Two weeks ago my sister-in-law decided to surprise my niece for her 17th birthday and asked me to join!
Fast trip with so much to see-
10/3-We left at the crack of dawn and arrived at hotel around 10:00 a.m. We stayed at Residence Inn by Marriott on 39th and 6th in Midtown-excellent location-customer friendly staff-kitchenette-free breakfast too. Room was clean and I would stay here again! Rooms obviously not ready(they did have a huge restroom area on 3rd floor for those of us arriving early)-stored our luggage and off for the day! Near Bryant Park which was quite lovely.
First stop-Rockefeller Center to check out as we wanted to get on Today Show next morning. My sister-in-law is avid fan and was determined to meet Matt Lauer-she recognized camera men, etc-she got talking to a man who worked there telling about 17 year old daughter, etc. He told us to meet him next morning at 6:00 and ask for him. Keep reading...in the meantime, We continued the day walking around Rock Center, Park Ave, lunch at Europa cafe--then to MOMA. My niece is an artist --very nice museum with some out there stuff. I really enjoyed.
After a brief break-back to Rock Center for Top of the Rock Tour-Excellent-highly recommend. Christine was guide and quite personable. I thought tour was going to be of the inside and tour of studios, etc. It is all of the outside buildings, explaining art, history, etc. Some inside but mostly out. You would never know all of the stuff just walking around which we had done earlier-we were glad we took the tour. (She gave us hot tip about Jimmy Fallon stand by tickets for next day-who I really wanted to see. )
Additionally, if you buy combo ticket you do not need to wait in line to go to top. We took 4:00 tour which was 1.5 hours then up to top at 5:30-dusk about 6:30-saw the day then sun setting and lights start to come on. Got much more crowded around 6:30. Amazing views-I have been to Empire SB before-but Top of R lets you see Central Park as well, cheaper and lines not as long. We could see all over Manhattan! I liked better. Had a great burger at something Bills in Rock Center. Walked around Times Square -back to hotel early as we were up at 3:00 a.m. and another early morning next day-NY the city that never sleeps-I get it! Whew!
10-4-up at 4:00 a.m to get to Today Show-Our new friend delivered-we did not have to wait in line with others and had front and center-fun waiting and watching as they set up. Met people from all over just as happy as we were to be there-but big disappointment-no Matt-he took the day off. However, we got he VIP treatment-Al Roker came out and surprised all-shook our hands, etc. They interviewed my sister-in-law with her arms around my niece and I-showed on TV, etc. Phil even had coffee sent over to us! Then he put us on the front row for Fact or Fiction Game! Carson Daley and the staff. Savannah, Natale, Willey, Carson, Al, all very friendly and personable with the people. They truly seemed genuine as they are on the show. Meredith Viera too as a bonus. (All but Matt.) The game was fun-seeing all the set up and interactions with camera men, etc. was great. One of the videos they showed was about creating art out of human ashes. I recently lost my husband so was upsetting, however, I got to meet the women and am thinking about doing as I still have some of his ashes. Sometimes things are meant to be.
After long morning we went inside Rock Center and had excellent breakfast at Rockefeller Cafe (??) I think the name. Windows are right at skating rink level-which opens next week. Good place to go for the view. We went to NBC store to get our Jimmy Fallon tickets to find that he also took the day off! Oh well-we were so totally thrilled with who we saw and we did! My niece was amazed!
Gave us more time so we headed to Macy's! Birthday money to spend and niece finds her homecoming dress and shoes!!!!!! Spent several hours and could have done more! One entire level of shoes. Lots of pricey stuff but good deals too! So many people spending money! Fun to see old wooden escalators too.
Back to hotel to drop off purchases and head to Central Park-stopping at Grand Central Station-beautiful.
We took a horse carriage around C. Park. My niece and s in law are big movie fans-were thrilled to see all the spots where movies were filmed-visited enormous Apple Store and FAO Schwartz! Too much fun and brought out the kid again in my niece! We walked back along Broadway and found an old NY deli type place to eat-unfortunately not the best and expensive-oh well. Walked to Times Square-we were exhausted, but niece had sudden burst of energy to shop and see Times Square-it was her birthday!!!!!! We did it! You only live once and NY never sleeps!
10-5-we slept until about 8:00 and enjoyed FREE breakfast at hotel-busy but good. Found the Metro station and headed to Soho-first Metro for s-i-l and niece! Hotel was helpful with directions and maps in stations- all easy-do it.
Visited Prada.Bloomingdales, and more-niece loved! We then headed to Little Italy-ate on Mulberry Street. My s-in-law's dad grew up on this street. Had delicious lunch with wine and cannolis at Paesano's! Sat on sidewalk cafe'-wonderful. Niece happy again-shopping, great food and then gets checked out by Simon Rex. She is gorgeous by the way and she was thrilled he checked her out! We also saw the paparazi checking out some couple and taking pictures-niece was sure a famous model but not sure who-it did not matter-she saw it happen!
Back to hotel to rest a TAD and get refreshed for theatre -Lion King. My niece and nephew love Lion King-she was very excited. Excellent show with fabulous set! We all truly enjoyed. We walked back along 8th and found a cafe that we could sit right out on street and people watch. Many places very crowded after shows got out. We had fun and enjoyed talking to others who were actually from NY and just saw a show as well. Back thru Times Square one more time and to bed at 1:00-up at 4:00 to fly home! The city that never sleeps! It was a whirlwind tour and fun to see thru the eyes of my beautiful 17 year old niece!
As usual, got great advice and tips from TA friends-so thank you! Sorry it is long-but hope details help others.
P.S. Weather like Florida! It was in low 80's-eve wore short sleeves and sandals at night!