It was cheaper to go to NY--a weekend in NYC

Old Jul 1st, 2011, 01:59 PM
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It was cheaper to go to NY--a weekend in NYC

The Background

A good friend of mine was vacationing in NYC with her family. I had not yet met their children, aged 1 and 3 and so I thought flying to NY to meet them was cheaper than flying to Paris to meet them.

Air Travel

Round trip on Frontier $268. Took a very early flight Friday morning and flew out early evening Sunday, giving us a nice amount of time to spend together.

Lodging

Zero! Another friend let me stay in her apt at 53rd and 8th. She was at her beach house so I didn’t get to see her, which felt weird, but it was great of her to let me stay there.

What we did

Mainly this was to have time together, but we did do some fun things. We had a good mix of family time and two women hanging out together.

Friday afternoon/Evening

American Folk Art Museum www.folkartmuseum.org
Target Free Fridays at MoMA www.moma.org

My flight got delayed out of KC so I arrived at 1:30 pm instead of 10:45 am. So, since I had been up since 4:30 am without eating, the very first thing we did when I arrived was grab a quick bite at the diner then we headed over to the American Folk Art Museum. This is the Year of the Quilt and quilting is an interest my friend and I share. It’s not one her partner shares so much so he was bringing the kids later.

The AFAM is not terribly big, but the quilt exhibit was nice, with some interesting bits of information on history, techniques, and culture. It covered two floors of the museum. As we ventured downstairs we discovered that there is free music there on Friday nights as well.

We didn’t stay though, because we thought we needed liquid refreshment. Not wanting to work too hard for it, we looked across the street and saw Connolly’s Irish Pub and headed there for a beer. I had Blue Moon and Laure was offered some taste tests and settled on Brooklyn beer….apparently brewed in Brooklyn. www.connollyspubandrestaurant.com

Back across the street we went to MoMA, for Target Free Friday. Since it is normally $20, this sounded good to me! I hadn’t visited the museum before, and we really didn’t have a lot of time so I focused on floors 4 and 5, paintings and sculpture. For a free Friday night it wasn’t as crowded as it could have been, although there were certainly a fair number of people.

I am more interested in paintings than sculptures, and definitely enjoyed the paintings I did get to see. It did crack me up that with some of the more famous artists people were very involved in taking their picture with the painting without actually taking much time to look at the paintings in question.

Olivier brought the kids up to meet us, and we walked over to Café Cielo for dinner. It was a pleasant way to end the evening and they headed north their lodging and I stepped across the street to my apt and got a good night’s sleep.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 02:35 PM
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What a treat! A weekend in NYC! Can't wait to read all the details
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 02:36 PM
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great report many savvy budget travel decisions.

thanks for posting.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 02:45 PM
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What We Did - Saturday

The High Line (www.thehighline.org)
Grayline Hop On Hop Off tours (http://www.newyorksightseeing.com/)


The High Line

I wanted to see the High Line (www.thehighline.org) and this seemed like a good activity with the whole family so I met them at the 30th street entrance at 10 in the morning. This is just such a fabulous space and a wonderful repurposing of a structure that was going to be torn down. I can’t say enough good things about it. It truly didn’t disappoint. I know there have been a lot of posts here on it so I won’t repeat all the details of the park.

There were tons of wildflowers, lots to look at, great people watching. There was lots of room for R to run, and good spots to sit and visit and let little legs rest. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and meandered for a little over two hours.

Exiting at Gansevort we walked a few blocks, window shopping a little and reading menus looking for a place all of us could enjoy. One thing I noticed here was that several of the restaurants had outdoor patio/garden seating in the back. On that beautiful Saturday afternoon that sounded perfect to us.

Lunch and a Walk

We had lunch at Revel (www.revelnyc.com) and sat outside, perfect for R then Olivier headed for some alone time and Laure and I took the kids and walked over to the Hudson River. We had a fun stop at a fire truck being washed while R charmed them (a blonde, curly-haired, blue-eyed little moppet, she charmed everyone).

Then we walked north, just meandering, looking for a little park of some sort for the kids. We stopped at Chelsea Piers for the Carousel which R enjoyed. We watched skateboarders in the skate park, watched people, dodged bikers.

Across the street was a little pocket park so I left Laure there as she had promised the kids a little playtime before they headed home for a nap. I headed back to the apt briefly before taking two Grayline Hop On Hop Off bus tours.

Grayline Tour

I’ve been to NYC a lot, but I had never taken one of these tours. I’ve taken them in other cities and though they were good ways to orient oneself and usually the guides were really interesting.

Unfortunately, neither of the guides on either of the loops I rode on were very good. Half the time they would disappear downstairs for awhile, then come back up for a snippet or two and a reminder to tip them. Guess what? I am a generous tipper if you deserve it. These two did not deserve it. I did tip, just not as much as if they had been good.

Still, I did find it interesting to view the city from the top of the bus. I did both the uptown and the downtown loop. I even saw Zarin Fabrics! (from Housewives of NYC fame). That made me laugh, as did the Chinese-Spanish restaurant. That seems like an odd combo.

There was an impromptu celebration of the gay marriage passage in NY the night before, so we had a frontside seat as hundreds of women paraded down 5th avenue. They were so happy and joyful, it was fun.

I bought the tickets online before going, saving $5.

We had exhausted the children earlier so they didn't come back out that evening, and I didn't end up getting back until 8:30 so I grabbed a sandwich, returned to the apt and enjoyed a book on my own.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 03:05 PM
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What we did – Sunday

American Folk Art Museum – at 2 Lincoln Square
The City Quilter www.cityquilter.com

A morning walk

We decided to meet at 2 Lincoln Square because we knew there was a subway stop right there where we wanted to be. They wanted to take R and G to the park that morning, and I needed to look for a specific book for a friend of mine. So I got up, walked across the street to Starbucks (I was not the only one there—go figure) and headed up to Time-Warner Center.

There is a very large, stylized bronze statue of a nude man in the lobby. Interestingly, the penis was very shiny, much shinier than the rest of him. I think people are rubbing it for luck! I passed on that and headed into Borders and was helped by the most incredible helpful NY clerk ever! Purchase in hand I decided to walk up the west side of Central Park to 66th, just people watching and enjoying the beautiful day.

Turns out ABC is headquartered on 66th and at least at Columbus it is known as Peter Jennings Way. Who knew?! Well, maybe you knew but I didn’t.

I still had a little time before the family arrived so I just sat outside in the little triangle where the subway stop was and watched people AND pigeons. Lusty, mating season pigeons. The males were much more interested than the females, let me tell you. Chasing and puffing, and getting rejected regularly.

Another Quilt Exhibit

After the family arrived we had lunch together at Ollie’s, then Olivier took the children off to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum while Laure and I continued to indulge in quilt viewing. There was a second exhibit at 2 Lincoln Square showing the stars of the American Folk Art Museum’s collection. Some very beautiful quilts with again very interesting accompanying information. Admission here is “recommended” only and since we had paid the other day at the main museum we put in a few dollars and felt fine with that.

The City Quilter

Next we headed for the subway and down to The City Quilter. This is the most fantastic shop and we had visited it together several years ago as well. Both of us added to our fabric stash with full knowledge that we really shouldn’t be doing it since we are both behind on our quilting, but the fabric was just too beautiful to resist. I also bought gadgets. Who can resist gadgets? Not me!

Unfortunately I now had to get back up to midtown, grab my bag and head for the airport.

So perhaps this wasn’t your typical tourist visit to NYC but we had a fabulous time. If I was rich I would have my own apartment in the city and fly in for weekends all the time!
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 03:21 PM
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Toucan, sounds like a lovely trip to NYC and to see your friends! NOthing beats free lodging right in Manhattan.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 03:25 PM
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Where we ate

The Cosmic Diner, www.cosmicdinernyc.com, 888 8th Avenue
Caffe Cielo, caffecielonyc.com , 881 8th Avenue
Revel http://www.revelnyc.com/, 10 Little West 12th Street
Ollie’s Noodle Shop, 1991 Broadway, New York

None of our meals were planned, we pretty much found places to eat wherever we were. The Cosmic Diner is your basic diner and fine for the quick lunch we grabbed on Friday afternoon and for me my late dinner on Saturday night. I had the Gyros platter which was just okay (expected more from the diner ) and L had the Waldorf Grilled Chicken Salad that she enjoyed. I can’t even remember what I had Saturday night.

Caffe Cielo we enjoyed very much. I had chicken piccata that had a nice potato side, L had the salmon special and shared the salmon with R, Olivier had the swordfish. The kids were well-behaved and the staff was very welcoming.

Lunch at Revel was also very enjoyable. Being able to sit on the back patio on such a gorgeous day didn’t hurt. The back wall was covered with bouganvilla and clematis, and a tree grows in the middle of the patio. Lovely. Again, really wonderful service.

I had the smoked salmon platter while the rest all had burgers that they said were really good. Then, we all indulged and had gelato. So good!

Ollie’s Noodle Shop was purely about proximity and we thought it would be a good casual place for the kids. We were right, and the meals were decent—not spectacular, but fine. Little 1 year old Gaston seemed to particularly like his tofu. The children continued to charm everyone they came in contact with. I think I had shredded pork in garlic and I can’t remember what the others had. It wasn’t really about the food
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 03:26 PM
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Thanks Starrs
Yes, qwovadis and yk, my very best budget tip is to have friends in Manhattan willing to let you bunk with them
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