Live from New York, it's... Raining

May 20th, 2011, 01:42 PM
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Live from New York, it's... Raining

Despite today's rain, my daughter & I are having a great time in NYC. 

We flew in yesterday and had a Carmel town car pick us up. I was so glad to have booked a car in advance, as the line for taxis at LGA was looong. Arrived at our hotel, 6 Columbus, and we love it. We've stayed in several of Manhattan's best hotels (Ritz Central Park, Greenwich Hotel, Ritz Battery Park) and I am as happy as can be here at 6 Columbus - and we're in a Pod room! The kind, relaxed staff is great, the room is nice (relatively spacious bathroom) and the location, not to mention price, makes this an awesome bargain. I really like it here!
Yesterday late afternoon we walked a few blocks down 9th Ave. to VYNL and had an enjoyable supper. The food isn't great but good (daughter had meat loaf, i had pad thai) and it's a fun place. Nice people and cool atmosphere (menus are LP covers, bathrooms are themed (Dolly, Cher, etc.) Fun décor. 
We walked to Rockefeller Center and since it was relatively clear, I was considering TOTR but the line was crazy. We'll go another day. Walked to St. Patrick's and lit candles ($2 each) and walked around the cathedral, which was very busy. I hadn't been inside since I was 16. 
Then took my daughter into Saks Fifth Avenue which wasn't nearly as pretty of a store as I remember it being. Fun to check out, though. Then we walked to the Gershwin and saw "Wicked" in our partial view seats, which seemed very good. I did nod off a few times but the show was great in several spots. My daughter and I agree that we're happy to have seen it, and are both eager to read the book, which we already have at home. We were both looking at our watches, though. 2 hrs. 45 min. including intermission. We were tired, especially, I guess, since this was our travel day.

This morning we went to Norma's in the Le Parker Meridian for breakfast. We had a res. and I'm so glad - b/c the place was packed when we arrived and the couple checking in ahead of us (walk-ins) were seated 25 min. after we were. We LOVED our meal and their coffee is delicious. I'm going to make another res. here for later in our trip. So divine. I had the Arepa, which is sunnyside-up egg on a corncake w/chorizo. I could not have been more happy with it. My daughter got the choc. waffles w/ peanut butter and whipped cream. They were delicious too. With coffee, tea, 2 entrées and side of sausage for my daughter, b'fast was $71.86, before tip. We didn't need lunch (although we got a Crumb's cupcake at the Met this afternoon for fun). Anyway, decadent place for breakfast

I used HopStop and still got turned around but made it to the Guggenheim by 10:30, after getting us 7-day unltd metrocards ($29 ea.), taking subway and then crosstown bus which a wonderful NYer on the subway instructed me in. (we accidentally got on an Uptown express train from Midtown West and sailed right past our 86th St. stop. I asked for help at the 125th St. station and this woman kindly helped me & gave me info on the buses. I let her know how grateful I was!
Guggenheim was crowded. I already had tix thanks to a Groupon deal. Thanks to yk for tipping me off to Groupon in her most recent NYC TR Audio guide is included w/ admission and we made use of the guide several times. 
Hadn't laid eyes on the Guggenheim in 25 years. Wanted my daughter to see/experience the bldg. We enjoyed it. There were 2 or 3 Gauguins on display - which, alone, made our visit worth it to me We also enjoyed some Kandinskys, Chagalls and more. The room papered in dollar bills certainly made an impression We walked/toured up to the top and then took the elevator down, blitzed the museum shop, put on our raincoats and walked south a couple of blocks to the Neue Galerie. 
I'm so happy to finally have made it to the Neue -  some beautiful things here. Austrian and German art of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. I fell in love with a painting of a woman named Hanna - need to go look up the details (including the artist's name!) And Gustav Klimt is my new favorite artist! Really beautiful paintings, in addition to his more famous works. 

Looked it up and the beautiful painting I was talking about was by Hans Makart. "Hanna Klinkosch"

We then walked to the Met and waited in an interminable ticket line. Before touring, we took a roundabout course to the cafeteria and had a cup of coffee and cupcake, while resting our feet a bit. Headed to the Vermeers ( I knew exactly which galleries they are in: 615 and 616) and we just relished every detail    Felt lucky to have 5 to gaze at. Will hope to see all 3 of the Frick's becore we leave town. Next on  our list was the Alexander McQueen exhibit. One hour wait to enter. Forget it. We will go back first thing tomorrow or Sunday. Fyi, the woman I asked said the lines get steadily worse until about 7pm.
Went to the Met store and then left (in the rain) and took bus back across Central Park (had to wait a bit as first bus or two was too full to stop for us) and then switched to subway on West side. Got out at Columbus Circle, came up escalators, and our hotel was RIGHT there. Unbelievably convenient. I'm hooked on this place! 
Tonight: 5 Napkin Burger and "How to Succeed"
To be continued...
(hope I don't mess this up - am typing this on my phone!)
lantana is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 03:06 PM
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Hi girl! I know you're having fun. Send some of that ole rain down here. You know we need it.

If you can, check out the Jar perfume room at Bergdorf's. I love that place!
suewoo is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 05:55 PM
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What a great report! Hoping the weather improves for you. Fyi, there's a decorator show house on right now if you're into home decor.
mclaurie is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 06:49 PM
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lantana, I hope the weather improves! The weather up here in Boston is certainly much better today.
yk is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 07:24 PM
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wow, you typed all that on your phone? I'm impressed!
It sounds like you're packing your days full. I'm going with friends in February and am worried about filling the itinerary and not spending too much time freezing our arses off waiting in lines in the cold.
The Frick is my main destination this trip. Haven't been in almost 20 years. As a matter of fact, I saw "How to Succeed (IBWRT)" with Matthew Broderick when I was there.
Did you pre-purchase your theater tickets?
pdx is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 07:30 PM
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Glad you are having a glorious time. I can save you a fortune. I serve a prix fixe breakfast for a mere $65 but you have wash your own dish.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 09:30 PM
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So fun to read your kind responses!
Aduchamp - A mere $65 per person?? How do I make my reservations?

Suewoo - I know! It used to rain regularly the time in Charleston. Now, rainstorms seem to be such rare occurrences THANK YOU for the Bergdorf tip!

Mclaurie, you are so sweet to tell me about the design house. I'm off to follow your link!

Yk, thank you. There was some sunshine on our way to dinner this evening. And no rain at all since 6pm for us. We enjoyed our 13-block stroll home from the theatre tonight

pdx - once I started on my phone, I couldn't stop! Haha. Brought no laptops w/ us - traveling light. I just type away like a crazy person, while my exhausted child naps!
What fun you'll have in Feb. I wouldn't worry too much about overplanning. I say plan and plan some more and really hone it down to a smart itinerary, based on must-do's, convenient dining and nearby shopping & attractions. You've got to keep up w/ what's open and when; build in plenty of time for transportation and just time to veer off the plan a bit. For me it's essential to have a nice chunk of time back in the room for resting and freshening up before dinner and show.
Yes, I bought our theater tix online but only about a month ahead of time ( I don't plan trips very far in advance). I'm considering adding another show and will just go to the box office of the show/s we are interested in. 
The Frick is lovely and I think we'll head there tomorrow. Can't wait!

We had delicious burgers at 5 Napkin Burger tonight. Thankfully, they held our table for us. We were 15+ min. late. When we walked in I couldn't see a single open seat. But once we checked in, we were escorted to a little 2-top tucked behind a column. The place was packed. Delicious burgers and fries. I had the special which was w/ avocado, mozzarella(I think) and an aioli. It was really delicious. My daughter loved her bacon cheeseburger. The fries were fab. My daughter chose a chocolate-peanut butter milkshake for dessert, which we split. Decadent! 2 burgers w/ fries, 2 ginger ales and the milkshake came to $45.62, before tip.

Afterwards, we walked a couple of blocks East to the Hirschfeld Theatre to see "How to Succeed". We really liked it. The audience seemed to love it! And it wasn't all about Daniel Radcliffe, although he is just wonderful I think. Combination of loving that little boy wizard, having "watched him grow up" and being impressed by the singing and acting of this young man who obviously wants to prove himself on the B'way stage. I think he's great. I thought everyone was pretty great. John Laroquette was awesome. And the Judy Garland lookalike who played Hedy was a scream! And I LOVED the set design. And the women's clothes! Loved this adorable theatre too (and bathroom situation was a dream in comparison to Gershwin Theatre last night).

Walked back to our hotel in nice weather. Stopped to get my daughter hot tea and an oj, since she's suddenly suffering from a sore throat. Thank goodness for Starbucks open until midnight! (My daughter would've waited at stage door of theatre to try and get Playbill signed by cast members if she'd felt better. Might go wait in line another time before we leave.) 

I'm off to bed!

P.S. Meant to say earlier that VYNL, 5 Napkin Burger, 7-day unlimited metrocards, Neue Galerie and many other things we are enjoying this trip, are all things I've learned from you fine folks. So "thank you"!!
lantana is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 04:40 AM
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good to know 5 Napkins Burger is good. They recently opened an outpost in Boston, and based on the reviews I read on Boston chowhound, it's not very good here.

Sun is out here in Boston; I hope you get some sun in NYC too!
yk is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 05:12 AM
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Just ran next door to Starbucks and it is sunny and feels great outside! Perfect weather~

Yk- I'm sorry to hear that about your local 5NB. Hopefully they just need to work out some kinks. Our food was really good. Still thinking about that rich shake- and I'm not a shake person.

Morgan Library, Central Park, Wafels and Dinges food truck and more today
lantana is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 05:48 AM
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This is one of the best trip reports I've read!

I was happy to hear you're loving The Pod Hotel; I might try it one of these days.

I would agree that you may have enjoyed Wicked a bit more if it hadn't been a travel day. You'll enjoy the differences between the show and the book, I think.

Now, I must ask: What kind of phone do you have?? My blackberry just wouldn't stand up to this! And I wouldn't be able to post links on my blackberry either.

Enjoy the rest of your trip. (I have a grandchild who's a peanut butter and chocolate combo fan too.)
Bowsprit is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 09:05 AM
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Great report, I'm really enjoying it. Hope your daughter feels better, and don't feel bad for nodding off in the theater that first night, easy to do after a day of travel!

Totally impressed that you wrote that from your phone!
Margo_Chester is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 02:57 PM
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If any of you are being a couch potato at 8PM tonight. Man on Wire - the story of Philip Petit's tightrope walk between the Twin Towers is on tonight.
SueNYC is offline  
May 22nd, 2011, 08:18 PM
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Thank you for the nice comments. 
Re. typing out my TR on the phone, where there's a will, there's a way

Bowsprit - we are at a hotel called 6 Columbus, which is right at Columbus Circle, although actually on W. 58th b/w 8th and 9th. They have a room category called "Pod" room. That's what I booked and it is fine for the 2 of us. I'd been worried but was truthfully pleasantly surprised when we first walked in
Oh - and I have an iPhone, FYI. 

Margo- my daughter is feeling much better, thank you I'm afraid I ended up running her ragged yesterday!

SueNYC, thank you so much for mentioning the NYPL's 100th birthday celebration. We went yesterday (Sat.) morning and it was quite a treat! We saw some fabulous treasures- from a handwritten score from 1811 by Beethoven, to a jumbo book of prints by Audubon, to a manuscript of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, to colorful Man Ray prints and photos taken on/from the Moon! Such a cool mix of treasures. 
We really enjoyed our time at this exhibit. The exhibition is free (although there are lge donation boxes at the entrance to the galleries) and runs to December 31st. Definitely a treat.

After the library, we walked to the Morgan Library/Museum to see the diary exhibit there,which closed today, May 22. My daughter faithfully keeps a journal and I thought this would be of interest. It was interesting but smaller than I'd expected. 
We checked out most of the other galleries while at the Morgan. Favorite things were the Chopin manuscript, which took my daughter's breath away and I just loved the gorgeous stained glass panels which were incorporated into the windows in the study (?). They're beautiful.  
We had a nice lunch there at the Morgan Café.
Very sweet server. We had: 1 Olive flatbread, 1 soup and sandwich and 1 ginger lemonade. $37 before tip. 

We then walked to Grand Central. It was a gorgeous day and I have a great photo of the facade of the station with my favorite bldg., the Chrysler
Building, in the background
Checked out the station, did a bit of people-watching and left. Noticed a Crumbs as we walked down Lexington Ave. and had to stop in. We got 4 to try, to-go, and let's just say that the Berry Berry cupcake IS worth the $4!! Wow. 
So, from Crumbs at 42d/Lex, we walked "home" to W. 58th and 8th Ave., lugging our cupcakes  It was a gorgeous afternoon, so, no complaints! We rested for a couple of hours and then got dressed for supper and musical. 

Had an Open Table res. at eatery on 53d (?) and 9th Ave. Were greeted warmly but had to have been seated at the worst table in the restaurant. Good server. Good food. We ordered light and got out pretty quickly and affordably. Something like $32 before tip (soup, a salad entrée and a side of scalloped potatoes. Plus 2 ginger ales.
We were running early so we walked around in the Theater District a bit before our 8pm show, "The People in the Picture". Realized 30 min  before showtime that, somewhere b/w the restaurant and the theater I'd lost my tickets (i knew I'd had them b/c I'd checked them at the restaurant to see where our seats were.) Couldn't believe it and in a panic went to the box office to see if they could somehow access my order/info and let us go in. He asked if I had the credit card I'd paid for them with and I did and then he said - "We have your tickets. Someone turned them in, I just had to verify that they were yours." I was stunned! This was an amazing feeling. I had the tickets in a small envelope and I think they dropped out when I pulled my too-big camera out of my too-small purse in front of the theater as we passed by it in between dinner and the show. I'd insisted on taking a photo of my daughter in front of "Studio 54" Regardless, I literally could not believe my luck! Thank you, kind soul who turned them in!
The show was very dull, I'm sorry to say. As everyone has mentioned, the lead actress is very good. But the show just lacked a spark, in my opinion. It was my least favorite of the 3 shows we saw. "How to Succeed" was by far our favorite. "Wicked" would be 2d.
Love the charm of these old theaters
Walked home, stopping at "our" Starbucks for cappuccino and Earl Grey.
Another amazing day in the Big Apple!

Up next: Day Four of our trip (Sun.) Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met (fabulous) and a bit of SoHo shopping. (We did not make it to the Frick.)
Also, walking in Central Park eating Belgian waffles slathered in spekuloos can make you a target for a hungry raccoon!
lantana is offline  
May 22nd, 2011, 10:11 PM
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Great report. You have given me alot of ideas to do next time we visit the area. Have fun and be safe.
gatlinburglover is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 04:12 AM
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Thanks for the information about 6 Columbus Circle and your phone! Are they of the same hotel group as Gild Hall?

I'm looking forward to your feedback about the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met.

Crumbs has the best cupcakes, don't they?
Bowsprit is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 07:43 AM
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It's wonderful that someone turned in your lost tickets! Looking forward to more.
yk is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 09:54 AM
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Good karma all around on the lost tickets. Everyone wins!
pdx is offline  
May 26th, 2011, 08:31 AM
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We are back home and I still haven't fully "processed" our wonderful trip! Thanks to all of you for your kind comments and for reading.
I wrote an update 2 days ago - but lost it in cyberspace
Anyway - continuing to Day 4 (sunday)
We walked across the street to the 58th street entrance to Time Warner Ctr and took an escalator up to Bouchon Bakery on the 3d floor. We got a small cappuccino, small tea and a pain au chocolat for $10. The cafe was not yet open but there is counter service with some seating overlooking the atrium that overlooks Columbus Circle. Fun view to start the day.

We then took the subway uptown and bus across the park, to the Met. We got there around 9am for a 9:30am opening. We were there for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, which we'd skipped during our visit on Friday due to the hour-long wait. This was the line to enter the Met at around 9am on Sunday morning:
As on Friday, I chose the wrong line for tickets, but soon enough we were entering the McQueen exhibit. It was fantastic! So much to see and take in. We really took our time and enjoyed almost every detail. When we exited I looked at my watch and realized we'd spent an hour there. There were 6 or 7 rooms, I think, and it was just such a treat for the senses. VERY packed, though, aand I can see how it gets backed up b/c many people want to read every display and examine the clothes closely, as Lee McQueen was lauded for his masterful attention to detail.
My daughter says she can't wait to read more about this incredible designer and watch videos of his fashion shows. This IS art. Sadly, no photos allowed, so I have nothing to share.

Afterwards, we went to see some of the period rooms. We'd seen only the French ones last year but this year we added the English and American. Just as I felt at her age, my 14-y-o daughter did not "get" the Frank Lloyd Wright room. And just as my mother told me, I told her, "you'll like it when you're older."

Somewhere in there we did sneak a peek at a few favorite European paintings and then had brunch at the Petrie Court Cafe. Coffee, tea and 2 croques monsieur - $47 before tip. Nice place for a break and the food was delicious. We left the museum at about 12:30pm.

We decided we'd had enough of walking around museums and so we hopped a bus (after quite a wait) down to Central Park South and then took the N train down to Canal St. We spent the afternoon shopping and walking around and it was great - although everything was PACKED w/ people. So much fun shopping

We went to a very neat coffee place, Nespresso, on the corner of Prince and Mercer. It's a boutique coffee bar, where you're seated and served - and they take reservations. Very nice. We had a cappuccino, a hot chocolate and a plate of cookies for about $19 before tip. (not the best pics, but just to give you an idea)

We took the subway back to Columbus Circle, got hot dogs from a street vendor, and ret'd to our hotel to rest for a couple of hours.
Later, we decided to go see the new Woody Allen movie. Thanks to my Fandango app, I quickly found the nearest movie theater, Lincoln Plaza Theater, and was thrilled that it was just a 5-min. walk from our hotel. Unfortunately, as I'd feared, the next 2 showtimes were sold out. So we bought tix for the next night Then we walked along Central park South to find the Belgian waffle truck I've read about here and on twitter, Wafels & Dinges. . They have a cart at the North-West corner of 5th Ave & 60th Street.
I got a waffle w/ spekuloos, which is sort of like a peanut buttery gingerbread-flavored spread ♥ But yummier!
My daughter got one with chocolate and powdered sugar but much preferred mine. We walked back toward Columbus Circle, going into the park a bit and as I was taking a photo of my daughter on a bridge with skyscrapers as a backdrop, we noticed a raccoon walking up the bridge, headed right for my daughter - and the uneaten chocolate-covered waffle she was holding! Where we live, raccoons are considered to be somewhat dangerous, because they carry rabies. I couldn't believe it was walking around in daylight and my daughter simply took off! She dumped her waffle in the nearest trashcan and I'm quite sure that raccoon promptly found it and ate it. A young couple nearby were charmed by the raccoon and seemed to want to go over and pet it! We high-tailed it out of there, LOL!
It was a lovely evening.

We returned to our hotel and fell into bed.

Day 5: Final Day
Brooklyn Bridge, Anne Frank Center, more shopping, more waffles, another raccoon!, Woody Allen movie and Shake Shack
lantana is offline  
May 26th, 2011, 09:09 AM
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Raccoon, YUCK! Otherwise, it sounded like a fun day!

Welcome home.
yk is offline  
May 26th, 2011, 10:33 AM
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SueNYC via lantana thank you for the heads up on the NYPL's 100th birthday celebration, I'm adding to our list for next month. Savage Beauty was already on it, nice to hear your comments - can't wait to see it!
Margo_Chester is offline  

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