MT BUSINESS TRAVEL: FREQUENT FLYER - COLIN BYRNE'S GUIDE TO NEW YORK

HOW TO GET THERE: In these cost-conscious times, I go premium economy with BA from Heathrow to JFK. You get enough elbow and leg room to work and get some sleep without the silly prices. JFK airport is slightly more convenient for Manhattan than Newark.

by Colin Byrne, CEO, UK and Ireland, for Weber Shandwick
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

AIRPORT TO TOWN: Only one way really - a New York yellow cab ($35 + tolls). The traffic can be murderous, and you may end up feeling like murdering the cab driver, but it's the best way to arrive in Manhattan. For all their fearsome reputation, I like New York cabbies. Last year I accidentally left a designer-label bag with two designer shirts in the taxi rank at JFK. When I returned to the airport a few days later, they were waiting for me at check-in. A cabbie had handed them in. Try that at Heathrow.

BEST HOTEL: New York has the best hotels in the world, especially if you want to avoid expensive but identikit chain hotels. I like the Roger Smith 1 at 501 Lexington Avenue. It's a wacky boutique hotel with art gallery attached. Very non-corporate and very central.

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANT: I love Italian food so I go to Barbetta 2 (321 W 46th St, www.barbettarestaurant.com, 00 1 212 246 9171), which combines authentic Italian cooking with the look and feel of old-world Italy. It's been a New York dining institution for almost a century. Or try Gallagher's steakhouse 3 (228 West 52nd St, +245 5336). With checked tablecloths and walls lined with photographs of sports stars, it's as good for a business lunch as it is for a relaxed evening. Be aware, though that more and more New Yorkers avoid alcohol over lunch.

BEST BARS: Being half Irish, I like the bar at the Fitzpatrick Manhattan hotel 4 near Bloomingdale's at 687 Lexington Avenue (www.fitzpatrickhotels.com, +355 0100). Just like stepping into a friendly bar in Dublin. Or - and I know it sounds touristy, but who cares? - there is the Oyster Bar 5, that tiled cavern below Grand Central Station where you can down oysters and some of the best beer in the US (E 42nd Street, +490 6650). Why can't we have places like this in our rail terminals? But if you're feeling like a Master of the Universe, the bar at The Four Seasons 6 (57 East 57th Street, +758 5700) is the place for you.

A FEW HOURS TO KILL?: If you're near the Upper East Side, a stroll in Central Park 7 is very pleasant, with the Manhattan skyline rearing majestically above the trees. Alternatively, two hours in the Frick Collection 8 (1 E 70th St at 5th Avenue, www.frick.org, +288 0700) fast-tracks you into a wonderland of famous paintings amassed by the steel baron Henry Clay Frick in a lovely mansion that still has the air of a private home.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE: Meetings are pretty formal, with jackets on but straight talking. I like that. It is part of the buzz of this city that you don't waste time pussyfooting around the issues. There are too many other things to do.

BUSINESS LOCATIONS: Finance is still downtown around Wall St 9 and things like advertising are still on Madison Avenue 10 and uptown, but the traditional distinctions are breaking down.

BUSINESS EXPENSES: Expect to pay a 15%-20% tip on your restaurant meal - New Yorkers are good tippers - and maybe a $2 tip on your drink in a decent bar.

HIDDEN GEMS: The place is full of them. But if the pressure is getting too much for you and half an hour in a noisy deli is not what you're looking for, find sanctuary and inner calm on 5th Avenue in St Patrick's Cathedral 11. The story goes that this vast white stone church was located here because the Irish congregation who founded it felt that while they may work as the domestic staff and labourers of the wealthy for six days a week, on the seventh they wanted to worship as equals in the heart of moneyed New York.

SECRETS OF THE JET SET: Never underestimate how long it takes to get around New York. Always leave plenty of time, and plan the locations of meetings carefully to avoid long and stressful races from one end of town to the other. Particularly in the sweltering summers, when you risk turning up for a crucial meeting looking like a limp dish-rag.

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