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Published: March 31st 2019
NYC TrafficHigh on Life, high on love, high on The Highline walk and High in rooftop bars
View from the Highline
Twenty-five years ago (March 26, 1994) we were married barefoot on a glistening white sandy beach in Barbados listening to the intoxicating roar of the ocean waves surrounded by good friends and family. Banks beer and rum drinks flowed and island music played. At that time we vowed to attempt to celebrate our bigger wedding anniversaries on an island.
On our 5th
anniversary we went back to Barbados to celebrate, our 10th
we spent it in Fiji on Matamanoa Island, our 15th
was on Sanibel Island, Florida, we were off to explore Ireland for our 20th
anniversary. We decided our 25th
anniversary should be spent on one of the more famous islands in America so here we are in Manhattan. No regrets is our motto.
Having seen many of the standard NYC sites on our week visit in July 2010 we are in search of more off the beaten path….. and maybe some more pizza. Welcome to New York City.....have you bought your ticket ?
After checking into our free room (hotel points and a free flight) at the Hampton Inn near Times Square we were off walking on a frigid NYC
So many in the city
morning. The week before arrival it looked like we might have upper 50 degree weather while we were in the city but two days before the cold front moved in. We bundled up in coat and scarf and were willing to walk the city streets to PJ Clarke’s famous bar. Our hotel breakfast left much to be desired so we thought a Bloody Mary at PJ’s could solve a lot of the worlds problems. The Bloody Mary provided plenty of vegetables and electrolytes. The walls of this dark wooded tavern established in 1884 were covered with photos to include Frank Sanatra, Jackie O, Nat King Cole, Buddy Holly and sadly Bernie Madoff.
Soon after our drink we were once again walking the NYC city streets embracing the energy on our way to a special lunch. Travelers Century Club Luncheon
In December, we joined a group of well-traveled world travelers called the Travelers Century Club. In the 60’s when the group began few people had traveled to 100 countries or more. Now the group is thriving around the U.S. and Internationally. We have been accepted into the group on provisional status with less than 100 countries but more
Birding in Central Park
Early in the season, but plenty to see
than 75 traveled.
While in Manhattan, our timing was excellent and we were able to attend the NYC’s gathering at Darbar Indian Restaurant. Darbar Restaurant
We were welcomed into the group and had a wonderful time sitting at a table with Pam and Nania. Our conversation was exciting and we wanted it to be endless. After a pleasant Indian lunch rich in flavors one of the members gave an exceptional presentation on Bhutan. This brought back an endless flood of memories. Bhutan is a great country, what a wonderful presentation. We sat smiling and thinking to ourselves, that these are our people.
They have a member of the group who scouts out a different ethnic restaurant for each meeting. For us the Indian food was a great setting for a travel presentation. Their next meeting is June 1st
and the presentation will be on Ethiopia. We wish we could be there.
We didn’t want to stop talking with Pam. She walked us to Grand Central Station as we continued our conversation. She told us a few Central Station stories and showed us around. After we parted company we walked around taking photos and decided to go to
When your in NYC, you've got to eat pizza!
Ciprini Dolci. This location was selected because of the expansive view looking out over Grand Central Station. We were absorbing the vibe and energy of all the locals hurrying to catch their trains and tourist venturing in for a look. This was a great location to people watch and sip adult beverages.
As we headed back to our hotel we decided we should catch a Broadway play. The theatre next to our hotel was showing Pretty Woman. We stopped in and grabbed tickets for the 8pm showing about an hour and a half before it started. Quickly we went to an Irish pub next door to the theatre for a mediocre meal. With our time short in the big city, it was disappointing to get a sub par meal, but this turned out to be the only bad one....the rest were fabulous.
Pretty Woman was an amazing performance. If you are in town give it some consideration. We would not have picked this one in advance from a list of shows to see but it was extremely well done. We are always amazed at the talent of the performers on Broadway. Birding with Bob
months ago a friend of ours was in NYC celebrating an anniversary and they did a Central Park walking tour with Bob the Birder. Intrigued by his website we put it on our list of things to do on our trip. We might be closet birders as we keep enjoying birding activities. Maybe soon we will be "bird nerds."
As instructed we met near the Boathouse. We had reserved binoculars. The walking tour is $10 and the binoculars another $10. This was an amazing two and a half hours wandering Central park looking to the sky. We laughed at the end as Bob apologized because we didn’t see any exceptional birds. I guess that is the good part of not being a birder… you are happy with ordinary birds and we had plenty of them.
The trees are bare, it was a cold crisp morning but several degrees warmer than yesterday so we were happy to be among a group of twenty five or more enthusiastically following Bob and his wife through the park. At least ten in the group were regulars, hugging and saying their hellos. Our entire group was jovial and eager to point out the
birds and provide us the names as sited.
Starlings, Cardinals, Bluebirds, Woodpeckers, Finches, Chickadees, Wrens and Nut hatchers… lots of excitement when the Cooper’s Hawk flew over and all the other birds went quiet. Cameras were busy clicking away, as birders whispered to one another, binoculars were pointed into the sky… each bird awaited their attention. The birders went absolutely bat shit crazy when two bald eagles chasing each other flew down low over the park for all to see. They were moving with extreme speed and it was grand watching them dip and chase. We saw them a couple of times as they soared past unaware of our rapt attention on their game. Parts of the group, but not us, were fortunate enough to see a wild coyote traversing a wall on a nearby building. They got some great photos.
We highly recommend this activity when you are in the city even if you are not a birder. This was time well spent. Although, this year, we suspect peak would have been in another two weeks as the weather warms and the leaves are not obstructing views. Bob is a happy man with a wicked sense of
The Late Show
Actually, they tape it at 5:00 PM!
https://www.birdingbob.com Hiking “The High Line”
Our blog title was an attempt to get your attention and a play on words!
NYC has shown vision with their transformation of the New York Central Railway’s 1.45 mile-long freight rail into an urban park. This 1929 section of railway became obsolete and is now the backdrop for stargazing, restaurants, museums, theatre and oh so much more. With the use of urban design, ecology and a bit of landscape architecture this walk has turned into a stunning public space.
We took this walk immediately following our birding so we were hungry. Fortunately, we grabbed a warm soft pretzel as we entered The High Line. Trail. It has been a cold spring and so flowers have been slow to pop. We were able to imagine how beautiful this walk would be full spring or summer but while we were there it was lacking color.
We also underestimated how popular this walk would be. Hundreds of people slowly walking the path in both directions to take in views of the Hudson River, the urban architecture, interstate highways and plenty of city views. Fortunately, at points along the way, you
Hundreds in the big city
can exit and take a staircase down to a city street if you want to stop at a coffee shop or art gallery. We walked to the end snapping photos of traffic, city streets and architecture along the way. At times we were frustrated because the people in front of us were not kind enough to step to the side while taking their photos- causing the entire crowd to stop. At the end we were tired and hungry and in need of a rest.
For weeks, we (mostly one of us) studied list of things to do in the city trying to design an interesting trip and wonderful things to eat. Being foodies we didn’t want to waste a meal and two days in we had already had a lack luster breakfast at our hotel and a quick mediocre dinner before the theatre. We had checked with two knowledgeable friends and had a list of possibilities in addition to searching the internet for the 5 best pizzas, the 5 top historic bars, the best deli’s, best NYC brunches, rooftop bars and oh so much more. You’ve got the idea now.
We wandered another half hour getting to a
restaurant on our list near the high line. The wait was 40 minutes and as we waited we checked out the menu. It had changed since we checked in out on line so off we decided to leave. We hopped in a cab and headed to Alta’s for tapas. What we didn’t realize was they didn’t open until 5pm and we were tired and starving at 3pm. The owner of Alta’s came to the door and directed us to an Italian restaurant nearby. We split our meal of their specialty salad, some lemon pasta and a bottle of wine.
We were beginning to feel like real people again when we realized a cell phone got left in the cab. Dang it! That is what happens as you age and get tired… you do less than desirable things, mistakes happen when you are tired. We had been walking non-stop for 7 hours and had not eaten anything for 8 hours. We called the phone, it was answered by the next passenger in the cab. We asked him to bring it to us at the restaurant and we would pay for the cab. Minutes later he returned our cell phone… and
the key to our hotel room, which fell out of a pocket. We didn’t even know it was missing. Geez….. he said his wife was planning to call all the Hilton’s when she got home to find us. And…. No he didn’t he accept any cab fare. He wants us to know there are some really great New Yorkers! Wow! Yes, that was great. As we always say, there are more good people in the world than bad. Thank you New York!
We hate to tell you what happened next.
The salad we just ate was exceptional but the pasta was only good. The flavor was good but the pasta was a bit over cooked. We shared both of these in case we wanted to eat again later. We decided we could eat “just a little bit more” so we headed for the highly recommended Rubirosa Pizza…. We were instructed to order the Tie Dye Pizza… we did! Thank you Mara. We had half tie-dye and half the Rubirosa special and the tie dye was far superior. Ok, now our taste buds were dancing! We enjoyed sitting by the pizza oven as it added additional entertainment. This is
Many a famous person has visited here...you know...Sinatra and others.....
a quaint New York City pizza parlor and well worth your time.
Our next stop on this grand adventure was the Spyglass Rooftop Bar. A decent view of the Empire State building and cold adult beverages was all we needed. Good thing we spent several hours walking today to burn off some of these calories.
We had come to NYC with a list of the finest rooftop bars in the city. We didn’t know if we would have time.
From there we went to the AC Hotel and the Castell Rooftop lounge. Another adult beverage while we talked to a wonderful couple from Costa Rica. Great city views, nice conversation and well made adult beverages made a great end to a day in the city. Food for foodies!
The next morning had gotten colder again and a wicked wind was sweeping through the city streets. We had hoped the tall buildings would provide us some protection but instead the winds hurled down the streets reminding us why we live in Florida. We were tired from our last two days of walking on the cement city streets. We decided we were not willing to have another
hotel breakfast whether it was free or not…. So we were off to Russ and Daughters for breakfast. This is near NYU so this part of town has a different vibe. We gorged ourselves on bagels, lox, and all the fixings. Our taste buds had come to the mecca of breakfast. We entertained trying the cavier to celebrate because our anniversary but the cost of $140 and up-- we decided we didn’t need to try it. We will save that for when we go to Russia!
This is an upscale deli and has fantastic breakfast. We highly recommend it.
Our next adventure was McSorley’s Old Ale House Tavern located in the east village, said to be NewYork city’s oldest irish pub dating back to 1854. Women were not allowed until 1970. What? Can that be true… yes. Dark wood, floors covered with saw dust and a group of routy firemen and policman in the back room. They serve food but the big choices to make are dark beer or light beer. The barkeep came and sat with us for a while to find out how we stumbled into his establishment. He gave us a list of a couple
New climbable artwork
of other places to hit while in town.
Pete’s Tavern has been thriving since 1864. It has the warm ambiance of a local pub and yet dripping is historic charm. We enjoyed our time talking to the bar tender until we got cornered by a drunk so we cut our visit short.
So we’ve made it to two of the 5 top historic bars in the city. The Stephen Colbert Show & the Ed Sullivan Theatre…. Woo Hoo!!!!!!
We went back to our room for a short rest before heading out to the Ed Sullivan Theatre. We were lucky to score priority tickets to the Stephen Colbert. We have regrets that we never saw the David Letterman show but now we had this opportunity to see Colbert and enjoy this historic theatre. We arrived early (at 1:45) and we landed 6th
in line for the performance. We stood, and stood and stood…. We began to think they would never let us off the cold and windy street and into the theatre. Finally, at 4pm they took us through metal detectors and put us in a new line. Restroom breaks were given and everyone got back in line.
At 4:45pm instructions were given to all participants. Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t scream we love you Stephen, sit where we tell you to sit, please don’t argue about where we seat you. A few minutes before we entered they brought about 15 people to the front of the line. Many of us didn’t appreciate that as we’ve been waiting a long time to get good seating…. We believe they were guest of staff. Fortunately, even though they were seated before us they were not seated in premium seats so everyone calmed down. We were third row center and had a very good view…. Even with the big cameras and stage manager standing on stage in front of us.
The show was great. Stephen was funny and we had a great time. The Mueller Report had just been released so Stephen had plenty of comments to make. His imitation of Trump is always a kick. The opening monologue was actually two segments of the show as he had so much to say. The whole experience was incredible as we have never been to the taping of a show before. In addition to the actual show, a comedian
Along the Highline was... NYC
came out to warm up the audience and the band jammed for about 25 minutes. Jean Baptiste and Stay Human provided great music. Each of the musicians in the band are extremely talented. Must be a pretty good job when you get to play music in a band and not have to travel.....
We absolutely enjoyed this historic theatre. World Famous Katz’s deli
Again, we had not eaten since our breakfast. The show ended at 7pm and we were very hungry. We caught another cab to the world famous Katz’s Deli! We’ve been waiting for this… we’ve eaten deli in some great places across the country so Katz was at the top of our short list. We were excited as we walked into this iconic location in NYC. As we entered we were handed a laminated menu and told which line to get in for our order. First, we headed for a Katz amber ale and IPA and then headed to order our corned beef and a pastrami with potato salad on the side. …oh, and a plate full of pickles. A quick call to our friends in Menlo Park, California, Denise and Galen to check in
Huge warm pretzels
Street vendor in the right place at the right time for us!
and see if they had eaten at Katz as not long ago we made a trip to Langer’s in LA together and wanted to see how this one ranked.
Go to Katz’s! Go hungry! It is known for its iconic scene in “When Harry met Sally”. Many photos of famous visitors are on the wall. We wanted cheesecake but we were too full.
Now we arrive at March 26, 2019 Happy Anniversary! 911 Memorial Museum
We spent several hours at the 911 Memorial Museum. This was a somber experience but an extremely well done museum. The architecture and fountains alone are amazing. Even though we watched the shock and devastation of 911 in real time and time and time again on our nightly news it was sad to walk the halls and see this extraordinary presentation. It seems like you are there in real time.
The last time we were in NYC the grounds around the museum were a large hole in the ground.
Our friend Mara had suggested a visit to Stone Street. After the museum we got out our iphones and it looked like it was only a mile away so we
started walking. After about a half mile we realized we were now nearly two miles away. Honestly, our sense of direction is not that bad…. We can only think that the iphone was having trouble because we were hidden beneath towering buildings. We had experienced this two days ago also. We said what the heck and called Uber. Moments later we were enjoyed a fresh tuna and avacado sandwich and beer at the Stone Street Tavern. Beautiful cobbled streets with lots of outdoor seating for better weather days.
Our next stop was The White Horse Tavern established in 1673. As the story goes Dylan Thomas spent the day drinking with friends, some say he drank 18 shots throughout the day. As he left the pub he passed out on the street, they took him to the hospital where they treated him and sent him on his way. Dylan Thomas photos adorn the walls. We asked the origination of the name of the tavern and were told that back in the day most people were illiterate and they had to have an identifier on the outside of the pub so people could find it. In this case, a white horse
head. Aretsky Patroon
It is absolutely insane trying to select a restaurant in NYC to celebrate 25 years of marriage. We talked with friends, studied the Internet, read world-class chef reviews and studied wine spectator recommendations. In the end, we decided to stick with a theme from our NYC visit in 2010. One of our favorite easy reading authors is Stuart Woods. In his Stone Barrington series, his characters used to eat at Elaine’s, which is where we dined years ago. Shortly after we had dinner there Elaine died and the restaurant closed. Now the characters in the book, Stone and Dino frequent Patroon’s…. so off we went.
Patroon’s has an elegant dining room with leather booths, perfect for our celebration. The meal of black cod and halibet were outstanding. The service was some of the best we’ve experienced anywhere. For dessert and entertainment we ordered the baked Alaska, which was prepared at our table.
Our last morning we had a tasty breakfast at the New York City Diner before heading toward the airport for our happy travels home.
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