I visited NYC for 4 days July 7-10 with my friend Olga and her 12 year old niece Sarah who lives in Tampa. We drove to NY from Albany as we have many times in the past. We got an early start because we wanted to stop at Wave Hill in the Bronx before checking in to our hotel. What a lovely spot high above the Hudson River with such beautiful gardens and trees everywhere! We really didn't have time to see all of the plantings but we strolled the grounds and had lunch on the terrace overlooking the Hudson.
Next stop was the Salisbury Hotel on W 57th to check in. We parked the car a few blocks away for $22 a day. My friend had some free passes to the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum and we decided to cab it there and walk back. We wanted to see the Winslow Homer, Frederick Church exhibit and spent a couple of enjoyable hours wandering about Andrew Carnegie's former home on 91 St. Friday nights the Cooper-Hewitt throws a Design, DJs & Dancing party in the courtyard(free with admission to the museum). We hung out for a while enjoying free bottles of icy-cold Smart Water before the music started to get to us.(Techno?) We decided to walk back through Central Park to our hotel. Somehow we ended up walking in the wrong direction inside the jogging path around the Onassis Reservoir but quickly realized our mistake and got out!(darn Tourists) We ambled along admiring all of the different dogs walking their people and stopped at the Conservatory Water to use the restrooms(all that free water!) Whew we made it out alive and stopped to marvel at the Alice in Wonderland statue and then Cleopatra's Needle further along. Towards CP south we started seeing horses pulling their carriages and felt very sorry for them. They seemed to be struggling in the heat as several were walking with their heads down- a sign of fatigue. I know they are a NY tradition but I won't be riding. Stopped at Angelo's next door to the hotel for a quick bite -we shared a pizza which was quite good then off to bed. Next morning my friend went to JFK to retreive her niece while I slept in. The Starbucks was handily across the street and I grabbed a cappucino and wandered about the streets popping into some stores along 7th Ave. When Olga and Sarah returned we all showered and dressed for a foray to Chinatown. We decided to walk around a bit and show Sarah Central Park and FAO Schwartz and then took the 4,5,6 train from 59 St to Canal Street. Sarah tried on several dresses in various shops before finding the perfect one. We headed over to Bayard St to eat at Green Bo. This cooking must be an acquired taste because I didn't care for my Dim Sum. The scallion pancakes were great though. I have had Dim Sum before in Honolulu and loved it so maybe I didn't order the right thing? Afterwards we ate at the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory across the street which was great. Sarah wanted to ride the Staten Island Ferry so we caught a cab to the ferry terminal. The new terminal is fantastic! I haven't been in a while and was pleasantly suprised. Sarah loved the ride and we stood outside on the back deck admiring the city lights as we pulled away from the docks. The Statue of Liberty was beautifully lit up with her torch shining brightly in the night. When we returned we took the RW train at Whitehall Station and got off a half block away from our hotel at 57 St & 7th Ave. The next morning was Sunday and my friend Olga went to an Episcopal church a couple of blocks away while Sarah and I slept in. Got up and had Starbucks across the street and wandered down to 6th Ave where the streets were closed off for a street fair? not sure what you call it but there was all kind of food, drink, and clothing etc for sale. Next up was our outing to Broadway to see the matinee show of Rent at the Nederlander Theater. Sarah has watched the movie about 130 times(not kidding!) and is dying to see Rent. Sarah wore her dress from Chinatown and received numerous compliments all day long. She looked gorgeous in it. She thinks all of the characters in Rent are "inspiring" and loves the music. We stopped at the Times Square Hilton for a pre-theater drink and snack. Not sure if it is open to the public though because someone shouted they needed to see our room key as the elevator doors were closing. No one came to kick us out and we enjoyed the view as we sipped our drinks and ate a couple of appetizers. The food was quite good. Once seated at the Nederlander our view of the stage was obstructed by an annoying railing so Olga spoke to the manager and we were kindly moved to better seats. No need to suffer in silence but the show was not sold out so this was easy for management to do. Sarah absolutely loved Rent and got some autographs from the cast after the show. That is what so great about live theater-you get to see live people-not some celluloid figures on a distant screen. After the show we walked at a leisurely pace to Keens Steakhouse on W. 36 St. by way of Bryant Park. The park was so peaceful and beautiful with all the wonderful gardens in bloom. We also admired the Radiator building which I have never really noticed before. I have been to Keens several times in the past and they have never failed to disappoint. Sarah and I had filet mignon which was cooked to perfection. The service was great and I just love the dark atmosphere with hundreds of old clay pipes hanging from the ceiling. We went to the Empire State Building after diner as Sarah had never been-my vote was for TOTR but oh well we endured the wait, the annoying stop for photographs, the crowded top but the view was fantastic. Afterwards we were tired so we took a cab back to the hotel. The next morning we had coffee and bagels at a deli up the street and did a little shopping around the hotel buying postcards and some cheesy souvenirs. We checked out, got the car and headed up to The Museum of Natural History at Columbus Ave and 79th. We got lucky and found street parking on a residential side street. We walked up and down the street and read all of the signs twice and determined we were in a legal parking spot. Olga and Sarah went to the museum to see the live reptile and snake exhibit as well as the rest of the museum. I opted to wait in the small park outside the museum reading the Sunday Times and sipping my coffee. They were back all too soon-about three hours later-but I wasn't finished reading the paper! Soon we were back in the car headed home. TTFN