Summer on the Streets of NY

Empire Hotel

I have just returned from another fabulous trip to NYC, and I always learn a few new things. We stayed again at the Empire Hotel on 63rd & 9th, on the upper west side, across the street from the Lincoln Center, and in fact we had 2 large windows facing it. I really like this area and think of it as my “neighborhood”  We were a couple blocks from Columbus Circle subway and a Whole Foods. Walk up Columbus Ave and there are lots of small restaurants and outdoor cafe’s. The same with walking south on 9th street, small hardware stores, fruit and vegetable stands, and more small ethnic restaurants.

I have decide that this is the NY I like, I really don’t care for the Time Square area, it’s fun to walk through and look at the neon lights, but it is nothing more than gift shops, and chain retail/restaurants. Monday, Aug 5, there was a roped off area in the square, someone inside yelled out “Happy National Underwear Day!” I later read that at 5:00pm that night 2000+ people gather together in their underwear trying to break a record. Wow, I’m sorry I missed that.
I can’t think of any negatives on this trip. I had my line-up of things to do and eat before we came and all went well. Here is a list of my top 10 for this trip.
#1 Great Hotel Room and location.
#2 Restaurant Week, a great way to sample some of the best restaurants with 3-course meals for $38.
#3 Saw an Off-Off Broadway show in a small theater in Tribeca, The Kings Whore. A modern spin on Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
#4 Food Truck tour in the Financial District by Turnstile Tours. A great guide (Brian), and 6 different samples. All were good, but my favorite was the Grenada Jerk Chicken by Victoria.
#5 I saw 3 celebrities– I saw Hoda & Kathy Lee filming the Today Show, and on the NBC tour I saw Mayim Bialik from the Big Bang Theory walking down the hall into a make-up room.
#6 Best food to enter my mouth, Ramen at Totto Ramen on 52nd st & 9th, Lunch at Chili Thai on 9th & 49th, appetizer Black Cod Miso on Limestone Lettuce at Nobu Next Door, and the Confit of Duck Leg at Apiary at 3rd Ave in East Village.
#7 The weather made the trip! high 70’s all week. I was expecting a lot worst for NY in Aug.
#8 Three visits to the Wafels and Dinges food truck. It didn’t help that it was a block a way from our hotel.
#9 My first visit to the Metropolitan Museum and Cloisters Museum. Wow! I need another visit, I barely scratched the surface of the Met.
#10 A nice mellow evening of Mostly Mozart and the Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center
Outside the Lincoln Center


Next up…New York City

Lincoln Center
Outside the Lincoln Center

Two weeks out until my next trip….New York City. I have been there several times before, so this time I’m looking to go a little more in-depth and try some new things. My husband attends a conference there every year and most times I come along for the free ride, well almost free anyhow.
While he sits in meetings all day, here is what I have on the agenda:
City Pass— There are several city passes: New York Pass, New York City Pass, and New York City Explorer Pass. And each one is just a little different in how it works and what it covers. I made a list of the things I’d like to see and how much each costs separately. I added it up to see which pass fits best and if the price is worth it. I went with the NYC Explorer Pass this time. For $80 I can choose 3 tours or attractions from a list of 50 and I will have 9 days to use it. My wish list for this trip is NBC studios (I did this about 15 years ago, so it’s worth a repeat), the Natural History Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum including The Cloisters. I really wanted to go to Ellis Island (again), but it is still closed due to the hurricane damage.
Gourmet Food Truck Walking Tour– $48– I signed up for the tour that starts in the Financial District. We will visit and eat at 6 different food trucks around Manhattan.
Food— Here is the most fun of all: researching restaurants. We have our favorites, so that makes it hard to break away for something new. My husband insists on Nobu Next Door, and maybe Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. He also has a recommendation for a restaurant called Frankies Spuntino. Last time we were here it was NYC Restaurant Week, and, what do you know, we will be there during Restaurant Week again! This is great… 275 restaurants participate in offering a $25 lunch or $38 dinner, which is 3-course prix-fixe menu. Actually, this is how we had come to find our favorites from the last visit.
Broadway show—This one is still a ? (thinking about it).
That’s the line-up. I will be back later for a full report on how it goes.