We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

wisconsin
Level Contributor
11 posts
8 reviews
Save Topic
Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

Day 1

First of all, thank you to everyone who posted trip reports, answered questions and gave opinions on this forum. Our trip was enriched by each and every one of you.

The characters: Three sisters (of a certain age), two who had visited NYC previously, one who had not.

The story: 3 sisters from the Midwest travel to NYC, share a hotel room, navigate the city, try to see and do everything on their respective wish lists and get virtually no sleep. I’ll go ahead and give away the ending: they have a fabulous time!

We booked our trip with a group coming to NYC for the International Book Expo. Although we love books, the expo group provided us a reasonable means of getting to and staying in NYC, not a reason to go there, and we didn’t attend the expo at all.

We arrived at our hotel, the Marriot Marquis in Times Square, around noon. The area was really busy, of course, despite the steady rain. Our room on the 12th floor was ready, so we made a quick stop there to check it out, and then took off for the streets of Manhattan. A few words about the Marriot Marquis: I know that not everyone is pleased with this hotel’s Times Square location. We did not have a choice of hotels since this trip was booked through a travel agent for a group, but we were very happy with the Marriot. Although it’s in an incredibly busy area, we found the side entrances (45th and 46th streets) easy to use for entry and exits. In our very comfortable, clean and spacious room, we heard virtually no noise of any kind, from Times Square or from other hotel guests. Our room faced 46th street and the Edison Hotel. We had great views of some of the electronic billboards on Times Square, the Paramount building and the crystal ball and 2009 sign, still there from New Year’s Eve. Elevators (which use the digital elevator assignment system) came fast and we had no problems with them at all, although we heard that there was an issue with a stuck elevator that had to be resolved during our time there. The location worked very well for us.

While in our room, we received a call from Big Apple Greeters telling us that unfortunately a greeter would not be available for our hoped-for tour of Soho, Greenwich Village and Chelsea the next morning. Although we were disappointed, with rain in the forecast it may have been for the best. Anyway, we had a plan B in mind.

As we headed out in the rain we decided that where to have a quick lunch was going to be the first of our many joint decisions during our trip. We headed north to the Europa Café at 43rd and 7th avenue. We had huge salads that were fresh and delicious and inexpensive. We were shortly on our way down 7th to 42nd street.

We walked through Bryant Park and despite the drizzly rain, there were a fair number of people in the park. Loved the way the park is turned into a huge outdoor reading room, with areas of books for children, and magazines, books and newspapers for adults. We entered the library at the corner of 42nd and 5th. I think it’s one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. On the third floor we spent time in the wonderful Rose Reading Room, saw the Guttenberg bible that is on display, and visited the Children’s Library, which houses a display of Christopher Robin Milne’s original stuffed toys, who were all present and accounted for, if a little the worse for wear. We were so happy that they looked scruffy, and not Disney-like at all.

We walked to Grand Central Terminal next, and as we walked, we could see the Chrysler building, with its spire hidden in the low rain clouds up ahead. Grand Central Terminal is truly grand, and we were very impressed. Back we went to 5th avenue, popping into shops and buildings, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We walked to Rockefeller plaza (stopped in at Maison du Chocolat - oh my goodness!!!) and the area around the NBC store, and then back to our hotel, wet, but at least not drenched, by the rain that was still falling.

We were very excited to get ready for our 8pm performance of Billy Elliot, just a few steps from our hotel. Because of its popularity and 15 Tony nominations, we had purchased our tickets in advance of arriving in the city. What can I say? It was wonderful, high energy, touching and funny. We all enjoyed it very much. After the performance, we zipped back to the hotel, revised our attire, and went in search of John’s Pizza. I’m embarrassed to say that, despite the extensive notes I had written about locations in the city, I forgot exactly where John’s was located and forgot too, that it was actually listed in our guidebook. Our concierge’s directions, gotten as we headed out of the hotel, were perhaps not understood by us. Long story short, we wandered quite a bit until we finally found it. We arrived at John’s only to find that at 11:30 pm on a Thursday, they were no longer seating customers. We begged for carryout, but it was not to be. We ended up at Junior’s across from the hotel where we had not too terrible grilled cheese sandwiches, fries and soup. We went back to the hotel, where we talked for too many hours before finally going to sleep. And that was the end of Day 1.

wisconsin
Level Contributor
11 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

Day 2

Friday started with breakfast at the Café Edison in the Edison Hotel on 47th street between 8th and Broadway. We encountered very friendly staff and had a very good and reasonably-priced breakfast. Since it was raining quite hard, we decided to put plan B into place and took a taxi to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The cab took us up 8th street to Central Park South and then wound through parts of the park until we reached the museum. What a beautiful place! We enjoyed the Lehman Collection, a private collection dating from the Italian Renaissance through the 20th century. The new American Wing had just opened and it was absolutely stunning and worth the trip in itself. We also saw the exhibit The Picture Generation, 1974-1984, which had a wonderful energy that was edgy and thought provoking. It featured works in various media by quite a few artists, including Cindy Sherman. Not what we expected to find at the Met, and we loved it.

When we left the museum a few hours later the rain had stopped, never to return during our trip. With the sun out and the park nearby, it made a lunch outside of street vendor food a fast and easy choice. We sat on the steps of the museum to eat.

After lunch, we walked down Central Park East to 72nd street. We wandered west, through the Bethesda Fountain area (just beautiful) and eventually arrived at the other side of the park at Strawberry Fields. We paid our respects to John and also walked over to the Dakota, then walked down Central Park West to the Time Warner Center.

We went down into the Whole Foods store which was extremely crowded but was a convenient place to find rest rooms. After we left the Time Warner Center, it was time for our first subway ride. We bought Metro debit cards and took the short ride from Columbus Circle to Times Square.

We wanted to see a play on Friday night, so we made our way to the TKTS booth. A huge crowd was waiting in line for tickets. We went up to the front of the crowd to see what was available on the digital board. If you are interested in seeing a play versus a musical, do not wait in the huge line. Go up to the front where there are two windows devoted to plays. There was virtually no one waiting in line for play tickets. Although there were many performances, both plays and musicals, available at discount prices, the play we wanted to see, God of Carnage, was not. We walked over to the theatre box office to buy our tickets and then finally went to John’s for that pizza (and glass of Shiraz) we had missed the night before. We loved our pizza, and I think late afternoon is a good time to go there because it wasn’t crowded at all.

We went back to our hotel, relaxed a bit and then got ready for the play. Our seats were in the next to last row of the mezzanine and were half the price of orchestra/front mezzanine seats. They were great seats, and our view of the stage was clear and complete. The play is funny and horrifying all at once. We enjoyed it. Afterwards, we left the theatre on the 45th street side and waited to see each of the actors come out to sign autographs and pose for pictures. We found that to be a lot of fun, since it’s not something we do very often.

Once again we probably stayed up talking and reliving our day for too long, but it felt right to us. End of Day 2.

wisconsin
Level Contributor
11 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

Day 3

Saturday morning we left our hotel and took the subway to Chelsea, with our destination the Chelsea Market. The market is in an old Nabisco cookie factory and is currently the home of the Food Network and lots of nice food-related stores and small cafes. We enjoyed our own tour of the market – we got there early and kind of watched as the market “woke up”. We had breakfast at Sarabeth’s Bakery in the market – what a great place. At first we thought it was only a bakery, but then saw them making these great scrambled eggs and found the menu. We left the market and spent some time walking through Chelsea, enjoying the atmosphere and some small parks.

We took the subway to Greenwich Village next. We walked through Washington Square Park and watched children and a beautiful golden retriever playing in the very newly renovated fountain (it lines up with the arch now!!!). There were people everywhere enjoying the sunshine, and quite a few playing chess. One of the chess players welcomed us to the park, which we thought was very sweet.

There was a large street fair on the north side of the park and we had fun shopping for t-shirts and also bought some excellent watermelon chunks from a vendor. After spending a little more time in the park, we made our way to Bleecker Street and found Murray’s Cheese Shop and Rocco’s Italian Bakery, among other stores. We sampled cheese at Murray’s and bought fabulous Italian cookies at Rocco’s. We passed on the Pink Berry store, preferring to buy gelato at L’Arte del Gelato on Bleecker, which tasted to us like a little bit of Italy.

We hopped back on the subway for a ride to South Street Seaport in search of the water taxi. Oops! We didn’t recognize the Fulton Street station (why do they also call it Broadway Nassau?) and ended up in Brooklyn instead! Off the subway, back on the subway and back to Manhattan really quick. This time we got off at the correct station and found our way to Pier 17. A New York Water Taxi was leaving shortly, so we hurried to the dock and just made it on to the taxi before it left. We really enjoyed the water taxi. They packed a lot of scenery into an hour trip and we appreciated the time we spent directly in front of the Statue of Liberty and also the chance to see Battery Park and the Esplanade from the water. We got on the taxi too late to get seats on top, but we actually enjoyed being able to move around on the lower deck of the boat on this relatively short trip.

Later, we walked around the seaport area and watched a huge sandcastle being built. It was crowded and touristy, but the sun was shining and everyone seemed to be having a great time. We went back to the station and got back on the subway – this time we actually wanted to go to Brooklyn.

In Brooklyn we went in search of Grimaldi’s for their famous pizza. The line was very long and even though everyone said it moved fast, it wasn’t fast enough for us. We walked over to Front Street and dined at Five Front instead. We ordered three glasses of sangria, a salad to share, and three entrees, (salmon on quinoa, chicken with creamy polenta and sweet potato gnocchi) which were very good. The tab with tip came to a reasonable 40.00 each. The restaurant was busy and we were happy that they were able to accommodate us without a reservation. We walked down towards the water and eventually made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge. We planned to walk across the bridge around sunset and it worked out perfectly. There were lots of people walking and bicycling the bridge and it was a lovely evening, pleasantly warm with a little breeze. The sight of Manhattan from the bridge in the setting sun was as beautiful as we’d hoped.

From the bridge, we took the subway to Rockefeller Plaza, enjoyed the plaza which was crowded with lots of people, and got tickets for the Top of the Rock observation deck. As everyone who reads this forum knows, TOR offers great views. We didn’t realize, though, that there are actually three viewing levels and just didn’t grasp how great the Empire State Building was going to look from the viewing area, so we were very surprised and happy. While on the top viewing deck, we spoke to one of the security guards, and this extremely nice gentleman with a Russian accent took the three Midwestern sisters on a tour of the viewing area by pointing out many things we would not have noticed, including how beautiful the fairly short Paramount building in Times Square is from above.

We took a slow walk back to our hotel and cheesecake from Junior’s (as everyone says, their cheesecake is delicious, the rest of their menu not so much) topped off the evening. Do I even have to mention that we got to bed late? End of Day 3.

wisconsin
Level Contributor
11 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

Day 4

Our last day in New York City! We decided to have breakfast at the Café Edison again, because of its proximity and because we really liked it there. After, we went back to the hotel, packed and left our bags behind.

We took the subway to Ground Zero and toured St. Paul’s Chapel and grounds. We found the atmosphere at St. Paul’s just right – the WTC site is a construction site now, but the emotional part of 9/11 is still there, across the street at St. Paul’s. The peace cranes, the messages of hope and comfort sent from around the world are all still there in that little church.

We walked down Broadway to Battery Park and just enjoyed the sunshine and the quiet of the financial district on a Sunday, stopping to take pictures in the area of the Bull and Bowling Green. Somewhere on this walk we lost “the book”, our faithful guidebook that had gotten us everywhere we needed to go. We hope that whoever found it enjoyed using it as much as we did. We ate a picnic lunch that we bought at Zaytuna, a deli, pizza, panini, grocery store on Battery place and then headed uptown to Grand Central Terminal.

We exited Grand Central on 42nd street and walked over to the corner of 42nd and 5th for one last look at the library where we took a few pictures, and then walked to wonderful Bryant Park (One of the sisters swears that she wants to live in that park. They actually give free Yoga lessons there!). Our first sight of the park had been on a rainy day. Now it was sunny and the park was filled with people of all ages. We enjoyed seeing the stunning flowers and foliage, watching children on the carousel, and eating ice cream from Mr. Softee. We walked up through Times Square, visited the M and M store (an absolute zoo, but everyone there seemed happy) and finally got back to our hotel to shop for a few small gifts, pick up our luggage and meet our group for the trip to LaGuardia and home.

To anyone still reading this very long trip report, we say thanks for reading it. And to the many, many very friendly, helpful and heartwarming New Yorkers who answered our questions, gave us directions, took pictures of the three of us, helped us find the right subway and smiled at our excitement at being in that beautiful city, we also say thanks from the bottom of our hearts. And again, to everyone on this forum who helped us plan our fabulous trip to New York City, thank you so very much. We can’t wait to come back for another visit!

NY NY
Level Contributor
1,845 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

I'm enjoying your report, looking forward to the rest. Glad you made it to John's too.

(By the way, there is no Central Park East...it's Fifth Avenue.)

Gig Harbor...
Level Contributor
3,184 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

Sounds to me like you guys did it right..Sure, you saw of alot of "sights" but you also seem to have wandered a bit..To me, NYC is IN the wandering..:)

wisconsin
Level Contributor
11 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

Yikes - you're right of course! It is Fifth Avenue. Thanks for the correction.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
53 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

Thanks for such a great trip report - I had goosebumps reading some parts of it! We're off to NYC in three weeks for the first time and CAN'T WAIT!

We haven't booked any tours, etc because we want to wander as well and hope to have as much fun as you did!

in england
Level Contributor
101 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip report and I'm glad you had a great time. When you mentioned Bryant Park, it brought back some lovely memories for me. It was one of my favourite places too, as was the Library, such a beautiful building and a lovely atmosphere.

Texas
Level Contributor
5,966 posts
191 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

How awesome to have enjoyed NYC with your sisters!! I love how you stayed up late and talked far into the night when you should have been sleeping. I'm sure you did that "back in the day" too eh? :D

Great trip report. Your enthusiasm and love of NYC shines through. Thanks for writing!

Russell, KY
Level Contributor
3,813 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Trip Report: May 28-31 - 3 Sisters visit NYC

What wonderful memories you've made with your sisters on this trip! I enjoyed reading your report. Thanks for sharing.