TRIP REPORT: NYC in 3 days?!

Oct 22nd, 2008, 11:33 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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TRIP REPORT: NYC in 3 days?!

Wanted to thank you for all the tips for my NYC trip received from McLaurie, Thingorjus, Neopatrick and many others. I took my dad for his birthday Oct. 4th and we had a fabulous time.

Arrived just after lunch Sat. by car and initially tried to drive around Manhattan. We soon realized this is a ridiculous idea, with the traffic and the one way streets, so finally parked our car at the valet at the Warwick Hotel and checked in. I would return to this hotel- overall, the location is the best thing about it: 6th and 54th I believe. Just blocks from everything. The hotel lobby was recently remodeled and looks fantastic. The rooms are a decent size for New York and the bathrooms have also been remodeled nicely. The towels are not the best quality for the price of the hotel ($410) and the valet service lags a bit- when we pulled up there was no one around and we had to go in to the desk to get someone to help us with the luggage. But overall the service was good, the hotel attractive and the location is by far the best attribute.

We walked up a few blocks north to Central Park and walked around by ourselves on a gorgeous, sunny day- perfect weather. The park is much bigger than I had imagined. We eventually found Strawberry Fields, and expected it to be more of a dramatic memorial- there really isn't much there. Walked by Tavern on the Green but didn't go inside. The park is really beautiful.

Came back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner. Took a cab to Chez Josephine on 45th in the theater district. We had a 5:30 reservation and thought nobody would be there but it was completely full. The tables are on top of each other though, so there was hardly any privacy for conversation. Piano player though, and good atmosphere overall- rather loud. The food was good- above average but not outstanding. I had crab cakes with a remoulade sauce which were good but not the best I've ever had and Dad had pan seared liver which was quite good he says. Lemon tarte for dessert which was excellent.

Then we walked the few blocks over to the Gerald Schoenfeld theater for "All My Sons" at 8pm. John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Katie Holmes. It was sold out I believe. Standing ovation at the end- it was a very somber, intense play but good acting overall and Arthur Miller doesn't disappoint.

On the way back, we walked through Times Square, which is chaos, you can barely move. We passed the Ziegfeld Theater which is 1 block from our hotel, and just missed by 1 hour, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie signing autographs for the premiere of Changeling- oh well. There were still fans waiting outside the theater and they showed us pictures of the stars on their camera phones.

The next day, Sunday, we took the subway up to the MET, which was an experience for someone from Ohio. The subways are fine, but figuring out which one to take and how to get there is something else. I found it interesting that the $20 entrance fee for the MET is just "suggested"- you can actually pay whatever you want to get in. That's a nice concept for those who appreciate art but can't afford the ticket price. We toured the MET all morning and we both loved it- not enough time but a good start.

Walked a few blocks to Cafe Sabarsky in the Neue Gallery for lunch. 10 minute wait at 1pm so not bad at all. Lovely atmosphere- excellent food. I had the hummersalat (lobster with avocado, greens, and grapefruit) and Dad had the Hungarian beef goulash with spatzle. Both were excellent. Dessert is a must there, and he had the Marie Therese and I had the Mozarttorte- both outstanding. Everyone raves about the coffee, which we thought to be very good, but not the best in the city like everyone raves.

Next we hit MoMA for the rest of the day. Unfortuantely, tickets were sold out for Van Gogh's Starry Night- so we missed that. Saw some interesting Pollack pieces though. Overall, I wasn't crazy about this museum- it has it's place, but it was too contemporary and abstract for me.

Back to the Warwick for a change of clothes and then a cab to Picholine on the UWS. I used the $50 gift card they send you if you sign up on their website- thank you NeoPatrick! The service here was outstanding- they cater to your every need. I had the mushroom risotto which was perfect, and then the Chicken Kiev with liquid foie gras, which was very good but not outstanding. Dad had the Scottish game, which I believe, was grouse, but can't remember for sure. The waiter claims that the owner (Terrance Brennan)shoots the game himself and brings it back when he travels to Scotland. Dad said his was excellent. Dessert was the passion fruit cannoli and tiramisu- both very good. They bring you little extras at the beginning- to "awaken your tastebuds"- figs, ricotta, and seafood panna cotta, no charge, and extra chocolates at the end- no charge. I also had the cheese flight at the end, which was wonderful if you love cheese. It was definitely pricey, but worth it for a special occasion.

Then we took a cab to Top of the Rock, which we opted for instead of the Empire State Building, because no lines and you can make a reservation. Great views from 3 different levels here and you can see the ESB from here.

Monday, the next day, we had breakfast at a local diner a block from the hotel. Then subway again to the Staten Island Ferry, which is free, and only a 20 minute ride each way and goes right past the Statue of Liberty for some great pictures. I thought it would be bigger than it was, but maybe we were too far away to appreciate its size. You have to exit and get back on when you go back to Manhattan and you have to do it quickly so as not to miss the ride back.

Then we walked up to St. Paul's chapel next to Ground Zero. Unfortunately, they had a music program going on inside so we couldn't go in, but they have some interesting info outside and in the back yard of the church, about the actual events of 9/11. Extremely sad. There is such a void there- even with the construction going on, I can only imagine how much destruction occurred. Tragic.

Lunch was at a local cafe and then a subway ride up to the West Village for a self-guided walking tour. Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, of course, and walked by the brownstone on Perry St. where Carrie lives from "Sex and the City". Walked by the Beatrice and the Waverly Inn- saw some paparazzi hovering around the Waverly. Beautiful homes on Perry and Charles Streets- I hear this is where many celebrities live. Walked around NYU a bit.

Then subway up to the Ed Sullivan Theater for our tickets to the Late Show with David Letterman. Great experience and I love Dave, but I thought he would interact with the audience more and he didn't. Band was great. The theater and the stage are so much smaller in person than on TV- it's amazing. So are the actors!

Dinner was supposed to be at Roberto Passon but we were so exhausted we ended up just walking back to the hotel and eating at Randolph's inside the Warwick, which is a restaurant/bar, upscale and good but casual food.

Left early Tuesday morning! Great city- wish I had more time there but thanks to all of you, we got a nice start.

Barbara in Ohio

brubenow is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 11:43 AM
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Sounds like a superb trip. You were not close enough to the Statue of Liberty to appreciate the size. Next time you should visit it properly or take one of the other cruises that gets closer.
mclaurie is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 11:58 AM
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Barbara - You and your dad certainly did a lot in 3 days! What a wonderful trip for your dad's birthday. Thanks for posting.
yk is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 05:39 PM
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Great trip report! I'm with you--Strawberry Fields was not at all what I expected it to be. My husband and walked all over CP on our first visit to NYC and kept trying to find it. When we finally did, we were like "that's it?" Oh well...we were just in NYC this past August and saw an obviously VERY high young man (pupils dialated the size of dinner plates) trying to catch a bubble (yes, just the one!) at Strawberry Fields as we walked past. It was hilarious and certainly gave us a new memory for SF!

For the Met--did you pay full price or did you give what you felt was appropriate? If you don't want to answer, that's ok! I am curious b/c we debated doing the pay-what-you-want thing at the Museum of Natural History but ended up paying full price--we felt awkward about trying it, but later wished we would have. NYC can be expensive; maybe we'll do it next time. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
Lee4 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 08:01 PM
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Lee4- For the MET, my dad paid the tickets, and I have to be honest, he loves to hang on to his money, so he jumped at the chance and paid $10 each and told the guy "we'll take advantage of the opportunity since we'll only be here 2 hours", which was true. I was a little embarrassed, but hey, if they tell you the price is just "suggested" then I guess you can pay whatever you like!
brubenow is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 08:37 PM
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cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 06:23 PM
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Thanks for telling me, brubenow. I say--good for your dad! For just two hours,I think he made a good call. Maybe we'll give it a try the next time we're in NYC and only plan to stay at a museum for a short time. Thanks again for your report--loved it!
Lee4 is offline  
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