When planning, the first decision we had to make was: did we want to get tickets for sports, Broadway shows, opera, or tours? For this trip, we went with musicals and tours. About two months ahead we reserved a hotel room, plane tickets, and Broadway tickets. I know you can do this much more cheaply by waiting and going to the TKTS Discount Booths in the city. We really wanted to have our trip all planned and choose our seats so I used Broadway.com.
Next, since I knew the times of our plays, I made meal reservations. I had some restaurants picked out from previous trips and I asked friends K and J who go there often for their favorites. I was able to find a way to make reservations online for each that required it. Here’s the list:
Juniors Deli: This huge menu can take care of you from breakfast through after-theater. Try the red velvet cheesecake! http://www.juniorscheesecake.com
Toloache: Beautiful Mexican with a wood-fired oven. The guacamole and margaritas are amazing. Be sure to try at least one dish from the wood oven. http://toloachenyc.com/media/toloache.html
Alfredo 100: Italian. This restaurant has Roman roots going back to 1914 and has been one of our family favorites. They have a great collection of Al Hirschfeld art. http://alfredo100.com
Havana Central: Cuban with a great Times Square location. http://havanacentral.com
Gallaghers Steakhouse: Hickory wood is used to cook the steaks at this 1927 landmark. http://www.gallaghersnysteakhouse.com/index.php
Next time we’d like to try pizza at Keste or Motorino.
I knew from experience that there tends to be a line at Rockefeller Center. We wanted to learn about the history and architecture so I signed us up for the tour. The tour took about an hour and included a lot of walking. I loved being led through all the buildings and hearing the stories of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and all the artists and architects. Next time, we’ll also get tickets for the Top of the Rock tour. Margo recommends seeing the view by visiting the bar at the top, SixtyFive (open Monday – Friday).
- Rockefeller Center Tour http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/special-offers/combo-tickets/rockefeller-center-tour/
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck Tour http://www.topoftherocknyc.com/experience/
- SixtyFive Bar and Cocktail Lounge http://www.rainbowroom.com/sixtyfive/
We took a carriage ride through Central Park. We did this mid-day which allowed us to see the variety of people who use the park. We enjoyed seeing a large part of the park and hearing about some of the history, including Frederick Law Olmstead.
- Guided Tours of Central Park: Walking tours range from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. http://www.centralparknyc.org/tours/guided-tours/
- Viator Central Park carriage ride: http://www.viator.com/tours/New-York-City/Private-Horse-and-Carriage-Ride-in-Central-Park/d687-5557CARRIAGE
I love the Broadway Lounge bar on the 8th floor of the Marriott Marquis at Times Square. It has a huge span of windows and you can quietly look out at all the swirl of Times Square. You can even get good small plates. Open at 5 pm each day (check the schedule, they use this venue for private events).
Visiting the Plaza Hotel is a must for an Eloise and movie fan like me. The Palm Court is so beautiful. The lowest level of the hotel has the Todd English Food Hall. This has affordable food choices of many cuisines and gorgeous bakery items (macarons!). The concourse also has fun boutique shopping.
We also visited Grand Central Terminal. How grateful I am that it was restored in the 1990s. The zodiac ceiling, the clock at the information stand, and the Oyster Bar are all such treasures. [The 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill in Raleigh was named by a group of doctors who really enjoyed a trip to NYC 70-plus years ago.]
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is beautiful and historic. It’s right across the street from Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue. The St. Regis Hotel is also in the “50s” and we enjoyed our peaceful, restful stop at the King Cole Bar to see the mural by Maxfield Parrish.
We chose the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Egyptian area. You can learn the history of the dynasties by going through the exhibit in order. You do not have to pay admission, but they do have ticket booths and recommended fees to pay.
You may also want to try:
- The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright’s fantastic building is worth seeing along with the modern art. Warning: The museum is CLOSED on Thursdays!
- Neue Gallery: This museum is a short walk from the Guggenheim. It is devoted to early 20th century German and Austrian art and design. This is the permanent home of Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. The museum is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- The American Museum of Natural History: Buy the Museum Plus One ticket if you want to see the museum and the Hayden Planetarium show. The planetarium is a beautiful structure and it’s fun to sit in the dark listening to director Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Of course, there are so many great things to do in Manhattan and the other boroughs. We only scratched the surface with our short trip.
- Zagat’s 100 best restaurants
- Time-Out NYC best attractions
- George M. Cohan from “Broadway: The American Musical”
- New York Architecture
- History of New York City
- New York City Subway Guide
- New York a documentary film by Ric Burns
- A short list of favorite New York films:
On our list for next trip: Trinity Church, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Art Deco tour at Radio City Music Hall, the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met, and the Merchant’s House Museum. What is your favorite thing to do in New York?