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There's Nothing Like NY! ILT29's NYC Trip Report!

There's Nothing Like NY! ILT29's NYC Trip Report!

Dec 13th, 2006, 01:19 PM
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There's Nothing Like NY! ILT29's NYC Trip Report!

Ok, so travel writing isn't my strength, but I will try my best.

My trip started out with a very, very bumpy ride from OAK to IAH and then onto LGA. I prayed quite a bit from OAK to IAH because of all the turbulence!

I arrived at LaGuardia and got my bags and a cab without any problems. The cab ride was around 34 bucks and the cabbie was really fun to talk to.

I stayed at the Larchmont hotel located on west 11th and 5th avenue---near subway lines and many colleges (Eugene Lang, The New School, and NYU). My room wasn't ready yet so I left my bags and went in search of some excitement!

Ok, so while I didn't exactly find excitement, I found a nice salon that did a 10 dollar manicure that also involved a nice bag rub and interesting conversation.

My room was available and it was cozy---I got the "spacious single" which makes me wonder about the not so spacious single. But for the price, I couldn't really complain.

The room came with its own sink and a small tv, desk and chair, internet connection port, and was very clean.

Took a much needed nap!

I hightailed it back out to get some food and much needed water. I found a local store that had a wonderful hot food and cold food serve yourself type bar and had a field day! I will say that I love this about NYC---the little deli's that offer up some very good food for not too much dough! But the cost of bottled water was off the charts! $3.50 for less than a gallon of water!

End of day one.

I awoke bright and early and headed out to the Museum of Natural History. I took the subway located at 14th and 6th avenue and bought a metro card for 24 bucks for unlimited rides for 7 days. A pretty good deal!

Getting to the museum was easy and hassle free, and though their was optional suggested donations, I ended up also buying to see all of the special exhibits which set me back a cool $30 bucks!

The butterfly exhibit was nice, if a bit small, the cosmic collide was interesting, though not too unique, the gold exhibit was just OK, unless you are a gold fan, then it was very interesting, and I walked out on the IMAX cowboy whattamacallit.

Overall, the museum was very nice. Not sure I would visit in again on my next trip, but it was very nice.

After museum, I headed off to do some much needed shopping on 33rd Street and 5th Avenue. Nice touristy shops---here is a hint, whenever a shop keeper says "I got a good deal for you..." run away. Fast! This one shop keeper told me that the price was 50 bucks for an item, but that he had a good deal for me and would give it to be for 35 bucks! Shsseesh! I bought the same item for a more reasonable 27 bucks---which is a good value for the item.

I ate a hot dog at Papaya Hotdog----very good, but don't get the onions---I am used to raw fresh onions, and instead I got something that looked reddish orange....so so in flavor.

Went to the Empire State building---very nice, but I didn't go all the way to the top--the line was crazy long.

Hopped in a cab to get back to my hotel and rest a bit.

Went out for dinner later on at French Roast Cafe on 6th avenue and West 11th. The cafe had the feeling of being in Paris, and I ate a wonderful Steak au Poivre (sp?). It was soooo delicious! I also had french onion soup, and since it was my first time actually having decent french onion soup I was a little perplexed at how to eat the gooey soup! The only downpart of the meal was that the soup was served with the meal and wasn't too warm, so I had to send it back. It was a bit awkward trying to eat both soup and meal at the same time before either one got too cold. Service was ok, but the food made up for it. The Steak was about 18.99, and well worth it in its Parisian authenticity.

Went back to my hotel for some much needed R&R.

Will write more later.....
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Been anticipating this report . . . waiting for more!
ellenem is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 04:40 PM
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Hailing, I guess, from a less urbane place, I am particularly intrigued by the "10 dollar manicure that also involved a nice bag rub and interesting conversation." Was this done in a private area? Do you recall the name and address? ;-)
Seamus is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 04:43 PM
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I always enjoy reading trip reports on NYC. Keep it coming, your travel writing is just fine.

SandyBrit is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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I think she means back rub...
Good start...keep it coming!
lcuy is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Here's More..... and sorry for the bad type---meant to say "back rub"

The next day (friday) I headed off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had a couple of paintings I really wanted to see, and though the newscasters kept discussing in detail the low, low, low temps that NY would have, I didn't take it seriously. I should have!

The temps were are 23-28 degrees, but with the windchill, it felt like the low teens. I have never been so cold in my life! I had my hoodie sweatshirt and my long sleeved shirt and my jeans and backpack and I thought I was decked out quite comfortably---but the wind had another thing in mind!

I cought the subway to the met (about a 4 or so block walk from the subway to the met, but I could have gotten off at the wrong stop---which is easy to do!) and the wind stung my bare cheeks. I remember the words of my friends who told me to bring a hat and to bring ear muffs....I had to duck into doorways to catch my breath and try and gather some warmth....my goodness!

I did have an excellant cup of coffee from a street vendor---really, really good!

The Met was far more chaotic than the Museum of Natural History. For one, there are multiple places to pay your admission, then there is the coat check area, the meeting area for tour groups, the area to get the audio tour headset, etc. And it seemed like at least 3 different schools were there along with plenty of tourists, etc. It was quite a site to see!

I tried to see everything I could, but was disappointed that I couldn't find this one Blake painting that I wanted to see. The Egyptian area was extremely good as were the renaissance art section and I was saddened that the Japanese Art section was closed off.

After the Met I was soooo cold that I just hightailed it back to the room to try and keep warm!

Saturday arrived and I headed off to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It is a wonderful place with a lot of vital and important information. It is not a typical museum, though it has a nice little area about history and though brief, is still very poignant and touches the soul.

I then stopped at a buffet type place that had extremely good soul food, or southern African-American style food----my favorites were the chicken and the eggs---heavenly! The grits were a bit too soupy for my taste.

I walked around Harlem and people were so genuinely friendly. Bought a nice t-shirt, went to Carol's Daughter (a nice skin care place), and then hopped back on the subway!

I ended up the WTC Memorial---it was so profoundly moving. Not for what is there---yes, there are gigantic photos that stir the soul, and tons and tons of people looking through the fences, but it was moving for what was not there. Just a big empty vastness. Nothing there. It was so sad.

I went to the WTC Memorial museum/visitor info shop, and bought a couple of items. I would have taken the tour, but the next one was sold out.

Went to Nobu's, but they were closed.
Went to Magnolia's, but the line was ridiculous (will talk more about that later), and ended up at Peanut Butter & Co.

Oh. My. Goodness! I had the Elvis w/ bacon (toasted bread with peanut butter, banana, honey, and yes....bacon). Though it sounds odd, and people may wonder what is the big deal about peanut butter, the place was packed! sure, there were only about 8 tables, but it was still packed and many people had to order their items to go.

Will write more later.
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Part Three

Saturday Night I dined at a local Pizzeria called "Patsy's" that was supposedly Zagat rated. While it looked nice and very welcoming and a bit uppercrust, I was not impressed with the pizza. Though, I will admit that it tasted much better cold than hot, though it was a bit pricey.

Sunday I got up bright and early and had a nice breakfast at a local cafe---it was so adorable because there was a nice father and his toddler son who were regulars, so everyone that came in said "hi" to the son and the dad and the son just giggled so adorably. It was just the cutest sight to see.

I then went to 42nd street and times square and just took in all the sites, plus the cute stores and such. Bought tickets for "A Chorus Line" and had a nice piece of cheesecake from Junior's. I never considered myself a huge fan of cheesecake, but Junior's is tops in my book! I tried an egg cream and it was very interesting. The waitstaff and bartenders were so friendly and nice and welcoming. I decided to go to Junior's for my pre-show dinner the next day.

Monday came and I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, took some great photos, and then went back to 33rd and 5th for some shopping! Got some nice items, then went to Spanish Harlem. I wanted to go to a specific cafe, but it was closed. I did meet some very friendly people, bought some Dunkin Donuts coffee (way better than Starbucks, IMO, but then again, I am no fan of Starbucks, so...eh) and just took my time strolling around and seeing everything I could see.

Went back to the hotel and got ready for the show. I had a seat in the last row in the balcony, but it was still an excellent view! I absolutely loved that show! And though it put me over my budget, I realized that it was one of those things I would kick myself for later if I hadn't done it.

Tuesday comes around and I am in a panic! I still have so much I need to see and do! I hightail it Cupcake Cafe (not good), then over to Magnolia Bakery (pretty looking cupcakes, but not as good as the one I bought at the American Museum of Natural History), and then back to Soho which looked completely different from when I had gone on Saturday. The difference was like night and day!

Had some authentic New York Pizza on Bleeker (sp?) street and took some really nice photos of the area.

I will write more later, I know I am leaving out some tidbits.
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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You are making me even more antsy for my upcoming trip this weekend! Bummed for you that things you wanted to do were closed and that your cupcake wasn't good. . . .

And I don't think I could do peanut butter and bacon. . . it was really good??

Did you buy some additional warm clothes??????
kellbell is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:54 PM
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No, I didn't buy any additional clothes except a pair of jeans.

It sounds crazy, but the bacon and peanut butter thing is sort of like some Thai food that has a satay sauce, so peanut butter can be used in savory dishes really quite well.

NYC is alive with shoppers and the holiday spirit for sure!! You will have an awesome time!
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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Nice report. Cupcake Cafe? Is that the one on 39th street? I went there and could not believe how run down and crummy it was! Soooooo many beter places to get a Cupcake in this town...what is so special about that place?? Anyone?, Anyone..Ferris..
bmw732002 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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checking in so I don't miss any of this wonderful report...
bardo1 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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If you didn't want to spend so much money on water, why didn't you drink tap water? NYC water is probably cleaner than bottled water.

What shops are at 5th Ave and 33rd St? I used to work in the Empire State Building and only recall a Starbucks, Heartland Brewery, and a grocery/salad bar/takeout in that area.

Did you eat at Les Halles?
marginal_margiela is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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Let me see if I understand this correctly, you didn't take the weather forcast seriously and went to NYC in December without a hat, scarf, and winter coat???
Dec 15th, 2006, 10:02 AM
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GoT, that is what she said. I think she is from a desert area (in CA?) if I am recalling correctly, so perhaps it was hard for her to really think in terms of cold, damp, windy, chill to the bone weather like NYC gets. But I bet she won't go back to NYC in Dec. without a coat, etc.

ilove, I recall you were worried about rain, and at least it didn't rain or snow on you.

You made it to some places that I don't recall seeing on your list of places to go, like the Schomburg Center. I've never heard of that one. Isn't it fun to explore those places in NYC that are a bit off the radar and that are particularly interesting to you? For me, those are the most fun and memorable parts of my trips.
emd is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 04:32 PM
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As for the cold, I should have explained that I usually tend to be run hotter than my friends and when other people are cold, I am doing just fine.

I did have a warm jacket and had some thermal type shirts and so I was warm for the majority of my trip. The weather was forecast to be in the 30s-40s most of the time and I was fine with that. I even had my nice warm mittens for if my hands got cold (I actually didn't wear them that much). But when the windshield factor got below 20, that was the only time that I really felt a bit too cold.

ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 04:36 PM
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PS--I should also preface it for the naysayers that I prefer to travel in the colder months, and the last time I traveled during winter it was again around 30-40 degrees and for me, with all the walking I do, that suits me just fine.

Again, the part of me that got cold was my face and ears----so if I do travel again during this time of year and the temps are below 30, I will take ear muffs and a nice hat.

I do not care much for scarves.
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 04:51 PM
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Marginal---I am not a fan of tap water, I know, I know, but I do have my bottled water favorites To me, tap water just sometimes has an odd taste. Though, some bottled waters do have a sodium taste that I don't like as well.

on 33rd-36th streets and 5th ave, there are a lot of souvenir type shops. Then, on 34-36 there are other shops like Lane Bryant, clothing, etc. I got a nice mug and some souvenirs.

I thought the Cupcake Cafe would be good (I think I got it mixed up with another place), but like you, I was horribly disappointed.

The Schomburg Center is wonderful and I think that visiting and reading the research info and literature is extremely beneficial.
ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Some interesting tidbits about NYC:

A Broadway show is defined in part by 1) it's location, though a broadway show can be far from broadway and
2) by the contract with specific unions and their agreements--learned this from someone at a big name broadway show. Wow! I had no idea!

Murray's Bagels are very good, and a good bagel has almost 2 different textures....the crustlike outside and the yummy but chewy inside. Most of the bagels where I am from do not have a very different texture from the "crust" to the inside and usually the textures sort of run together and are not too distinct.

New Yorker's are some of the nicest and most welcoming people. Everyone treated me very nicely and were helpful when I got a bit lost at times. I also had fun conversations and jokes with a few of them and I enjoyed their sincerity immensely.

ilovetotravel29 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 04:35 PM
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I have found that the topic of water is a serious one with New Yorkers, lol. It is said to be the most delicious water around.

In fact it comes from NYC watersheds that are located where I live. I get to pay a dear premium for that water (our water bill is not to be believed). And the town folk went crazy when NYC tried to put a fence around the reservoir, post 9/11. That fense didn't last long.

I drink bottled water, but the rest of my family drinks only the tap. My kids (when little) even went as far as to present me with a "blind" taste test. I could still tell the difference (or perhaps it was because the bottled water they used was warm compared to the tap - but they were young at the time).

Anyway, that's the story about the water. When I visit my inlaws, if I want water, I bring my own, otherwise it comes from a NYC tap (by way of the suburbs).

Glad you had a nice trip!
seetheworld is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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Thank you! I loved reading your report!
Scarlett is offline  

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