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Autumn in New York-- Why DOES It Seem So Inviting...? (Trip Notes)

Autumn in New York-- Why DOES It Seem So Inviting...? (Trip Notes)

Old Sep 28th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Autumn in New York-- Why DOES It Seem So Inviting...? (Trip Notes)

So I'm back from a whirlwind trip to NYC (my SigO's first!). This subject is so done to death it's Done to Death!-- but I thought I'd throw out a few highlights.

FLIGHTS: JetBlue, LGB - JFK. Nonstop, smooth, perfect flights (landing gear behaved itself both ways!). Exemplary service as usual. TSA lines were fast at both facilities-- less than 3 minutes each time. Taxi stand at Terminal 6 at JFK moved quite quickly.

NEW YORK CITY CAB DRIVERS: My honey was warned. Jackrabbit starts, screeching stops, a quick frontage-road detour when the L.I.E. was backed up going into Manhattan. Crosstown became a cardiac stress test at every red light ("Will he stop?"). We got everywhere without a scratch.

HOTEL: Red Roof Inn, 6 W. 32nd St., Little Korea. Budget-level, no question. But I liked the location-- safe, central to subway lines, a quick walk to Murray Hill for breakfast/lunch, just south of Midtown, just north of Chelsea. The room was small but extremely clean with a comfy king-sized bed. Lobby bar open 4 PM - 2 AM. Great bartenders-- kudos to Courtney and Alex! This is one of the AppleCore hotels, but flies under many tourists' radar due to its not being in Midtown/Times Square. But at $149.99 a night, I was thrilled. I will stay at the Red Roof again and again.

ACTIVITIES: First evening: Get bearings, walk around a bit, then a quick nap and a cab up to Caffé Grazie to see my friend who works there. Laughter, reminiscing and good eats (more later).

Second day: Ground Zero visit. Port Authority has erected remembrances around the site, and they're comprehensive and moving (especially the heartfelt graffiti that viewers have left here and there). Got to St. Paul's Chapel-- very stirring place, even for a nonbeliever like me. I got myself their multilanguage peace medallion. Then off to the Café Carlyle for dinner and a show (more later).

Next day: Matinée of Chicago, then drinks at the View Lounge at the Marriott Marquis. What a tourist trap-- but hey, we were tourists. Drinks were only fair (I can tell hotel orange juice from the good stuff!), but nice views. The evening was spent bar-hopping with friends in the Village-- couldn't tell you which ones, but I know we ended up laughing our fool heads off at the singers at the Duplex.

Next day: Empire State Building. Spent far too much time there, but we got some great pictures. Then drinks and dinner at a nearby French-Moroccan place (see below).

Next day: Back home.

We didn't get to do as much as we would have liked. I guess we'll have to go back. That's a given (already planning it!).

SHOWS: Café Carlyle, Elaine Stritch at Home at the Carlyle. The room was packed with UES hoi-polloi (and, at a corner table, actress/singer Betty Lynn Buckley-- I sent over a round of drinks). Stritch performed a full set of songs she has never been associated with, along with her wickedly funny stories of love, life and booze. Alternatively hilarious and profoundly moving, she's the Real Thing-- brilliant, fierce talent. Wonderful show.

Ambassador Theatre, Chicago with Brooke Shields and Christopher McDonald. Great fun. The cast went all-out for the full house, even on a matinée, which I appreciate tremendously. I've seen the play and the movie, and there are enough differences to say "go see the play". This cast was quite good-- Brooke Shields was funny and tough as Roxie Hart, and Christopher McDonald was suitably oily as Billy Flynn. Luba Mason was a great Velma Kelly! And their current Mary Sunshine, R. Lowe, has a stupendous mezzo (those who have seen the show will know why that's such a big deal).

EATS: Caffé Grazie, UES (84th St). Neighborhood bistro, Northern Italian cuisine. I loved the food and the familiar feel (my friend knew all of the patrons from the neighborhood).

Moonstruck, Murray Hill (3rd Ave). Neighborhood diner. Good breakfasts. Mimosa included in brunch special uses rotgut bubbly, so skip that if possible. Otherwise, it was great.

Café Carlyle, Carlyle Hotel. Staggeringly expensive, but I was quite pleased with the meal. I was so bowled over by the high-falutin' experience, I didn't mind the $600-plus tab (including show and generous tips).

Ollie's, Midtown (44th St). East Coast Chinese noodles joint. Busy with theatre crowd as well as locals. Quick service, tasty food. Nothing spectacular, but hey....

Sarge's Deli, Murray Hill (3rd Ave). Deli. Need I say more? No atmosphere, just down-home deli food. Good brisket, good corned beef, loaded up on nice fresh bread. I'm easy to please.

Barbès, Murray Hill (36th St). French-Moroccan bistro. Loved the cozy, low-lit room, loved the tasty French-Moroccan food. I'm a sucker for carrot soup, and theirs has a fresh hit of ginger to zap the sweetness. And I also love couscous, so what was not to love?

All in all, too short a trip. We're already thinking of things for our next visit, and now we have pie-in-the-sky dreams of relocating....

New York is still wonderful, still invigorating! We're planning annual trips from now on, so hopefully we'll start having less-predictable things to put into trip reports...!!
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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""The evening was spent bar-hopping with friends in the Village-- couldn't tell you which ones, but I know we ended up laughing our fool heads off at the singers at the Duplex.
""

Sounds like my kinda trip!


""Café Carlyle, Carlyle Hotel. Staggeringly expensive, but I was quite pleased with the meal. I was so bowled over by the high-falutin' experience, I didn't mind the $600-plus tab (including show and generous tips).""

holyhighfalutencowpokebatam!!!

Glad you had a good time rjw! Mr.GoTravel and I will be right back up there the end of Oct-Nov for the marathon!



 
Old Sep 30th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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rjw_lgb_ca
Thank you for sharing your trip
with us.
Thanks for the details, very helpful.
Sounds like a fun trip.

I don't know *why* this report isn't
TTT as it provides many details
and ideas for travelers.
???

We love going into *THE* City as
much as possible and are always
on the hunt for new places.
(most from here or other web
travel sites)
This will top your post and surely
others will benefit
(and also reply)!
wanderluster is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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Go: Good to hear from you! And I hope you have as great as time in The City as we did! Are you running the Marathon, or cheering Mr. Go or someone else...?

wanderluster: Thanks, but I don't know that there was that much new information in this brief report. Maybe a couple of places are underreported (no one talks at all about the Red Roof, but I know I didn't feel like paying for the Marriott Marquis or the W Times Square!)....

I do know that it was fun to pretend we were super-rich UES New Yorkers for one unforgettable evening (the performance, not the tab for dinner...!), and I can also say that late September is THE ideal time to visit NYC-- the weather was gorgeous. I also forgot what a tourist trap the ESB was, but it was still a pleasure (I rarely get above 8 stories high in a building here in CA).

Oh well, back to reality-- and a weekend that will be highlighted by an oil change in my convertible.
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Hi rjw_lgb_ca:

Your excellent trip report is featured in this week's fodor's newsletter. (www.fodors.com/newsletter/ if you don't subscribe)

Small world: My Rosh Hashana dinner was catered by Sarge's, making it far superior to anything my brother could have cooked himself.

thanks,
Peter
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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Hi rjw!

Yes, I'm running the NYC Marathon and Mr.GoTravel will be cheering from the sidelines!

Can't wait to just eat and eat and eat before the race!
 
Old Oct 5th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Hey RJW, nice report! And congrats on making the Fodors Newsletter! (btw, how's your sis?)

And GoTravel, congrats ahead of time for running the marathon. You go girl! As a neighborhood runner (only 4-5 mi. 5-6X per wk) i am in awe and so proud of you. Let us know how it goes. (the food deal is a great perk of running, isn't it!)
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Old Oct 10th, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Good to hear from everyone....

Hi, Ellen! The news on my sis' front has fallen into the realm of "delicious ambiguity". Although her blood work seems to show continued cancer activity (not out of control, just not eliminated), and she has a slightly enlarged lymph node near her aorta, she continues her chemo and plays tennis, swims, runs after her kids and just lives her life. We're all resigned to this being a chronic condition now-- but it's not fatal as long as it's managed. Kinda like diabetes. Her hair's come back after a brief stint with alopecia ("I look like my topiary!!" she gleefully said after her husband shaved her head), her sense of humor is getting a workout (but she's still smiling).... Things are about as good as they can be with this monster in her life.

Get tested, give when you can. Cancer is manageable, sometimes curable, but you have to take these steps to help yourself and everybody.

Soapbox minute done....

Go, best of fortune in the Marathon! You should have a lot of fun carbo-loading in Manhattan!

bronx, brisket and crisp pickles just does my soul a lot of good-- and I can't think of a better Rosh Hoshanah caterer. And those sweet Waitresses of a Certain Age...! "Dear", "honey"-- all they needed was to call me "bubbie" and I would have lost it.
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Old Oct 10th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Great trip report. I also LOVE Cafe Grazie -- it's a little-known neighborhood haunt. I have spent many a weekend evening starting at the rooftop bar at the Metropolitan and ending for dinner at Grazie.

As for your bill at Cafe Carlyle, I'll just ditto GoTravel!
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Old Oct 14th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Hey rjw_lgb_ca,
Nice job getting *published* in
Fodors Newsletter!
Seriously, that's cool!
Are you the first?
(I think so, at least since
I've been lurking here!)
I would be curious to know
if or what else appeared there
from this forum, anyone know?
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Old Oct 14th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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Meant to write ages ago to say how much I enjoyed your report. Didn't know about Barbes so thanks for that. I enjoyed Elaine S. vicariously through you as I just couldn't bring myself to pay the price. Your report confirmed my worst fears

I think you may be the first to stay at the Red Roof and drop $600 at the Carlyle in the same trip. =D>
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Old Oct 14th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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mclaurie: Thanks! The tab at the Carlyle was so worth it-- especially to hear Stritch tell her story of how she blew a blind date with Frank Sinatra (long story short: After being forced to listen at his house to him sing on a radio show, she bellows from the bar, "You can say what you want, but the sonofabitch can sing!!"-- just as he walked in). Priceless.

Still, I'm glad the irony of paying that tab-- then returning to the Red Roof-- wasn't lost on everyone. It made for nice nightcaps at their bar.
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Old Oct 14th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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rjw,( or should I say bubbie)
what a wonderful trip and trip report ! I just read it to the Yankee, I think he is crying.
You brought back some nice memories

I am glad to hear your sister is managing, there are days that we all just have to manage, I am happy for her and wish her continued good (and better) health.

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Old Oct 14th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the report, Scarlett-- thanks!

And thanks for the good thoughts for my sister. As long as she's kickin' ass and namin' names, we're all happy-- ya know?
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Old Oct 14th, 2005, 04:53 PM
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What great news about your sis rj!
 
Old Jan 19th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Ttt for Manhattan first-timers....
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