My NY Trip Report so far

Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:01 AM
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My NY Trip Report so far

Arrived Tuesday night on a non-stop from SFO. Were going to take a cab, but since we took a 3-hours earlier than originally planned flight, decided to try the airtrain/subway. We bought the airtrain tickets and a 7-day unlimited MTA pass at the transfer point in Jamaica (wow, has THAT station changed since I was a kid!). Walked from Port Authority to our hotel (about 5 blocks). Total time was 1:15 from baggage claim to hotel.

Dinner at the Brooklyn Diner in Times Square. It was very good - excellent mac & cheese, very good goulash and chicken parmesan. Nice service, too. We went back the next night for dessert and sat at the counter (to avoid the table minimum of $15.00). Really friendly and competent bartender/server. We would definitely go back whenever in the mood for "comfort food". Wandered through Bryant Park Xmas market and watched the skaters. Spent some time at Virgin Records listening to music.

Hotel is the Residence Inn on 39th and Avenue of the Americas. The hotel is fine. Room is nice-sized when the sofabed is closed. We thought we'd like the kitchen, but haven't used it for anything but soda yet. The regular bed is very comfortable, sofabed not so much (but we got an extra comforter to use as a mattress pad and it's fine -- had to ask twice, but it works). The shower is pathetic. First we asked for them to check it and they told us they did. No change. Second time, the engineer came and at least fixed the temperature valve (only lukewarm water before that), but the actual shower is puny-weak. Breakfast is sustenance, period. At least I can sit in the lounge surfing the web on free WiFi while my family gets ready!

Day 1 - Starting at the hotel, we walked down Avenue of the Americas, ending up at Union Square (we had to be in between Union Square and Washington Square at 1:00 for an appointment). Stopped to browse at the Strand. Had lunch at Tisserie at one corner of Union Square - excellent pastries and the sandwiches looked great. Walked through the Union Square farmers market . Continued down to Washington Square Park, then around NYU and back up to University Place and 12th St. (I think). After our appt., which was over at 2:30, we took the subway down to Chambers Street, and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge (I've never walked over the Golden Gate Bridge, despite living in SF for 34 years, so this was a special treat). Once on the Brooklyn side, we made our way to Grimaldi's (of course).

Grimaldi's was very good, not the best ever, but I think it was our extremely high expectations (26 rating for food in Zagat is a little extreme in our opinion). But we loved the ambiance, liked the food very much. For those of you who haven't been and plan to go, know that there are only two things on the menu - one antipasto plate, and pizza (and drinks, of course). There was a line at 4:00 on the day before Thanksgiving, but it didn't take long to get it.

After Grimaldi's, it was off to find Jacques Torres (thank you Fodorites!). What a great place. Yes, I had the hot chocolate, which I thought was "to die for" but my daughter didn't like (too cocoa-y for her taste). We had some boxes of chocolates made up, too. After wandering around the neighborhood, visiting open stores, and looking t the pictures of for sale real estate in the windows, we took the subway back to our hotel. Later went out for dessert at the Brooklyn Diner.

Day 2 - Thanksgiving. Didn't do anything but spent the day with cousins on Long Island. Took the LIRR there and back. We had a wonderful time with about 20 members of my family (first cousins, their kids and their kids' kids). Got back to the city around midnight.

Day 3 - More later -- off to the Museum of the City of New York to see the current baseball exhibit.
Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:39 AM
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Sounds like you guys are having a great time and WELCOME to the big apple.

I was just midtown and could not believe the amount of people on the streets. It was so crowded I just came home, and will venture out later.

You might want to do the Met Museum tonight if you don't already have plans. Friday night the museum is open late and there is live music up on the balcony, and you can have a glass of wine, relax and then do a long stroll through the museum. If you see a redhead, in a salmon color velvet blazer, say hi, cause I'll be there tonight.

Have a lovely visit and let us know if you have any questions.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 12:51 PM
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Hi dmlove, your time in NYC sounds wonderful and how great that you could spend Thanksgiving with family members. It is so easy for cousins to sort of drift apart. Enjoy the rest of your trip and thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:36 PM
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Adding to Day 1 report (and days 2 and 3 actually) - the little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop on Ave. of the Americas about 3 doors down from the Residence Inn has absolutely fantastic house-baked croissants - we've tried the butter and the almond.

Day 3 - Walked to the East Side via 42nd Street. Headed uptown a few blocks on Lexington Avenue. Got on the 6 Uptown and got off at 103rd and headed over to the Museum of the City of New York. Very impressed with the NY baseball exhibit, the exhibit on the Jewish Daily Forward (my grandfather read it every day), the toy exhibit, and the film on NY since its settlement.

After the museum, walked into and across Central Park. I've never been in this part of the park and it's beautiful. It was also a perfect day - sunny and crisp/cold.

Headed over to Columbia University campus. Wandered around; poked our heads in the law school (in case our son decides to apply).

Exited on Broadway, had a late lunch at the "Seinfeld" diner (Tom's). Good diner food and nice people.

Subway'd back to Grand Central and took Metro North to Westchester to an old friend's for the evening. Just back (it's after midnight) - had a wonderful evening.

Travelbuff, I read your suggestion about the Met too late. I'll file it away for next time.

LoveItaly, we are having a terrific time.

Tomorrow's our last day - yes, this is a very short trip.
Old Nov 24th, 2007, 05:08 AM
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Hi dmlove,
Thank you for writing your report and the tip about the "hole in the wall" coffe shop on Ave. of the Americas.

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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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More later, but I was just at the "hole in the wall" again and thought I'd report the name - Cafe Croissant (clever!).

Off to the Tenement Museum.
Old Nov 24th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Forgot to say that after our late dessert on Wednesday night, we walked up to Rockefeller Center, watched the skaters, came down 5th Avenue -- saw the windows at Saks and Lord & Taylor. Also saw the windows at Macy's. As always, the Lord & Taylor windows are the ones to see -- far more detailed and sophisticated than the Macys and Saks windows.

Last day (today, Saturday). Subwayed to Delancey Street. Took one of the Tenement Museum tours, which we found so interesting. Even the way they set it up -- first you see an empty apartment, then an apartment used as a residence and contract garment "factory", then a re-created apartment not used as a factory, is very well conceived, and illuminating. After the tour, we went to Katz' for lunch, us and a thousand other people. What an experience! The food was excellent and the ambiance just as good. Following lunch, we wandered around the lower east side, then subwayed back to Bryant Park. Our daughter went ice skating (for anyone planning to go, the line might look long, but it doesn't take long). She waited about half and hour, then skated for half an hour. It moves fast. I shopped the Xmas market while she skated.

Dinner with friends tonight, then a Cornell vs. BU hockey game at Madison Square Garden (the real reason for our trip!). Back home tomorrow.
Old Nov 24th, 2007, 03:45 PM
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Hi dmlove,
Thanks for the ongoing report! Glad everything worked out and you had a good time.

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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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dmlove - you mentioned memories of the Daily Forward that was a daily Yiddish newspaper. You and others may be interested that it is still being published but as an English Language weekly. It is still is a darn good newspaper.
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