COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Whirlwind Trip to New York Report

Old Nov 15th, 2008, 08:28 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Whirlwind Trip to New York Report

DH had a conference in NY that was only one day, and with a great fare (Atlanta to LGA $158 RT) I decided to go with him. We left very early Thursday morning at 6:40 am and planned to return midday on Saturday, giving us two nights and two full days.

Since the conferees were all staying at the W Hotel on Lexington we kept on there the second night, although in retrospect I wish we'd booked somewhere else. With taxes and fees, the room cost $455 per night, which is a lot for a postage sized room even if the toiletries are from Bliss.

The flight to LGA was uneventful and we had no trouble getting a cab. I wanted to take the Queensboro Bridge back as it is the closest Manhattan entrance to our hotel area AND we could see some of our old haunts on the way in. Driver wanted the Triboro (they always do ) but we prevailed. As it turned out, we were within a mile of our hotel when traffic just stopped completely. The next street over (50th) was blocked off and police were everywhere.

The room wasn't ready at 10 am (we didn't expect it to be) so we left our luggage and went around the corner to the New York Luncheonette diner. Good breakfasts, great coffee, quick service. I asked some of New York's finest why the street was blocked off and we learned that George Bush was in town, staying at the Waldorf across from our hotel. I made a face and they started laughing and told us not to worry as he would be gone that evening. Until then traffic was a MESS, and I remembered how we hated it when the UN was in session as it affected traffic in the UES where we lived.

The room was ready at 11 am (they called us at breakfast) and it was as hot as Miami in August. The HVAC unit was spewing out hot air even though the control was on COLD AIR and the temp was on 53. We tried to take a nap but it was too hot. We called the desk to tell them we were miserable. We packed up what little we'd unpacked and told them to please move us to another room while we were at lunch. They did this with no fuss whatsoever.

Prix fixe lunch at Roberto Passon at $13 per person has got to be the culinary deal of the century in NYC. DH and I both had the Angus steak (7.5/10). I had the vegetable soup to start (7/10) and DH had a caesar salad (8/10). For dessert, we had tiramisu (10/10) and creme brulee (9/10) and I had two glasses of a undistinguished but nice red Italian wine. With taxes, tip, and drinks our total was about $57 for an excellent lunch.

Next, a quick shopping stop at Brooks Brothers for DH, who needed some new khaki pants and came out with a handsome tweed jacket, a few sweaters, a new navy blazer, and two new wool trousers. I was shocked---this is the man who still doesn't realize I've thrown out his high school football cleats and hasn't really shopped in about 10 years. And now he probably won't buy any clothes for another 10 years, lol.

We took a cab to the Met, where we spent most of our time in the American Wing looking at the hundreds of paintings that were all together in a sort of holding area on temporary walls on the second floor while the 3rd. floor was being renovated. It was quite a departure from the usual spare presentation of art at the Met, obviously, but I have to say it was WONDERFUL! Many of the lesser treasures they don't usually have room for were hanging cheek by jowl with the Mary Cassats and the Winslow Homers. Seeing them crowded together on those movable metal walls allowed us to see many more works at a time and compare styles and periods. It was a great experience, and we saw more American art in that one afternoon than I have ever seen in my life. A very worthwhile outing!

We spent a bit of time in the European sculpture court and went through the Medieval area on our way out. Met employees were decorating the tree with all those lovely angels and it was a treat to have that Christmas preview.

We went back to the hotel for a nap and had been moved to a cooler room. We slept for about an hour and then set out for the theater district at about 7:30pm. We walked as again, the traffic was even worse than usual, to the Cort Theater to see The 39 Steps. I selected this show solely because the NY Times called it "absurdly enjoyable." And it was! With only four cast members playing ALL the parts, it was a very witty satire of the Hitchcock movie genre. We both LOVED it and about 10 minutes into the show agreed that our DS2 would just have to see it. I can see him IN it, it is just his type of show.

We had a late supper at Chez Josephine after the theater. We ordered chicken and beef, and DH had the onion soup for starters and I had organic baby greens. DH also ordered the spinach. The food was about a 6/10. I had two cosmopolitans, which were a 9/10, and the service was good. The place is charming, lots of ambience from photos of Josephine Baker and strange little objets d'art everywhere. We were sitting too far toward the front to be able to truly enjoy the piano player, but he was very good. We were sitting a bit too near a young (20's) trio of two girls and one boy who were drunkenly talking about things that probably shouldn't be discussed in public at a bar. Or at all. The total for our meal, incl. tax and tip, was about $136. We took a cab back to the hotel and were very glad to have a more comfortable room after the rainy humid/warm weather outside.

DH left at 7 am the next morning for his conference and spent the day at Columbia. I stayed in bed and lounged and watched the pay per view movie Burn After Reading, which never did come to our town. It was great--I love Frances McDorland's face, the most expressive in Hollywood!

I spent the day shopping and walking. I had planned to go back to the Met but found I really didn't want to. I kept making half-hearted attempts to go to Ground Zero, as I haven't seen the site since 9/11, but in the end I couldn't make myself do it. Our old apartment on the 31st floor on 72nd had a window in every room that looked south, and on fine days we could see the towers clearly. I guess I just am still not willing to replace that memory with what is there now.

So, shallowly (is that a word?) I spent the day at Bloomingdales, Bergdorfs, etc. I bought nothing except a few Christmas nutcrackers to add to my collection. And I was flabbergasted to buy the nicest possible blueberries, raspberries and blackberries from a street vendor for $5! At our local sad excuse for a grocery store, each pint would have been $4, and here on the streets of expensive Manhattan they were $2 each or 3 for $5. Hmmmm. I had the fruits and a pretzel for lunch and they were delicious!

That evening we had dinner at Angus McIndoe, one of my favorite restaurants. It is unpretentious, has great food, is well-located and they are very good at getting you out on time for your show. I had hoped for a pom-tini but they had temporarily discontinued this martini with pomegranate juice, so I had my customary cosmopolitans. These were so delicious I drank them as my dinner beverage, lol, and as a result I don't remember what DH had for dinner. I had the free-range chicken in a buttermilk marinade that was fabulous, with mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach and a romaine salad to start. For dessert DH had a cappucino bread pudding and I had pumpkin cheesecake on a bed of poached pears. All food at was 10/10. The service was also a 10/10, even though we were upstairs on the second floor. Has the waitstaff gotten younger since we were there last? Dinner total, inclusive: $130

Off to Mary Poppins, a play I have wanted to see for a year. It was everything I'd hoped, although the book was changed around a bit clumsily in order to give the play a villian. (Question: must every play have a villian?) Mary Poppins was, as advertised, practically perfect in every way and DH especially loved the sets and choreography. I got these tickets at 40% off through an online discounter and the previous night's tickets at 50% off, so we saved a good deal on our entertainment.

Later that night we watched Vicky Christina Barcelona in the room, another movie that will never, ever, come to our local theater. It was very interesting, to say the least.

We had planned to have a nice brunch nearby and a romantic carriage ride in Central Park on Saturday before we left for the airport, but there was nothing romantic about the pouring rain! We went instead to LGA, hoping to get an earlier flight than our 2pm departure. The Delta clerk was willing to put us on an earlier flight for "weather related reasons," she said nicely. The new flight was supposed to leave an hour before our original one, but due to those infamous "unforseen circumstances" we actually ended up leaving later than our original flight time.

DH and I were put in exit row seats, which was nice for his height. After we finally got to Atlanta the ground crew could not attach the jetway to the airplane. We waited more than 30 minutes for them to work this out, after losing about 15 minutes because we taxied to our proper gate only to find it occupied by another plane.

How does that happen, one wonders, and could that happen en route in the sky? The passengers who had connecting flights were now hyperventillating as we taxied to a new gate. When the door didn't open for another 30 minutes I thought the lady who had the connecting flight to Mexico (only one each day on her airline) was going to pass out. We checked one bag for the two of us and, due to mechanical problems on Delta baggage carousel #5, the luggage did not appear for an hour and fifteen minutes. The workers realized that the ramps were not working but instead of just putting the luggage on a different carousel---there were two, one on either side, that were practically empty---they decided to practically dismantle #5 while we waited. And waited. And resolved, once again, to take Delta only as a last resort. We wouldn't have flown them this time except the conference agency used them. I kept thinking, these people can't manage their own schedules, airplanes, gates and luggage handlers as it is... and now they'll be responsible for even more planes, gates, etc.?

Except for the serial delays of the trip back we had a great time and I am already planning a trip back with our kids in the spring.
kswl is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2008, 09:01 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
And now I've just read on CNN that a man shot a security guard while trying to rob a jewelry store at the Waldorf! In broad daylight this afternoon! (And no doubt the street would have been closed AGAIN! )
kswl is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2008, 11:40 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 23,544
Enjoyed it kswl, thanks!

When will Met renovations be completed? Sounded like a neat way to see works.

When WILL the airlines get it right?
TDudette is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 05:37 AM
  #4  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
kswl - enjoyed your whirlwind trip report! May I ask, how did you manage to lure your DH into Brooks Brothers? My husband is in desperate need of some new clothes and I can't seem to be able to drag him within 10 miles of a clothing store!
yk is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 06:35 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
yk, it was weird. We were literally just passing by and I said Would you like to look? and to my complete surprise he said, Yes, I need a new blazer! He's had the same blazer for 25 years and it is getting rusty (and a bit tight, which I suspect is the real reason he agreed to stop).

Once in he was putty in my hands I tried to send him off to look at something else while I paid but he wouldn't go. He was taken aback at the total, having never looked at the price of anything while trying it on, but I reminded him that he hadn't bought ANYTHING in 10 years, and that amount amortized over 10 years was really not much.
kswl is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 02:59 PM
  #6  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,358
Perhaps a trip with my husband to NYC will do the trick!

At least his last clothes-shopping trip was within the last 2 years.
yk is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 03:11 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
Really enjoyed your report. The W on Lexington Ave. is just not worth the trouble as you noted.
mclaurie is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 03:41 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,856
Mclaurie, we actually liked the W quite a bit. Yes, the room was very small, but it was also well-designed so the size wasn't a big deal. The room had been recently refurbished, the bed was a typical Starwood-comfortable bed. Very very nice public areas (lobby bar, etc.) I'm just curious what you mean by "it isn't worth the trouble".
sf7307 is online now  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 04:59 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
I don't know how long it's been since the W lobby was overhauled, but it is time to do it again.

Low lights and brownish colors in a lobby equal soiled upholstery, as it is hard to see to clean (and almost pointless). The sofas and chairs in the lobby were very dirty, and some of the pillows, which are a sort of cheap material with inferior sewing and workmanship, were filthy. The carpet was likewise very dirty in the sitting area of the lounge, and those little drinks tables with game boards stenciled on their tops are ridiculously small. There are diffusers everywhere in the public areas----even the elevators. The scent is a sort of floral with slight musky undertones, and it was too heavy. The place felt, to me, as though it needed a thorough sweeping, vacumming, dusting, and windexing of all surfaces, and then opening all the doors and windows and letting a good stiff breeze blow some clean air in. (If that's possible in NYC, lol.)

The rooms are well-designed, but they are still small. I also don't care for the cliche-d words everywhere ("wish" on the desk, for example---what does that mean?)

I guess I prefer the Ritz to the W. But I would take a "lesser" hotel with more space than the W, any day. In fact, I think the Buckingham Hotel, across from Carnegie Hall, has both a better location, is a MUCH better value and I actually liked the rooms better. And a suite with a bathroom VERY similar to the W (only bigger) was about $375 including tax and tariffs, in the busiest season of the year.
kswl is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 05:34 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,856
My experience with the lobby was completely different from your's kswl. Completely.
sf7307 is online now  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 06:02 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Good thing there is a plethora of choices in lodging in NYC, sf7307. I just really prefer quality over hip.... I'm probably a bit older than you, too, so you have to take that into account.
kswl is offline  
Old Nov 16th, 2008, 07:10 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,178
kswl - I very much enjoyed your report and especially liked your food and drink rating system. I forget to ask hotels when I book a reservation when the rooms, etc. were last updated. Fabrics, upholstery, etc. can only last so long before they need changing. And those 'grid lock alert' days can make me want to scream - certainly no fun when you're visiting for a short time!
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2008, 05:19 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 71
Sounds like a great weekend away... I laughed when you mentioned the bargain on fruit. My husband works downtown and has found interesting meal bargains. A great omelette cart where they put the omelette in a grinder roll since a briefcase and omelette are a scary combination and a fruit cart like the one you mentioned where for $3 or $5 you get your choice of fruits in a huge clam shell container that is so full they use a rubber band to keep it closed. When my son goes in with his dad this is his favorite!
motherofthree is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2008, 07:16 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
I actually asked the manager of our "produce" department---and I use that word VERY lightly---why the same raspberries from California cost more than double in Georgia than they do in New York City---supposedly the most expensive place on earth to live.

He did not know, of course, and said that a lady had recently said the same thing to him about apples. "Of course, they grow the apples up there," he said. Oh? These from Washington state?

kswl is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2008, 07:35 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,178
kswl - you actually hit it on a good day when you bought the fruit. The quality from vendors, imo, varies tremendously from day to day. Some days certain items are great and I will buy a lot; on other days, berries can be moldy, asparagus shriveled, broccoli yellowing, etc. But, I take a look almost every day because when it's good, the prices can't be beat.
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
viaggiatrice
United States
37
Jun 24th, 2009 10:53 AM
schnookies
United States
14
Mar 7th, 2008 06:21 PM
marymarra
United States
18
Jan 12th, 2006 10:19 PM
JimF
United States
5
Dec 9th, 2005 05:35 PM
tada
United States
5
Jun 6th, 2004 10:08 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO