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Archive for October, 2016

Now that I have the words & music of “New York, New York” running around in your head, let me tell  you about our latest adventure in the city that never sleeps. “Our” is Leslie & me: Leslie is one of those people for whom the expression “oldest & dearest friend’ has real meaning.  Not that she is old, but we do go back, all the way back to our girls’ dormitory, Victoria Hall,  at Queen’s University.  (In the vernacular of the time, that made us “Vic Chicks”, not that you could get away with that today mind you. Now that does make me sound old, positively curmudgeonly).

Our annual weekends in New York City are a tradition that started eight years ago, and we have missed it only once.  In order to get the maximum city for the minimum dollar, we have established a pattern of going in very early on Friday morning, and staying late on Sunday. We buy three days of experiences for only two nights of hotel.  Very Scottish Ben would say.

So what did we do with our three days?

As you can see, we ate magnificently at Del Posto,  where they offer one of the best value “big deal lunches” in New York City:  a prix fixe for $49 including amuse bouche and delicious little after dinner treats. Extraordinary  fine Italian dining.  On Friday, accompanied by Barb, a transplant from Toronto, we dined at the funky and crazy popular RedFarm. It sounds like a comfort food spot, and indeed, one the servers said that some guys do come in looking for a cheeseburger. Those guys should have stayed for some of the best and most interesting Chinese I have ever had, and that includes favourite places in our Chinese cuisine centric suburbs.

We always want a culture infusion, and since the ticket prices for the big blockbusters like “Hamilton” are approaching the cost of plane ticket, even without the exchange, we went to an off-Broadway production of a 300 year old comedy, “She Stoops to Conquer”.  It was funny and a little precious but we will definitely choose off Broadway again.  A warmer and more intimate experience, where for about 50$, you are in spitting distance of the actors. Literally. I saw spit.

We also did some restrained but rewarding shopping at a pretty,  petite candy store, sugarfina, where the colourful little boxes of delicious jellies & chocolates from Italy and Germany made us smile.   I always appreciate great retail marketing and this store had it all:  superb packaging & merchandising, attentive service and special promotions for volume purchases.  And the cute little boxes will make great stocking stuffers, which justified in our minds spending over $80 US each on candy!

We decided that our boutique hotel, The Roxy, while very “au courant” with it’s 70’s vibe throughout,  did not meet our bar for price/value and the Tribeca location was not ideal either.  A midtown choice makes more sense if you want to go from the bottom to the top of the City many times over.  And we do.

The highlight of the trip was an “EmptyMet” tour from viator:   an enthusiastic and knowledgable PhD in art history gave us a whirlwind tour of the world’s finest museum for one and half hours before it opened and the masses arrived.  Ahem, my fine shot of the fine rear of a life-sized nude sculpture came from that tour. Worth the money.

As a final note, I observed New Yorkers in general to be friendlier than I remember. And the city to be greener, the air, fresh and pleasant to breathe.  Maybe it was the fine fall weekend, but there were smiles and warmth and welcomes everywhere.  Definitely, fall is now our preferred time to visit, and we start planning now!

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