NYC Spring Break

Old May 2nd, 2014, 02:43 PM
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NYC Spring Break

First of all, thanks to Fodorites for your help in planning this trip and a special shout out to Doug Stallings for all the transportation help and ViceVersa recommendation and to NeoPatrick for all of the theatre help!

We decided to do the NYC trip because it was a fun way to meet up with theatre major DS on his spring break. Hawaii was our first choice, but the airfares were outrageous and even though the weather was a bit different (to say the least...) I finally had the opportunity to wear my new heavy wool coat! Haha. So DS flew from Seattle to JFK and we flew from SFO to EWR. Both of us took public transport into the city at a fraction of the cost of a town car.

We met up within an hour of each other on a Monday at the DoubleTree in Times Square. Fairly reasonable cost for a 2 room suite. With 3 of us, that was a requirement. Since every night except the first involved theatre, it was a perfect location for us. Unfortunately the sofabed in the living room was horribly uncomfortable and DS had a major backache from it.

The first night we went to ViceVersa for dinner and had an excellent reunion meal. I tried the mussels in tomato broth, along with a pasta with duck confit, one of their specialties. DH had a seafood ravioli and DS had the truffle risotto arancini (I tried a bite - heavenly!!) and the fresh fish special. He loved it, except for the mashed potatoes which were lumpy. A Manhattan and some wine rounded out our dinner.

Tuesday started with a subway ride to Greenwich Village for a foodie tour. The tour was good, but we have enjoyed San Francisco and Seattle food tours more. We loved learning about the neighborhood and enjoyed most of the stops. One we liked in particular was Rafele. More on that later. That evening we had dinner at John's Pizza. DH was not happy about eating at a'pizza parlour', but once he realized that he could get a good Manhattan at the bar and saw how crowded it was, he decided it might be ok. We split an excellent, huge spinach salad between the 3 of us, and ordered a large pizza - all of us loved it. Even though my DS inhales pizza, we had a few slices left over that we brought back to the hotel , a midnight snack for DS.

That night we saw 'A Genteleman's Guide to Love and Murder'. We had excellent seats and loved this hilarious show as well as the intimacy of the beautiful theatre.

Wednesday, DS wanted a breather from the parents and wanted to take in a matinee. He slept in and ordered room service - one of his favorite things. DH and I decided to go to Katz' deli- once there, I realized I have been there before. We split a sandwich, fries and coleslaw and were stuffed beyond belief! It was also about $30+ for these 3 items!

Next we planned to go to the 9-11 memorial but walked around the neighborhood first. It was beautiful crisp blue outside, but windy and cold. We stopped at a little store where DH but a wool hat and scarf and I bought leather gloves. Great prices and a nice couple owned the store.

We walked into the Tenement Museum gift shop and they talked us into a tour. I had wanted to schedule this before our trip, but DH thought it sounded miserably depressing. The tour was not for an hour or so, (guided tours only) so they suggested that we go to the synagogue down the street. It was stunning!!! We got a private tour - we seemed to be the only ones there most of the time. Just a fascinating history. We went back to the Tenement museum and got a fascinating 90 minute slice of life of a Jewish family trying to eke out a living making clothing in their home. It was an amazing story and we had an excellent tour guide. I highly recommend this tour.

Back to the hotel, after a very full day, we relaxed a bit. DS had gone to the TCKTS booth and picked up tickets based on price, obviously. I told him to see 'Of Mice and Men' or "All the Way' but of course Mom doesn't know anything .... and tickets for those were still kinda pricey... I forget which play he saw, but it was pretty awful and has been around for years - tourist trap kinda play.

We went to dinner at a French Bistro, Marseille. DH had the bouillabaise, which they are known for, I had Nicoise salad, which was very good and a generous portion. The decor was exactly Parisian French bistro, just bigger than most French ones.

Next it was off to see Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. What a thrill to see these two amazing actors. Waiting for Godot is not for everyone and DH really had a problem with it, even though everyone agreed that the actors were amazing. He kept saying, "Do you have any idea what this is about" Well that is the point of it actually... whatever you might want to think it's about...

I was amazed at the rude people around us however. It's a smallish tight theatre and you must get up to let someone get to their seat if they are past you. Two people in our row came in quite late, I was surprised they let them in. Everyone had to stand and let them pass, which meant everyone behind us had their views disrupted while they got settled. Things happen that make you late, I know. But then at intermission, they came back very late again and one lovely lady that we chatted with before the show started, asked them to climb over her as her back was in pain. One declined and sat in the aisle for the rest of the show, the other climbed over her and stepped on my DH's toes and disrupted everyone else in the row and behind us again. Then someone in front us kept her cell phone on - the usher did tell her firmly to turn it off. I noticed it back on again after awhile and realized that she was videotapping and taking pictures. Some people.....

After the show we saw a street artist with some unusual pictures of the moon and the NYC skyline. DS bought a picture for his apt. $20 - a great souvenir.

The next day we headed out to the 9-11 memorial, without reservations. We did get in, but the line was much longer without reservations and it was really cold while we were standing in line. The memorial was solemn and moving. I can't wait to see the museum when it opens. Afterwards we went to the gift shop and watched the video about some of the victims that is on a continuous loop there.

We decided to go off Broadway for our next play and went to the Cherry St. theatre that we discovered on our Greenwich Village Tour. We made reservations at Rafele, that we also found on the tour. Dinner was excellent and service was too. We mentioned that we had been on the tour and they brought us 2 desserts to share to thank us for coming back. I had a truffle mushroom pasta that was lovely, along with a lovely salad with pears and pancetta. The bread there is fabulous. DS had one of their flatbread pizzas - they have a pizza oven, along with an arancini to start. DH had a seafood marinara pasta. All of our meals were excellent! Rafele is the chef and he thanked us for returning to the restaurant as well. The desserts that they brought were excellent. A lovely cheesecake and the best Tiramisu I have ever had.

Next it was off to the theatre to see 'Ode to Joy'. Kathryn Erbe and Arliss Howard starred in it. The story line is very raw, about addiction, and how their lives spiral out of control. It is hard to watch at times. There is also a lot of profanity, which I am not a prude about -although I do regret taking my then 19 yr old DS and his new girlfriend whom I had not yet met to see 'High",which if you saw it, you will know why... -- it just seemed a bit gratuitous.

The following day, DS was leaving in the afternoon and it was raining, so we had a lazy early day. We went to Becco for lunch and loved it. They had a special that was an antipasti that had the most amazing marinated octopus. DS had the caesar salad and DH and I had the antipasti for our 1st course. Then there were 3 pastas, that you could have an unlimited amount of - each was excellent although the mushroom pasta was my favorite. Everyone around us seemed to order the same meal even though there were plenty of other choices on the menu. We loved it.

We saw DS off to the subway to catch his plane back to Seattle. We weren't too hungry for dinner so we went back to ViceVersa (first we went to the Renaissance to try and have a drink and appetizers at their bar, but they were closed for a private party). So we went to the bar at ViceVersa, which has a nice happy hour. At the bar we ordered a variety of appetizers, including those mussels that I had before and some wine and DH had another Manhattan. Then it was off to the theatre to see 'Bullets over Broadway" which is still in previews. It is excellent!!!! We wanted to grab a drink afterwards, went by Sardi's but there was no one in there. Back over to the Renaissance, but they were breaking down the party, so we still couldn't go upstairs. They had a small lounge, but we were looking for the big view. We ending up going to an Irish bar near by, McGee's. We met a young 20 something couple there and started talking - they had just come from a Lady Gaga concert. They were adorable and kept trying to convince us that we should drink something called car bombs with them.... uhmmm I am sure we are too old to drink anything with a name like that!... anyway, they were delightful and it was a great close to a wonderful trip.

The next morning I got up early and headed down to Macy's because they had the flower show going on there. It was drizzly outside, and my plans to go to Central Park were not so pressing with the weather threatening to break into a full shower. After checking out the flowers I got a little confused with my subway connection (weekend schedule) and decided that I was pressing my luck timewise with our afternoon flight, so Ibriefly stopped at the Metrolpolitan gift shop, then it was back to the hotel to finish packing and check out.

I didn't get to do a lot of things I hoped to do on this trip, but loved everything I did get to do...I can't wait to return!!
ellenbw is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2014, 03:58 PM
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Thank you ellenbw, great report, sounds like a fun family trip. We were also in New York over spring break, meeting up with our son going to school in Colorado. It was quite cold for us Hawaiians with temps in the teens some mornings, even our son said it was cold.

We ate at Vice Versa too, great neighborhood restaurant. Vegetarian son had the chestnut pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, wife had the spaghetti alla chitarra (fresh pasta with crabmeat), I had the excellent braised short ribs.

We've been to John's in the Village previously and this time tried Don Antonio in the theater district after seeing Jersey Boys. It's a branch of a restaurant in Naples and their pizza is delicious, thin crust, nicely blistered, just the right amount of sauce and cheese. Packed even at 11:00 pm.

It was interesting traveling with our college age son. He spent his days exploring Brooklyn, Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Soho, meeting up with us in the evening for dinner.
curiousgeo is online now  
Old May 4th, 2014, 03:56 AM
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A very nice report, even though I don't like plays. It is great when a poster returns to "pay back" advice from the forum by telling how it worked out and giving new ideas for others. Sounds like you all had a great time, and you have moved the Tenement Museum up on my " someday" list.
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Old May 4th, 2014, 04:29 AM
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I've noticed over the years that NYC trip reports which feature hard liquor are always the best. Long live [the] Manhattan!
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Old May 4th, 2014, 08:53 AM
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Im so glad you had fun and good meals.

I hear you about rude theater goers. It seems that more and more people leave their manners at the stage door and dress as if they are going to a dive bar rather than the theater.
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