I was in New York for a couple of meetings before heading out to nearby Connecticut to see my family. I wasn’t planning on seeing them for a couple of nights until I made the 42-mile trek out to the country. But when I was upgraded to a two-bedroom suite (speaking at multiple Ritz-Carlton annual meetings has its perks!), I immediately called my dad and told him to jump on the next train into New York (an hour ride from Connecticut) and to bring an overnight bag.
When I met him in the lobby, he had a huge smile on his face, one I hadn’t seen in quite a long time. “Do you realize this is the hotel where your mother and I honeymooned 60 some years ago?” he asked me. I hadn’t known that. He told me that back then, this luxurious property, located at 50 Central Park South, on the east side of Sixth Avenue, was called the St. Moritz.
According to Wikipedia, “the was built on the site of the old New York Athletic Club. It was designed and built in 1930 by the Hungarian-born architect Emery Roth.” It has changed hands (including Donald Trump’s) numerous times. But in 1999, a development group bought it and partnered with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to gut and remodel it, turning it into a combination hotel/condominium.
The Ritz-Carlton Central Park opened in 2002. There are 33 floors; the top 12 are enormous condominiums and everything below is the hotel. They have separate entrances.
When my dad walked into my room, his eyes lit up and he said, “Boy, you have arrived!” He then sat down and immediately started texting my siblings to tell them that he was staying in the same hotel that he’d honeymooned in. After he sent the texts, he quickly walked around the room, grabbed some of the treats from my welcome amenity, then went straight to one of the windows overlooking Central Park.
He didn’t tell me but I could see in his wet, teary eyes that he was replaying the memories of his honeymoon with my beloved mother, who sadly passed away in 2000 (here’s my tribute page to her). It took a while for the view of Central Park to come into his focus but once it did, he said, “this has to be the best view from any hotel in New York City!” I concurred.
And then it happened. “Uh-oh. My hearing aid battery is about to die,” he said. To make matters worse, he’d not only forgot to bring the backup, but his charger too! It’s always terrible when this happens because my dad is usually a happy guy until he can’t hear. Then, he gets rightly frustrated and almost turns into a different person. You see, my dad has a and without a charged battery, he can’t hear a thing. I remember when he first received the implant and regained his hearing, he was over-the-top excited that he could hear the birds chirp in the morning again and the sound of crashing waves when he went for a stroll on the beach. Side note: Do a search for to see the emotional reactions. I’m sure you’ll cry as I did.
Surprisingly, it’s not that easy to get a backup battery or a new charger, even in New York City. Instead of taking the train back and forth to Connecticut, I called my sister to see if she would come in to the city but she couldn’t. Then I tried my brother and he said he would if he could bring his three (of six) kids and spend the night! I was thinking the Ritz-Carlton is going to kill me but they couldn’t have been any nicer. They made the pullout couch and brought in a rollaway and sent up milk and cookies (photos below).
When my brother and half his family arrived, they just couldn’t believe how big the room was or how incredible the view. Even my 16-month old niece seemed to appreciate how special it was – all she wanted to do was sit on the ledge and stare out the window! That was even after I’d taken her and my nephews to the Club Room and they’d seen all the glass jars filled with candy and homemade cookies.
As you can see from the photos below, we had a really memorable time and without a doubt, the Ritz-Carlton Central Park has the nicest view out of any hotel in New York City that I’ve ever seen.
Now I just need to figure out a way to let my niece and nephews know that this isn’t how Uncle Johnny always rolls. But it sure was nice to share it with them for a night.
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