Things you can do here: eat, shop
Rating (out of five): 4 stars
Cost: $0, if all you want to do is walk around and look, about $10 if you want lunch.
Location: Columbus Circle, southwest corner of Central Park
Directions: Take the A, B, C, D, 1 or 2 train to Columbus Circle
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-9pm, Sundays: 11am-7pm (hours vary for some shops go to website for more information).
Time Warner Center is a 77-story building consisting of two identical skyscrapers connected by a four story atrium which serves as an upscale mall. It has a curvy shape that circles half of Columbus Circle, at the southwest corner of Central Park (a few blocks from Lincoln Center where students with ID can get cheap tickets) and has the highest property value in New York City at $1.1 billion dollars.
The skyscrapers serve as offices for Time Warner Cable, condominiums and the fancy Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Whole Foods Market (great place for lunch)
When you first enter the mall go down the escalator and enter a food lover’s heaven.
Technically Whole Foods is an all organic grocery store chain but the one at Time Warner Center is also a buffet (get over the term buffet, the one here can’t get yummier) style restaurant.
Grab a biodegradable container (either one of the smaller, super cool Chinese style containers or the larger boxes) and go over to the $7.99 a pound cold bar. There you have your standard salads and cold pastas.
Next to the cold bar is the soup station. Where you have 5 soup choices, like New England clam chowder, lentil, tomato etc. and 3 bowl sizes with prices ranging from $2.99-$7.99.
Across from the soup bar are 2 hot bars (also $7.99) and a dessert bar. The hot bars change in theme everyday and serve everything from Okri Masala to corn and potatoes. The dessert bar as an amazing crisp of the day, a “creamy delicious” (according to my friend, Zach) tiramisu and a tangy, soft key lime pie trifle.
You could also skip the prepared (though definitetly fresh) food and pick up a roll (or bagel, croissaint, muffin, cookie or bread slice) then walk over to the cold meats, then the cheeses and quickly construct yourself a sandwich.
There’s also a made to order sushi bar with amazing eel rolls, an Italian kitchen with perfect brick oven pizza, Italian Hoagies (with a little too much balsamic vinegar), paninis and pastas.
The cashier line seem pretty daunting at first but Whole Foods claims they can take care of a 50 person line in 4 minutes. And they do! The futuristic register and line system is just plain magical and even more entertaining than the color changing wall.
Now of course there’s more than enough seating next to the Jamba Juice (New York most delicious fresh queezed juice chain) but Zach and I walked outside and into Central Park. There we found a rock and had lunch while warding off the pigeons.
On the second floor of the mall is a free gallery preview (the real gallery’s on the 4th floor). The art pieces aren’t even as close to entertaining as the prices. So stop and check out all the little silver name and price plates next to the hand blown glass vases and paintings. You haven’t been to New York until you’ve gawked at a $150,000 fish sculpture. Hmmm… college or a bronze fish?
On the second floor, in the Borders bookstore there’s much to do (besides read of course). In the music section there’s a fun barcode scanner, you scan the CD you’d like to listen to and then pop on the headphones. Then you can dance the day away to little snippets of your new favorite songs. Just remember, no one else in the store hears what you’re hearing so their weird looks are justified (took me a while to figure out).
Bring a friend with you? Take a quick look around the corner and if no one’s watching hop onto one of the bookstore shelf ladders and take a ride down the aisles. Make sure your friend pushes the bottom of the ladder, otherwise, like Zoe and I, you’ll quickly fall off.
Also on the second floor is a Sephora, a.k.a makeup world. Here you can try out eyeliner, eye shadow, lipstick and everyother form of makeup in the book.
The Samsung store on the third floor is the center of the universe for all geeks (and everyone with even the littlest bit of geek in them). There’s free video games like Pacman, Guitar Hero and Kameo Elements of Power, which is some weird form changing game that I played for 20 minutes and still really don’t understand. Walk a little further and plop a spot on the comfy couch. There you can lounge and enjoy Mission Impossible on a 56 inch plasma screen with surround sound. There’s also free internet and a real estate touch screen that helps you imagine your $4 million dream house.
Time Warner Center is a great air-conditioned place for a hot summer day. You can spend a good couple of hours there. And for those of you who don’t have $20,000 to spend on a vase look over at the right column at “Rules of Shopping With No Money.”