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LowCountryIslander May 27th, 2008 05:10 AM

Trip Report: NYC 4 day weekend...aka "Return to our Old Stomping Ground"
New York City did not disappoint! Maybe the perfect weather had something to do with it! :)

I returned yesterday evening from a 4 day weekend (Memorial Day) in New York City with my mom and we had a great time in large part to all the terrific information I found here from very knowlegable Fodorites! A big thank you to you all!

Now for a little background. I have lived in SC for the last 15 years and my mom for the last 11 years. We are orginally from NJ and prior to moving south I worked in Manhattan. As children my parents exposed both me and my sister to alot that NYC had to offer, so I am somewhat familiar with the city, but having not been back in 14 years I knew things would be different. And that's where all the great Fodors advice really helped! I am so appreciative of all the recommendations I got here on this board!

Friday, May 23rd:

We were able to get a direct flight from Savannah to LGA and had no troubles with the flight, everything was on time. We arrived in NYC shortly after 2pm.

Thanks to a post here on Fodors I reserved with Carmel car service to pick us up. I did this since it was a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend and I am glad I did! When we got to baggage claim I called the car dispatcher and within 5 minutes our car pulled up outside the door. We loaded our bags in and off we went. The car was clean and comfortable. The cost was $28 without toll and tip. With toll and tip we paid the driver $40. We paid cash, but they do take credit cards.

Traffic was pretty heavy going into the city, although going out was pretty heavy too. It took us about 45 minutes to get to our hotel. We stayed at the NY Hilton at 6th Ave. and 53rd...great location for us.

During our weekend we had some really terrific meals, saw 2 very good shows, and did a great walking tour. More to come later this evening.

ellenem May 27th, 2008 06:36 AM

Waiting for more about your weekend . . .

LowCountryIslander May 27th, 2008 08:55 AM


Thanks for reading my trip report...I'll take any encouragement I can get, I'm not the most gifted writer out there. :)

I've noticed through other posts that you are always so helpful in steering people to great NYC recommendations. Thanks!

Some more about our first afternoon in the city...

Once we checked in and got settled into our room we decided to walk up to Lincoln Center. I purposely hadn't planned anything for this afternoon so we could roam wherever the mood took us.

We chose Lincoln Center because "back in the day" my parents had a Lincoln Center subscription and mom wanted to just walk around the area.

We were a bit disappointed because at the moment the center of the plaza area at Lincoln Center is under renovation...couldn't see the fountain. Mom was more let down then me on this adventure, but we walked around a bit and took some pictures in front of some very pretty azelas! :)

We then walked back down to Columbus Circle and made a slight detour into the Wholefoods store there. Not that I haven't heard of Wholefoods before, I have, but we don't have any in my area and I had never been in one before (you can see a food theme starting here and now!). All I can say is WOW! The prepared foods section is enormous...if I lived near there, I would never cook! Well, I don't really cook much now as it is! ;)

After wandering through Wholefoods for a bit we perused some of the other shops in this mall and then headed for our first New York adult beverage of the trip.

BIG, strike that...GIGANTIC thanks to Neopatrick for recommending Divine Bar on West 54th Street....we LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it!

I'll be back later with more on Divine Bar and website link.

ellenem May 27th, 2008 01:25 PM

And I always depend on visitors to my hometown for recommendations of places outside my usual haunts . . .

LowCountryIslander May 27th, 2008 05:48 PM

More on Divine Bar...

It is located at 236 W. 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue. The website is

You can't miss the place because there is a big orange canopy over the front door. The bar is 2 floors, the second floor offers table service. The first floor has the bar and some small tables. We chose to sit at a table on the first floor and order our drinks at the bar.

We each had a glass of wine (they were generous portions) I had a pinot gris and mom had a chardonnay. There is also an extensive tapas menu. We ordered the crostini and it came with 3 spreads...pureed roasted red peppers, bean and garlic, and spinach. All tasted great, but my favorite was the bean and garlic. Actually I topped the toasted bread with both the bean & garlic and roasted red pepper spreads and it was deliscious! And the toasted bread was perfection..nice and crunchy and garlicky! The portion was big enough that 4 or 5 people could really share it. But mom and I had no trouble polishing off most all of it! We considered it our appetizer and we hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast anyway! :)

For 3 glasses of wine and the crostini the bill was $59.85 with tip. It was a great way to toast the start of our NYC trip.

After a couple hours we decided it was time to head downtown for our dinner reservation at Lupa ( We had a 9:30pm reservation but thought we would try our luck to see if they could seat us early. We figured if not, we could always have a drink at the bar.

We took the subway down to Houston Street. Once we came up to street level it took me a minute to get oriented, but I finally got us going in the right direction! :)

We walked about 3 blocks to Thompson Street and found Lupa with no problem. The hostess was very accommodating with our early arrival and after about a 25 minute wait we were seated early.

We started the meal with a couple glasses of an Umbrian Chardonnay and 2 antipasti dishes. The asparagus with pecorino cheese was a bit spicey and the cheese added just the right flavor. The scallops with proscuitto was flavorful and tender. Both dishes were excellent.

For our main dishes we both decided to have pasta. Mom had the Buccatini Amertriciana (not sure of correct spelling!) and I had the spaghetti carbonara. Both dishes were slightly spicey and deliscious.

To cap it all off I had the black pepper panna cotta with rhubarb which was both (slighly) spicey and smooth and creamy and we both had espresso which was excellent.

The total bill with wine, 2 antipasti, 2 pasta dishes, 1 dessert and 2 espresso came to $120 including tip.

A few observations about Lupa. We really liked this restaurant, and we do enjoy Italian food. The restaurant was packed with people the entire time we were there, they never slowed down. People were continuing to come and every table was full when we left at about 10pm.

The bar at Lupa is fairly small, maybe 10 seats and it is located in the front dining area. The front dining area seats about 40 +/- people. There is a back room, but we didn't see it, however when we looked in that direction it appeared that every table was full.

Overall we really enjoyed our meal at Lupa and would go back again.

Next up is Saturday...aka...Theater Mania Day!

paula1470 May 27th, 2008 06:25 PM

Can't wait to hear about the shows. I stayed at the NY Hilton for the first time last summer. I was there for a convention and then stayed some extra days. Yes, it's a huge convention hotel but I liked it. Great location for the theater district and 6th Avenue is quiet in the evenings.

I usually stay on the other side of Broadway closer to 8th so will have to check out The Divine Bar. Sounds fun.

totorofan May 27th, 2008 06:57 PM

LowCountryIslander - Both Lupa and the crostini at Divine Bar sound, well, divine. Thanks for the trip report and I'm waiting for more of it!

And ellenem, I agree - lots of great recommendations through the trip reports of NYC visitors.

LowCountryIslander May 27th, 2008 07:08 PM

Saturday, May 24th:

Today was another great weather day and it remaind that way the whole weekend!

We started the day with breakfast at Maison located at 1700 Broadway (at 53rd Street). It is just down the block from the Hilton so was very convenient. I had read about this restaurant in a post here on Fodors and it struck me as being the kind of place we would like and I was right!

Maison is a french bistro type place that is open 24/7 ( When we arrived shortly after 8:30am it was not very crowded, but this did not deter was a Fodor's recommendation! ;)

Service was very good and the food was great...typical breakfast fare. Mom had asparagus crepes and I had an omelet with spinach, mushrooms and goat's cheese. The best part of the meal was the fresh squeezed orange juice. The cappuccino isn't bad either! Our breakfast with tip was $35.

After breakfast we hopped on the E train (it was just across the street from the restaurant) and we went down to ground zero.

Wow is all I can say. This was our first time back in NYC after September 11th and a visit to this area of the city was something both my mom and I wanted to do.

When we came out of the subway we were right next to the Church of St. Paul. I had never heard of this church but mom suggested we go inside. I am glad we did. There are memorials set up inside the church, for me, it was incredibly moving. Maybe it's because I grew up in New York City's "backyard" and worked in the city for a few years, but I got pretty choked up. It was incredible to me that this church, right across the street from the site did not have one window broken or shattered or any damage at all.

After spending some time inside the church and looking at Ground Zero, we walked down to Battery Park, it was such a beautiful day and perfect park weather.

The park was teeming with people. There was a swimming event and competitors in wetsuits were milling about. Others were kayaking in the water and we even saw a wedding. All of this activity in a matter of a few hundred feet!

I took lots of pictures (will post when I get a chance) and then we decided to head uptown to Macy's. Before getting on the subway, while walking down State Street we stumbled upon the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine and went in for a look. It's a pretty little church/shrine wedged between some hi-rise buildings.

Once uptown we meandered through the first floor of Macy's since we didn't really have enough time to do any kind of "major" shopping.

At about 1pm we left Macy's and started to walk over to 50th Street to the New World Stages were we had tickets to see the 2pm matinee of Altar Boyz.

We really enjoyed this show. I thought the music and dancing and performers were great. The lyrics to the songs were very clever...if you are catholic I think you can relate even more to the lyrics! :) It was definitely a fun show.

The showed lasted about 90 minutes (with no intermission)...those boyz really get a workout in this preformance!

By 4pm we were exiting the theather and walking over to Rockerfeller Center. We walked around and window shopped and took more pictures. We headed down to Bryant Park to have a look around. We planned to have a drink at the Bryant Park cafe, but with such great weather every table and chair at the bar was taken. We decided to walk over to an old stand-by my parents used to frequent on their many forrays into the city "back in the day" and that was the Marriott Marquis.

We were hoping to have drinks in the 8th floor lounge that looks over the street and revolves, but it was closed for a private function, so the Atrium lounge fit the bill and we sat and had a cocktail and a snack there. My first $16 drink, a lemon drop martini, but it was sooooo good!

For 2 glasses of wine, my lemon drop martini and a flatbread pizza the bill was $69 with tip.

Shortly after 7pm we left the Marriott and walked over to the Longacre Theater (just 3 blocks away) for Boeing Boeing.

We LOVED this show. We thought it was funny and well acted. In our opinion Christine Baranski and Bradley Whitford were terrific, but Mark Rylance (played Bradley Whitford's comic friend) was really the icing on the cake...he was hilarious. I had heard the show was "dated", but it's set in the 60's and I thought the references were dead-on. I honestly didn't know how funny Bradley Whitford could be. And the actors who played the Air Hostesses were fabulous too! The show was almost 3 hours.

I had signed up for several months ago and got the tickets at a discount when I had an email notice sent to me about the of the best evenings we had there.

After reading a review about the restaurant Etcetera Etcetera here on Fodors (by Monica) I really wanted to try this place, but I didn't want to eat in between the 2 performances, so made a reservation for 10:45pm.

We were a few minutes late and there were only a few other diners in the restaurant but it was another great meal! What really attracted me to this restaurant was that several of the pasta dishes could be ordered in appetizer size, and that is what we did.

I had the asparagus risotto which was creamy and deliscious. Mom had the winner of the night though...a veal with raisin stuffed ravioli. It may sound like an odd combination, but it tasted out of this world good!

For 2 glasses of wine, 2 pasta (appetizer size)dishes the bill was $50 with tip.

Thanks Monica for the great restaurant recommendation...we loved it and would go back again, when we have more time to "explore" the menu!

More to come tomorrow...our last full day in NYC and a food walking tour!

starrs May 27th, 2008 07:33 PM

I am SO enjoying this trip. I'm heading up in a few weeks and am going to try some of the restaurants you list.

I LOVE Lemon Drop Martinis at the MM.
Just today I was debating what show to add and was reading Boeing Boeing reviews. Based on your raves, I think I'm going to order tix.

Can't wait to read more!

Rhea58 May 28th, 2008 02:57 AM

nice review! Thought Boeing Boeing
was very enjoyable! Wanted to see it due to Christine Baranski & agree that Mark Rylance is superb!
more please?

LowCountryIslander May 28th, 2008 06:15 AM


I got my Boeing Boeing tickets at a discount through the website. If you aren't already signed up you may want to check it out and maybe you can get discount tickets too.

We can chat more about it at the Atlanta GTG next week! And boy that MM Lemon Drop martini was one to remember! :)


Once I saw Christine Baranski name I really wanted to see the show...big factor in my decision to buy the tickets!

I plan to finish up the trip tonight. Thanks for reading!

LowCountryIslander May 28th, 2008 05:37 PM

Sunday, May 25th:

It was another great weather day...warm and sunny!

We didn't have to be anywhere until 11:15am, so we took our time getting out of the hotel and stopped at a Starbucks (they are everywhere!!!) for some coffee.

We purposely did not have breakfast because we were taking the Chelsea Market and Meatpacking District Food Tasting and Walking Tour with Food Tours of New York (

We took the E train downtown to 14th Street and walked over to Chelsea Market at 9th Ave. and 15th Street.

We arrived a little early, so we walked through the market looking in some of the shops.

Our tour was scheduled to start at 11:30am and we were told to be at the meeting point by 11:15am. All the people in our group arrived on time (there were 14 of us) and we started right on time.

I've got to say this was the best $42 I spent on a walking tour! The guide (Bob) was terrific, very knowledable and funny. We tour though the market learning about the building's history (it was orginally the Nabisco Cookie company!). As we walked through the market we would stop at various shops and Bob would tell us a little of the history behind the business and we would have samples. And the samples were not small!

The first stop on the tour was Eleni's bakery and we had the BEST cookie I have ever had there. It was the cranberry everything cookie. It was so good, that at the end of the tour I went back and bought a few (they made for a great snack on the flight home!).

The next stop was the Ronny Brook Dairy shop and we tasted their chocolate milk. I am not exaggerating when I say this tasted like liquid chocolate ice cream!

Then it was onto the Lobster of the biggest seafood providers to NYC restaurants. We had a choice of 5 different soups to taste. We both picked the lobster bisque and it was soooo creamy!

Just when we thought we couldn't eat anythign more we walked over to Buono Italia (an Italian grocer). We had a variet of cheese, olives, cippolini onion (I had never had them before...tasted great!), mortadelo and Amy's (a bakery at the market) grain bread.

After the Italian feast, we moved onto Sarabeth's Bakery to sample 2 varieties of spreadable fruit. We had a blueberry sample and strawberry & peach sample, both very good.

We then had a team sample from T Salon. Very interesting concept...the entire store is green, even the plastic cups and utensils are made from potato and are 100% biodegradable. This is the only shop of it's kind, but the owner would like to expend and has plans to open 350 stores...stayed tuned to see if that happens!

We rounded out the food sampling with gelato from L'arte Gelato, just like the really deal in Italy!

After all the food sampling (which took about 2 hours) we moved over to Morimoto. This is the Iron Chef Morimoto's restaurant and we got to take a peak inside while it was closed. Pretty sleek interior.

We then walked across the street (10th Ave) and popped into Del Posto (a Mario Batali restaurant) for a peak. Interior here is stepping to a high class restaurant. I didn't get to see the menu, but our guide told us they do have a tasting menu priced at $44, which if that is the case I think that's a pretty good deal.

From Del Posto we walked into the Meatpacking District and got a bit of a history lesson on the area and the revitalization it has gone through in the last 15 years.

We worked our way to the Hotel Gansevoort Hotel and went to the lounge/bar at the top of the hotel for some nice views and to end our tour. I thought this was the perfect finish to a great tour. We really enjoyed it and thought the guide was excellent.

I would highly recommend this tour. In fact the next time I'm in NYC I would book one of the other food walking tours this company offers.

After the tour we went back to the Chelsea Market to make a few purchases at the Italian Market (stuff we can't here) and then took a coffee break to re-group and decide what we wanted to do next.

Once we were sufficiently caffeinnated we decided to walk (yes, walk) down 14th Street to Union Square. It really wasn't a bad walk since it was such a nice day, it was about 4 or 5 long blocks, but we broke it up by stopping in Lush to make a purchase of a couple solid shampoos. I will digress here for a moment...I had heard about bar shampoos but never used them and was interested in trying them, especialy for traveling (upcoming 3 week trip to France) and thought this would be the perfect time to try it out, so I bought 2 bars...digression over :)

Union Square was packed with people, there was some kind of event going on related to Taiwan, we never did find out what it was all about, but there were other craft sellers throughout the park area too. We found our way a little further down 14th Street to Trader Joe's and popped in to get a few nuts...we just couldn't help ourselves!

Since were were happy with our purchases we thought it was time for a nice cool beverage. We hopped on the subway at Union Square and went up to 42nd Street and went to the Bryant Park Cafe for a couple glasses of wine.

The park was packed with people, but this time we were able to snag a small table towards the back of the bar in the shade and we sat for a little over an hour enjoying being outside and people watching.

We left Bryant Park to walk over to Artisanal Bistro at Park Avenue and 32nd Street (, it was a bit of a long walk after a long day, but we arrived about 20 minutes early for our 7pm reservation. I had made an early reservation because it was our last night in the city and I figured we might want to have some time to get our bags ready for the next day.

The timing was perfect, the restaurant was not very busy when we arrived but within 30 minutes almost every table was filled.

Artisanal was another good choice for us, we really enjoyed this meal. We started with the onion soup and (yet again) this was the BEST onion soup I have ever had. Full of onions and lots of cheese.

I had the pork dish which was very favorful (I can't remember the name of it) and Mom had the sea bass special with eggplant puree and she said it was excellent.

I had the apple tarte tartin on a cheddar crust with creme fraise it was delicious! I had a cappuccino and mom had an espresso. With 2 glasses of wine the bill came to $155 with tip.

We finished at about 8:30pm and took the long walk back to the hotel.

Monday, May 26th:

We got ourselves ready and walked over to the Stage Deli (next to Maison) and had a quick breakfast (nothing spectacular, just a basic breakfast). We then checked out of the hotel and waited for the Carmel car to pick us up.

The car picked us up right at 11am and we got to LaGuardia in 15 minutes...I kid you not! There was no traffic!

The flight home was uneventful and we actually landed 30 minutes early!!

We had a great time and are looking forward to planning another NYC weekend in the near future!

wj1 May 29th, 2008 11:03 AM


You don't give yourself enough credit--you are a great writer!

My husband and I have just decided to go to NYC over Labor Day Weekend and are beginning to do our homework. Your trip report is the first one I've read and it contained a ton of helpful information. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the food tour and we will definitely be signing up for one of those. Any reason you decided on the Chelsea Market tour? They all sounded so good.

Thanks again for your report.

LowCountryIslander May 29th, 2008 12:12 PM


Thanks for reading my trip report and I'm glad I could give some helpful hints! :)

You are right, all the Foods of NY tours sound great! The reason we picked the Chelsea Market tour over the others was because it was a neighborhood of the city I had not explored before.

LowCountryIslander May 29th, 2008 06:58 PM

Here is a tiny url link to my kodak gallery photo album from this trip.

I hope it works, if not, I will try it again.

LowCountryIslander May 29th, 2008 06:59 PM

The tiny url works! Enjoy! :)

dmlove May 29th, 2008 07:11 PM

Marcy, your pictures are great - I love the fact that you took pictures of everything you ate (was the onion soup at Artisanal as good as it looks?)

The sign about horn honking reminds me of one WE took a picture of many years ago, somewhere near Columbus Circle -- it read something like "Litter is a filthy and disgusting habit, so don't do it".

LowCountryIslander May 30th, 2008 03:56 AM


Yes, the onion soup at Artisanal Bistro was as good as it looks! :)

totorofan May 30th, 2008 06:09 AM

Great pictures! That onion soup would be wonderful right now!

starrs Jun 10th, 2008 12:47 AM

Ummmm, LCI, would you order better weather for me this week. It's not fair that you got PERFECT weather! :-)

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