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A 'Trip Report' from a Native

NYC
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A 'Trip Report' from a Native

I've been needing a vacation, so I decided to do what people all over the world do- go to New York. Fortunately I live here all ready, so there was no airfare or hotel reservation. However, I decided to share my vacation itinerary with you all.

Friday

I got off work at 8am and decided to treat the first hour like I was 'traveling'. I went by subway to 8th St and Broadway and got a haircut (only $45) at Acme Barber School, went past my bank at Astor Place, and turned off my cell phone. First stop- St. Mark's Place in the East Village. It was pretty quiet, so I went for breakfast at Veselka, a Ukrainian coffeeshop. I had the cheese blintz appetizer with applesauce and a glass of orange juice- yum. The place wasn't crowded but I had fun watching the people- everyone from older men in business suits to young hipsters and middle-aged artists reading the Times. The meal cost about $10 including tip. Then I walked down 2nd Avenue two blocks and dropped in at Moishe's Kosher Bakery to buy bagels and a kichel (a kind of flat, crispy sugar cookie) the size of my head.

What's New York without shopping? By this time, Kim's Video at 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's was open, so I went to the second floor and went through the used dvd bins. I scored big- I bought Wallace and Gromit, and two discs from the Criterion Collection. Kim's is nice because the store sells all kinds of movies that would be considered art-house. The same floor sells videos from different regions too, making it a perfect place for foreigners to shop. The first floor has an amazing music section. I also bought bacon from a Polish butcher shop at 2nd and St Mark's.

Still buzzed from coffee, I walked back over to 2nd Avenue and up to 11th Street and stopped into DiRobertis Bakery. I always get a marzipan lamb there for my Easter table. They had been selling them pretty briskly, and I was lucky to snag one of the last three. I also bought an eclair- it was ok, but I prefer their cannolis and cassatine Sicilianas, which my boyfriend calls 'sugar shock on a plate'.

I walked uptown some more and passed a mosque. This particular mosque is popular with cabdrivers, but it must not have been prayer time yet because I didn't see tons of cabs. I remember this mosque from 9/11: neighbors of all backgrounds spontaneously went there and stood in front to protect worshippers from being harassed and stayed there until the police showed up and offered protection.

I passed a great thrift shop and a bunch of boutiques that were just opening up- the East Village is fairly sleepy before noon. I went up to 14th street and stopped in at a store called Knit New York to say hello to one of the managers (I crochet), then went west and stopped at Vanessa's Dumplings for 2 sesame bun sandwiches with roast pork, a perfect meeting between China and Texas. Then I stopped in Trader Joe's and picked up a sparkling wine.

I went home to my 'hotel room' and had one sandwich, and later got into my jammies, took a nap, and ate the other one while watching one of my videos. The

Saturday

I woke up at 7am and decided to snooze for a while longer. Then I got up and checked mail, while waiting for a deliery from 'Fresh Direct', a virtual supermarket. I had ordered gougeres (think cream puff shells with cheese), a roasted chicken from Rosa Mexicano with a mushroom risotto and spinach with garlic and creme caramel for dessert. Everything was ready for warming up later. After the food arrived I put it all away and took a nice hot bath.

I made breakfast- a bagel from the day before, a mimosa made from fresh-squeezed tangerine juice and my sparkling wine, some coffee and a boiled egg. I decided I wanted to do something different, so I opted to go to the Whitney for the Biennial, and then to the Neue Gallerie, while finishing up at the Metropolitan Museum.

I took the 4 train uptown but forgot the train didn't stop at 77th for the Whitney. I got off at 86th and decided to go to the Met first. The place was packed! Not only was it Saturday, but the weather was good and it's spring break for a lot of students. I saw tons of teens on tours (say that three times fast).As usual on a sunny day, people were sitting on the front steps of the museum (it's a favored people-watching spot and meeting place). I went inside and checked my coat, and decided I wanted to see the Gustave Courbet exhibition, which was amazing. I particularly liked his nudes and self-portraits. I went to the Asian section and took in the Ming Scholar's Garden, which is one of the most soothing places in the city, before going through the Japanese subsection (the table, desk and chairs by George Nakashima have to be seen to be believed).

Somehow I was ready for food again. I walked back up to 86th and 5th ti the Neue Gallerie, which opened in 2002 and specializes in German and Autrian art. The exhibition is on Gustav Klimt. I'd seen a few pieces by him before, but maybe the setting had been wrong- I hadn't really 'gotten' his work before. Before looking at the art though I wanted to have lunch in Cafe Sabarsky which serves Viennese-style food. Sabarsky was packed and had a line, but the charming woman at the information desk told me Cafe Fledermaus, the downstairs cafe, had the same food and no lines. I headed down there- it's in the basement and didn't have a view of the street or Central Park, but I didn't care. The waiters were quite sexy and well-mannered, and I pretended I was in 1920's Vienna as I had coffee with whipped cream (the Viennese love 'schlag' with pretty much everything), spatzle with mushrooms, and linzertorte for dessert. I am now sorry that I had the torte, because I wil now never be able to eat what passes for linzertorte anywhere else except there and some cafe in Vienna. This was like a spice cake with raspberry jam, and I gobbled it. The meal cost $36 with tip, and it was a worthwhile indulgence.

I waddled to the elevator and went to see the Klimts. I am now in love. I do have to warn people though- if you don't want to explain why all of those Viennese ladies have their hands between their legs while nakies, you might want to leave the kids at home. Klimt obviously loved naked women, especially naked women who liked to entertain themselves. He also loved Japanese art, which you can see from his painting called Adele I, on the second floor. I swanned around the museum, feeling very sophisticated and rather full. By the time I was ready to go it was too late for the Whitney, which I will have to do soon.

I came back by subway, after having a talk with a Norwegian on the train who was loving his visit to New York (the Met had overwhelmed him with its sheer size and quality- he thought it would take him 3-4 days just to see the basics). I am now waiting for my full tummy to empty out, and then I will have a late supper. Tomorrow I'm going out to Queens with a friend to In Spa World fr the day- $30 for a day of saunas, hot tubs and total luxury. then back to work again. Ah, well.

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Sterling, VA
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1. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

Good report with some great recommendations. After reading it, I once again am reminded that I must go to Cafe Sabarsky or Cafe Fledermaus.

NYC
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2. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

The cafes are definitely worth it. Cafe Sabarsky also has cabaret nights- I hear those are quite good.

The great thing about New York City that I sadly see most tourists who come to this site ignoring is that New York is both a walking and food city with an incredible ethnic and class diversity. In two days I 'spent time' in Slavic Europe (Ukrainian restaurant and Polish butcher), China (Scholar's Garden), Japan, France (Gustave Courbet) and Austria (Gustav Klimt and Cafe Fledermaus). Going to In Spa World means traveling to South Korea (www.nyinspaworld.com).

I'm not saying that people shouldn't see the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty- but if you spend your entire time looking at other tourists on double decker buses or hunting down fake handbags, you really haven't gone to New York City. What you've gone to is a theme park that vaguely looks like New York but tastes and feels very little like the real thing. People tend to forget that New York is one of the most cosmopolitan cities on earth with an amazing vitality.

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3. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

Oh, and that's the wrong price for the haircut- it's $5 dollars. Yes, FIVE. I keep my hair short and natural. The barbershop was fun too, because I got to talk to people while waiting for my haircut.

New York State, USA
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4. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

OMG, I'm so jealous! Your culinary and visually indulgent trip around Manhattan sounds like just the ticket... Yum, indeed.

:)

Nyc (Upper West...
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5. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

A really great report with some "insider" tips. I love the Neue and Sabarsky's. A few years ago, not many people knew about it but now it's getting very crowded.

Dublin Ireland
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6. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

Thanks for the report. I am visualising everywhere you went. Only 2 more days and im off. The East village is on my list to explore this trip. Cant wait.

New York, NY
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7. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

I think it is great to play "tourist" is one's own city, and especially here, because there really is so much to see & do.

Thanks for an interesting & informative report

Brooklyn, New York
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8. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

Just curious 'cause your debut on TANYC has been filled with clamorous response - did you used to post here in the past as Ruffian or any other name?

Uppsala, Sweden
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9. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

A very interesting report...hhmmm.maybe some touristing in Uppsala wouldnt be a bad idea?

Thanks for sharing.

New York
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10. Re: A 'Trip Report' from a Native

msp, I hope you will post your report from inspaworld upon your return. I recently visited there and took a tour of this incredible facility. I plan to head up there for this full day of spa soon and can hardly wait.