Our trip to New York city has been incredibly fun. One of the best vacations ever.
Our hotel (technically a timeshare) is simply lovely. It's a suite with lots of space and a fridge. This is my first time in New York in the summer, and while it has been nice to see everything in bloom and without freezing- well the fridge has seen lots of use. There is a grocery store a block away and we have delivery menus, so eating out has been a luxury not a necessity.
Also, having a smartphone is really amazing. All the things I used to do on trips with maps and printouts and books... it is so unbelievably convenient to just carry it all around on my phone. I put a lot of time into planning this trip, so I'd researched the best seats for all our shows, and had lots of restaurants saved on the android. There were only a couple I was dying to work into our plans, but I wanted to make sure whenever we got hungry, we knew what was good.
Friday we pretty much just settled in.
Saturday we went to a backstage tour of Wicked (my favorite show ever!) It was really well done, and frankly so inspiring that we walked out and decided that we had to get tickets to the show while we're here. Which we did. After that we strolled around Bryant Park and the Public Library (which I love). Then I went to a class on how to research buildings in New York. We had dinner at a Czeck restaurant in Brooklyn. It was a terribly quaint, authentic place. After dinner we grabbed pastries at a little greek cafe which had the best bakery of any we sampled all week.
Sunday we went to see Cirque du Soleil at Radio City. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip. It was jaw-dropping. Literally. I think I spent half the performance with my mouth open. The music and the staging and of course the talent were all flawless. It was so good we both wanted to see it again. (But fortunately or unfortunately it wasn't playing the only other times we could go this week.) We had lunch at a wonderful Turkish restaurant just down the street. Dinner was at an izakaya where they answered the phone in Japanese. :-D Everything was delicious and it had a great atmosphere. It would have taken the cake for best hidden gem (in the basement of an office building with just a portable, mostly Japanese sign to indicate it was there) if not for Wednesday's lunch!
Monday I had crepes for breakfast. We had originally planned to go on a NYPL tour, but the group was so large that we ended up just breaking off and wandering instead. We sat in the main reading room for a while enjoying the view and the air conditioning.
I was feeling pretty tired out that day, so we rested at the room a lot and I ordered delivery from the Turkish place. I did take a brief trip out to Jackson Heights to go shopping for some Indian clothes. I needed some more petticoats, and I'm having a couple lovely outfits tailored and they will mailed to me.
My indian clothes have been great for the summer weather in the city. I've worn saree and salwar kameez most days. I had Indian men freak out to see an american in saree and profess their love for me a couple times (not kidding) but other than that no one even seemed to notice- very pleasant. It is new york after all.
Tuesday we went on a helicopter ride over the city. It was a nice view of the Statue of Liberty and ground zero. The heliport was very efficient and the ride was just the right length. After that we ate at Bubby's, the only NYC restaurant I have made a point to come back to on multiple trips. I had a veggie burger and Greg had a monte cristo sandwich. (Those are so good!) Then we took a stroll through China town. Even though Greg didn't find his Mogwi it was still fun. I bought some chinese steamed buns which I looooove and you can find in Japan, but are difficult to locate in the US. That evening we went to Newsies, which deserves all its good reviews. The songs were well-sung but didn't leave me racing to buy the soundtrack. However, it was a masterful piece of performance art.
Wednesday we saw Spiderman (which we're glad we saw but definitely had some flaws. The Green Goblin stole the show!) in the afternoon and Wicked in the evening. I've seen Wicked several times, including on B-way before with the original cast. I think the performance we saw Weds. was the best I've ever seen. Everyone was stellar, from the leads to the bit parts.
In between, we ate lunch at the most truly "hidden" secret restaurant I've ever seen. (Note: none of these pictures are mine.) Here is a picture of the parker meridian hotel:http://aht.seriouseats.com/images/20090226-burgerjoint.jpg
Stuck between a wall next to check in and a velvet curtain is a dark, narrow hallway with a neon sign of a burger at the end:http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_TvD6811b7n4/Sqe88nQ5SYI/AAAAAAAACnI/nCySGE3zjuM/s400/IMG_4529.JPG
If you follow the arrow, you reach a little burger dive that had some delicious, no-nonsense burgers:http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_TvD6811b7n4/Sqe9KPEsytI/AAAAAAAACnY/NNy7W-TnL_I/s400/IMG_4524.JPG
We also saw something I have never seen in NYC before: rats in the subway. I was unreasonably delighted by this. They were the stereotypical gray (that I have never actually seen a rat be before) and very cute, running around on the subway tracks before the train came.
Thursday we went to the empire state building (where I have never been). I snapped my only pictures for the trip there. Then we went and had super authentic and delicious Japanese sushi at Ki Sushi in brooklyn. (On the train ride Greg got his first taste of NY's more eccentric citizens. It was almost worth it to hear this Jamaican guy calling himself King Joffrey!) We did a little window shopping and came home to rest. Finally, we had the best meal I've had in NYC (which is saying a lot) at Quality Meats, just a couple blocks away. Everything was delicious- the bread, the steak, the gnocci, and especially the toffee cake dessert.