Thursday, August 30, 2007

Going to NY?

My co-worker and cube-neighbor Mark asked me this morning if I had any suggestions on where to stay and what to do when visiting New York. My list of old haunts and must-dos is below, but I would love comments and suggestions from others to broaden even my narrow list of locations (especially hotels, I rarely stay downtown and instead take the LIRR into the city when visiting my family). Please leave comments with further suggestions.

Where to Stay:
  • Marriott Marquis (Midtown)
    Not only a good place to stay, but also has "The View", the only revolving restaurant in NY. Hit the bar and get a drink (expensive, but the one drink minimum is worth the view).
  • Abingdon House (Greenwich Village)
    I've never been, but I've heard it is a really nice B&B like setting.
  • Grand Hyatt (midtown)
    I've stayed a few times... it’s a nice hotel, good location, a little pricey but if you are a Hyatt Gold Passport points whore like I am, you’re willing to pay a few extra bucks to get those points.
  • Milford Plaza (midtown)
    The lullaby of old Broadway.
Where to Eat:
  • Becco (Midtown)
    Love, Love, Love this restaurant. For those who watch PBS, the owner of this restaurant is Lidia of Lidia’s Kitchen. Make reservations!
    Caesar Salad
    Becco's version of the classic Caesar salad
    ~ or ~
    Antipasto Misto
    An assortment of marinated & grilled
    vegetables with assorted seafood

    ~ followed by ~
    Our renowned unlimited table side service of
    our Chef's three daily pasta preparations
  • Carnegie Deli (midtown)
    Some people will tell you to go to the Stage Deli, I'm more about Carnegie. The location, the kitsch factor and the pastrami are quintessentially New York.
  • Trailer Park (Chelsea- downtown)
    This has become one of our favorite bars/cheap eateries in Manhattan. You can settle down in the bowling alley seats section and people watch everyone walking by. The theme of the food is comfort; mac and cheese and tater tots are very good. Very kitschy.
  • Waters Edge (In Queens, but there is a complimentary Water Shuttle from midtown (34th)
    I've never been, but if you are looking for a romantic view, this is your place.
  • ESPN Zone (Midtown)
    If you are lucky, you might catch a show being taped.
  • Mariella Pizza (Midtown)
    Very good pizza, although most little pizza joints in the city are going to give you a good slice at reasonable prices. This place is actually recommended by Oprah, for those who want a connection to fame.

    What to Do:
    • TKTS Booth(midtown- Times Square)
      Same day play/musical tickets at 50% off face price. Worth waiting in line
      Visit Playbill Online to see what is playing right now.
    • Yankee Game (Bronx)
      If you are fortunate enough to visit while the Yankees are in town, you must take a subway up to the Bronx and take in a game. Be prepared to pay top dollar for scalped tickets.
    • Empire State Building (midtown)
      Worth the view (get there early!
    • Golf at Chelsea Piers (Chelsea- downtown)
      What better way to fight off stress then driving golf balls over the East River.
    • David Letterman (Midtown)
      You must request tickets in advance or wait on line the day of to see if you can get in. Very fun to see a taping. Bring a coat; he keeps the theatre very cold.
    • St. Patricks Cathedral or St. John's the Devine
      St. John the Devine is the world's largest cathedral and is never expected to be fully completed due to its size.
    • Red Rocks West(Chelsea-downtown)
      Might not be your thing, but it is coyote ugly without all the tourists. If you've ever want to see the lady in your life dance on a bar, this is your place.
    • Culture Club (West Village, SoHo)
      Want to dance like it's 1989? This is the place. It has great people watching, bachelorette parties. No cover on Fridays ($25 on Saturdays).
    • Live Music
      It is all about who is playing, but places my (very hip) sister swears by are The Continental, The Bowary Ballroom and Roseland. (I know nothing of the Luna Lounge, but it certainly has a great name!) (O'Neill's Irish Bar is also known as Brady's (and Aidan's) Bar on Sex and the City)
    Getting Around:
    • Handsome Cab Ride (midtown)
      Take a horse cab ride through Central Park. Very romantic.
    • PATH Train
      Just in case you happen to want to visit New Jersey you can get there via the PATH.
    • Circle Line Sightseeing tours
      What better way to take in Manhattan then to sail around it.
    • Double Decker Bus
      It is worth doing a tour once to get some of the history and background stories of the city.
    • JFK Airtrain
      It is a pain in the butt to get luggage through subway turnstiles once you get into the city, but the airtrain is much cheaper then taking a cab.
    Where to Shop:


    Ronald said...

    When I spent a weekend in NYC last summer, I stayed at the Red Roof Inn in midtown (32nd & Broadway). It's relatively inexpensive yet still fairly nice, and convenient to Times Square, the big Macy's, Madison Square Garden, and the Empire State Building. It's also in the middle of Korean Town so there are several Korean shops and restaurants nearby (though the streets can get a bit, um, fragrant at night when the trash is set out).

    Friends of mine took me to dinner at Tello's in Chelsea and dessert at Cafe Rafaella in West Village one evening... both highly recommended (and this coming from a picky eater)!

    Amy said...

    Because I love to eat, most of my trips to NYC revolve around...eating. :)

    However, I also do my fair share of shopping and hanging out, too, so here's the way I'd do the city:

    Emmett McCarthy – NoLIta – 240 Elizabeth Street between Houston and Prince. Emmett was one of the contestants on season 2 of Project Runway and his boutique has some very beautiful (but pricey) things.

    Calypso – also in NoLIta – 280 Mott St, also between Houston and Prince.

    There are lots of other great little shops in NoLIta, so wander down Elizabeth and Mott to see what interests you. Hollywould has a shoe boutique on Elizabeth, too.

    If he's shopping for clothes or going with someone, I'd also recommend figuring out who's having sample sales while they're there. You can find some pretty amazing deals!

    Sabon NYC – 93 Spring Street between Broadway and Mercer – go in, and when they ask you if you want to wash your hands, say yes! If you buy anything, also let them know you’re traveling with it and they’ll bubble-wrap it for you so things don’t explode in your suitcase.

    DSW in Union Square – 40 E 14th St (3rd floor) at Union Square. They’ve been known to have high-end shoes there, like Jimmy Choos. Fun to try on even if you don’t buy any!

    Pommes Frites – 123 2nd Ave between 7th and 8th Sts. A fabulous snack if you’re out wandering around and don’t want a full lunch, or need something in-between lunch and dinner. The Smoked Eggplant Mayo was especially good!

    Perilla – 9 Jones St between W 4th and Bleecker Sts. This the restaurant the winner of the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef (Harold Dieterle) opened. Erin and I ate there and everything was absolutely amazing. If you go, try the Spicy Duck Meatballs.

    Sushi Samba – 87 7th Ave S at Bleecker / Barrow. This is my all-time favorite sushi place in NYC, so if you’re in for some good raw fish, stop by and ask to sit upstairs on the patio if it’s nice outside! Be nice to the server and see if they'll do a custom tasting menu for you - they're amazing.

    If they're interested, I'd also recommend doing the Mesa Grill (one of Bobby Flay's restaurants) for brunch. A great way to get a taste of the restaurant's menu without paying dinner prices.

    Don’t Tell Mama – 343 W 46 th St (Restaurant Row) between 8th and 9th Aves. An amazing cabaret bar where the entire staff sings songs, many Broadway tunes and sing-a-longs, the drinks are strong and not super expensive. Live music doesn’t start until 10 pm in the Piano Bar, but if you’re a large group, try to get there by 10:30 pm or so; you should be able to get a table. Be prepared to sing the night away!

    For something a little different, I'd recommend taking one of the walking food tours offered by Food Tours of New York. We took the Chelsea Market tour and it was fantastic! Plus, you get to see where the Food Network's headquarters are.

    I also highly recommend taking one of the Circle Line tours for a bit of a different view on the city. We took the evening tour and it was amazing to see the city at night from the water! We also cruised past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, so you can see those sights without spending hours getting there and back.

    I've stayed in Midtown, Union Square, Upper East, and Upper West. For someone's first visit to the city, I recommend staying in the Midtown / Times Square area since it's centrally located for both places to walk to and subway stops. Sometimes the Starwood chains (especially the Sheratons) will have a buy 2 nights / get 1 free deal, so he may want to check into that. Whatever he does, please tell him NOT to stay at the Best Western President hotel in Times Square. Worst hotel I've ever stayed in!

    Nursedude said...

    Eventhough Little Italy is getting pac-manned by China Town, I still think Little Italy is worth a visit. If you are a baseball fan, a Yankee game is a MUST. I think to have a New York Experience, at least one cab ride and trips in the subway are a must. The Empire State building is a must, as is the ferry to either the Statue of Liberty and/or Ellis Island. Strolling through Central park is cool as hell, too. To be honest, I most enjoyed just chewing the fat with people at the ball park, in restaurants and in the subway. I think New Yorkers are more sociable than people give theme credit for, and also there are so many people from interesting places in the world who live in New York. Really, it's all good-just keep your street smarts.

    NeeNee said...

    There are so many things to do there, I need to start going more often.

    Carmines- Upperwest Side, family Italian dinner. Really good.

    Planet Rose- Downtown, small but fun Karaoke

    Magnolia Bakery- Bleecker street, best cupcakes

    Canal street- Go purse shopping hopefully they ask "you buying purse" and you can go down alleys and in secret rooms, to get great deals. It's an experience.

    Explosive Bombchelle said...

    A restaurant suggestion from a colleague at work: IL Cortile at 123 Mulberry Street in the heart of Little Italy.

    Explosive Bombchelle said...

    I think I'm going to have to compile all of these and put them on my other blog, vagablonde travel guides, as the first entry!