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Trip Report Love NYC – not touristy things – but hotels/shows/restaurants trip report

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Back from 7 nights in New York. Can never get enough of that place!!! This trip had a lot of family events so I managed very few of the things on my list.
First hotels: I had booked the Distrikt after reading their rave reviews everywhere, and was really looking forward to experiencing it myself. Well, although I have no specific complaints, I certainly wasn’t overwhelmed. Maybe my expectations were too high. My family was staying at the Iroquois, a completely different standard of hotel. But after one night at the Distrikt I managed to get a Queen room there for a lower rate than my King at the Distrikt, so we decided to move and I was very happy with the change, even though it was a smaller room. And although I didn’t think the location of the Distrikt would bother me, my adult daughter went out with friends each night and she was very glad to come home late to the Iroquois.
Pluses for Distrikt: comfortable room but basic furnishing. Great bathroom with a lot of bench space and good hard shower.
Pluses for Iroquois: beautifully appointed rooms, nice library area off lobby, excellent location (between Times Square and Grand Central but away from the bustle). My only complaint was the poor lighting in the rooms, and when I mentioned this to housekeeping they brought me an extra lamp, and the management have since informed me that the lighting is being redone in the rooms!
Shows: Following recommendations from this forum, we went to see Buyer and Cellar on the tiny stage at the Barrow theatre in Greenwich. Great fun! Amazing one-man performance for a non-stop 90 minutes of laughs (even if we didn’t get all the inside New York jokes).
On Monday night we decided to try out Cast Party at Birdland, even though I didn’t manage to get much feedback from my posts on Fodors. For those who don’t know, Monday night has no Broadway shows, and Cast Party is an open mic night where singers can just get up and perform. There is a great 3 piece band that gets the sheet music from the performers as they get up on stage, and they do a fabulous job. The show is hosted by Jim Caruso, a veteran showman, although he looks a bit tired and mentioned many times he has been doing this for 10 years. But the acts were actually really good (except for a couple) and we had a most enjoyable evening. There is a $20 admission and $10 min cover charge. So I suggest getting a drink and not food (which wasn’t great). But I think it is a good way to spend a Monday night in New York.
Last show was Kinky Boots – very entertaining, great show.
Restaurants: Three main restaurants for finer dining…
Balthazars – a wonderful New York vibe. Just walked in on a Friday night and had to wait at the bar for about 20 minutes, but that was fun too. Great seafood and steaks. Kept looking for celebrities but didn’t see any. Probably wouldn’t recognize them anyway!
En Japanese Brasserie on Hudson Street – special décor and wonderful Japanese food. A real treat.
Vice Versa – pre-theatre dinner was delicious and well-timed to have us out with plenty of time to walk to Kinky Boots.
So this report was a bit longer than I intended, but I hope will be helpful for somebody. Enjoy New York and I will have to come back again to continue my list of things to do…

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