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Broadway, Burgers and Buses--48 Hours in Manhattan

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Mar 8th, 2013, 04:13 PM
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Broadway, Burgers and Buses--48 Hours in Manhattan

Before any more time passes, I want to get this trip report posted! I received so much helpful Fodor’s input on this short trip, both directly and indirectly that I really want to document what we did in New York in just less than 48 hours:

When DD realized she would have to spend several weeks in Connecticut doing training and that this time included two weekends during which she couldn’t come home, she asked me to meet her in New York City for one of the weekends. Typically, our trips are planned months in advance and this one was planned in less than two weeks!

When I checked airfares to LGA, they were pretty high ($450) and I almost gave up right then until I thought to look at Newark—fares were almost half that price! So how to get to the city? Thanks to an older thread with lots of good information and a few more questions (from me) and answers from knowledgeable and helpful Fodorites, I realized I could probably handle the AirTrain and NJ Transit connections to get me to Penn Station. The trip was a GO.

DD did Priceline and got us a room at the Westin Grand Central on 42nd Street for $98/night (her treat!) and got her bus tickets to bring her to town Friday night and back to Connecticut late Sunday afternoon.

All was looking good until the day before I was supposed to leave when our city was hit with a HUGE snowstorm—12 inches of snow with the airport shut down ALL DAY. I was sure my flight would be cancelled and I would be spending the weekend at home, but no, the airport reopened Friday morning about 6am and somehow Southwest had my plane there in time for an on-time departure that morning; the hardest part was getting to the airport—DH has a 4-wheel drive pickup and had the day off so I was, amazingly, good to go.
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Mar 8th, 2013, 04:14 PM
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The AirTrain and NJ Transit connections worked just like everyone had explained they would—thanks again! With several pieces of luggage, this would not have been do-able, but I was traveling light. I arrived at Penn Station in New York right at rush hour, but got my MetroCard and a subway to take me to Times Square, then the 7 to get me to Grand Central. The hotel allowed me to check into our room on the 19th floor…ahhh…it had been a long day! It’s newly rebranded as a Westin (formerly a Helmsley) so all the interiors are brand new—beds, linens, furniture, bathrooms, etc. Very nice and fairly spacious for New York.

After resting a bit, I walked to Lord & Taylor for some shopping, then to Grand Central Terminal where I was determined to find the shops I had heard about, especially the Market—how cool! And I, like many people, just love that building.

DD was texting me as she progressed on her bus trip but soon she too was at the hotel, just a little later than scheduled. We headed out for dinner and found ourselves not far from the hotel at a Mexican restaurant at the corner of Third and 41st…Sinequal. We were tired and very hungry and Mexican sounded good, plus it was National Margarita Day! We had pomegranate margaritas and a nice dinner, walked a few blocks up Third to a liquor store to get some wine, then back to the room.
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Mar 8th, 2013, 04:15 PM
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The next morning, we slept in (until 9am!) and it was raining, but oh well…our weather expectations for February were not very high anyway. By doing some pre-trip internet research we knew there was a Le Pain Quotidien just a few blocks from our hotel so we headed there for breakfast—quiche, frittata, bread basket, and of course, mimosas! We enjoyed breakfast there so much we went back again the next day.
We caught a bus on Third to take us uptown to The Frick, another discovery for us thanks to Fodor’s. What a gem of a museum! We couldn’t decide whether to look at the paintings or the beautiful home. The free audio tour was a welcome touch. After several hours of visual overload, we crossed Fifth Ave. to wait for a bus to Times Square and the TKTS booth.

Our luck with buses was not the best on this trip—we would just miss the one we needed, with another scheduled shortly that never came. We eventually just took the first one that would get us close and walked the rest of the way, in the rain, and came upon the long line at the booth. We had decided we really only wanted to see “Once” and while it was one of the shows being offered, I made the executive decision that seeing it was more important than getting the tickets at a discount so we got out of line and walked to the box office to purchase our tickets for that night’s performance.

After that, it was back to the subway for our return to the hotel to rest before dinner—when we were in NY in May, we never made it to the burger places I kept reading about on here so that was our goal for dinner—Five Napkin Burger. No reservations were available so we headed over to wait since we had plenty of time. The wait was longer than they told us it would be, but we had time, the burger and beer were delicious, and it was a cool space with lots of “buzz.” Thanks again, Fodorites!

It was just a block from there to the theater. We LOVED the show and are very glad we got the chance to see it. The only disappointment was that Steve Kazee was not in the cast that night, but all the performers are so talented, and it such a unique musical. Probably never again will I get to see two consecutive Tony-award winning musicals (we saw “Book of Mormon” in May), but at least it happened once.

The next morning, it was back to Le Pain Quotidien, check out and leaving our bags at the hotel, then a cab to the Museum of Modern Art…a first visit for me. The building is an equal to the art! It was an interesting contrast to The Frick, that’s for sure. We got a cab back to the hotel to get our bags, back to the subway to get to the Times Square station. DD went one direction toward the Port Authority to catch her bus and I found the subway back to Penn Station to catch the NJ Transit train. Amazingly, our departure times lined up within just a few minutes of each other. I was glad I caught the train I did because once I got to the Newark airport, the AirTrain was malfunctioning and it took longer to get from the train station to my terminal than it did to get to the station from Manhattan! Thankfully, security did not take too long and I was at my gate in time. The day after I got home—another snowstorm and 8 more inches of snow!

I never expected to have two trips to New York in such a short time, but it’s a city I will never get tired of visiting—I just love the energy of it. Thanks to anyone and everyone who gives advice on New York—it’s a very special place.
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Mar 8th, 2013, 04:29 PM
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Thank you for the report!
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Mar 8th, 2013, 09:28 PM
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loved your report. DH and I loved the Frick too.
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Mar 9th, 2013, 12:31 AM
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Enjoyed your report. Nice score on the hotel price. Glad you decided to go nail down the tickets for Once. Never easy to decide things like that while in the moment.


Well said. Some people thought we were crazy to go there, but we loved it too. The kids are still talking about it.
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Mar 9th, 2013, 07:11 AM
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I suppose I am being narrow-minded, but I just can't imagine NOT wanting to visit New York at least once--it's such an iconic city and I had wanted to go for as long as I could remember. I finally had the chance when I was in my late 30's (over 15 years ago), but the New York bug bit DD when I took her for her first trip while she was a middle schooler. Thanks for the nice comments.
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Mar 10th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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You did very well for yourselves in 48 hours! Congratulations on a fine plan, well executed! Thanks for the report.

I live only 1.5 hours from the city so can get there fairly often, and will never tire of it. It's a new and different city every time!
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Mar 11th, 2013, 04:34 AM
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What a nice trip! I also live outside the city and love to visit for the day or weekend.
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Mar 11th, 2013, 05:12 AM
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$98/night!
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Mar 11th, 2013, 05:19 AM
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Yes! She was pretty proud of herself...February is a great time of year to get good deals in New York--maybe we will do this trip every year!
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Mar 11th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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Sounds like a great trip -- weather excepted! I can't help but notice that it sounds like your entire trip was pretty much within the "theatre/Times Square" general area. And while there are those here who would insist you didn't see the "real New York", I'm sure like most of us tourists you loved the excitement of that uniquely New York part of the city and the energy that rarely is found anywhere else!
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Apr 4th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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I just now read your comments, Neo...yes, a good part of this trip was spent in the more "touristy" areas, although the hotel was a respite. You are correct--Times Square and the Theater District is such a big part of what makes New York so unique! If it looked like any other city downtown, why go?

We spent 7 days in the city last May (I neglected to do a trip report) and loved being able to explore further afield...the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, the High Line, Chelsea, the Cloisters, etc. I envy those of you who live near enough to visit frequently.
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Apr 5th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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It's never too late to do a trip report (hint, hint)!
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Apr 5th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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48 hours in Manhattan is better than 3 days at home!
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Apr 5th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for the trip report. We'll be there in a month. As a boy form the bush in remote Australia (not remote where I live now) I am really excited by it all.
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