New YOrk Trip Report - April, 2006

Old May 8th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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New YOrk Trip Report - April, 2006

I was on holiday during the last week of April in New York City and I had a fantastic time! Iíve decided to give a trip report because I have gotten many helpful suggestions from people who love this city and wanted to share my good time. My husband was on a business trip and I came along for a vacation so I spent the days doing things on my own. We have been to NYC several times before but this is the first time we visited during the spring. We had exceptional sunny weather during our stay.

This is the first time we flew in Newark, NJ and it was a direct flight. It took only about 45 minutes by taxi to arrive at our hotel, Grand Hyatt, in midtown. This was a great location as the hotel is right next door to Grand Central Station. We arrived in the evening and had a late dinner across the street at Pershing Square Cafe.

There was an event going on where the actors from the Broadway show ďRentĒ
was doing a photo shoot across from the hotel which was exciting.

Second Day - I had arranged for a Big Apple Greeter to give me a tour of the city. This is an excellent organization that has volunteers who take visitors and provides historical and knowledgeable tips about the city. I highly recommend this free service. I had a wonderful tour guide who met me at my hotelís lobby. She took me to Chelsea Market, West Village, Greenwich, Soho and Nolita neighborhoods. Then we grab a subway and went to Brooklyn and explored DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and we walked along the Brooklyn promenade along the East River with a view of the Manhattan skyline. The Brooklyn Heights neighborhood has beautiful brownstones where certain homes appeared in movies like Moonstruck, Omen and Prizziís Honor. I then walked back over the Brooklyn Bridge (my greeter lived in Brooklyn Heights) and I enjoyed a sunny walk back admiring the view and architectural design of the Brooklyn Bridge. I took the subway back to hotel where I met my husband and then we headed down to Tribeca to have dinner at Il Giglio. A nice Italian restaurant that someone suggested on this website. The owners make their own blueberry grappa and anisette cordial which they treated us to a complimentary glass. I normally donít like cordials but the anisette was wonderful.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:03 PM
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Third Day Ė I went over to the Public Library and went to see the Treasured Maps Exhibit. This library is a must for visitors to see because itís not just an exquisite library but a museum as well. They have wonderful exhibits on the third floor and itís free. I always like to say hello to Patience and Fortitude when Iím in the city. The proud lion statures that guard the front of the library.

Bryant Park is right behind the library and there is always something going on in the park. Either chess, backgammon, Tai Chi, or even free knitting lessons can be indulged by anyone. A nice park to sit at one of their tables and write out a few postcards.

I walked down Fashion Ave and then went to Macyís, Empire State Building and Flat Iron Building. Then I headed back to my hotel to meet a friend to go to lunch at Serendipity. The small restaurant that was the inspiration for the name of the movie Serendipity (John Cusack). Itís a great place for desserts (especially known for the frozen hot chocolate). The lunch was nothing special but the huge frozen hot chocolate (itís a cold milk shake) was sinfully good on a warm day. This dessert could be shared easily.

After lunch, I headed for Central Park. I love walking through the park and it was beautiful to see it in the spring. The cherry trees were in bloom and a few couples were having their wedding pictures taken here. I went over to the Boat Pond to look for the bird watchers who have been monitoring Pale Male and Lola (the red tailed hawks) that have made their home again on the Coop building on Fifth Avenue. There are a couple of dedicated bird lovers who have set up their telescopes to watch them. I was able to see Pale Male sticking his head out of the nest by looking through one of the telescopes.

Then I went over to Madison Ave and walked down to Barneys. I always wanted to go in and take a look. I bought some cosmetics and the sales person was very nice and gave me some extra samples. I saw some lovely items there but they were out of my price range.

Then I went over to Times Warner Building and they were having a tribute to Elton John so it was nice to see some of his memorabilia. There are stores in this building but not anything special that you wouldnít see in your own city. There is a great view from the second floor of Columbus Circle and Central Park that is worthy of a photo snap.

I met my husband at the hotel where we took the subway up to Upper East Side and had dinner at Caffe Grazie. A restaurant that is close to the Metropolitan Museum. Itís a nice Italian restaurant where we normally have lunch whenever we are in the city.

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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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Fourth day Ė I took the subway down to Tribeca to see what was happening at the Tribeca Film Festival that was going on the same week we were there. Lots of town cars with drivers waiting outside on the streets but not sure what event were taking place. I did go by a filming of a young girl sitting against a building being interviewed.

I walked along Canal streets and stopped to see the vendors selling their fake designer watches, souvenirs and purses. There were individuals walking around carrying black garbage bags and whispering they had Louis Vuitton or Gucci purses inside. I didnít buy anything here but there were other tourists who found things they liked.

I walked up to Soho and went into shops like Bloomindales, Kate Spade. Prada and some smaller boutiques. I walked into one store where a young salesperson was dancing away and having a good time at work. It made me laugh as she was making her day fun as opposed to some of the other sales people in other stores who looked like they were bored to pieces.

I stopped at Vintage Wines and had a wine tasting party. I was hopping to catch a little lunch but their kitchen didnít open until 5pm so I tried 5 different wines from New York for $10. I could try any wines that I wanted and so tried wines mostly from vineyards on Long Island. It sounded like they recently started charging a tasting fee but it was worth it.

I had made dinner reservations at Bette in Chelsea for this evening. We took a cab there from our hotel because I had already walked 13 miles during the day. I wanted to try this restaurant more because itís spelled the same as my first name except I pronounce my name with one syllable and Amy Saco (nightclub goddess of Lot 61 and Bungalow 8) had named this restaurant after her mother (which is pronounced with two syllables), This was a very beautiful restaurant and we enjoyed the food very much. The beet salad and grilled Atlanta Salmon was delicious. There are many wonderful restaurants in NYC and I always want to try a new place but I would come back to this one.

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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:07 PM
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Fifth day Ė I went to the New Amsterdam Theatre and took the 10 am theatre tour. This was an intimate tour of only 4 people and it was great to see the theatre before seeing the Broadway show later that night. It was only one hour and when I left there were 50 people waiting for the 11 am tour.

I headed for Central Park again for a nice walk through the park. I walked by Turtle Pond and actually saw turtles swimming and sunning themselves below Belvedere Castle! I walked through parts of the Rambles and made my way through to Strawberry Fields (memorial to John Lennon) Ė Then walked over to the Uppper West side to find the Flea Market. We had come to this Flea Market once before and I was hoping to visit it again. 2006 Fodor book had mentioned it was held Thursdays and Saturdays but I asked one of the locals when I didnít see it who told me it was held on Sundays. So I walked back on Columbus and stopped in at Pinkys Salon and got a manicure. Nice perk was they give a one minute back and neck massage while your nails are drying! I headed down to see the Dakota Building \and went around the corner and had lunch at Café Lafortuna. It was noted as John Lennon ís favorite place to have lunch. I was delighted to discover a nice little courtyard in the back where I had my lunch. This small café serves sandwiches, salads and desserts. It seemed like it was known for their desserts but I loved having my lunch outside. It was a great gem of a place to find.

We had dinner at Chez Josephine in Theater Row. The dinner was fast and good and the whole restaurant cleared out in time for everyone to make it to their show. We went to the Lion King and had great seats behind the Orchestra pit and the musical was absolutely fantastic! The music, dancers, costumes and design sets were amazing. I would recommend this play to anyone for their first Broadway show. However, they are moving this show to another theater next month when Disney plans to put Mary Poppins in the New Amsterdam theatre.

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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:09 PM
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Sixth Day Ė I got up early to go to the Today Show but just made it for the last bit of the show. I saw Katie Couric before she leaves the show. I usually do this every time Iím in the city because you can always see a celebrity whoís performing in the plaza. Earlier this week, you could see Elton John.

I then went to the observation deck at the Top of the Rock (Rockerfeller Center). We had been here last November when the fee was only $14 and now it was $17.50. It was a nice sunny day so I went up again to take in the view.

Next, I went to the MOMA. I havenít been here since the renovation. The line wasnít too long. The space was nice and exhibits were exciting to see. Nice sculpture park outside to enjoy the sun.

I had planned to see a matinee of Akeelah and the Bee during the Tribeca Film Festival but I spent more time in the MOMA so missed the show. It was too nice to be indoors so I wasnít disappointed. I went up to Lincoln Center and saw the magician David Blaine spend a week in a bubble of water. It was pretty funny and there was quite a crowd seeing the man in the bubble.

Afterwards, I decided to have a cocktail at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Ė we had dinner at Åsiate the last time we were here so I knew the bar had a terrific view of Central Park.
I was seated closed to the window but I learned you could reserve the tables next to the window if you were in the company of two or more. I was seated very closed to the window and I enjoyed the spectacular view and my $18 special drink.

We later had dinner at Balthazarís in Soho. I loved this Parisian styled restaurant and the food was delicious. Itís a bit noisy but itís fun place. We met a friend and celebrated his birthday here. Then afterwards we went and had a nightcap at a swanky place called Temples Bar in the East Village.

Seventh Day Ė I went to Morgan Library and Museum on 225 on East 36th Street. It just opened this week and it was really a treasure to find. The New York Times wrote a great art review on April 28 so you can read more about this.

I then took the to train out to Long Island to visit MIL. Where I got to visit and do shopping.

I had a terrific time in New York and the people I encountered during my visit were nice and helpful.

If anyone has questions, please feel free to write me at [email protected].

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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:20 PM
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Enjoying your report, portobello! It sounds like you had a really good time!
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