The wife and I found some great seats to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden so we took advantage of it and made a quick trip last week to NYC. We flew First Class from IAH-LGA on UA, great flight with DirectTV and WiFi, had a nice lunch of Chicken Salad and my wife had a Turkey and Swiss Sandwich, both which came with a Tortilla Soup, plenty of wine and to top it off we got in early.
We decided to take a taxi from LGA to the Hotels in Midtown Manhattan - Midtown East Hotels | New York Marriott East Side where we had used the Marriott Mobile App to check-in the day before. After a short 20 minute ride we arrived at the hotel we went to the Mobile Check-In desk where we were met with two Associates that were smiling and warmly greeted us. They said we had been upgraded to a Jr. Suite and off we went to a very nice large clean fresh room on the 14th floor.
We unpacked quickly, surveyed the room to make sure we had a mini-fridge which we did then off to find a spot for Happy Hour as it was already after noon most places!! We had planned on going to Chin Chins but Jimmy had recently closed the place on E 48th St. in order to open a larger place near SoHo if I remember. When we walked out the front door of the hotel we met the Doorman (Jimmy and John) who both agreed we should try Da Noi | Midtown Manhattan NYC so around the corner we went and found a very quaint and very friendly bar atmosphere (New York is so friendly) where we enjoyed some "prescribed meds" and met a friendly fun lady who insisted on ordering us Portobello Al Barolo that was stupid wonderful. What a find this was and how fun it was to mingle with the locals and visitors as they strolled in for dinner or Happy Hour.
My wife had many years of conventions at the Luxury Manhattan Hotel | Waldorf Astoria New York & Towers, NYC so of course we had to visit the place and have a drink with her favorite NYC Bartender (Sonny) at Sir Harry's then wander about the hotel some and visit the famous ballroom before heading over to Rockefeller Center.
Back outside the wind had picked up and the 39 degrees felt pretty cold for us Texas residents, but we were ready and the Christmas Tree looked gorgeous.
And of course no trip to NYC is complete without thanking the NYPD for their protection and keeping us safe.
The next day was Billy Joel at MSG, so we wandered the city some and wanting an early afternoon meal went over to 9th Avenue to a small fun spot called Pure Thai Cookhouse and oh was it ever worth the walk. Amazing food with just as amazing employees who helped us select which meals were the best. We started with Steamed Vegetable Dumplings that are the best we've ever had, perfectly cooked and yummy. I forget what my wife had that came with Glass Noodles, but I had the Ratchaburi......OMG they were both incredibly fresh, flavor filled and perfect. The prices here are very very low particularly for NYC so if in the area you must stop in for food. I don't think our entire bill with three glasses of wine came to $60 with a nice tip. Sorry no pictures of the food as the camera was in the room.
That evening it was off to the concert at MSG. We had never been in MSG, but what a nice arena. Our seats were abeam the front of the stage on the side about 12 rows up. The atmosphere was electric and Billy Joel put on a splendid performance for just under 2+45, no intermission and between songs he played Christmas Music. His band has been together with him for too many years to count and they were just as great as Billy, what a special night to see them perform in their home town at Madison Square Garden. WOW, might be the best concert we had ever seen and the audience rocked all night long.
Full day two was spent again wandering the city.....first time into St. Patrick's Cathedral that is still being renovated, what a gorgeous spot and so thankful it was open to be able to see first hand. The sound from the Pipe Organ was so moving and lovely. Of course someone had to stop and ask one of the construction workers how much of an honor it was to be doing work on the Cathedral.....he was completely happy to chat for quite a while.
Since we again had tickets for that evening for a show we decided to wander down W. 46th St. to find a little cozy spot for lunch. We walked without any direction on where we would go until we saw two business men coming out of a small little spot called http://becco-nyc.com/ and was it ever packed at 1:30 PM for lunch. We were lucky enough to find two seats at the very end of the bar. This is what came out with our wine as we waited to order our salad and Spaghetti to share. The food was very very good, Tomato Sauce very very light and then we found out they had Meatballs as they were not on the menu so of course we were required to take three back to the room for a snack after the show. They had one lunch special where you could get three different pasta dished and the servers would walk around with huge pans of the pasta serving those who ordered the special all they could eat. It was just crazy good and fun.
We were going to Beautiful The Carole King story that night......wow what a life she lived and all the music she was involved in writing. Jessie Mueller is AMAZING and highly recommend getting tickets to the show.
Scheduled to fly out at 5:20 PM so we thought let us go to our favorite Greek spot right around the corner from the hotel for lunch before leaving. Avra Estiatorio we have been visiting for years, just a cozy little place with wonderful food and wines. Wife wanted brunch so she got Poached Eggs while I decided on Swordfish Brochette.....what a perfect meal to end our quick NYC visit.
With a couple of hours until our Supershuttle Private Car would pick us up we decided to walk around some and see the sights, Saks Fifth Avenue was so pretty to see all decorated inside, but the lines around the windows to see the Christmas Scenes was so deep we couldn't get near them.
Perfectly on time our car to the airport ended up being an SUV with a friendly talkative driver, only way to leave NYC. During our lunch we got an update on our flight from EWR to IAH and it wasn't good. They (UA) had decided to change planes from a very nice B752 with lie flat seats in Business First to a B739ER. Okay that change alone is not that bad since we would still have a nice seat in First Class, but the kicker was that plane was leaving from IAH to come get us and it would be some four hours late getting us home. I'll leave the discussion right there as this is a family rated sight...... At least UA gave us a travel certificate for some compensation for disrupting not only our travel day, but many who had connecting flights at IAH had to spend the night as their flights had long since gone when we landed. It is UA so what can I say.
Happy Holidays everyone and enjoy a wonderful Insiders 2015.
Beautiful was beyond anything I expected. I'm not sure if the Conductor who also played the piano for the entire show was actually the best performer!!! You'll enjoy it for sure.
Now it's off to Toyota Center in hopes of seeing our real Houston Rockets show up (not like the last 2 games) and take down the favorite of The specified item was not found. and his Portland Trailblazers.
You sold me man. I just booked the tickets.
You may recall, my last trip to NY (at the same Marriott East Side) I went to the Mrs.' choice, Once, and had a good time, but my pick was Beautiful. This time we're going in February (my sole CyberMonday deal - the Residence Inn on Central Park - two nights). Since it was her Christmas present, we went for her dreamboat - Hugh Jackman in the River (apparently he's Wolverine, and yours truly is only Porcupine). So now, with a two night stay and your endorsement, here's the actual quote from the Mrs., "well, if IAH, says it's a go, then it's a go!"
Yeah baby, the Power of Insiders strikes again!
ps- professional basketball has returned to the nation's capital; watch out for our hometown, nice guys, (as in no Gilbert Arenas trouble) Wizards, they're sneaking up on teams this year ('bout time).
Excellent, IAHFLYR !!!! We've been increasing our NYC visits yearly and you've really hit on some new ideas for us!! Beautifully documented travel related info. These are the types of write ups that benefit me and many others. Thanks for taking the time!! We visited St Patrick's at this time of year just a couple of years ago. It's a must see along with Rock Center.
Okay IAHFLYR we're all booked for next Tues/Wed 12/30-12/31. The only reasonably priced Marriott property was The Lexington. The reviews in December are so poor, I stayed away from that venue. I thought erc stayed at The Lexington recently but couldn't find the write up.
Often, we'll stay across the river in NJ and take the easy train ride in to Penn Station, but Mrs. Pained preferred to be where the action is in case a mid day rest is called for. So, I booked a competitor on points in the heart of Times Square. Should be a blast. My better half is in charge of show tickets so I'll keep you posted. I suspect we'll hit our favorite, Don Antonio by Starita for one meal and wing it for the rest.
That's disappointing to hear, I had an excellent stay, but like you say, I've read of several negative experiences of late by travelers.
And on top of that, they have joined erc's verboten breakfast list (I can't eat points and in NYC, this can become a significant cost issue for two). The Lexington has joined the group of hotels that does not offer breakfast and instead provides 1,000 points (they have yet to update - what's new - on the T & Cs list - but lodgers have confirmed that the hotel makes clear, they no longer offer breakfast as an elite benefit).
I've got an upcoming CyberMonday deal (yay!) at the Residence Inn Central Park, so I'm hoping to ease my pain over the loss of the Lexington (which offered terrific rates, many times, allowing more $$$ for shows and dinners) with a great breakfast and a great view at America's tallest hotel.
Your comment made me realize that I never got the weekend breakfast points from our late Oct. stay at East Side (and they did tell me I would be receiving points in lieu of brekkie, and yes erc weekend brekkie at Le Pain Quotidien both days did set us back a bit - in hindsight and for any future do over, I might wander over to Starbucks on 49th & Maddie for coffee and bagels all under $10.) Do you think it's too late to call and ask for the points (2 months later)? If I do call c/s, it will be my 3rd call to straighten out missing/incorrect points postings for that stay, and .