NEW YORK: The leggy Rockettes strut their stuff in front of the iconic, retro venue on Fifth Avenue
Audrey Hepburn's iconic Holly Golightly burst on to cinema screens 50 years ago in Breakfast At Tiffany's. RACHEL JANE follows in her footsteps
DAWN IS breaking on Fifth Avenue.
As the light creeps up the famous street there is a quietness that is broken only by the sound of New Yorkers pounding the pavement as they set out on their early morning runs.
Fifty years ago Audrey Hepburn pulled up in a yellow cab outside Tiffany's on Fifth and 57th Street, stepped on to the pavement and gazed through the window of the jewellers.
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She was dressed in black Givenchy couture, clutching a pastry and a coffee.
So here I am. Same time, same breakfast, but lacking the Givenchy.
It is 7am and Tiffany's is closed but little has changed in half a century.
The limestone, granite and marble façade remains fuss free, except for its Atlas clock.
I return when the store opens and notice the humourless security guards are less than impressed with visitors who try to enter its revolving doors and then drop crumbs and slurp hot liquids over the gem-filled cabinets.
Inside, excited tourists pore over the jewels. Sisters from the UK are trying on yellow diamond engagement rings, working out the exchange rate and phoning the fianc© to see if the budget will stretch.
Not exactly rom-com material but nevertheless one bride-to-be leaves with a Tiffany engagement ring and her fairytale ending is assured.
I stroll down the avenue, a tree-lined promenade guarded rather surprisingly by bronze statues of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns, and into Central Park where I discover the Naumberg Bandshell at the Robert Burns, and into Central Park where I discover the Naumberg Bandshell at the height of 72nd Street.
It was used as the location for a heart-to-heart between Paul Varjack (George Peppard) and Doc Golightly (Buddy Ebsen), Holly's estranged husband.
The bandstand is dormant at this time of the year but comes alive during the summer when it stages a variety of concerts catering for all musical tastes.
A few blocks east and I stumble across the brownstone building Holly Golightly called home at 71st Street and Lexington.
It is a private residence so I can only gawp at it from the pavement.
The green and white awnings have gone but the building is still recognisable.
Golightly's eccentric décor is now interior-design perfection, although it's difficult to peep through the windows too long.
For a starry lunch book a table at the 21 Club on 52nd Street and Fifth.
The restaurant has featured in many films including All About Eve, Wall Street, Sex And The City and, of course, Breakfast At Tiffany's when Holly and Paul get blind drunk.
Sandwiched between two skyscrapers, this Victorian building is best identified by the 33 cast-iron jockeys standing proudly on its balcony and steps.
Each jockey was a gift to 21 by its wealthy patrons in the Thirties in an effort to put their personal stamp on the place.
Women are few and far between but I prop myself at the bar (ignoring the disapproving looks) and order a $15 (£9) glass of Sancerre and the 21 Mini Burger.
It is all delicious but one would expect it to be for $21 (£13).
Having refuelled, I pop into the Rockefeller Center at 50th Street and Fifth.
The ice rink here is another Hollywood favourite.
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Ninety minutes on the ice costs $19 (£11.50) and it's particularly beautiful at night as the lights illuminating the rink put you in the holiday mood.
Just around the corner you'll find Radio City Music Hall where Breakfast At Tiffany's was premiered.
This iconic, neon-lit retro theatre is showing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes. It is showbiz at its best for $45-$250 (£28-£155).
Fortitude, the lion York Public Library The highlight of my trip is the visit to the New York Public Library (42nd Street and Fifth), which is guarded by the lion statues called Patience and Fortitude.
I am knocked out by the beauty of this magnificent limestone building, the ornate reading rooms and the evocative smell of old books. Holly and Paul visited here during their on-screen date.
My date is with the Celebrating 100 Years exhibition.
The highlights include Charlotte Bronté's portable writing block, George Washington's resignation statement, Virginia Woolf's walking stick and diary, Malcolm X's briefcase and notebook, and an edition of Shakespeare's King Lear published in 1608.
Conveniently my first hotel, the Andaz on 5th Avenue, is just opposite.
Taking its influences from literature and fashion, it is on a grand scale.
The rooms are breathtaking and "supersized". It's like a glossy version of Gulliver's Travels, with sofas that seat eight, huge beds and a shower that could hold a five-a-side football team.
Alternatively the Hyatt 48 Lex offers apartment-style rooms and is within walking distance of shopping emporium Bloomingdales.
In the city that never sleeps my feet can take no more. As I rest my weary head on the high-thread-count Egyptian cotton and with Moon River ringing in my ears, I know my love affair with the city will last for ever.
Breakfast At Tiffany's was director Blake Edwards's love letter to one of the greatest cities in the world.
I challenge you not to love it too.
Andaz 5th Avenue (0845 888 1234/andaz.com) offers doubles from £266 per night (two sharing), room only.
Hyatt 48 Lex (0845 888 1234/hyatt.com) offers doubles from £312 per night (two sharing), room only.
British Airways (0844 493 0787/britishairways.com) offers return flights from Heathrow to New York from £378.
Tourist office: NYC & Company: 020 7367 0934/nycgo.com