MichelleY's First Taste of the Big Apple

Sep 10th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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MichelleY's First Taste of the Big Apple

Wow!! New York City is fabulous!! I just got back last Sunday night from my first trip to the Big Apple. My BFF won a 3 night trip thru Bloomingdale's and she took me with her. We went a few days early in order to do and seem more.

August 31 - We arrived on a red-eye from Sacramento, courtesy of Bloomies and made our way by taxi to our first hotel: Intercontinental Barclays in mid-town. This hotel was on our own and BFF got a special rate on a suite. Our room looked out at the Waldorf-Astoria and the big hop-on/off busses buzzing by. We were so glad we decided against this mode of site-seeing.

After some food and a rest, we headed to Rockefeller Center about 3. The streets and buildings are amazing. We took a quick look at St. Patrick's then purchased tickets for Top of the Rock for 7pm. We wandered about and got to seeing the filming of 30 Rock out on the street. Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and the Page guy were about. We picked up a few things for our kids then headed up the elevator about 6:30. There was no wait.

First comment upon seeing Manhattan from Top of the Rock - OMG! This is so beautiful! Central Park and the city scape were so beautiful. The sun was setting and the light was perfect on the buildings. Afterwards, we went down to the center and had a light bite to eat. Then headed back to hotel for the night.

Tuesday, Sept. 1 - This was our planned tour day. BFF has some mobility issues, so we opted for a tour thru Marvelous Manhattan - King of NYC. We met a 12 passenger van at the Waldorf-Astoria. Steve, aka King of NYC, and owner of the tour co. was our guide for the day. Steve was excellent, giving history and fun info on the city and the various sites.

Stops on the tour:
1. Theatre District and Sardi's - fun info on the history of the theaters and Sardi's celebs.
2. Flat Iron Area
3. Church near Ground Zero and World Financial Center
4. Battery Park for SoL view
5. Katz's Deli for lunch. Interesting place, but I was not wild for the pastrami or corned beef, so opted for a hot dog. Very good and the dog still had part of the next link attached. I finished up with some cheese cake. I also bought my DH a dried salami to take home to him. I ended up forgetting it in my bag with my sweater, so I smelled like a salami the next day.
6. Grand Central Station
7. Central Park - did a short walk before heading thru Harlem and back down 5th Ave.

I would recommend this tour . We got a good overview of the city along with great history and info. There were only 12 of us and every one was cool.

Early dinner near hotel at an Indian place call Mint. Very good food and atmosphere.

More to come .....
MichelleY is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Hi MichelleY. Wow - what a treat! How come none of my BFF's win trips?

Looking forward to the rest . . .
janisj is online now  
Sep 10th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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Looking forward to the next installment.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Wednesday, Sept. 2 - This was our big day - The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

We had tickets for the ferry at 9 am, so left the hotel by about 8, heading to Grand Central Station. With the advice from here and TA, I had used Hop Stop to plot our route. We bought a 4 trip ticket for $8, which we shared and hopped on the #4 to Bowling Green stop.

The ferry dock was not crowded and security was easy. Of course it was early. I went on the top deck to get a great view of the city sky line and try to experience the feeling of my grandparents as they came into NY harbour over 100 years ago. 3 of my grandparents went thru Ellis Island, so I found this whole day profoundly moving.

What can I say. The Statue of Liberty is SO beautiful. It far exceeded my expectations.

We had the audio guide and tickets to the museum and base. I was so naive, thinking "What is everyone talking about. This place is not crowded" Then I entered the security tent. Eventhough is was not crowded, the security takes FOREVER! We filled the time with listening to the audio guide. The museum was very good. The elevator was broken, so we opted no not climb up the base and just view around the bottom.

When we exited the SoL about 11:30, the security line was way outside of the tent. Go early was the best advice ever.

Ellis Island was very moving for me, trying to imagine how my grandparents felt going thru this place alone, not speaking English. My grandmother came here at age 14, by herself. My BFF's family had not come thru Ellis, coming here much earlier, so she did not find Ellis Island as interesting.

We headed back to Manhattan and all kinds of vendors were set up at Battery Park. We had big plans for later, so we headed back to the hotel. The subway was easy to use.

That evening, we had dinner near the theater at Pomaire, a Chilean place. We really enjoyed our meals. I had the hangar steak with fried eggs and farmers potatoes. BFF had a chicken breast prepared in a butter sauce. Both were yummy.
We saw Billy Elliot. This was a wonderful show, especially for the dancing. The young actor playing Billy was excellent.

After the theatre, we wandered over to Times Square to see all the glitz and lights. The lights are pretty impressive and there is a big, huge billboard of Sean Combs. I find him very handsome. BFF though TS was fun, but one visit for me would be enough. It reminds me of the Las Vegas strip without the guys passing out porn or people walking around drinking giant Margaritas. Alot of the same stores and feeling of LV. But it is something to see, at least once.

Thursday, Sept. 3 - This was our moving day to the Roosevelt Hotel. Bloomingdale's was putting us up here for the next 3 nights. We decided to sleep in and check out about noon-ish.

The Roosevelt was a hub of activity and lots of Italian tourists. The staff was very nice and stored our bags.

On advice from this sight, we headed to Central Park for lunch at the Boat House. Very nice view and we enjoyed our meal. BFF had a petite filet and I had the pork tenderloin in a mission fig sauce. Yummy.

We walked about the park a bit before heading to the Frick Collection. My cousin had highly recommended this museum, plus it fit in nicely with our afternoon plans. We thought is was excellent. Not only the collection, but the space it is housed in was also interesting.

Afterwards, we did some window shopping along Park Avenue. We spotted a fancy chocolate shop and went in to buy a piece or two. The guy was a real jerk and a snot. Maybe because we weren't dressed fancy, but he would not sell us candy by the piece. He would only sell boxes. At $20 for 4 pieces, I decided to wait until I got back to California and do my candy buying at See's.

We went back to the hotel for cocktails and some food.

more to come ......
MichelleY is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Your window shopping was likely on Madison Ave. Park is mostly apartment buildings. Enjoying the report very much.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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I just want to add in some general comments.

Weather - we lucked out and had beautiful weather. The temp was 70-80 and the humidity didn't factor in much.

Locals - 99% of the people we dealt with were very nice and helpful. Several people would ask us where we were from. When we replied "Northern California", they would say that California people were always very nice and they enjoyed dealing with them. We said it was because of our "sunny" weather - it put us in a good mood.

Friday, Sept. 1 - BFF wanted to shop and head to Bloomingdale's, since they were paying for our trip. I didn't want to spend my time this way, so we split up for the day.

I took the subway to SoHo (?) and had a great breakfast at Balthazar. It was just eggs, sausage and toast, but just the atmosphere alone made it just seem better. The waitress was very nice and sent the maitre'd over to give me directions to the LES. He had it all - he was handsome and French!!

I then walked over to the LES to visit the LES Tenement Museum. The 11 am tour was sold out, so I had 30 min. to kill and walked around the neighborhood. About a block away was Zarin's fabric store. This is the store of Jill Zarin of Bravo TV's Real Houswives of NYC. My sister is a big fan, so I took a photo. I gave my sister a call since it was her birthday. She works for a produce broker in Calif, and sells broccoli to a guy in Chinatown. She gave me his address to check out later.

The Tenement Museum was facinating. I did the "Getting By" tour. I think it is amazing how the story of the tenants was researched and presented to us.

Afterwards, I went about 3 blocks to Hester Street to pick up fabric samples for a friend. Then walked back thru Chinatown. My sister's friend's produce store was closed, so I went on back to the hotel to clean up for dinner later.
MichelleY is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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BFF had gotten a tickets to see Mary Poppins on Friday and Wicked on Sat. night. I had seen Wicked in San Francisco and didn't want to see another play. We decided to meet up for dinner in the Theatre district. My BIG plan was to go have cocktails until she got out of the theatre. These plans were shot to hell. I have turned into a lightweight. After a cocktail and glass of wine at dinner, I had to go back to the hotel to bed!!

Friday evening we met for dinner at Becco. The place was packed. They tried to stick us at a table near the bussing station - I didn't want to look at dirty dishes during my meal, so we were moved to a better table. I had the braised short ribs - very tender and delicious. BFF had the pasta special where they come by with 3 types of pasta to dish out. She thought is was just OK, plus they slopped sauce on her sweater. Warning: Watch out for the sauce at Becco. I also had a white peach martini and a glass of Malbec. Both were very good.

Saturday - Sept. 5 - Bloomingdale's had arranged for a "TV & Movie Location" tour for us. We thought about blowing it off, but figured it wouldn't be cool. BFF headed out early to the Garment district to pick up more fabric samples while I met up with her later at Times Square for the movie tour.

This was in a big bus and was OK. We got to see more of Washington Square, Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, and the West Village. I would like to check out more of this area on my next trip to NYC. This tour is good if you are a really big movie/TV fan. It was heavy on "Ghostbusters" and "Spiderman"

We had to leave this tour a little early to make it to our massages, courtesy of Bloomie's. The spa was on W. 57th, called Dorit ???. Both of us had great treatments.

Later, we had dinner at Chez Napoleon. BFF went to Wicked and I crashed pretty early.
MichelleY is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Our Last Day in NYC - Sunday, Sept. 6

Whaaaa!!! We didn't want to leave. This was a wonderful trip and we had to pack up and check out. But .... our flight was at 7:30 pm, so just a little more time to enjoy.

We checked out and took the subway uptown to the Met. Museum about 11. It was busy, but not too crowded, yet. It turned out to be a free Bank of America weekend, and I so happened to have a BofA ATM/Visa card!! We bought the audio guide and treked up to the 19th Century European Section then saw a special exhibit from Afghanastan. After a couple of hours, BFF headed out for one last shopping stop at Bloomingdale's and I stayed and took in the Armour section and lunch.

We met up later at the hotel for our ride out to JFK.

Overall, we had a great trip and we are still BFF!! I would love to return to NYC with my DH. I would love to do some walking/food tours, explore neighborhoods and just get lost.

NYC is truly America's City.

MY
MichelleY is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Hello MichelleY, I remember your posting about your friend winning the Bloomingdale trip and that she had invited you to go with her. What a great friend!

I so enjoyed reading about your adventures, meals and thoughts. It truly sounds like a wonderful visit!

My good wishes that you and your husband can visit NYC just as soon as possible! Thanks for sharing..it was a fun and interesting read!
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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Hi Michelle, thanks for the informative report. I'm leaving for my trip to the US tomorrow and I'M PUMPED! Can't wait to get to New York.
Pumblechook2 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Good luck on your trip Pumble. I am sure you will have a great time. NYC is so cool and you will love it.

MY
MichelleY is offline  
Sep 12th, 2009, 04:28 AM
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Sounds like a nice trip. How would you compare the Barclay vs. the Roosevelt?
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 12th, 2009, 04:30 AM
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PS, sounds like you went to Dorit Baxter for your massages.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 12th, 2009, 04:44 AM
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I would also like to know what you think of the two hotels. Thanks for reporting your trip, it sounds like you had a nice "first trip" to NY. I wish you many more in the future.
bfrac is offline  
Sep 12th, 2009, 06:19 AM
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What a great trip, Michelle! Thanks for posting such an interesting trip report.
321go is offline  
Sep 12th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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Great trip report! I love the Frick too.
I can't comprehend skipping Wicked, but other than that...
Thanks for sharing the details of your trip. That overview tour on the first day sounds like a good one.
starrs is offline  
Sep 12th, 2009, 10:27 AM
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Thanks all of you for being gentle.

Starrs: I had just seen Wicked in San Francisco a few months back. I was just being cheap, but then spent $300 on makeup at Barney's. Go figure!! The tour with Marvelous Manhattan was very good. You could converse with Steve, ask questions etc. He was more about educating, but also entertaining. For example, he would quiz us as to which direction we were going: uptown or downtown, cross town.

Comparison of hotels - this may be like comparing apples and oranges. I liked the vibe at the Roosevelt, but we had a much better room at the Barclay. BFF got a special deal on the suite at the Barclay. A family member of her's is an Ambassador member of Intercontinental, so we also got an upgrade. Barclay had central air, where as Roosevelt had the unit under the window. This under window unit gave the room a moldy smell plus the bath had no window and no fan. But this room was comped, so we couldn't complain. The Roosevelt staff was just so friendly and helpful and the lobby was a hub of activity.

Yes, Dorit Baxter - I had one of the best massages ever!

I can't wait to return the NYC with my DH!!
MichelleY is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 11:40 PM
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Thanks for the great trip report. We are jumping out of skins also with excitement about our upcoming trip to the US. We have 7 nights in New York and can't wait. Reports like yours really wet your appetite.
mazj is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 12:40 AM
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really nice report.

Interested to know how your dinner at Chez Napoleon was?
Rhea58 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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how exciting! - sounds like you had a fab time! - I have 9 weeks and 5 days until my trip.....not that i'm counting ha ha!!!
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