See New York through the Gossip Girl lens

Soak in the sights, sounds and smells of the good life on the latest television tour of Manhattan. The new Gossip Girl tour runs 3 ½ hours and leads fans through the locations used to create the on-screen phenomenon that features the decadent lives of poor little rich kids.

Buses cart fans to the New York Palace, on Madison Ave, home to the Bass and van der Woodsen clans – as well as the Henri Bendel store on Fifth Avenue and The Plaza Hotel‘s Oak Room on the southeast corner of Central Park.

Fortunately, the cost of the tour isn’t commensurate with the lifestyles of the show’s characters. At $40, you’re paying less than the “help” commands. Afterward, be sure to grab brunch at Norma’s where hopefully you can get a look at one of the performers!

Lively-est brunch in Manhattan

In New York, brunch is more than just a meal. For most, it’s that one chance to indulge, regardless of tax bracket. You find an upscale restaurant, sip a champagne cocktail and order dishes you could never prepare on your own. Most important, you work hard to seem nonchalant, as if you live this way every day. Of course, if you’re visiting the city, you also want at least one celebrity sighting. So, if you could nab a celeb while scarfing brunch, you complete your vacation without tying up the sidewalk on 34th and Madison (and slowing my commute).

So, two birds, one stone? Try Norma’s, in Le Parker Meridien. The brunch is fantastic and expensive, so you will get the full experience. In addition to waiting 20 minutes past your reservation to be seated, you’ll enjoy the occasional star sighting. Men, if you want to score big with your wives or girlfriends, arrange to be there on a Sunday after noon. It’s no secret that Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively loves Norma’s, and I can confirm that she prefers an early afternoon brunch on Sunday (at least as of a few weeks ago).

Oh, and the coffee’s great, too.