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Trip Report Quick trip to NYC but somehow made it into a long trip report

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We have visited NYC a lot over the years on business and pleasure and love it. This was a last minute trip to see the Vermeer exhibit at the Frick Museum before it closed. Some highlights:

Getting there

In the last few years we usually drive - door to door from Toronto is 7.5 hours (we leave at 5am). I watched the weather forecast very closely as we were driving in January and I-90 can be awful from Buffalo to Syracuse. We had a clear in/out window above 32F (so no snow) so we left last Saturday.

(When Man plans, God laughs).

It was clear sailing through to Syracuse then we turned down I-81 to go through Scranton and into NYC via the Lincoln Tunnel. At about Scranton it started to rain so hard we could not see more than 2 car lengths ahead of us, and sometimes we couldn't see at all. For about 30 minutes it was the worst driving conditions we have ever experienced - with fog and darkness thrown in for good measure. We considered stopping but honestly could barely see an exit and even with GPS weren't comfortable getting off so continued on. At least traffic was moving slowly and sensibly - we were all driving with our 4 way flashers on and suddenly it got better as we came out of the worst. The most amazing thing was looking at the traffic on the west bound lanes of I-81 - the people who were driving INTO the weather. The State Police had set up a conga line with 3 state trooper vehicles in front, lights a blazing leading all the traffic at a slow crawl behind them.

My husband did a masterful job of driving! Fortunately the drive home was a piece of cake!


Lately we've been staying at a friend's apartment in the East Village when he is out of town (what a great friend) but we wanted to be uptown this visit. Found a great last minute deal at the Comfort Inn on W44th between 8th and 9th. 4 nights at $159 per night (plus tax including breakfast). The room wasn't big (of course) but had two double beds, a frig, desk, free wifi and the breakfast was quite good and varied. And the entire hotel is spotlessly clean with very friendly staff. Parking was across the street at the discounted rate of $30/night and it's easy to get there from/to the Lincoln Tunnel. Would definitely recommend it.


We went directly over to MOMA as the Magritte Exhibition was closing the next day - fortuitously I bought a membership which meant we could bypass the line for the exhibit .... but oh man it was crowded. We can say we've "seen" it but we didn't experience it.

We spent quite a while at the two MOMA shops as we like their Xmas decorations and pop up Christmas cards - there was a special sale that day plus a new members discount so we bought beautiful cards for 75% off.

On Sunday morning we got to the Frick at 10:45 (for an 11:00am opening). It was the final week of the Vermeer exhibit and the lines were already starting to form. I had purchased a membership online so we got in the (relatively short) members' line and entered right at 11am. Went directly up to the Vermeer exhibit and had quite a bit of quality time in the room with the "Girl with the Pearl Earring" and the other room with the 15 other pieces. (by the time we left the crowds were as dense as at MOMA the day before and the line snaked from the door on 70th to 5th Avenue, along 5th then back down 71st!).

It was a lovely exhibit - we had done a fair amount of reading beforehand which added to the experience, of course (and the audio guide was free on Frick's website). The biggest question is why haven't we visited the Frick before? We had an equally lovely time touring the rest of the building, also before the crowds descended. The antique clock exhibit was beautiful. Now that we're members we'll definitely return often.

And our final Museum stop was the Guggenheim on Monday - we love Frank Lloyd Wright and like to "visit" the building every few years. The current exhibit (Christopher Wool) is not our cup of tea but we enjoyed our walk from top to bottom.


We saw two performances - A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and Waiting for Godot (yes, they are quite far apart on the dramatic continuum!)

Gentleman's Guide was fun and frothy - I won't remember it for a long time but we enjoyed it. Jefferson Mays was terrific in all 8 roles and Lauren Worsham had a very powerful, great voice.

Waiting for Godot............yikes - we've all studied it (or the Cole's Notes) and it wouldn't be our first choice except for the cast. Couldn't turn down the chance to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen - two favourite actors. We really enjoyed it - the direction was terrific and thought Billy Crudup stole the show in the first act as Lucky. They all seemed to be having such a great time we could overlook the s-l-o-w second act. Very glad we saw all 4 actors at the top of their games.

Booked tickets for both performances on broadwaybox.com and got significant discounts on great Mezzanine seats - I always check it and playbill.com even for very popular shows. You never know.


Going to do a trip report with fuller menu information and pics on Chowhound and will link here so below are highlights only.

Set out for Toloache (Mexican - we're Canadians and always have Mexican when we're in the States - just better somehow) at 8th & W50th (elberko's suggestion) but it was closed for renovations. We used to do a lot of business at the Worldwide Plaza (which was right there) so went to Thalia for drinks and nibblies.....a place we had had many client lunches over the year. The welcome was warm and the food was very good bar food (based on our choices).

We had two reservations at new, well reviewed restaurants. Dinner at Alder (Wylie Dufresne's new gastro pub in the East Village) and Betony - a beautiful midtown restaurant with Eleven Madison Park alum.

Short story - really enjoyed Alder.....warm welcome/great staff and some fun, playful small plates - but if you make such interesting looking food why do I need my flashlight app to see it?? (that's a small criticism)

Betony - not so positive. After a great start in the bar and a long chat about the menu with a terrific bartender the experience fell down in two ways -

-the service was poor (which to be fair management corrected in a very professional way)
-the food was disappointing (a bigger issue - any restaurant can have an off night service wise).

Two of the "famous" dishes weren't on the menu (despite showing on the menu on their website) - they were both dishes of particular interest to us (lobster/sweetbreads). Oh well, we proceeded but we found the food to be very schizophrenic and random. More information on the longer chowhound post to follow. We still had a great time because we love restaurants.

We LOVE Corned Beef Hash - another dish Canadians don't seem to do well. A Google search revealed good reviews for the Cafe Edison's CBH which was a short walk away. It was delicious - freshly prepared with well done home fries. Definitely on our "to return to" list (but a caution - they automatically add a 20% tip on the bill which isn't very obvious - we were about to tip on top of that when we realized the bill seemed kind of high)

Around the corner from our hotel was "our" bar (we always find a bar) - enjoyed sitting at the bar at Marseilles (9th and 44th). French bistro food (we didn't eat - except some delicious frites) but fun for pre/post drinks. The tapas Tuesday menu looked interesting but we were full from a late lunch at..........

Craftbar. We enjoy it and had a nice lunch with friends there. Nothing fancy but I do love the white anchovy crostini.


Took many long walks which is actually our favourite thing to do. Wandered around what's left of the Flower District - always enjoy that. Didn't get to the Intrepid Museum as planned to see the Shuttle Pavilion as the weather was too wet so we'll do that in the Spring when we return.

I'm still like a kid when I first arrive in NYC - no matter how many times I visit.

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