“These are bad seats.”
“This thing in front of us is pouring out heat.”
“Hey look. Those people are going to leave.”
“The ones at the back there, under the flag. They have the best seats, let’s get them.”
As the couple at the back with the best seats on the New York Water Taxi Hop-On Hop-Off tour got up unsteadily to leave the boat, Mike was right there, ready to claim those seats. He is not a shy man and will do a lot to get good seats. It makes me proud.
My husband turned 50 this year and his trip of choice was to go to New York City. His agenda included: good food and good music. Luckily for me, I had always wanted to go too. My agenda included: a broadway show, good food, good music, at least one museum, and a bit of sightseeing. We decided to go in July even though we knew the humidity would be through the roof. The timing just worked out that way as our daughter would be at camp for a good chunk of the time we were gone.
We took an overnight flight from Vancouver to New York and landed around 7am local time. I did not sleep on the flight so was very glad to be able to get into our vacation rental on Commerce Street in the West Village right away. Our street entrance one bedroom apartment was perfect for us. Location, location, location.
We napped and were ready to hit the Big Apple. I realize that New Yorkers hate that term, but I’m a tourist so I get a pass on that one.
After a bite to eat and getting our 7 day transit passes from a machine at the nearest subway station we picked up some groceries and stowed them in our efficiency kitchen. Not that we actually cooked a meal in our apartment but coffee fixings, beer, wine, and snacks, need a home.
After a bit of research we decided to go to Fat Cat for our first drink. Pool tables, ping pong, checkers, and shuffleboard were only what I could see when we arrived. We signed up for a pool table, got a beer and I proceeded to lose at checkers until our table was free. In the evenings, Fat Cat becomes a jazz club but we didn’t stay that long.
The Spotted Pig produced an amazing burger for our dinner and even better rosemary french fries. Mike put his table getting skills to the test and procured us a little table in a crowded corner.
The next day we walked the High Line. It’s a raised park on an old rail track that’s been lovingly turned into a Manhattan gem. It’s an easy walk and enables you to see a lot of real estate you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see.
For dinner that evening Mike and I split up. He had a reservation at Masa. I felt it wasn’t worth it for me to go as I am too picky an eater when it comes to Japanese food. He said it was an amazing, unforgettable experience. I picked up a Cobb salad on Christopher Street.
We had already decided after our afternoon stroll through Washington Square Park that we would go to Terra Blues that evening after Mike returned from Masa. We enjoyed John Primer and The Real Deal Blues Band and picked up one of their CD’s.
The next day we went on the aforementioned New York Water Taxi tour. We cruised past the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge and saw much of lower Manhattan from the water. It was a great day to be out on the water, but I forgot to put sunscreen on and paid the price later. We didn’t hop off until we reached Battery Park where we went to buy some same-day Broadway tickets at the TKTS booth at the South Street Seaport location. Apparently it’s a lot less of a wait than at the Times Square location. Luckily for us we scored some tickets to the showing of Kinky Boots that night and headed back uptown. After lunch we made a pit-stop at Houston Hall for some much needed cold libations.
This may be sacrilege, but I did not like Times Square. We took the subway there to get to the theatre for our Broadway play and I (and Mike) took an immediate dislike to: the crowds, the noise, the slow walkers, and the flashing lights.
The show was great, though.
The next morning we walked over to the East Village for the East Village Rock n’ Punk Tour. Our guide, “Bobby Pin”, was very knowledgable and took us past some iconic New York music spots. Mike enjoyed posing on the steps where Mick Jagger waited on a friend. Afterwards we sampled some Lombardi’s Pizza and were glad we did.
Our West Village apartment shared a wall with a Brazilian restaurant, Casa Restaurant. We decided to give it a shot because the menu looked good. And it was. After dinner, we walked half a block to the Cherry Lane Theatre where we saw Colin Quinn’s one-man show “The New York Story”, directed by Jerry Seinfeld. As expected, it was very funny.
The next day it was time for an iconic New York Deli, Katz’s.
So much food. Good food. We walked a couple of blocks south after lunch to the Economy Candy Market. I have never seen so much candy in one place; we spent an unbelievable $50 on candy. To our credit, we did take a lot of it home for our daughter.
That evening we went to the Bitter End, New York’s oldest rock club, to listen to a jam night. Beers and music ensued.
On the Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off bus tour the next day we saw more of Manhattan than we would have otherwise. We hopped off once to hit the one museum of our trip, The American Museum of Natural History. I have a three hour window for museum tolerance and we almost exceeded it. Back on the bus we drove through upper Manhattan and Harlem and I was continuously amazed at the size and vibrancy of New York.
The following day Mike really wanted to have a beer at Manitoba’s. So we did. It’s another East Village rock and roll bar with an attitude. Mike fell a little bit in love with our bartender, and I did too after she mixed us up some free shots. That evening we went for Peking duck at the Peking Duck House in Chinatown. I had done my research so I knew it was BYOB and we came prepared. A wrapper, sliced duck, scallions, and hoisin sauce are a delicious way to spend the evening. More music followed dinner at Arthur’s Tavern.
Our last full day in Manhattan was mostly just walking around and taking it all in. We visited the former CBGB‘s location that now houses a designer clothing shop. A lot of great photos by David Godlis adorn the walls and luckily they kept part of one of the original walls under glass. It’s worth seeing. That evening we went to the Bowery Ballroom to see The Revivalists. It was a good rock and roll show in a great venue.
Allow yourself a lot of time to get to any airport in NYC. I thought we left way too early but I was incorrect. Construction, traffic, and congestion all conspire to make you much later than you think you will be.
There’s absolutely no way anyone can see all of Manhattan let alone all of New York City in a week. I suppose we will have to return again and again. It’s an amazing place.