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Great Girls' Weekend in NYC!

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Aug 19th, 2014, 07:48 PM
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Great Girls' Weekend in NYC!

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:
Friday
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.

Saturday
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.

Sunday
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.

Monday
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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Aug 19th, 2014, 07:58 PM
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Oh, what a fabulous trip! Every little piece of it, especially the surprise shopping find at the end!

I love that Hilton. I used to get great AAA rates for it and then Priceline deals. There's a little deli out the door on 53rd that has egg salad sandwiches that I crave. On our girls' weekends we'd stop there to buy sandwiches to take upstairs and we'd rest and have a picnic in the room. Glad everyone loved the Tenement museum. It's one of my favorites too. I've never been to Ellen's Stardust but it sounds like the perfect choice for the girls - as was Cinderella. Magical.

What wonderful memories y'all made. When are you going back?

And red cowboy boots?! Post a picture!
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Aug 19th, 2014, 08:01 PM
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wow! So great! You did so many of my favorites! We love the Stardust Diner - it is a big hit for fun, love Bryant Park, Central Park, a good Broadway show and the Tenement Museum!

Thanks for sharing your trip and so glad you all had fun.Sounds like a perfect weekend to me! (we loved Eataly but I would go for the comp'd meal too! )
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Aug 19th, 2014, 08:02 PM
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Thanks, starrs!

I know many people will read this and go 'bah! touristy stuff!' but it was the kid's first time in NY and the touristy stuff was what it was all about. We were even planning to do the Empire State Building but never got around to it.

We're talking about doing it again next year but I'll be surprised if that happens. I'd love it though.
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Aug 19th, 2014, 08:04 PM
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Thanks, mom.

Bryant Park is lovely -- both the cafe and the park itself. We saw the re-done park last year when we were there and I was so surprised. The last I saw it before that, it was pretty much a druggie superstore and that was it. I love the outdoor reading room!
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Aug 19th, 2014, 08:11 PM
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GTG - you packed a lot of fun into one weekend! Thanks for sharing and glad the proper dress was found! Will she wear the red cowboy boots with it?
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Aug 19th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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gtg, you have to go back during the holidays. It's magical with the skating rink and the vendors set up for the holiday market.
http://www.bryantpark.org/things-to-...ervillage.html
http://www.wintervillage.org/holidayshops/overview
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Aug 19th, 2014, 08:19 PM
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goddesstogo: your trip sounds like a lot of fun, and perfect for your niece. I've done nearly everything on your list at one time or another and want to see Cinderella (and I don't like Broadway plays). Great report.
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Aug 19th, 2014, 09:55 PM
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we were in Bryant park a few years ago at Christmas - it was beyond magical!

Starrs - you must go to Ellen's Stardust Diner - it is just pure fun.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 06:09 AM
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Sounds like a great time! Wasn't that unusual that your rooms weren't ready at that hour? But good for the hotel for comping you dinner.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 06:31 AM
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Super, gtg!

DH and I also enjoyed Ellen's very much.

Congrats on the boots!
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Aug 20th, 2014, 06:42 AM
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Great post.

I echo the sentiment of loving Ellen's Stardust Diner. Like you say, dinery food but the entertainment is such a treat!
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Aug 20th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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Sounds great but i have to ask -- you arrived at 9 PM and your rooms still weren't ready? Glad they gave you something, but that's pretty amazing.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 07:44 AM
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Great trip report! Thanks for sharing! When DD was 11 (she's now 26) I took her to New York for the first time and we went to Ellen's Diner (AND the Tenement Museum) so I can see why both would be perfect for this trip; happy the weather worked out so well also and I would love to see Cinderella--my sister and I never missed it when it was on TV when we were kids.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 08:05 AM
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Well, you're guess is as good as mine, Neo. Especially since I have a Hilton Honors card which gives us late check-in AND I called and reminded them that we might be late (and that was when our plane was supposed to be on time). Still, they made up for it in good fashion with dinner and six days (2 rooms x 3 days) of wi-fi at about $13 a day and which all of us used pretty often. The airline, by the way, didn't offer us so much as a cup of coffee as compensation for the wait. I felt sorry for people who had time-limited plans or connections to make.
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Aug 20th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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musicfan, one of the reasons this trip was so special for me was that I took my niece to NY when she was 12, just before her bat mitzvah and now here I was, taking her daughter for the same reason!
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Aug 20th, 2014, 08:13 AM
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How cool! I just love New York! And now DD and I have gone back together twice more plus she has gone a couple more times on her own/with her now-husband so she clearly loves it too.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 03:37 PM
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cestlagedor,
Is it time to go back yet? I can be packed in a minute.

Yes, fall is a great time to travel to NY but we were time-limited for this trip. Still, we were very lucky with the weather.

I know it's not for everyone (you really have to be comfortable in huge crowds) but my all-time favourite season in NY is Christmas. It's magical!
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