Labor Day Weekend in NYC!

New York Travel Blog

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The Barking Dog - right next door to our hotel.

We only had a few short days to enjoy our annual outing to NYC and we had to pack a lot in!  My itinerary and notes are below.

Day One:

Flight to NYC - I was fortunate enough to upgrade to business class - and I'm soooo grateful.  I hate being on the plane for so long, and it's even worse when you are cramped into a teeny tiny space.  In business, you have a lot of leg room, a cushy leather seat, dvd's to watch, food to eat ... I could go on and on.  Again, I was extremely grateful.

Checked into Affinia Dumont.  I've never stayed in Murray Hill and was a bit concerned about the hotel and the location - but I was pleasantly surprised.  The hotel isn't super fancy, but it was really spacious and convenient and clean.

Me with my drink at the Barking Dog - this was the Barking Dog Martini (a dirty martini).
  I think it's best for families, or groups of friends - not for romantic trips, and not for first-timers in NYC.  As a first timer in NY, I would probably recommend something closer to the park, near times square, etc.  Check out my review and pics of the hotel.

After resting a bit, we had a quick happy hour at Barking Dog Cafe.  (Quite concept-y bar - essentially it's for doglovers - there is dog paraphenelia everywhere, the drinks have dog names, they leave water bowls around for customers' dogs, etc.)  The service was a little slow but friendly.  Nothing too special about the drinks/food - but was very convenient since it's right next to our hotel.

Dinner at Esca!  It was fun and the food was good - what else could one expect from Mario Batali (even though he never cooks here).

La Vie en rose at Pastis.
..Check out my full review. But if you have to choose only one Batali place, I would still go to Babbo which is awesome!  (Remember - you have to make reservations 1 month in advance.)

After dinner we checked out Club Aura - not so good - tiny space, sketchy crowd.  (good lemon drops, however).  :)  I think there were other clubs/bars after this, but I can't seem to remember so well after a bottle of wine and 5 cocktails.  I do remember getting the hiccups, which was only funny for the first 10 seconds but managed to last for a total of 10 minutes!

Day Two:

I'm not sure why but I woke up super early and went to work out in the hotel gym.  I just wanted to note that because I'm super proud of myself.

Inspirational tiles made by students after 9/11.
  :)  (This hotel must have the healthiest people alive - there were always people working out here or jogging around the hotel - really keeps you motivated.)

Brunch at Tia Pol.  I had high high expectations for this place, but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed.  The brunch menu was a bit limited, and my food was a tad salty.  Not sure why it gets such great reviews...Maybe I was there on an off day.  Check out my full review.

My friend and I strolled from Chelsea, through the Meatpacking District (we saw Del Posto (another Mario Batali restaurant) - which I must try next time I'm in NY - looked so huge and grand from the outside), stopped for drinks at Pastis.  My friend thought the bellini was just so-so, but I really enjoyed my "la vie en rose" (champagne with a sugar cube and rose essence - so pink & pretty).

Max Brenner's Chocolate Shop - chocolate overload!
  We then strolled through Greenwich (incl an art fair near NYU), found the Strand (an immense bookstore (i looove big bookstores), but this place gets sort of chaotic) and took another break at Max Brenner's Chocolate Shop (mmmm chocolate peanut butter treat; chocolate crepes .... but yes, there is such a thing as too much chocolate). 

We then shopped along Bleecker Street (Murray's cheese shop was pretty awesome) and serendipitiously ran into a Marc Jacobs sale - totes for $80, wallets for $20!!!!  craziness!  I also bought some jewelry at Satya (a gorgeous boutique filled with handmade jewelry - very ethnic, natural shapes).  I would have liked to have a Magnolia Bakery cupcake (sort of a NY tradition for me), but the lines were insane that day (literally a block and a half long)!  So instead, we ducked into a local bar Miracle and had $5 sangrias and chips and salsa - bartender was super friendly and the sangrias were pretty good.

$5 sangrias at Miracle!
  My friend liked their complimentary chips and salsa so much, I thought she was going to pick up the salsa and drink it!  (During the walk, I also found a bar that I visited a few years back with super delicious guacamole (which is quite rare in NY) .. I can't remember the name but I saw it along Bleecker and 4th ... maybe ...I could be wrong but if you ever see it, there's  a sign that says "best guacamole in New York". 

After the requisite nap, we went to Uncle Jack's steakhouse.  Pretty good steakhouse, very good service.  Check out my full review.

After dinner, I was quite buzzed and we headed out to the village to go dancing - but alas, New Yorkers don't start as early as LA folk, so none of the clubs were yet open.  We found solace at Naima - the only bar that seemed open at the time, and literally drank for 2 hours.

The Pond - my favorite spot in Central Park!
  (The namesake drink "Naima" was amazing!  It's a grapefruit vodka cocktail - that has managed to harness the juicy sweetness of grapefruit w/out a hint of the typical bitterness.)  I don't seem to remember much after this - other than lots of dancing at "Home" ... (not sure why their clubs all have these type of names - i.e., "Bed", "Guesthouse"...) ... from what I could remember, this was a pretty fun club - good music, lots of dancing .. but drinks were overpriced.  I also noted there were a lot of europeans - who for some odd reason thought i was russian.  (weird) When we were leaving the club, we did run into a line of police on horseback - they were very nice and let us pet the horses despite our obvious intoxication.  Afterwards, we did manage to stumble to a pizza joint near the hotel .
The fountain in Central Park.
.. but I can't remember much about it, and thus, I have yet to have the amazing pizza that NY keeps promising me...(one more reason i have to go back next year)  :) 

Day Three:

Worked out again!  Woo Hoo!

Brunch at Essex.  I'm so pleased I decided to go here instead of Tavern on the Green.  Their brunch is only $16 - including an entree and 3 cocktails - such a great deal.  Better yet, the food is delicious.  Check out my full review.

After brunch we strolled through Times Square (so cheezy, but fun nonetheless) and then watched Spamalot.  Such a funny musical and our seats were amazing.  I had forgotten most of the original Monty Python movie before this, but it was a pleasant reminder.

  I especially loved the "killer rabbit".  :)

Perhaps it was too much dancing the night before but I was wiped out and had to sleep.  My more energetic friends went out for more shopping and drinking.  When I managed to drag myself out of the room, I was only able to muster enough energy to go to happy hour at a local bar/restaurant - Maxie Sushi (half off sushi during happy hour and really yummy lychee martinis) and Chinatown to snack on pastries and eat at New Green Bo Restaurant.  (so yummy but super long wait) - Check out my full review.

Day Four:

While my friends slept, I took some "me" time to walk through Central Park and check out my favorite spots - The Pond and the Fountain.

  I'm always so happy to be in the park - I can't go to NY without taking some time here.  It's a wonderful haven in the city.  I tried to go shopping on Fifth Ave - but I think god was helping me to save money because i wasn't able to buy anything ... literally ... at henri bendel they installed new registers that no one could figure out, so they couldn't ring me up.  then i wanted to buy a specific nail polish only to be told that was a "summer" item and was no longer being carried... I guess it's final - summer is over.  sigh.

After a few hours of "me" time, I met up with my friends again and had lunch at Luna Piena - one of my favorite little italian places in NY.  When I used to go to NY to work on deals, my office would be right around the corner from this place - and every meal I had there was quite good so I have very fond memories of it.  After lunch, we fortuitously ran into a street fair on Lexington - i bought a $1 headband and was tempted by all the delicious snacks - crepes, shish kebabs, fruit smoothies, roasted corn ... mmmm I love street fairs.

Flight to LA - I was again lucky enough to upgrade to business - thank goodness!  I watched Waitress on the flight - such a dear movie, I think I'll have to buy it now (even though I'm deeply opposed to adultery and that was everywhere in the movie) .. also watched Blades of Glory (again) - love that movie!

binky says:
NYC rocks! Sounds like a blast!
Posted on: Nov 13, 2007
sybil says:
glad you ladies had fun! :D
Posted on: Sep 03, 2007
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The Barking Dog - right next door …
The Barking Dog - right next door…
Me with my drink at the Barking Do…
Me with my drink at the Barking D…
La Vie en rose at Pastis.
La Vie en rose at Pastis.
Inspirational tiles made by studen…
Inspirational tiles made by stude…
Max Brenners Chocolate Shop - cho…
Max Brenner's Chocolate Shop - ch…
$5 sangrias at Miracle!
$5 sangrias at Miracle!
The Pond - my favorite spot in Cen…
The Pond - my favorite spot in Ce…
The fountain in Central Park.
The fountain in Central Park.
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photo by: herman_munster