NYC Trip Report

Jan 13th, 2009, 10:32 AM
  #1  
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NYC Trip Report

My first trip report! Never got around to doing my Paris report. Hope this will be helpful for someone!

My husband, son and I left Baltimore on the 9:30AM Acela to Penn Station, NYC. We always sit in the quiet car. I was happy to see an Amtrak conductor telling everyone who entered the car that a quiet car means quiet!! Too many people feel that rules don't apply to them.

Our ride was quiet, comfortable and quick. We arrived in NYC around noon. We went up to the street level, found the cab stand and shockingly, there was no line! Woohoo, great start! We directed the driver to our hotel, The Blakely,
136 W. 55th Street and listened to him argue with his cable company the whole way.

We were greeted by the door man who helped us with our luggage and ushered us into the small but attractive lobby. Leather sofas, oriental carpets and a gorgeous flower arrangement of branches, peppermint striped amaryllis and magnolia. Our room would not be ready until 3:00 so we stored our luggage and walked over to Carnegie Deli for some matza ball soup, sky high corned beef and plenty of NY attitude. After lunch we headed toward Rockefeller Center to see if the Christmas tree was still up. It was! So beautiful. We see it every year but I still love it. We watched the skaters for a while and then warmed up with hot chocolate at Dean and DeLuca.

Had to visit my favorite department store, Takashimaya on 5th Ave. Just wandering from floor to floor and admiring the beautiful way every item is displayed is some how soothing for me. My husband and son always find cushy chairs to relax in. Stocked up on soaps and candles.

By now it's 3:00 and we head back to the hotel, check in and head up to our room. We booked a one bedroom suite and are pleased to see that the suite is quite spacious. The bedroom, with a king size bed, has a chair and ottoman, desk, dresser and large flat screen TV.

The smaller living area has a large daybed, chairs, coffee table, dresser and another flat screen TV. To the right of the living area is a hallway leading to the bathroom and a tiny kitchenette with wet bar and micro wave. The bathroom is a nice size for three people.

A few problems which I took care of right away. In the bathroom there is room for a chest of drawers, or shelves (neither of which is there) but no place to store toiletries so I moved a side table in from our bedroom. The king size bed only had the spread (ick) and sheets. The daybed had a double-sheeted blanket and a bottom sheet. I had housekeeping do the same for the king bed and we stowed the spread for the time we stayed. We asked for extra pillows and then we were set. The linens on the beds were very crisp and smooth. Great!!

We unpacked, got settled, showered, changed for dinner and headed down to Abboccato, located in the hotel, for dinner. I had made a 5:30 reservation as we had theater tickets.

The restaurant was intimate and elegant in a rustic Italian sort of way. Only two other tables were occupied when we arrived and no one was sitting at the bar. We were greeted and seated immediately. We ordered drinks and looked over the menu which was quite tantalizing! Our very personable waiter told us about the specials and we made our selections. The food was amazing! I had a wonderfully rich veal ragu over pasta and a salad; my husband had bruschetta and butternut squash ravioli and our son had a yummy, smokey lobster bisque and chicken with beautiful peppers and other sauteed veggies. We had a nice, big red wine (unfortunately I left the label in our room) that complemented all dishes.

Need to take a break and for some reason I keep typing and when I preview my post isn't there. Is there a space limit on posts?
309pbg is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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309pbg:

Great start with good details about your hotel The Blakely. Did you feel this was good value for your $'s and would you return?

Keep it coming.

Sandy
SandyBrit is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Hi Sandy,
Unfortunately we will not go back to the Blakely because of the noise which I will get to soon. I had typed much more of our trip but it wouldn't post for some reason. I
will post again soon.

We had a rate of $345 for the suite and thought it was a great price. Last year we spent twice as much for two rooms at the Iroquois. This year we decided our son didn't need his own room. Tried to spend less this year!

Thanks for the message!
309pbg is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 01:56 PM
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I have heard alot about the Blakely and am interested in your review. Thanks for posting!
emcash is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Continuing!

After dinner at Abbaccato, we walked up to the Barrymore Theater to see Speed-The-Plow. Our seats were wonderful, Orch. Ctr. Row B. The play was one and one half hours long with no intermission. We really enjoyed the show. Raul Esparza stole the show and the repartee between he and Norbert Leo Butz was brilliant. It's hard to believe that Butz was learning his lines a couple of weeks before! He was great as was Elisabeth Moss.

Back to the Blakely to sleep. Well, we tried to sleep! I remember reading in Fodors that being on 54th Street can be noisy....our room faced 55th and the street traffic was so loud! And we finally figured out that the heavy booming bass that we heard from midnight to 2 AM was from the Zeigfield movie theater next door. They must have some sound system.

We woke up late the next morning and ordered coffee from room service. It arrived in approximately 10 minutes! My husband and son went down to the dining room for the continental breakfast that was included in the room price. They brought me back some very yummy mini muffins, a bagel and a banana.

We dressed and hit the streets for more shopping. The sales were great in many of the stores. Our son had gift cards to Thomas Pink and Brooks Bros. so we went there first. We then went to Faconnable where everything was 65% off. Lots of great buys. Beautiful Egyptian cotton shirts in amazing colors.

Stopped for lunch at db Bistro Moderne, one of our favorite restaurants. Our son had a hambuger (no not the $175 one) and delicious fries, I had the lobster salad and my husband had Coco Vin (spelling?). We finished with a decadent dessert layered with chocolate, nouget and peanuts. I forgot what it was called but it was divine. Not a good description by me.

Wandering again.....do you see a pattern here? We really just ate and shopped between shows and bed!

Back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Union Square Cafe and then on to see Wicked.

We arrived at Union Square Cafe around 5:30 and were shown to the bar until our table was ready. The bar was very lively (it was Friday night) with lots of fun people of all ages. We were seated upstairs (after climbing one of the narrowest staircases I have ever seen....wonder how it passed fire code) at a great table over looking the bar and one of the downstairs dining rooms.

Our server was very helpful with the menu and the winelist. My husband had the pork shoulder which was amazing, I had a fried calamari and rockfish and our son had carpaccio and some kind of pasta. Too full for dessert we hailed a cab and headed to the Gershwin Theater for Wicked which was lots of fun and very well done.

Walked back to our hotel and popped into Abbaccato for a nightcap then upstairs to our noisy room. But, I was armed with earplugs I bought at Duane Read! They actually helped with the traffic noise, the movie noise- not so much.

Slept way too late again- it is now Saturday morning. Plans are to have breakfast downstairs, look for a wine store and La Maison du Chocolat for hostess gifts for cousins we would be visiting that evening. We had boldly asked if we could come early to watch the beginning of the Ravens football game until we left for dinner. Thought we'd ply them with Champagne and chocolate. We were successful at finding both. A lovely little (teeny-tiny) wine store on 55th near our hotel and La Maison du Chocolat is in 30 Rock. A little bit of chocolate heaven and the most amazing hand made truffles. sigh. And I had to have a macaron- reminded me of Paris.

By now it is snowing pretty hard and we head back to change for the evening. We take a cab to the upper West side with our goodies and get out in the 80s to look for the Ugg store but can't find it. We walk down to the 70s in a windy blizzard, bitching and moaning and covered with snow. Reach our cousins and snuggle in for wonderful hors d'oeuvres and football. At half-time (tied ball game?) we walk over to West Branch which I think is the less expensive sister restaurant to Ouest.

We walked into West Branch and it was hip and happenin'! We were also happy to see that the bar had the Raven's game on so we could check the score.

The food was great and so were the prices. I can't remember what every one had but my steak frite was perfect as was the wine. Wonderful place on a snowy evening with relatives we like!

After dinner- and a Ravens win!!!!! we grabbed two cabs and headed up to West 64th to see Al Dimeola in concert. We had not heard of him but our cousin is into lots of different kinds of music. Turns out he is an amazing guitarist. He played with two percussionists, an accordianist (?) and another guitarist. The concert was very enjoyable as was the people watching. Clearly many fans there.

Walked to Magnolia for cupcakes (yup- more food) and back to the apartment for dessert.

Very late back to the Blakely, so late that we didn't hear the movie next door!

All too soon it's Sunday morning and time to pack up and head home.

Great fun as usual in NYC.
309pbg is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for posting your report! We have reservations for July at the Blakely -- now I'm wondering if we should keep it, because of what you said about the noise. My husband is a very light sleeper. But...I wonder if many NYC hotels have problems with street noise. Maybe it wouldn't be better anywhere else??
kansasmom is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Coq au vin.

What kind of soap did you buy at Takashimaya, hon?

Thin
Cries_Van_Notebook is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 11:53 AM
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I'm so glad you ended up enjoying Speed the Plow - and I agree, Raul Esparza stole the show!

Great report, sounds like lots of fun
bethke14 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Kanasasmom: In the summer you will probably have the a/c on and that might be a good "white" noise for your husband. Whenever the heat kicked on it was easier to sleep. The Blakley is really lovely except for the noise!

Thin, hon (Baltimorese?)
I love the Fresh Soap in freesia or verbena. They have beautiful wrappers and wire closures. I like to wrap them in Takashimaya's pretty embroidered linen guest towels and give them as gifts.
Thanks for the spelling of Coq au vin!

Bethke, wouldn't it be great to see William H. Macy as Gould? I wonder how he would play the character? He's a lot older than Butz and Piven. We were discussing it and we can't really see him playing it like Butz or how we imagine Piven played it. Actually would have been great to see all three actors play the same character.
309pbg is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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309pbg

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your full report. I like your style of writing.

I chuckled when you said 'we really just ate and shopped between shows and bed'.

Please share the noise problem on The Blakely over on www.tripadvisor.com

Sandy
SandyBrit is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 06:28 AM
  #11  
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Thanks Sandy, will do with Tripadvisor.

I forgot to mention the sale at Longchamp! Beautiful cashmere coats and their fun folding bags. Rain hats, leather goods and lots of other stuff. I went in for the large folded bag with shoulder handles. I wanted black which was not on sale, but other colors were.

I borrowed this bag from a friend when we went to Paris and it held an umbrella, guide books, gloves, rain hat and my purse! And it's waterproof. And it is so easy to pack in luggage. Sorry for the sales pitch but I love it!
309pbg is offline  

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