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Trip Report Great Girls' Weekend in NYC!

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We had such a good time this weekend in NYC! For one thing, the weather was perfect -- nice and sunny every day but not too hot. There was a bit of a drizzle on Sunday morning but the sun was out before 10. This was a girls-weekend-away trip – me and my two sisters, my eldest niece and her 12-year-old daughter. We had some firm plans, some maybe plans but lots of free time for last-minute decisions. There was a lot of shopping (more than I'd do in a lifetime!) because we were looking for outfits for my sister, my niece and great-niece for the kid’s upcoming bat mitvah.

Here's the general run-down of what we did:
We were supposed to leave at 4:30 and get to our hotel about 6:30 but our flight was delayed an hour and a half because of mechanical problems. Anyway, when we finally got to the hotel at about 9 our rooms weren't ready. Our original plan was to check in and walk down 5th to Eataly for dinner but instead the hotel comped us a pretty generous amount of money for dinner there ($275 for 4 adults and a kid) and also gave us free wi-fi in both rooms. We checked our bags and had dinner in the bar where the menu and the food were surprisingly good and we only had to pay for a bottle of wine and the tip. We stayed at the Hilton Midtown at 6th and 54th and it was fine. Not luxury but we were trying to pay for the whole trip on points and it served all our purposes and was a perfect location. We had two rooms with two doubles in each (kid and her mom slept together) and the rooms were very big. The bathrooms were smallish but nicely decorated and very clean.

After dinner we walked down to Times Square which was loud and bright and packed. Stores are open incredibly late there and we walked around and shopped a bit until about 1:30 a.m. and then staggered back to the hotel, exhausted.

We woke up to a flea market outside our hotel, up and down 6th Avenue. We each bought a couple of little things and walked up to Central Park and a ways into the park. Tons of joggers, bikers, sunbathers -- I love Central Park! After that, we walked down Fifth Avenue, stopping in here and there. By 44th Street we were pooped and ready for lunch and I thought of the perfect place. We had lunch in the lovely Bryant Park Cafe on their patio behind the library. I've been meaning to go there anyway, so I'm glad we got tired at exactly the right spot. It was the perfect place for lunch on a nice summer’s day and the food was very good.

After lunch we continued walking down to Lord & Taylor where my sister bought a very pretty suit. One down, two to go. It was getting late and we had theatre tix so we took a cab back up to the hotel to relax for a bit and change. On our way to the theatre which was about 2 blocks away, we got stopped by a huge parade of motorcyclists (and I mean huge -- hundreds and hundreds roaring down Broadway with police escort). I asked what it was and the cop told me it was the 9/11 Memorial. I asked why they were doing it now and he said that too many other events took place in September so they do it early. I have to say, it was really impressive seeing all those bike in action in one place!

Anyway, off to the theatre we went. Since the weekend was a special event for the youngster, she got to choose the play and she opted for Cinderella which everyone loved. It's the original Rogers and Hammerstein score and it was really beautiful. It was just what I wanted for her first Broadway play -- great music, fabulous dance numbers, and amazing costumes. And I do mean amazing. Both the fairy godmother and Cinderella had costumes that changed in the snap of a finger (literally) from raggedy to gorgeous. We still can't figure out how they did the shoes! We had excellent seats in row J which I bought at a discount on broadwaybox.com.

After the show, I'd been saving a surprise dinner place for them -- Ellen's Stardust Diner, which was just across the street and down a block. The food there is basically diner food and not bad but you don’t really go there for the food. All the waiters and waitresses are all Broadway wannabees and in-between serving (and even while serving!) they do live numbers -- singing and dancing around the tables and on the lit-up thingy between the banquettes. The waiters are really friendly and fun and they really get the audience involved in the music. I was a little worried that it might not be as good as I was hoping but I couldn't have even imagined how much fun it was.

We had tix to the Tenement Museum so we hopped in a cab and went down to the Lower East Side. Honestly, I thought everyone would think that was the most boring part of the weekend but they loved it. We'd originally planned to go to Katz's afterwards for lunch but instead we walked to Soho, had lunch there and browsed in and out of the shops. We finally had to rush back to the hotel for a five-minute change of clothes before meeting our cousins for dinner.

They had invited us to be their guests Tao Uptown which is pretty. Really good, interesting martinis and Asian dishes topped off by a huge selection of desserts. There was lots of good chat as we don’t see each other all that often, lots of hugs and kisses good-bye and we walked down Madison and back to our hotel.

The car to the airport wasn't picking us up till 4 so we had plenty of time for one last attempt at finding the bat mitzvah girl something to wear. We walked down Broadway past Times Square en route to Macy's but didn't find anything there. We really didn't spend much time there -- just long enough for my niece and I to each buy a pair of red, cowboy boots. Anyway, then we decided to walk back up to the Carnagie Deli for lunch because my sister had a yen for chopped liver. We stopped in here and there along the way and ended up getting the kid a fabulous outfit in a no-name store that really didn’t look like much on the outside but had some beautiful, unique items inside. We finally got to the deli about 2:30, had a great lunch and walked back to the hotel to meet the car and be whisked off home.

And that's it! It was a great success and I'm so happy (as the trip planner) that they liked so many of my choices. As you know, it's a risky business but the things everyone liked best were the play, the Stardust Diner, the Tenement Museum and the Bryant Park Café.

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