We had a lovely long weekend in NYC! Here's what we did:
We arrived at our hotel around mid-afternoon on Friday. I booked the Omni Berkshire (52nd and Madison) based almost solely on a decent expedia deal but it was also a great location. It's been ages since we've stayed at a big hotel and this was a very good experience. The hotel was very clean and well-appointed and everyone we dealt with was friendly and helpful. I'd joined the Select Guest program after I booked the trip because it gave us free wi-fi in our room but there were other benefits too. We were upgraded to a larger room (I'm not sure if that was because of the Select Guest status, though) and it was certainly large by NY standards. We had a king bed with plenty of room around it and a little sort of foyer which led to the bathroom. The room was well-decorated and the bathroom had good amenities, though I did have to ask for bathrobes. One of the other great benefits of the Select Guest status is that you can get complimentary coffee/tea/juice and other (at a charge) breakfast items delivered to your door. I hate those in-room coffee makers with the paper cups and powdered whitener and it was a gorgeous treat to get piping hot coffee in carafes with real cups delivered every morning just when I wanted it.
So...after we checked in, we needed lunch and were on our way to Fiorello's when we decided to go more casual and ended up at the Carnagie Deli, which was packed with tourists (like us). We've been there before and knew better than to order 'giant food' but it's fun to see. After that, we took a long walk down Broadway -- for some reason there were lots of people in character costumes -- and Times Square and the TKTS Booth area were jam-packed. What's that bleacher thing for? I don't recall ever seeing that before. We walked down to about 40th and then over to 5th cutting through Bryant Park. What a lovely park that is! I wish we had more of that sort of park here in Toronto. We always seem to be building concrete squares or tree museums. Anyway, I just loved it and especially the reading room area. What a great idea!
Back to the hotel to relax a bit and change for dinner which was at Robert at the top of the Museum of Art and Design at Columbus Circle. I'd requested a window table when I made the reservation and was told they were all booked but that they'd put us down for an opening if one came up. We were a little early so we had a drink before dinner and then they sat us at a perfect table for two right at the window directly above Columbus Circle! What a gorgeous view of that and the Upper West Side and a beautiful party going on in the building across the circle. Dinner was excellent as was the service -- very professional and pleasant without being over-chummy. The food was very good and portions surprisingly generous -- I couldn't even finish my main course. At they end of the meal, they brought us complimentary glasses of prosecco and little chocolate cheesecake 'lollipops'. Afterwards we had a lovely walk back to the hotel, the perfect end to a beautiful evening.
On Saturday, we went down to the Highline and walked it from the north end at 30th to Chelsea Market at 16th. I have to admit that I wasn't overwhelmed by either the Highline or the market but then I wasn't feeling well that day so maybe that coloured my mood. I really expected Chelsea Market to be more than it was and unless we missed something, it seems it was just one main concourse of shops and restaurants which to my mind, is just like any other mall except this one was smaller and more funky. After a stop for tea, we just took a long walk. We were meant to meet a friend for drinks but by that time I was feeling pretty rocky and needed to go back to the hotel so we cancelled the date, went back and I zonked out till it was time to go out which was a good thing because that night we went swing dancing! I'd originally planned for us to go to a club called Swing 46 on 46th Street but instead we decided to go to a New York Swing Dance Society dance at St. John Baptiste Church at 76th & Lexington. This is the kind of dance we go to at home and it was really fun -- a live band, some great dancers and we felt like 'regulars'. We stayed for three sets and danced a fair bit and though I'd like to try the club one day, this was really a fun, unique thing to do.
Sunday was Brooklyn Bridge Day! I'd been wanting to do this for ages but something always got in the way so I was determined, bridge renos or not, to do it on this visit and I was so glad we did! We took the subway to the Brooklyn side of the bridge at York Street which was just around the corner from Superfine Restaurant where we had a good brunch and listened to the bluegrass band (they have a Bluegrass Brunch every Sunday). The place is fun -- lots of families, lots of people who seem to be regulars, decent food, low prices, and the music was good. After brunch we walked around the DUMBO area, browsed in some bookstores, looked at the lovely carousel and then walked back to Manhattan across the bridge. It was a perfect day for it -- beautiful weather and few construction barriers obscuring the view. The bridge was packed with people walking in both directions and with bike riders -- you really have to stay out of the bike lane or you'll get flattened. We took the subway back up to our hotel where I had another nap (OK, remember, I'd not been feeling great. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.).
That evening we went down to the West Village where we had tickets to see Buyer & Cellar at the Barrow Street Theatre. We wen't down a little early so we'd have some time to walk around a bit and that was nice. We had a pre-theatre snack of stuffed bagel balls and look a long walk up and down Bleecker Street and decided that when we win the lottery that's where we'll buy our NY pied-a-terre. Buyers & Cellars was great -- a real must if you get a chance to see it! I bought our tickets on BroadwayBox.com and got the $75 tickets for $55. The theatre is small so any seat is a good seat and while the set seems plain there are extremely clever things done with the lighting. The play itself is very VERY funny and Michael Urie was excellent -- funny and charming and a little heart-breaking too. I was so glad we chose to see that instead of one of the big Broadway blockbusters. I know I'll get to see Kinky Boots and Big Fish eventually but I might have missed B&C if I hadn't seen it this time round. After dinner we walked up Bleecker to A.O.C. for a very nice French dinner and then home to bed.
And that was it. This morning we got up, had our complimentary coffee while we packed, hopped in our Carmel Limo and had a happily uneventful flight home.
Many thanks to all the Fodorites who gave us excellent food, theatre and bridge advice!
(Oh, and I'm not previewing or proof-reading so apologies in advance for any typos)
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We had a lovely long weekend in NYC! Here's what we did: