past inhabitants — the Chemists Club.

If you feel adventurous, you may want to head up to the top level of the hotel for astonishing views of the city at night. Or push the bottom button on the mirrored elevator and work off all the junk you just emptied your wallet on in the Dylan’s 24-hour gym, compliments of the house.

Right around the corner from the gym is the conference room, which I did not enter because I really had nothing to discuss. But if I did, I would have very much appreciated the fact that the room can be converted between U-shape and banquet-style settings, among others.

The Alchemy Suite.

The Dylan is a 108 room boutique that has been open since 2001. Its opulent jewel-toned fabrics, frosted titanium mirrors, and crème colored walls are a tranquil escape to the honking cabs and blinking lights of Manhattan outside. Quite possibly the most impressive feature of the Dylan Hotel is the Alchemy Suite, which was created in 1932 to replicate a medieval alchemist’s laboratory that has been transformed into a one-of-a kind luxurious guestroom with vaulted ceilings, plush paneled walls and rich velvet drapes.

I’m not sure about you, but nothing jump starts my day like a free breakfast. In fact, if it weren’t for the continental breakfast, I don’t think I would have gotten out of bed all day. But there is no way I’d miss a free breakfast, especially at a hotel of this caliber.

The fireplace warms
the banquet room.

Below: The classic lobby.

Pancakes, fruit, cereal, bacon, eggs (are you getting hungry yet), hot chocolate, tea, and pretty much anything you can think of was sitting right there, in the main dining area of the lobby for hotel guests. They check key cards, so don’t even think about coming for a free meal unless you’re staying with the Dylan. But if you do happen to stay here, I will tell you this highly classified secret: ask the server if you can take some of the muffins and fruit with you upstairs so you can eat in your room and you can have a free lunch time snack too (but you didn’t hear it from me)!

Once your tank is full and you’re ready to attack the city, I recommend taking a stroll around the corner on East 41st street between Fifth and Park Avenue. There, you’ll find what sculptor Gregg LeFevre calls Library Way; a promenade of bronze panels set in the sidewalk. Each panel features quotes from famous poets and authors, unique designs, and something much more appealing than old gum to look at as you head deeper into Manhattan.

Depending on how long your Big Apple stay is, there are certain things you should definitely see. First and foremost, avoid the major attractions such as the Empire State Building — it’s just a building, and chances are, you’ll see it quite a few times as you venture back and forth through the city. As far as the Statue Of Liberty, skip it. It will take you probably 3-4 hours to get through it since you have to take a ferry out to Liberty Island, and then you may have to wait in line to go up in the statue, and wait in another line to take a ferry back.

Time Out on Times Square.

What I do recommend, is picking up a Time Out magazine and finding out what is going on around town. The magazine is a social calendar for the entire city. Find a poetry slam, music venue, Broadway play, or even a local pizza joint. Take notice of how locals do things. I once was in a pizza place years ago in the city, and the bartender yelled at me for eating my pizza one bite at a time.

“You gotta fold it in half and eat it. That’s how New Yorkers eat,” he said. Oh, and another thing, whatever you do, don’t walk slowly or you’re likely to get trampled on. Everyone in New York is in a hurry, and they really don’t want to slow down for some window shopper tourist.

So remember, if you really want to fit in as a true New Yorker, fold up your pizza when you eat it, walk fast, and yell out to those cabbies with conviction: “Yo Cabbie!” Tell the driver an intersection to take you to. And don’t worry, even though his English will probably be broken, his sense of direction won’t be. Hop in, and enjoy the ride as you meander through traffic with some of the worst drivers on the planet.

By Josh Edelson, Long Beach, California Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.