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Meet Roger Scott: Our Englishman in New York seeks the perfect Manhattan in Manhattan

By: Dave Gunner

January 9, 2017

Roger Scott

New Year’s resolutions: We’re here to help. We hope you’re committed to seeing more of the world, to experiencing new things and having some great adventures. But what if you’re attempting the dry January thing? That’s altogether tougher, and we hope it’s going OK. But without wishing to put a downer on your aspirations there will be a few of you, maybe as many as 92% of you, who don’t make it to the finish line. So what is one to do? The only way out is to not just break your resolution – but do it in style.

To help you do just that, we have loads of tempting flight offers in our New Year sale. But having decided to #BREAKITINSTYLE you’ll need to decide where to go. How about a trip to New York for a Manhattan in Manhattan? There’s no better place to enjoy this iconic drink than the city that never sleeps, and to help you plan your trip we’ve turned to Roger Scott, our Airport Manager at New York’s JFK airport. An Englishman in New York, Roger has spent the last two years getting to know every nook and cranny of this wonderful city. We asked him to introduce himself and recommend his favourite Manhattan bars.

So Roger, how did you end up as our Airport Manager at JFK?
I started with Virgin Atlantic in September 1998 as a fresh faced check-in agent after finishing a university degree in English. At the time I hadn’t planned for a career in aviation, despite having an uncle, aunt and my mum work for Dan-Air, British Caledonian, Cathay Pacific and Virgin between them!  I worked in various roles in the terminal and as a Turnaround Officer before moving on to Heathrow Duty Manager and later Head of Operations at Heathrow.

There were many highlights along the way including meeting celebrities in the old Clubhouse and serving drinks behind the bar in ramp boots as the only person present able to make a Dirty Martini. I was particularly proud to be part of the team that really improved our performance at Heathrow, and was always keen on getting involved in projects from writing a guide book and helping check-in agents to working on the Heathrow emergency plan and exercises.

Eventually, I decided I’d finally like to see a little more of the world and not long after, the NYC Airport Manager position was advertised. I got the role, and I’m approaching two years here now. I’ve loved every minute of it, including the record snow storm in February 2016 where we had to dig equipment out of 2-3 foot snow piles!

New York Skyline at dusk

What’s the best bit about living and working in the Big Apple?
The cliché is true, this city never sleeps.  JFK operates 24 hours a day and there is never a time where there isn’t something happening in New York and that’s part of the reason I love it. Despite not being a massive sports fan, I’ve been to the baseball, American football, basketball, ice hockey, boxing and the US Open and it’s fair to say the Americans really get it right when it comes to events… I can’t help getting goose bumps when they play the national anthem at the start! I’ve seen shows on and off Broadway – including Bruce Willis in Misery which was awesome – and been interviewed by The Gothamist about our dog’s costume in the 2016 Halloween Howl (my wife’s idea). Check him out @bufordthebulldog on Instagram! We’ve made so many friends and memories since moving here I could go on all day. Oh and then there’s the food…

I’m lucky to have a dedicated and hardworking team at JFK who really make coming to work a pleasure.  Being that it’s JFK, we have a lot of high profile customers and the Press Office are always knocking on our door. So far we’ve hosted Thomas the Tank Engine & Sir Topham Hat, CNN and Fox News. YouTube celebrity Casey Neistat made a great video of the Clubhouse and the UK Invictus Games team presented us with an award. It really never stops around here and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Manhattan in ManhattanWe believe if you’re going to break your New Year’s resolution you might as well do it in style, like heading to Manhattan for a Manhattan. As a newly-local expert on the NYC bar scene, Roger gives us the lowdown on the top 5 bars where you can #breakitinstyle …

Employees Only

Employee Only

We partner with Employees Only in the Clubhouse, and it’s a great speakeasy style spot in the West Village.  From the outside you’d be forgiven for walking past what seems to be a fortune teller, with only the letters ‘EO’ on the awning give it away. Inside there’s a long bar with a few tables (bookable) then a dining section in the back. I recommend booking as they serve excellent food and some award winning cocktails.

Employees Only, 510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

The Wayland

wayland

I discovered The Wayland through a friend and have been back a few times since. On the corner of East 9th and Avenue C on the Lower East Side, far away from the lights of Times Square, they serve some of the most inventive cocktails I’ve tried, and I’ve tried all of theirs! There are places where cocktail making is an art form and this is certainly one of them. Don’t leave without having a few oyster shooters.

The Wayland, 700 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

Attaboy

Another Lower East Side discovery, Attaboy can be hard to find but is worth the effort. You can’t book and they have no website, but they open at 6pm daily at 134 Eldridge Street. At $17 per cocktail, this is no budget bar but hey, it’s NYC right? They have a verbal menu so tell them what you like and they will construct you liquid nirvana…

Attaboy, 134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

The Press Lounge

The Press Lounge

Situated atop the Kimpton Ink48 Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, the Press Lounge is one of the best places to watch the sunset all year round. It’s more about the view than the menu but I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed by either.

The Press Lounge, Kimpton Ink48 Hotel, 653 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Gallow Green

Gallow Green photo by Dan Dickinson Flickr Creative Commons

Gallow Green photo by Dan Dickinson Flickr Creative Commons

No list is complete without mentioning Gallow Green above Chelsea’s McKittrick Hotel, now a performance venue. In the summer it’s a great rooftop garden and in the winter it’s transformed into ‘The Lodge’ complete with fire pits and mulled wine. It’s another one that’s not easy to find on first visit, but when you do you’ll notice a wonderful theatrical feel to the place as you enter a street level service elevator and ascend into another world.

So many other places are worthy of note…  The Back Room was a genuine speakeasy in the days of prohibition, Dream Baby plays 80s/90s hits while serving drinks at prices you won’t baulk at and you can get your hair cut at the Blind Barber as well as a mean drink!

If this has inspired you to #BREAKITINSTYLE or just start planning your next visit to New York, you can find out more about the Big Apple by viewing our New York Destination Guide.

Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.

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