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Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Belfast
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Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Hi Folks,

This was my third trip to New York for my husband and I (aged 28 and 29). I love the City and thought this was the best visit yet, though that's probably only because it was the most recent...

Wednesday 1st September

We arrived into Newark at around 2pm on 1st September (via Continental) and got the train into Penn Station before the subway to 59th and Lexington. From here it was a ten minute walk to our hotel 'The Bentley'.

We got the Bentley for $150 per night and were upgraded to a delux corner suite. We were both really impressed and would definitely recommend it (I'll post a separate review). We unpacked, changed and headed to Duane Reid for drinks and sweets before relaxing and getting ready for dinner. We had restaurant week reservations in Persephone for 7pm!!!

We found Persephone easily and ordered our three course meal and wine pairings. The restaurant had pros and cons...liked the complimentary bread and olives...loved the main course lamb tenderloin...not so keen on the dessert wine, chocolate cake dessert or the overall quiet atmosphere. We were happy enough but headed to bed early due to the time difference and travelling fatigue.

Thursday 2nd September

We were awake at 8am and took our time getting ready. We walked to Grand Central rather than subwaying as we fancied seeing a bit of the City to get us in the mood. We had never visited Grand Central and were really impressed with the beauty of the building. We enjoyed the Whispering Gallery before heading to th foodhall for breakfast burritos in a Mexican place - they were really tasty. We walked over to Juniors for cheesecake, it was nice but not the best cheesecake ever - not enough biscuit base for me!

We jumped on the subway to Brooklyn getting off at Prospect Park. We walked around the library and down into the Park past the little old house - I loved this! We made our way through, relaxing and enjoying everything. It was a REALLY hot day - 36 degrees and very humid - so we cooled down at every sprinkler :-) We left the park at Park Slope walking down to 5th and then 7th avenues. We had $3 beer in a little bar on 5th - couldn't believe how cheap it was - eventually hoping on the subway to Grimaldis.

We got there around 5pm and got seated at the last table after 5 minute - we were going to the Brooklyn Bridge movie so thought we'd have time to sit in until 6pm when we wanted to be there. Unfortunately, we ordered and waited....and waited...and waited...before hearing that the oven was being restarted and it would take a while. We got our pizza after 6! We enjoyed it chatting to a girl and her aunt from upstate New York. They were great company.

We made it over to the movie and there was still plenty of room left...we grabbed a spot and settled down. We saw people with wine and were gutted we hadn't brought any...ahh well! We'll know for next time. The movie (Some Like it Hot) was fab and sitting there with those views and the sunset was a stand out memory of the whole trip for me!!!

We walked along the Brooklyn Bridge back hoping on the subway right up to our hotel for an early night.

Friday 3rd September

This was our day to go to Jersey Gardens so we got up and headed to the Port Authority. We grabbed iced coffees (our drink of the trip) and some Mrs. Fields cookies - what a healthy breakfast?! - before hopping on the bus.

We had a great day around the shops and bought plenty of bargains, particularly in Abercrombie, Gap and Tommy Hilfigger, stopping for lunch in Chilli's. The traffic was bad on the way back so we weren't back into the hotel until 6:30pm and had to leave at 7:30pm to meet friends for dinner. It was the quickest hour of my life, had to shower, tan, make-up (all the girlie things) and then head straight back out.

People we know from home were on our flight out and back so we had organised to meet them this night in Carmines. We sat at the bar while we waited on a table enjoying some Prosecco. Two starters, two mains and two bottles of wine later we stumbled out... :-) The food was delic as usual - had stuffed mushrooms and baked clams followed by spaghetti and meatballs and a chicken and roast potato special. Amazing...

The four of us headed to O'Lunney's for some more alcohol....very drunk we left for the subway around 3:20am. Boy are the waits long at that time of the morning?! We nearly fell asleep at the stop! Into bed for 4am...

Belfast
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1. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

I'm enjoying reading this and was on the same flight over with you on the 1st although went home on the 6th. Being a bit older than you though (40s so not that old )we didn't manage to stay up til 4am. Did so much walking and sightseeing all day we were shattered at night and only managed a few drinks each evening.

Still had a fabulous time and can't wait to go back some time.

Kentucky
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2. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Enjoyed your report. First I've heard of a restaurant called Persephone.

Belfast
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3. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Thanks Folks, planning to add some more tomorrow lunchtime.

Scott, can't believe we were on the same flight! Not a bad wee journey over...think we're getting a bit too old for the 4am bedtimes too :-) We were exhausted on Saturday, as you'll soon see...

Belfast
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4. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Saturday 4th September

We had a looong lie in to 10am this morning - bearing in mind we weren't in bed until after 4! We had decided that we would like to see a show on the Saturday night so headed in the direction of South Street Seaport to try and get something at the TKTS booth. Unfortunately something was wrong with our subway we got so we had to get out near Chinatown - I think we could have got another on down but the announcement wasn't clear so we thought we'd walk the remaining distance....

Well, bad idea! Chinatown on a day where temperatures were over 30 degrees with a hangover was not good. There are so many unusual foods with distinctive smells and with the addition of the heat it really was nearly more than my delicate stomach could handle. We walked through and down to the TKTS booth. The queue was unbelievable, honestly there must have been 300/400 people in the queue - it snaked down the street in a loop and around the corner. We decided it really wasn't worth it so we walked to Ground Zero instead to pay our respects.

Once in this area we stopped at a cart for some chicken kebabs with lots of hot sauce - delicious. We ate these at a little stone table and chairs watching the world go by, bliss. Fed and watered we headed to the Statten Island ferry terminal. We went to Statten Island and back - unfortunately with about a 40 minute wait - with some iced coffee, a red velvet cupcake and an amazing peanut butter cookie enjoying the views and the relaxing. Once back in Manhattan we went to Century 21 for some retail therapy!

With our purses a bit lighter we headed home via the subway!

Once we got back we had an hour sleep and after getting up I found my vertigo was really bad. I really didn't feel up to much so got dressed relatively casually in FLAT SHOES (shock!!!) and decided to go to the Lower East Side to Katz. Again, something happened our subway and we ended up out at Union Square. My vertigo was so bad I couldn't bear getting another subway (claustrophobia was kicking in) so we walked to the Lower East Side.

Arriving at Katz safely, we got egg creams and a pastrami and rye sandwich eat with pickles and plenty of mustard. It was both of our first egg creams and I don't think we'll bother again. They're very sweet and taste just like our ice-cream floats! The sandwiches were beautiful and we ate every bite of both.

We took a bit of a walk around but in flats on a Saturday night it felt wrong so we headed home for an early night around 11...

Sunday 5th September

Today was our day to have brunch so we got up and headed for Greenwich Village - I love this area. We loved Garage last year so headed here. It was lovely but not quite as good as last year, think we'll try somewhere different next year. I had an omelette and hubby had a quesidillo - they were tasty but not very big portions at all. The unlimitied cocktails were for 1.5 hours last year I'm sure but this year only 1 hour - disappointing. I managed 4 and my husband had 5 :-) Spot the Irish!!!

My husband is obsessed with golf so we decided to head to the Chelsea Pier driving range as a little treat for him. We took our time walking through the Village, Meatpacking District and into Chelsea. We stopped off in the Chelsea Apple Shop where I purchased an iPad, wahey!

We spent an hour or so at the driving range while I played with my new toy and then decided to walk back towards Soho for a walk around.

WARNING - For Irish people anyway; we pronounce iPad how Americans pronounce iPod. I found this out a few different times during the trip - caused for some confusion!

Into Soho we had a great afternoon walking through the shops and areas taking everything in. We grabbed $1 hotdogs from a street seller - delicious!

We headed back to the hotel for beer, chilling and getting ready for dinner. We had reservations for One if by Land this evening for the last night of restaurant week.

We were 45 minutes late (laziness on our part and a couple of subway issues) - how annoying that if you enter the subway station on the wrong side ie. uptown rather than downtown sometimes you can't cross over but your card won't work again for a limited amount of time - we had to duck under the barricade as no one seemed to be working there.

As soon as we walked into this restaurant we thought we had died and gone to heaven, it was beautiful! They agreed to still seat us, even being so late, so we got a bottle of wine and sat in the bar area. Once seated we started salivating at the beautiful menu and made our minds up about what we wanted pretty quickly after seeing other people's plates :-)

We both had merguez with sweetcorn to start (beautiful) followed by the most beautiful steak with beetroot and potatoes and a portion of truffle polento. (We wanted their gruyere topped pretzel bread but it was sold out :-( ) My only complaint was that we both asked for 'medium/rare' while mine came out medium and hubby's was rare. Bit gutted but it was still very tender and tasty. Desserts were amazing too, I had banana bread ice-cream with caramelized bananas while my husband had the berry cheesecake. This was my absolute favourite meal of the trip and a complete bargain at $35 each!

We took our time heading back to the hotel and were in bed around 12:30 - another early night - we need it with all the walking we doing...

Dublin
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5. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Great trip report really enjoyed reading it. You certainly packed a lot in and did all the things I certainly yearn to do but somehow seem to be caught up in the shopping/sighseeing thing every time. Have not been now in 2 years (having gone 4 years on the trot before that!! Celtic Tiger and all that) but am yearning to go back. Was really interested in your review of One if by Land - had not heard of it before but we stay in washington square and see its only around the corner - so to speak - definitely on the list for next time. Hopefully 2011 will bring on another trip.

Best Regards

Sorchs

Memphis, TN
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6. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Great trip report, but please, don't duck under any more barrricades (I presume you are referring to subway turnstiles). In NYC, you could have ended up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a jail cell for dinner instead of those steaks. I am not joking, either. I realize that you made an innocent mistake, but you don't want to have to go through the process of explaining that to a judge.

Belfast
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7. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

One thing I'm getting from all these trip reports is that we did not nearly do enough eating. We always seemed to be grabbing something quick before heading off to a sight,shop or show.

Next time I'm planning my itinerary around restaurants-starting off with Katz.

Singapore, Singapore
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8. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

love your report and all the details on what u ate. brought back lots of memories!

Belfast
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9. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Thanks for all the lovely comments - really nice to receive as sometimes you wonder if anyone's reading these things!

Sorchs - I would totally recommend One if by Land - not sure what their prices are like normally but with Restaurant Week it was a total bargain.

Numbers56 - I can't believe that's the penalty! Scary. I'm glad I know for next time. I had just assumed that if anyone questioned me I could show them my unlimited Metrocard and explain! Thankfully we weren't arrested :-)

Scott - The food is what it's all about for me! That's the best part!

Belfast
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10. Re: Trip Report 1st September to 8th September 2010

Monday 6th September

We had tickets for the baseball today - Yankees at 1pm I think so decided to just go to Macy's. They had a Labor Day weekend sale on and we had an additional 15% voucher from the paper.

We subwayed it down to Macy's and started queueing to get our Visitor's card. We shopped around for about 2 hours and picked up a few bargains on gym gear and some 'smart' clothes for my hubby for a wedding we were going to (plus some more golf gear - swimming in it :-) )

When we got to the till the guy said we could only use the 15% voucher or the visitor's card, not both. Fair enough I thought! He recommended the 15% voucher as it was higher. When I checked my receipt later I noticed that the items that weren't in the sale weren't discounted at all - I wish he could have told me and we could have bought them in a separate transaction using the card - would've saved us around $10, not much but better than nothing.

We stopped in for a McDonald's (only 'chain' food of the trip) in Macy's - how cool that it's there! By that stage is was after 12 so we headed to the subway up to the Bronx with our purchases.

We got to Yankee stadium just after the game had started. We grabbed a couple of overpriced beers and hotdogs and sat down. Our seats were quite good and we thought the stadium was great. We'd never watched baseball and thought the game was quite slow as so few balls are actually hit. We were glad we went though and enjoyed the crowd and the music and that...

We left with one inning to go to avoid the crowd - didn't really work. It was the busiest subway I've EVER been on. Horrible experience!

We headed home with some beers...

Fete Sau was the restaurant of choice and we were so glad we made the trek to Williamsburg. We found it easily and I joined the queue while my husband went to the bar to get me cider and him beer. The queue took around 25/30 minute which wasn't too bad. We got seats beside a lovely lady and her son who works in Williamsburg. She was visiting him and watching the tennis.

We had a pound of boneless beef ribs (amazing!!!), half a pound of pork ribs (okay but not as good as the beef) and half a pound of pulled pork shoulder (gorgeous) along with large baked beans (the most amazing thing I've ever eaten in my life) and potato salad (good).

We finished our food - nothing left on the tray and got some more drinks enjoying our chat with our new friends. The son told us about a cool bar nearby where on Monday nights there's a sort of gospel singer. We thought this sounded great so about 11 we headed off to find it.

Well, we never did find it. I'm not sure if we took a wrong turn but we didn't really seem to find the 'bar' area of Williamsburg - everywhere was really quiet. After walking around for 30 minutes we headed off back to our hotel...

Tuesday 7th September

My friend on the Friday night had told me about Filene's shoe floor and I was dying to get a nosy so we headed here once we were up and out. I loved it!!! Got gorgeous Steve Madden shoe boots for $70! We enjoyed shopping and walking around Union Square into other shops before heading into Whole Foods (the most amazing food shop I've ever been in in my life) and buying lunch. We got a large macaroni cheese and a chicken something panini between us and peanut butter cookies for later. We sat in the sun and ate our lunch - love just people watching and relaxing...

After this we headed up for a look around Times Square and 5th Avenue. Didn't do anything in particular. Headed into Toys R Us for pressies, into Rockefeller Centre and basically just walked and shopped around until we got home.

On the way home we walked down a different cross street and came across John's pizzeria - I didn't know there was one in the Upper East Side. We decided we would head here later for dinner.

After drinks, rests and showers we made our way back to John's. We had chicken wings to start followed by a large pizza. I loved this pizza, much cheesier than Grimaldi's. Restaurant was a bit dead but they sold cheap wine!

We hopped onto the subway for our last night of 'drinking' and made our way to Barramundy - lovely wee bar. A couple of sangrias later we walked to Charbon round the corner - we loved this bar last year. A LARGE pitcher of sangria, 7 beers, 2 'special Charbon' drinks and conversations with around 10 random people later we tumbled home around 3am. We had a fab night and loved all the company in the bar!

Wednesday 8th September

This was our last day :-( We checked out, left our bags and headed towards Central Park, our destination for the day. We stopped in the Food Emporium for sushi for our picnic lunch. Two streets later we found a cart doing potato knishs and proper sausage hotdogs. I'd never had a knish so had to have one. It was lovely - bit like potato bread and filled with mustard. My husband enjoyed his hotdog. We enjoyed a general day around the park - had our sushi on a rowing boat, visited Strawberry Fields, sunbathed and played frisbee on the Sheep Meadow and read our books in the sun. Loved it! Central Park is amazing...

At 4pm we left, gutted, stopping on the way to the hotel for our work holiday sweets!

The hotel had organised a taxi which we got after changing and getting our bags, unfortunately the traffic was mental - apparently due to the Jewish holiday. It took well over an hour getting to the airport and $95 dollars before tip!!! Expensive. Ahh well, we checked it and were home in Ireland for 9am on Thursday.