Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New York City?

I can’t travel alone. I can only travel with esurience. Sure there’s this to see. Sure there’s here to go. But, in the end, what is there to eat? Vacation is a dot-to-dot of restaurant menus and I can’t make heads or tails why.

Kyndall and I went to New York City last weekend. It was marvelous. Prior trips accomplished the “tourist” requirements, unshackling us to visit the “zoo” and watch the “animals” in their unnatural environment. Here was our ad hoc itinerary:


2:00 PM Arrive at La Guardia on United Airlines
3:00 PM Check-In to the Radisson on Lexington
4:00 PM Buy Broadway tickets at TKTS
4:30 PM Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral
6:00 PM Tapas at the “Broadway Lounge”
8:00 PM Go see “The Producers”


11:00 AM Lunch on “Cornucopia Cruise” around Statue of Liberty
8:00 PM Go see “Three Days of Rain” (with Julia Roberts)
10:00 PM Dinner at “The View” (American)


11:00 AM Walk through Central Park
1:00 PM Watch the Greek Independence Day Parade
2:00 PM Window Shopping along Madison Ave and 5th Avenue
3:00 PM Buy Broadway tickets at TKTS
4:00 PM Eat lunch at “Serendipity” (next to Nicole Kidman)
8:00 PM Go see “Mama Mia”
10:30 PM Dinner at “Tao” (Asian)


11:00 AM Brunch in Grand Central Station
12:00 PM Watch choir performance at St. Paul’s
1:00 PM Ground Zero
2:00 PM Dim Sum at the “Golden Unicorn” in China Town
3:00 PM Shopping in China Town
4:00 PM Shopping in Little Italy
5:00 PM Shopping in Soho
6:00 PM Coffee at “Le Petite Café”
8:00 PM Dinner at “Diwan” (Indian)


6:00 AM Fly home on United

A Comment on “The Radisson Hotel”

The Radisson had a very nice location; although next to nothing, it was near most things – including a subway stop on 51st Street and Lexington that took us anywhere. The tiny room was clean, but considerably “used” and the bathroom barely sufficed. Needless to say, we didn’t spend much time in our room.

A Comment on TKTS

I am not sure if this discount box office in the middle of Times Square saves you all that much in light of your seats being in the far back, but it will simplify the purchase experience considerably. Cash only is the only thing that is totally nuts.

A Comment on “The Producers”

If puns are the lowest form of humor, then homosexual content is easily the lowest subject of humor. Just how much can I snicker a straight man being uncomfortable around someone flamboyantly gay? The Producers has a cute plot – although you have to significantly suspend disbelief – but the sex and gay jokes began to drag after intermission. The music was fitting, but not catchy. The dialog was cute, but not clever. In the end, I laughed a lot, but didn’t leave in awe.

A Comment on “Cornucopia Cruise”

This mediocre outfit $100 cab ride outside of New York City has adequate food, a poorly kempt ship and steers most of the cruise through the industrial shipyards of New Jersey before briefly passing the Statue of Liberty. The reasonable cost was offset by the unreasonable cost of sodas, and the disorder of the ship was offset by the friendliness of the staff. Seeing Ms. Liberty up close was worth the trip, but I wish I had better set my expectations.

A Comment on “Three Days of Rain”

It is not everyday that you get to stare at Julia Roberts for two hours. Of the three actors who carried the show, Bradley Cooper (Will Tippin from Alias) was who I enjoyed the most. The story about the children of renown architect dealing with their father’s death and the back story of their father was entertaining, but not gripping. I left pleased with the experience, but talking about it very little.

A Comment on “The View”

This revolving restaurant at the top of the Times Square Marriott has a flat fee ($70/per person) table menu with super-fancy selection. The food was great, but the experience was a little stuffy for my taste. The view, on the other hand, appeased the disappointment that we did not go up the Empire State Building this trip.

A Comment on “Serendipity”

Many places claim to be frequented by the stars, but Serendipity really is. The proof was when we were sat next to Nicole Kidman for lunch. We got some greasy appetizer, but the long wait was rewarded with attentive service and their famous frozen hot chocolate – basically a chocolate shake to us mere mortals. Sitting next to stars was the real perk.

A Comment on “Mama Mia”

This effervescent musical about a girl in search of her father is unlike other musicals where songs were written to fill time. In Mama Mia, they jam as many Abba hits as they can with great dancing, decent ballads and a roaring encore that brings the audience to their feet. Mama Mia was as cliché as I expected it to be, but Kyndall and I loved it.

A Comment on “Tao”

This PF Chang-type restaurant with its two story Buddha against the wall is another hang out of the stars. The concierge at The W insisted it was “the place” to be, and others later confirmed it. The yummy menu and atmosphere were like PF Chang but it was unmistakably different, though the differentiators were few. The dishes were nicely priced and we left very pleased with the experience.

A Comment on “The Golden Unicorn”

We might have been the only non-Chinese speakers in the restaurant. Dim Sum is where ladies with carts of little appetizer-sized bowls come by your table and you pay as you go. Of course we rarely knew what we were getting, but were only disappointed once in our selection. In retrospect we would have come earlier when Dim Sum was just starting and not just ending. We ate for $20, leaving quite full and pleased with our ethnic experience.

A Comment on “Le Petite Café”

This little coffee shop in Soho was a godsend for sure. I would have expected a gluttony of little cafés, but we realized this was the opposite – finding Le Petite Café just as the rain started. The relaxed view of the street was just what we were wanting. The staff spoke French (and some English); and, although Kyndall liked their hot chocolate I would not order it again – we agreed on the tasty cakes. Their music selection was pristine and the oasis factor of it all makes me want to go back.

A Comment on “Diwan”

This Indian restaurant on 48th Street was a short walk in the rain from our hotel on Lexington. The wait staff was enjoyable frantic as they bussed Naan and tea to tables, but when it came time to order our waiter was very attentive, patient and helpful. The meal was exceedingly delicious and although the pleasant ambiance hardly competed with our prior dining adventures, the meal itself might have been the best.

So, why did I type all this? Why else, because it helps me remember.

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