What’s in New York City for Teenagers? Ask a Teen Concierge

by Sandra Foyt on July 3, 2013. Updated July 5, 2013

in Accommodations

If you want to know what’s in New York City for teenagers, ask the Teen Concierge at Omni Bershire Place in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I had a chance to interview Larissa Horn, the the Teen Concierge behind Omni Berkshire’s Teen Connect Program when she was gearing up for the busy summer months.

Larissa is from Poughkeepsie, and before moving to attend New York University she visited the city for all the usual reasons that many teens visit Manhattan: shopping, pizza, and a Broadway show. Now living in New York City, she gets “to see the different coffee shops, stores, and all the different areas that she didn’t even know existed.” As a teen concierge, she shares that insight so that guests can get more out of the Big Apple.

Omni Teen Concierge -  Larissa Horn

Interview with a Teen Concierge

Question: What is your favorite way to get to know New York City?

Larissa: I like to take long walks, to get lost walking the city. Now I know much more about getting acquainted with local culture and I try to relate that to the guests. I try to share what I like to do and the places I like to go.

Question: What’s it like to be a Teen Concierge?

Larissa: It’s a new thing, but it’s things that I did already – sharing information with my friends at school. Now I’m working hard to let people know that this program exists, but it’s coming along really well. That’s our biggest challenge. We’re always brainstorming new ways to get the word out that this exists, that I’m here to help.

Question: How do teens respond to the Teen Connect program?

Larissa: It’s a mixed response. Teens really appreciate getting the insider information. I think it makes your trip unique, and that’s what you want from a vacation– doing something different in a different place. Many are planning to return in the summer.

Guests are always surprised that the service is offered if they haven’t heard of it before, it’s unique. I’m set up at a desk in the lobby on Friday and Saturday afternoons. When I see teen guests in the lobby, I invite them over or I might walk over  to them with information. I might meet with three to five teens on a normal day, more with higher occupancy. Sometimes parents or teens contact me before the trip because they see the landing page and they reach out via email or Twitter. When they contact me I try to find out what they’re doing, how long they’re staying, so I can gather the right information for them.

Beacons Closet

Question: Where do you suggest shopping? Can you recommend vintage shops?

Larissa:  Just recently got a request for a school dance dress, and they wanted vintage style. There’s one called Screaming Mimis, very funky. I try to give different levels. Beacon’s Closet is a nice one. Casual vintage clothes. And I also recommend Bloomingdale’s because the private teen shopping experience–with their own personal shopper–is such fun. If they’re looking for something specific, that’s perfect. (For more teen shopping recommendations, see Larissa’s New York City Guide on the Omni Berkshire website.) If they’re going downtown, I recommend the Soho Flagship location of C.Wonder, a lot of girls like it because they have clothing, jewelry, and housewares.

Question: Any unusual requests?

Larissa: Not so many. Usually they come with a general request of what to do. So, on the weekend I put together a Weekly Picks. I like to feature things that only happen once in a year or lifetime in NYC. For instance, Pillow Fight Day in Washington Square Park.

Question: What do you recommend for young teens or tweens?

Larissa: Shopping in a department store is good because they can be free from their parents a little bit. I like to recommend Bloomingdale’s because Dylan’s Candy Bar is next door which is so much fun.

Question: Where do you go from here? Career plans in hospitality?

Larissa:  Certainly. I’m in the hospitality school at NYU so this is the perfect experience.

Question:  Any advice for students interested in being a Teen Concierge?

Larissa: Always be on the lookout and keeping your ears open for something new, and take note of it. Guest vary so much, and you need a large book of things for them to do.

Question: Any great tips on what to do this summer in the city?

Larissa: In the summer, Rockefeller Center lines up great performers. And we can arrange for guest to eat at one of the restaurants, watch the music, and maybe get a little closer than they could on their own.

I picked up a lot of great ideas from Larissa; so many in fact, that it’s too much for one post. Stay tuned for tips on the best treats and active adventures in New York City.

Omni Berkshire Exterior

Plan a Stay at an Omni Resort

Omni’s Teen Connect program is now in its second summer, and can be found at the Omni Berkshire Place, Omni Parker House in Boston, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, and the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.

Save big: Omni Summer Passport package discounts stays between June 3 and Aug. 25. Guests who book their stay through Omni’s website, receive a 15 percent discount while members of Omni’s Select Guest customer loyalty program receive a 25 percent discount. Upon check-in, guests also receive a summer experiences booklet (a “Passport to Omni”) highlighting Omni destinations across the U.S. Guests who book a stay through the promotion will be entered automatically into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a round-trip flight for two and a three-night stay at their choice of participating Omni Hotel or Global Hotel Alliance partner properties in London, Rome, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles or Amelia Island, Fla. Additional entries available through social sharing via http://www.omnihotels.com/blog/passport/.

New York City Travel Tips

Planning a visit to New York City with kids?  Check out our New York City Guide which includes New York City with Kids: Fun and Educational Things To Do, Family-friendly Hotels and Restaurants, and More!, a collection of posts by family travel experts.

Thanks to our friends at Omni Hotels and Resorts  for setting up this interview and hosting our stay.

| Sandra Foyt inspires lifelong-learners to travel the world. A former education advocate and enrichment coach, she lived in Buenos Aires, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Southern California before settling in Northeast NY with two teens, an outdoorsy husband, and a well-indulged Chocolate Lab. Sandra contributes to Being Latino, and her portfolio appears at www.SandraFoyt.com. Email: sandrafoyt@albanykid.com, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Miller July 4, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I think this is genius! A Teen Concierge is a GREAT idea. That’s sure to catch on. My kids love NYC and it would be so fun for them to have first hand recommendations from someone in their age group!

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Steve July 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

This is a great idea – I remember one of my first solo travels at 17 was going to NYC and staying in the UN Hotel. It was great, but I didn’t want to bother the concierge with questions like where’s a great diner with pancakes or a chilled out place to take in the view of the Brooklyn Bridge
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Kate
Twitter: 30traveler
July 5, 2013 at 2:14 am

long walks are one of my favorite things to do in the city too. however, today it was so hot I was pooped within 2 blocks! I’d also recommend watching tv and movie filming as a super fun thing to do for teens. there is a site called on location vacations (no affiliation) that posts daily reports of where filming is taking place.
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Sandra Foyt
Twitter: SandraFoyt
July 5, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for the tip, Kate! That’s definitely something that will interest teens (and not just teens!)
Sandra Foyt recently posted..What’s in New York City for Teenagers? Ask a Teen ConciergeMy Profile

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Reena @ Wanderplex July 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm

What a brilliant idea! Sometimes I feel like concierges are great if you fall within a certain age range/demographic but completely out of touch if you are younger or want to do “trendier” things in the city you’re visiting. I hope this concept catches on!
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Gabi @The Nomadic Family July 6, 2013 at 10:42 am

Wow. Never even knew teen concierges existed. how fun for a teen to go and find out info by themselves and give their input based on their concierge’s opinions and not have to just passively accept the plans of mom and dad. very cool feeling about giving them that space and that attention. hotel looks lovely. gabi
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Larissa July 6, 2013 at 11:48 am

First off, no, I am NOT the “Larissa” of the interview :)

Great to know these services exist!
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Elle July 7, 2013 at 4:43 am

How novel! I “think” it’s a great idea… but there’s also a bit of me that thinks it’s a glorified babysitting service for rich kids. Hope it’s not abused!
The young lady interviewed seems really grounded though… so am sure she has it all under control.
Elle x

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Bethaney - Flashpacker Family July 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

What a great concept!!!!
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