Friday, May 29, 2009

New York City

My husband and I went to NYC for a long week-end. New York is such a wonderful city to visit. We both have been there a number of times but not for quite a few years. Mark had 2 free tickets that he received from being "bumped" from a flight that had to be used by June. He also had enough hotel points to get us 3 free nights. But even with all that it wasn't an inexpensive trip. Here is the break down of what we did.

We arrived on Thursday night about 2 hours later than planned because of some mysterious problem with our plane. We took the Air train and then the subway to our hotel which was near Little Italy and China Town. The person at the registration desk recommended an Italian restaurant to us which was about 2 blocks away. Mulberry Street (I think they should change the name to something more Italian sounding) is the hub of Little Italy and has restaurants on both sides of the street for about 3-4 blocks. I am sure that every one of them is great. We ate at Positano's (or something like that) and it was fantastic. Homemade pasta makes such a difference. They gave us free Tirimisu, yum.

On Friday we went to the Forbes Galleries. It was recommended on the "best things to do in NYC for free" sight. It was definitely worth the price (hee, hee) or even more. It had wonderful exhibits of toy boats, toy soldiers, and monopoly games as well as some seemingly random exhibits like fancy watches and some art. I would highly recommend it, an added bonus is that it had a really nice bathroom and those are sometimes hard to find. We then went to "Books of Wonder" which is something I always make sure I do on every trip I make to NYC. BoW is a fantastic children's book store and always has some "signed by the author" books as well as antique books. They specialize in Wizard of Oz series books which is how I discovered them in the first place. I bought 5 books and poor Mark carried them for the rest of the day with out complaint. Thank-you Mark!

Friday night we went to a restaurant called "Hell's Kitchen" because it is near the Hell's Kitchen area of New York and had nothing to do with the TV show or Gordan Ramsey. It serves really fantastic Mexican food. And they rose to the occasion because we were in a bit of a rush because of going to see a Broadway musical. Our food came out very speedily and we had plenty of time to enjoy it. The musical that we saw was "Rock of Ages", that is all 80's songs and stars Constantine from American Idol. It was a fun show and of course we knew all the songs. They gave us fake lighters that we could wave around like a concert. The band and the singers were all great and the show had a lot of comedic moments.

Saturday we had a bit of a disappointment because we wanted to tour the NYC public library but because of Memorial Day week-end they were closed. There were a lot of people waiting for the library to open at 11:00 AM as usual. About 11:15 someone called the library and found out about the closure. We ended up wandering around and saw some of a "Turkey Parade." No, not turkey the bird but a parade fully devoted to the country Turkey. Almost everyone was wearing red and white, they had floats and bands, it was really something to behold. In the afternoon we went to see the twin towers area. We visited some churches. One had a pew that was used by President Washington when NYC was the capitol. We also went to Century 21 department store. C-21 is a designer discount store. (think Filene's Basement only bigger) They had many designers that I had not heard of and the prices seemed pretty good, but most things were still more than what I wanted to pay. It was absolutely packed. I wanted to try a few things on but when I saw the wait for the dressing rooms I changed my mind and tried them on over what I was wearing in the aisle. I bought 2 shirts and Mark bought some socks and a belt. I wasn't particularly impressed but maybe we just went on the wrong day.

Saturday night we ate at a seafood place, then had a couple of beers at a brew pub and spoke to a nice couple from Manhattan. They were interested in what it was like to live in a small city. A whole lot cheaper we told them. And we have the Steelers and Penguins, we gave all the highlights of Pittsburgh. I think the traveling bureau or the Chamber of Commerce should hire us.

Sunday we traveled home, this time uneventfully.

A few random notes about NYC: It is huge, expect to do a lot of walking and definitely use the subway. Don't believe everything you read. We ate at a diner that claimed to have the best tuna salad, it was okay not great. The service is generally not very good. With the exception of Hell's Kitchen, we received pretty poor service. I was kind of surprised by that. We did not complain but just went with the flow after all we were on vacation. Don't forget that there is tax on clothing there. Don't even look at the fake designer purses in China town. We were accousted every morning and night by the subway station by people trying to get us to look at their wares. They yell hay-ba, hay-ba, hay-ba at you and it took me a moment to figure out they were saying hand-bag. It was Fleet Week, so there were Ship men (and women) and Cadets everywhere we went. It was nice to see them.

All in all it was a really fun trip and I can't wait to go back again. Although next time not on Memorial Day week-end.

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