NYC Trip Report

Old Jan 31st, 2010, 04:05 PM
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E_M
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NYC Trip Report

My trip report & what I have learned can be summed up as thus:

When celebrating your January birthday in New York, it is best to do so in, say, April.
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Old Jan 31st, 2010, 04:30 PM
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Brevity is appreciated.
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Old Jan 31st, 2010, 04:32 PM
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IMHO New York is great at any time of the year - but you must be prepared for the weather.
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Old Feb 1st, 2010, 04:39 AM
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Having returned home and thawed out, I may be able to add to the report.

First, as I lived most of my life near NYC and now in DC, I am totally familiar with this type of weather. However, as I was walking around and trying to figure out why I was so uncomfortable when I am able to function quite well at home, it dawned on me: When it's cold like this at home, I stay inside, stupid! (For those of you that don't know, it was 15 degrees all weekend.)

So, the first stop in the Big Apple was a plethora of galleries and shops that don't keep weekend hours. That took a few hours in the morning, after which I hit Asiate for lunch. I got lost in the Time Warner building, but eventually found out how to get to the 33rd floor. The view was fantastic; I had the fixed price 3 course meal of soup, duck, and chocolate mousse. The duck fell off the bone easily, which is a plus. The chocolate mousse was really chocolate on top of vanilla with crystallized orange on top, which I felt was a bit too much. The soup, which I can't remember what kind, was absolutely divine.

Then I took the subway to the UES to visit the other galleries and shops that didn't keep weekend hours. By the time I got to Asprey I was frozen, and popped in just to warm up. I think Thin was in before me, as there was a lone umbrella in the entry way, but Leonard was nowhere to be found. I went to the second floor, as I love the books, and the sales staff noticed I was frozen. They got very concerned and promptly brought me a cup of tea, in their fine china (which was gorgeous), served on a silver platter, for "Madame." This doesn't happen any where else, does it?! They have a wonderful selection, if not overpriced, of fine bindings (most bound by the Chelsea Bindery in London.)

Next stop was Etcetera Etcetera for dinner. I had the ravioli with veal and raisins, but highly recommend the short ribs instead. The wine was an inexpensive bottle of Cote du Rhone, which set everything off nicely.

Then we went to see A Little Night Music. I was so excited to see the first revival of this classic. Alas, Ms. Zeta-Jones does not have a voice worthy of being a leading lady in a Sondheim musical on Broadway. The play itself was also a bit weird, though maybe that was just the direction. You know how in Company the main characters do all the singing, including the intricate parts where the songs are sung as a round (I don't know the musical term.) Well, in this case, it was the chorus who sang that part, while the lead actors mostly just stood there.

Then to the hotel for bed, where I passed out. Breakfast was at Normas, and I swear they raised the prices so that the meal which was formerly a pleasant indulgence was now an astronomical event--$12 for orange juice. Which is fabulous OJ but still. The meals are so big 3 people could have shared one. The breakfast friatta was hands down the winner.

A subway ride downtown found me walking ALL OVER THE VILLAGE looking for all the shops I wanted to visit. Alas, all were closed. By the time I got to Lafco, a lovely little place that sells my hand cream from Florence, I was again frozen and popped into the NYPL branch around the corner to warm up. The library was great! Brick walls, curved archways. I hung out there for 15 minutes and went back to Lafco, only to find out that they were sold out. Sigh. Then I met up with my siblings for lunch at some random cafe on the street. The soup was fantastic! My sister had pumpkin corn and I had potato leek. Bro had a vegetarian sandwich that he loved. After that we hit ABC, Fishs Eddy, and I went to the NYPL where they had a great exhibit on mapping the NYC shoreline.

Next stop was the Winter Antiques Show, which was OK. They had some turnover and the dealers were a little more varied than in years past. A $12 glass of champagne had me feeling mellow, and I walked all around, talking to dealers, totally in bliss. For dinner I trekked downtown to try and eat at the noodle place everyone recommended, but it was packed like sardines and the wait was an hour, so we went up the street and ate in a no name dive. The sushi was fabulous.

Back to the hotel for bed--where I was once again too tired to hit the Russian Tea Room. Breakfast was at Ess A Bagel, where Sis said that the only way to have an egg on a bagel was if they fry the freakin' egg. Hmm. Then they went home and I went to the Met to see the new American period rooms. They are breathtaking. I crawled under the furniture, peered around the backs, stuck my nose to the front, and thoroughly inspected each new acquisition. "Lunch" was at the Neue Gallery and consisted of a cappuccino and chocolate and rum cake. It was almost too rich to eat alone--it took me an hour and I nearly expired of a sugar high. The gift shop was amazing and I took a catalog--I'm not familiar much with German and Austrian art, so it was an education for me.

Then back home to reality.

PS - Hotel was the Parker Meridien at $120 a night.
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Old Feb 1st, 2010, 06:02 AM
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Look forward to part two.
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Old Feb 1st, 2010, 06:04 AM
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The library was designed by Calvert Vaux's firm - he was still busy on Central Park but I think the architect's name is Whithers. The community garden outside is where Miranda got married in SATC.

Fabulous if cold weekend and what a great price at Parker Meridien!
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Old Feb 1st, 2010, 07:13 AM
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Yes, it's the Jefferson Market Library, roriginally the Jefferson Market Courthouse.

http://www.nypl.org/locations/tid/39/about
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 05:51 AM
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Wow, how did you find that price at the Parker Meridien? I was checking that hotel for weeks before my own New York weekend the same time you were there. They didn't come close to that. We ended up spending $130 at the Belvedere Hotel, which I thought was pretty good till I read your report.

Of course the great hotel prices in January are related to the awful weather, which is one reason my friends and I meet in New York for a weekend every year at this time.

A point to clarify- was your day of gallery hopping Friday, so you actually caught those galleries and shops when they were open?

I enjoyed your report and your humor, thanks for sharing.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 05:22 PM
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Nikki: I wish I read YOUR trip report before I left. I would have so tried to hit those jazz clubs. I got Le PM by using "name your own price" on priceline.com--I chose 4 stars in the CP South region (Le PM is the only participating hotel with those characteristics.)

I caught as many only-open-during-the-week shops and galleries as I could on Friday. I underestimated both the severity of the weather and the time I spent browsing...I could have used an extra day!
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Great report! And nice price at Le PM. We used PriceLine that weekend too and got the Hyatt for $105.
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Old Feb 5th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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Excellent hotel price!
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 06:41 AM
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Good report. Thanks for taking the time to post.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 09:08 AM
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Thanks for the mention in your report.

Honestly, I think I should get a commission from Farmacia Santa Maria Novella for all the hand cream I sell for them.

Do you know that Fodor's uses my WOM quote for Farmacia SMN in its Italy Guide?

Thin, too poor to buy another Asprey umbrella
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 02:43 PM
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Really, Le PM is the only participating hotel for name your own price in CP South? You may have just saved my life!!!! Thanks for the tip!
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 03:03 PM
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Okay, confirming that Le PM is NOT the only 4 star working with priceline...I hope I like what I just ended up with. Too bad, I really wanted a room with a view at Le PM.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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What other 4 star hotel is in the CPS region? I have gotten LPM this way for the past 5 years. Also, you do NOT get a room with a view using priceline...you get a room overlooking a rooftop smokestack with fraying-around-the-edges amenities. That, too, has been consistent over the last 5 years.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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What hotel did you get gailkk? Enquiring minds want to know .
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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Well,on betterbidding, they list these 4* hotels in the CPS area: 6 Columbus Circle, Le Parker Meridien, Jumirah Essex House, and Loew's Regency.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 02:07 PM
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Oh yeah...I keep *hoping* I'll get a room at the Essex House, but it never happens. I think that is a cut above Le PM.

I first read about Farmacia SMN in this luxury magazine about two decades ago, whilst a young teenager. It sounded so glamorous, I cut out the article and saved it for the time I would get to Italy. It took 20 years but I finally made it! I brought with me this frayed magazine cutting tucked into my pocket. When I got there, I showed the woman behind the counter my hands (and the horrible case of psoriasis that had lasted 3 years) and she, without a word, handed me this bottle of cream. My hands cleared up in 3 DAYS! So, needless to say, I make a pilgrimage to the NYC outpost annually to buy more. I feel lucky that they have one there...the flight to Rome was making it a VERY expensive bottle of hand cream.
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Old Feb 8th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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I got the Loews Regency at 61st and Park for $155 per night. I was actually surprised when the result did not come up as Parker Meridien! I hope it will work out alright; it seems like it could be good. I'm a bit nervous. It's a surprise birthday trip for my husband (he's never been to NYC), so I want everything to work out great!
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