Thursday, November 16, 2006

New York trip

So, some more about our trip to New York last weekend. We stayed in a nice hotel (for the price) in Manhattan on W 57th Ave - the Holiday Inn Midtown. It's within easy walking distance of Carnegie Hall and the Columbus Circle metro station, so it worked for us. Nothing too fancy in terms of the room, but everything was clean and the beds were comfortable.

We managed to fit in most of the big touristy attractions - Times Square, a ferry ride to Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, Central Park, Wall Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, SOHO, and even a bit of Harlem. We did a LOT of walking, which was actually great (I'm always amazed at how good I feel after a "walking vacation" - like when we visited San Francisco). This is probably more a sad testament to the lack of exercise I get normally, but my legs feel noticeably stronger and fitter after a few days walking around a new city.

We rode the metro a fair deal - the $7 day use passes are great if you know you'll be doing a few trips on the subway, and the stations are sprinkled around pretty regularly so that you can easily pop around and see the whole Island easily. The subways itself is defintely a little old and funky - bad smells, vagrants and the odd loonie are not out of place. It's also HOT - even in November. (We were were blessed with mostly good weather during our trip and only had rain for one day). I wonder what the subway will look like in 50 year's time - it will probably need a major overhaul at some point.

Sadly we didn't get to do some things I would have liked (plenty to do next time we visit). Some items still on the to-do list are: Visit Ellis Island's museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn, go up the Empire State building, see a taping of The Daily Show (hey - it would be cool!), see a show or two, go inside the public library, do more window shopping in the insanely expensive fashion, jewellery, etc. stores, eat out in some of veg*n restaurants in the city (and maybe try Nobu or some of the other famous fancy restaurants).

Phew, that's a long list. So, what sticks out as a the best bit of our past trip?

  • The Staten Island ferry ride. The view of the Statue of Liberty (SoL) is great, the ferry moves like a NY taxi cab (ZOOM out of the ferry terminal). The SoL actually looked smaller than I imagined it would - it's not terribly tall, and its fame and reputation as an icon of freedom make you think it will on the scale of Mt Rainier :)

  • A great food find. After roaming around, we ended up in NOHO outside the Corner Shop (Citysearch). This is funky little bistro/cafe with a modern flair. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner, and the service was great. Their food is also very nice - nothing too fancy and pretentious, but all interesting, often organic, and nicely prepared. I had steamed mussels with crusty bread, Belgian beer, and a tuna burger with "provençal fries" (Mmm... Garlic!) They had lots of veg*n options for A and the rest of the group. They advertise the "best cookies in NYC" on their menu - something to try next time - we'll defintely be back!

  • Yummy cannoli. Billed as the best on Little Italy, I'd believe it! (Sadly I don't remember the name of the place, with some sleuthing I might be able to figure it out...)


  • Diva (Citysearch) missed the mark with their crappy service and by trying to rip us off. (See A's review on Citysearch for details). Avoid!

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