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48 Hours in NYC

Old Apr 25th, 2016, 06:54 PM
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48 Hours in NYC

We did a weekend getaway in NYC in mid-April (literally, 48 hours from touchdown to takeoff). We're fairly active and enjoy nature. I'm a foodie & he’s a craft beer lover. The weather was just gorgeous while we were there. Mid 70s to 80s and sunny (although it rained in the morning on Saturday). Can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of Central Park, the West side of Manhattan, and Brooklyn (rooftop bar for sure!). .

Stayed at the W Union Square. Loved the amenities (very secure and spacious room with a great view – and complimentary coffee from 6-10a) and location. We were far enough away from crowded areas but had just the right amount of activity in the surrounding area to maintain a lively NYC feel. Very close proximity to the 4,5,6 (that can take you down to the Brooklyn Bridge) and N,Q,R subways and walkable to the Flatiron building and East/West Villages.

Day 1:

Brooklyn Bridge/Dumbo - We took the subway to City Hall and walked the Brooklyn Bridge. Look up when you exit the station. Come equipped with walking shoes and prepare to keep looking over your shoulder for bikers on the bridge. Best when it’s a nice day (which it was...I’ve been there on a cloudy/rainy day in the past and you really miss out on the beautiful skyline/East River views) Walked to the Front & Washington Street viewpoint in Dumbo – DO NOT MISS. Then made a pit stop at Grimaldi’s to sample some NYC Pizza.

Grimaldi’s – The line went pretty fast, but I don’t think either of us were expected to be so cramped/sit with strangers. We enjoyed our pizza but it wasn’t the best ever. Wasn’t a big fan of the Italian sausage, it didn’t have much flavor...sauce was a tasty thin tomato sauce….loved the basil and mozzarella “bubbles”. And don’t just settle for a standard coke or sprite (Liquor license pending – seriously? Pizza with no beer?) We had the black cherry fountain soda though and it was delicious!

Jeepney – Went on a whim to try some ethnic cuisine. It was a group of 8 of us so we were able to sample a lot of the dishes. Standouts were the banana ketchup ribs, bicol express, and the chori burger. Fun cocktails included a lime green coconut drink and a cocktail for two out of a pineapple. We definitely went into sticker shock when we received the bill but I can’t count how many modern Filipino restaurants I know so it was a fun experience.

Otto’s Shrunken Head – Oh.My.Tiki bar. Funky little spot, the drinks were pricey but you could keep the insanely fun mugs if you wanted to (you just wouldn’t get your $5 deposit back – but why wouldn’t you want to keep a lucky cat that you can drink out of?). Cool lounge areas, fun atmosphere…I can only imagine how this place gets when there’s a fun band playing here.

Charles Hanson’s 169 Soul Jazz Oyster Bar – I don’t even know where to begin here. The leopard print pool table? Or the dinosaur heads mounted to the walls? Or the fish tank on the way to the bathroom…this is a dive bar with what is perceived a ton of history and lots of good late night stories. Just be weary of the bathroom.

Day 2:

Top of the Rock – DO NOT MISS. I applaud the city of New York for a very well done tourist attraction. Lots of distractions while you were “waiting” in line (the photo area, the movie, and the video while you’re looking up in the elevator!) Our recommendation – if it’s a good day, once you get to the viewing area just go straight to the top! If you think you’ve gone high enough, keep going! Unreal views.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – We really stumbled onto something special with the National Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America/Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Easter Rising Commemoration mass taking place when we just decided to “pop in and take a look at the inside of the church”. The Cathedral itself on the outside is striking. Bagpipes playing the entrance song with a choir singing (in Gaelic?) and “Ode De Joy” as the opening hymn with dozens of Irish men and women wearing Irish flag banners and the backdrop of this just gorgeous interior…we were just speechless and certainly moved.

Grahamwich – The start of our disappointment with Tom Colicchio establishments…we are HUGE Top Chef fans. The roasted turkey was just ok…the chips were good though!

Central Park – Ok…wow…where to begin. Our goal was to see Strawberry Fields then head over to the Met. We got to The Boathouse (like through ¼ of the park!). I think there should be one goal in mind when you decide to go to Central Park. One can’t imagine how many distractions can keep you from getting to your destination. The landscaping, the bridge architecture/details, snack/merchandise vendors, street entertainers, random activities (bubbles, ice skating, boating), THE PEOPLEWATCHING. We were both just in awe of how massive this park is….oh and I’m so happy we made it to Strawberry Fields.

Craft – We really had higher expectations for this because Tom Colicchio is not your average celebrity chef…he’s a JUDGE of celebrity chefs on Top Chef. So you expect he’d hold this standard up to his own kitchen staff. The restaurant décor had a very sexy vibe and service was very good. However, the food was just ok. We ordered the beet salad as a starter, with the steak for two as the entrée and two sides (hen of the woods mushrooms & au gratin potatoes) and a bottle of red. The beet salad, mushrooms, potatoes, and sauce for the steak were tasty (the goat cheese on the beet salad was fab); however, the steak was very disappointing. Lots of fat and just chewy. We even tried to just push ourselves to eat it because this dinner was a splurge for us but, and I hate to say it, but it really took the joy out of a fine dining experience.
heythererena is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2016, 07:06 PM
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Next time write earlier for some food suggestions. There are a number of places better than Grimaldi's and I dislike most celebrity chef places if there is more than one or two.
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Old Apr 25th, 2016, 07:56 PM
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What a shame about Craft! We are big Top Chef fans, too, and sorry to hear it was a disappointment. Great trip report, thanks for posting!
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Old Apr 27th, 2016, 03:23 AM
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I am so happy for you. Central park is my dream too!
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Old Apr 28th, 2016, 04:13 AM
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I just love New York, people, the dinamic energy and every segment of its luxuries. My favorite part of the city is Greenwich Village and Central Park because they are full of greenery and nature that I just adore. The only thing I regret is that I didn't have the time to explore the restaurants and cuisine of the city when I was there but that is certainly one more reason to re-visit
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Old Apr 30th, 2016, 07:33 PM
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Sounds like you had an excellent time - sorry that the restaurants didn't work out. Next time you come back to NYC you should definitely get a few recommendations prior to coming - plenty of great spots that would be way ahead of the list over Craft.
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Old May 4th, 2016, 02:59 PM
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The best bar for beers I found in NYC is at The Cannibal. It's an old butcher shop converted into a restaurant / bar and has a great lively vibe. Literally has only 2500 beers from around the world. http://www.cannibalnyc.com/

Do you guys have any maps or itineraries of places you went? I use Traverse (http://www.traversemobile.co/) which lets you save places you went and share maps with friends
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Old May 4th, 2016, 07:05 PM
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Hey Colby, how come every posting ends with you pumping some travel app?
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Old May 6th, 2016, 09:33 PM
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If you don't mind me asking, how much did you pay for the W? It had to be pretty expensive.
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Old May 9th, 2016, 06:54 PM
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Sorry for the delay here but thanks for all the love everyone!

IMDonehere/easternlightgetaways: I tried to ask for some restaurant/itinerary suggestions on the forum about a month prior but the post was more focused I guess in finding a hotel in a central location. There's a high probability we'll be back there within the next year so we're definitely open to restaurant suggestions if you have them!

colby_nyctraveler: Thanks for the suggestion! We wanted to try to go to Brooklyn Brewery too but I think we'll save that for the next time when we check out more of Brooklyn. It was just too far out from Manhattan. We used the My Maps feature under Google Maps. I color coded by restaurants and attractions and put a couple prompts in for walking directions. The only downside is that you can't get public transportation directions which is a bit of an inconvenience, especially for New York.

fitmachine: It actually was a recommendation from a co-worker and we were able to take advantage of a buy one get one night free weekend stay promotion. Surprisingly, around the time we booked there were airbnbs that were priced competitively in the area when you add in maint fees, etc. I found in my personal search, trying to book a hotel under $250 you were ultimately sacrificing either 1) space (both in sq. footage in the room and crowds sizes near the hotel based on your proximity to NYC landmarks 2) a private bathroom. I think it was a small price to pay that we didn't have to push through crowds to get to anywhere we needed to be,comfortable with our surroundings, and not sharing a bathroom with strangers. Oh! And moneysaving tip: we downloaded some rideshare apps right before our trip that cut down our cab fare while we were there (Hello $50 credit!)
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Old May 9th, 2016, 07:11 PM
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No problem
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Old May 23rd, 2016, 05:28 AM
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Enjoyed your report. Sounds like a great trip. I'm going in 2 weeks and appreciate the DUMBO/bridge photo tip!
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