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Trip Report Celebrities sightings in NYC

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I was back in the NYC in May for a week while my husband was in the city for business. This is my favorite city and I have been here many times. My husband was with me during the weekend and most evenings but I was on my own during the days and one evening I went to a Broadway show by myself.

Newark Airport – used DIAL 7 Towncar service- made advance reservations for pick up where a confirmation number is given. After you arrive at the airport and collect your luggage you give them a call. Have a pen ready because the dispatcher with give you the number of the town car and will tell you what zone area the car will pick you up at in 5 minutes. The passenger pick up location is right outside the baggage claim area. I flew in during rush hour so it took 75 minutes to get to my hotel.

HOTEL IN MIDTOWN

We stayed at Club Quarters Hotel in Rockerfeller Center and it was just a perfect location. Our standard room on the corner of the 25th floor had a partial view of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockerfeller plaza across the street. It was nicely furnished and quite spacious compared to most NY hotels. The bathroom had lots of counter space and that is a definite plus for me. They had luxurious sheets on the firm bed and the walls were thick. We never heard anyone else on the floor and we were near the elevator so it was surprisingly quiet. It was nice to be able to open the window a bit to get fresh air circulating in the room when it got warm. The lobby is tiny but it has a restaurant on the 7th floor that includes outdoor seating that was a peasant surprise. They served a buffet breakfast that was reasonable and it was enjoyable to sit out on the patio. I only ate breakfasts there but restaurant seemed busy with other guests going at other times.

ROCKERFELLER CENTER/PLAZA
What was nice about staying at this location is that it was convenient to being outdoors in the plaza. There was always something going on right outside the hotel. They set up tables selling food from many restaurants/bakeries in the area during the lunch hour on a few days when we were there. They even set up picnic tables but plenty of benches for you to enjoy a snack or lunch outside.

During the early morning, I went over to watch the TODAY show. Sharon Osborne was being interviewed the one day that I went over and stood in the small crowd that was outside the show window.

Top of the Rock is just across from the hotel so you could choose a clear day to go up and admire the views.

There is Bouchon Bakery in the plaza nearby and is a great place to grab some wonderful pastries and coffee. There are many stores, restaurants and a post office in the lower level of the plaza. There are many entrances to get to the lower level but the quickest one that I found was to take the glass elevator (near the flags) that says to the Sea Grill restaurant but it gives you access to the other stores as well. There is also a public restroom in the lower level of Rockerfeller Plaza near the post office.

CELEBRITIES SIGHTINGS

They were filming a movie right outside the hotel door the Friday I came in. The street was closed off for Friday and Saturday while they were filming a remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Minty”. Ben Stiller is directing and acting in it. He walked right by me in full make up as they were filming a crashed scene. There was Adam Scott sitting on the sidewalk. It’s amazing how they blocked off our street and parts of 5th avenue for the weekend. Now I understand why these movies cost so much to make. We probably made them redo a scene because we walked out of the hotel leaving for dinner when I realized that they had all these actors walking by us in business suits on a Saturday evening when it dawn on me that they were filming a scene.

On Monday, they were doing a red carpet event for NBC Fall season shows so there was this crowd right near the hotel’s front door. I was excited to see Adam Levine coming out of his car service and going in the back entrance of Radio City Hall. Then I spotted Celo Green coming out of SUV. I’m a big fan of “The Voice” so I could identify them and Carson Daly. Then the actors from “Smash” Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty were spotted. Megan came over to the fans that asked her if they could have a photo with her and fellow actors Matthew Perry, Laura Benati and Tate Donovan came over and did the same. I also saw Eva Longueria, Ellen Barkin, Elle McPherson, Howie Mandal, and Jimmy Fallon. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t recognize some of the actors but I was very lucky to be standing next to a person who knew every celebrity and could rattle off what shows/movies they did. I was very impressed by her and three tourists from Berlin, Germany who had printed 8 by 10 glossy photos of the celebrities. I had to know how they knew they would be here and that is when they told me about this website that indicates where filming is happening in the city

http://www.onlocationvacations.com/tag/filming-in-nyc/

I discovered that the other networks were doing red carpet events for their shows so I stopped by Carnegie Hall where CBS was doing their event on another day. I saw Sharon Osborne, Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Lucy Liu, Julianna Margulies and Matt Czuchry from the Good Wife, Tom Selleck, Donny Wahlberg, Melissa Cartwright from Bridesmaids movie and Mike and Molly show, Gail King (Oprah's best friend) and Charlie Rose who came out after the event and didn’t get into a limo but kept on walking down the street. Now I should say that these celebrities didn’t all come out at the same time. You never knew when someone would come out so this required waiting sometime 2-3 hours. The time went by fast and it was so much fun to see so many celebrities on this trip.

BROADWAY SHOWS

I have seen quite a few over the years of visiting NYC so chose to see this time:

Chicago at the Ambassador Theater. It is one of the longest running shows and it was good to see but not one of my top favorites. I have to admit that besides the singing and dancing, I like to see a Broadway show that has the costumes, set designs, lighting and creativity of the production. The show revolved around basically one stage set. Also, to note is this is an old theater and has a small restroom so during intermission it is recommended to get in line quickly because the long wait can make you miss the first few minutes of the second half of the performance.

Spiderman Turn Off The Dark at the Foxwood Theater.

This show was amazing and for me had the WOW factors. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I had read mixed reviews earlier but it seems they have worked out their problems from their earlier performances. The terrific music is written by U2 (Bono and the Edge), set designs, costumes, lighting, and especially the aerial stunts were just incredible. The actor who plays the professor/green monster was terrific and had this amazing theatrical voice that I thought I had heard somewhere else. After reading the playbill the actor had performed in Lion King as Scar that I had seen several years ago. There were people of all ages attending and lots of families who were enjoying the show. The show got a standing ovation at the end. I didn’t have any concerns being in Times Square after the show, stopping in a few stores before heading back. I was careful but felt comfortable with all the thousands of tourists in the square before walking back to hotel at 11 pm.

TKTS – South Seaport (Financial District)

This is where I went to purchase the theater tickets. They don’t have all the Broadway shows but you can download an app to your iPhone that tells you what shows they are selling tickets each day. I took the subway and got off at Fulton street and then walked about 4 blocks down to Front street and there was no line at 11:45. Few shows were left but I didn’t have any problems getting the tickets from Chicago. For Spiderman, I went and got in line at 10:45 and waited till they opened at 11:00. It took only 15 minutes and got my ticket. This place lets you purchase the tickets the day before if you want to see a matinee. All evening shows needs to be bought the day of the show.

EATALY

This is a place that occupies a building on 23rd West street that carries produce, high quality Italian foods, chocolates, cheeses, and gourmet foods. This place was jam packed on the weekends and so it was tough just being able to see things. I would recommend making reservations first at the place you want to eat and then look around. We
chose to have lunch at Le Pizza, Le Pasta which had good food. Had we known about the roof top Birreria place we would have eaten there because it would have been nice to eat outside on the rooftop. You can eat at this place rain or shine as it has an awning.

HIGH LINE IN THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT

This place on a sunny day was just jammed packed with tourists. I had been here in November and it wasn’t that bad walking through then but it makes a difference when it’s nice outside. This is a public park that was built on the West Village on the railroad tracks that starts on Ganesvoort street and runs to the Chelsea neighborhood. Fun place to people watch and admire the architecture and park like feel of the stroll.

ST. PATRICK’S CAT
I forgot how incredibly stunning this church is as I haven’t been inside for several years. I went in on the side entrance one day when I was heading for the subway. It is simply a beautiful church to see while you are in city.

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

Beautiful architecture and nice art exhibit. They have free tours daily at 11am and 2pm. A must see and it’s free.

PARIS THEATER – 5th Avenue- One of the things I enjoy the most on a rainy afternoon is to catch a matinee at this iconic theater right across the Plaza hotel. Recommend this movie theater or Ziegfield theater if catching a movie in this city.

Right behind the NY Public Library. It is a small beautiful park that is a great place to sit at one of the many tables and enjoy the view and take a break. They have some type of free events like yoga, tai chi, knitting, chess or a performance going on sometime during the week. There is a beautiful carousel for children in the park. Also, a well maintained public restroom also is available here.

Bryant Park Grill is where they filmed the restaurant scene in the Meryl Streep movie “Julia”. I had a delicious chopped salad here. There is also Bryant Park café that is good also for a more casual meal. They have other food booths in the park called Wichcraft where you can get good sandwiches and soups.

GREEN FEA MARKET ON UPPER WEST SIDE

I love going to this flea market held every Sunday from 10am-5:30 between 76th and 77th Columbus street. It’s always fun to find treasures and I loved this one clothing vendor that sells new unique clothes. I couldn’t resist buying a few items from here.

COLUMBUS ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR

We caught the last weekend of this arts and craft show and it has many unique artisans. I really enjoy visiting this fair when I’m in the city in May. One of the kind items that you won’t find in many of the chained stores in the city.

SELF INDULGENCE

I always like doing something new and reading an article in NY Times about lash extensions intrigued me. I was tempted to do this for a few years but this recent article before my trip made me do some research on a reputable place for service. I settled for a place called R Lash that was about ten minutes away from Grand Central Station. Their salon was very easy to find. This is a Japanese run outfit that I had read good reviews so I gave them a try. I was not disappointed as the technician Aya was a skillful expert that applies silk lashes that takes an hour and half while you lay down on a table. I fell asleep and woke up with beautiful curled natural looking eyelashes that should last 2-4 weeks. I have short lashes so it was great to finally have long lashes. I will come back here every time I’m in the city. They had very reasonable fees.

CENTRAL PARK

One of my favorite places to visit every time I come to the city.

KIPS BAY BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB DECORATING SHOWHOUSE

I discovered this last year and wanted to see a decorated show house again. This is a annual fund raiser for the Kips Boys and Girls Club where they find a townhouse or brownstone on the upper east side or Upper west side neighborhoods. They had difficulty finding a home this year so there decorated showroom was in a brand new building called the “ The Aldyn Residences”. It was a bit hard to find because the address is Riverside Blvd which is not on a city map. It is the last street before the overpass and near Riverside Drive. The 6000 sq. feet unit is going for $16 million and many of NY finest interior decorators used their talents to decorate the room assigned to them. Always good to see if you like visiting Open Houses and the $30 fee goes to a good cause. There is a gift store that offers donated items from clients and worth taking a look after the seeing the open house. The tours are available until June.

RIVERSIDE PARK

Is not far from the Kips Bay Decorating show house so if you walk out the front doors and walk up to 68th street you can take the stairs down to the path where people enjoy walking, running, cycling, roller blading along the path of the Hudson River. There is many benches to admire the view, café, garden and public restrooms available. I had heard from a young couple from Switzerland that they had seen George Clooney running along the Hudson river early in the morning.


RESTAURANTS:

Le Silohuette –Hell’s Kitchen– The chef owner spent eight years at La Grenouille before opening his own restaurant. The New Yort Times had just given a review so we thought we give it a try. The pace was busy and I was glad we had reservations. We had lovely cocktails with our appetizers of Foie Gras prepared with sweet plantains, salt roasted pineapple coulis and coffee gel, Long Island duck breast with rhubarb confit, preserved ginger, Swiss chard, lavender honey and my husband had lamp chomp with broccoli rabe, kholrabi, Morrocan-spiced tomato compote, zinfandel. Everything was delicious and service was attentive.

Ruby Foo’s – Times Square- good Asian fusion food in a beautiful setting. The food and service was very efficient and courteous. It was across the street from where Chicago musical was playing so very convenient.

The House – Gramercy Park – Adorable restaurant in a brownstone carriage house. We had a delightful meal with friends and had cocktails, plate of oysters, wine with lamb and duck dishes.

Gramercy Tavern –After dinner drinks. I highly recommend the “Hop to it” drink. We have had dinner here before and love it but could not get reservations this time.

Rue 57- Midtown- Excellent French bistro that also has outside seating. I had lunch here and they make an excellent chicken chopped salad. I got there before noon but when I left the place was packed and waiting line.

Morel’s Wine Bar and Café- Rockerfeller Center. Good place to go when you want just appetizers and glass of wine.

Cipriani’s – Wall Street – who would have known there was this beautiful restaurant with outdoor seating above the hustle and bustle of Wall Street.
The pre-fixed lunch menu was reasonable and food and service was good. The waiter comes out with the appealing home made desserts to choose from. The bellini drink reminded me of when I had them at Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Petrossian – Mid town- near Carnegie Hall. What an elegant place and we had a lovely dinner here. I highly recommend the Petrossian smoked salmon with toast points for an appetizer. The service and food was excellent.

It was a fabulous visit. Thank you New York City!

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