NEW YORK – Grand Central Terminal (GCT) on East 42nd St. and Vanderbilt Ave. is a gateway not only to Manhattan but to the ‘silk-stocking neighborhood’ of the Upper East Side.

To pick up the pulse of NYC, park yourself between 6 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in this monumental railway station where about a half-million persons every day pass through this late-Beaux-arts facility. Dubbed the ‘crossroads of a million private lives on a gigantic stage on which are placed a thousand dramas daily,’ you can watch the tide reverse to the suburbs latter that day.

A great place to rendezvous with friends before you go out on the town is the clock atop the information desk in the middle of the main concourse.

Need a snack? Take escalator down to glatt kosher Mendy’s in the expansive food court below. Regarding food on the East Side, the dairy kosher restaurant, Va Bene, Second Avenue, between East 82nd and 83rd Sts is highly recommended.

An express subway stop from GCT brings one to shopper-haven ‘Bloomies,’ otherwise known as Bloomingdales, at 59th St.

Also on Lexington, stands historic Central Synagogue, the oldest synagogue building in continuous use in New York City, a historic landmark, featuring the round Moorish finials on top of its two columns –- each surmounted by a Star of David.

Another landmark on this avenue is the 92nd St. Y cultural center.

The Upper East Side is also crowded with fitness facilities. Many travelers and vacationers believe in taking advantage of new multipronged approaches to life-long wellness.

In this day of physical fitness, travelers are finding that the city has geared up to welcome those who want to stay fit whether on vacation or business.

Looking for an unusual fitness facility, I met Boaz Saar, co founder and trainer of The Fitness Cell. Boaz is an Israeli who served as a lieutenant in IDF special forces and as a krav maga instructor. The facility is located at 128 East 72nd and he’s opening a new location at 321 East 61st St.

Boaz told me he believes in striking a balance within the trinity of body, mind and spirit through kinesiology (the science of movement). He is a fierce proponent of the Gestalt approach to overall fitness, the sum is greater than the parts.

Joining Boaz in a new program in his facility at 321 East 61st for a fusion of martial arts and resistance training will be Lorna Kleidman, three-time world champion in kettlebell sport which is very popular among women. Lorna is a teacher of kettlebell’s dynamic movement, highlighted by its technique of resistance lifting. The kettlebell which, according to Boaz and Lorna, is popular in Israel, uses all of your body at one time. It’s different than barbells, dumbbells or medicine balls because the kettlebell is centered in the palm.

Moreover, because of its handle, the kettlebell’s center of mass is extended beyond the hand – and moving the bell in a circular motion increases metabolism, fat loss, coordination and functional strength.

“Lorna’s method makes it look more graceful and not so strenuous,” said one participant.

A recommended hotel for convenience and charming elegance on the Upper East Side is the San Carlos Hotel, 150 East 50th St. , between Lexington and Third avenues and walking distance to many of the sites mentioned here. An outstanding feature at the San Carlos, one of Manhattan’s premier four-star hotels, is the wide variety in its complimentary continental breakfast offered to guests. The 147 spacious and luxurious accommodations , including 83 deluxe rooms, 20 executive suites, 42 one bedroom suites and two penthouse suites with terraces are comfortable and clean.

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