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Thread: In New York...

  1. #1
    Lets start at the start, although this will be brief!

    The cast: I'm Mark (duh!), and my DGF is Louise. Vicky is her sister. Her Parents are Carol and Garry, who we were taking to NYC for the first time for their 30th wedding anniversary. My best friend Dan came too (he was dating Vicky until a few weeks ago), but he's a quiet chap, so you wont here much about him

    Sunday: Lou’s mom was hysterical when she saw that instead of a taxi or shuttle bus we were actually going to NYC in a limo. That was quite cool. Hotel was ‘nice’, but not fantastic. Excellent location, rooms were more than big enough, but some of them look quite dated – carol and garry’s room had been redecorated and had a massive flat screen TV, and was ace, the other two rooms looked like they needed decorating and had old TV’s. I’m sure when they’re done renovating it’ll be ace – they’re doing it one room at a time. There are obviously some very small rooms there too as one day I was talking to lou with the door open as I was leaving to get morning coffee and the woman next door walked past, and couldn’t help but comment that our room looked massive compared to hers. The hotel was on 50th at 7th, right opposite the Gershwin Theatre where Wicked is. It has a nice Japanese restraunt attached, but we didnt eat there...

    Sunday afternoon we walked around times square, and because it was Sunday… we went the pub J one of MANY MANY ‘irish bars’. I found out villa lost 6-0 to Newcastle. Bad times!

    We went to a place called Charley & Co as they had an all day happy hour and '$10 Beer and a Burger'. This appealed to Garry no end, so here we went!

    We unpacked, didn’t eat again, and went to bed. Monday was when I stared making them WALK. EVERYWHERE!!


    Monday: We woke up and went for a walk for breakfast. We found a nice looking Deli called the cranberry café, and had breakfast. This place was really busy, and took their time service us, so we didn’t go back there. The breakfast was very nice, I had pancakes and French toast. Lou had a full on breakfast, including ‘home fries’, a unique looking pile of potatoes, onions and peppers. Blech (im allergic to onions).

    We walked over to the King Tut exhibition – went to go in, and two of the four New York passes we'd bought didn’t work. They called the pass place for us and we just had to go fill in a form and get two new ones, no questions asked. I think they just had faulty chips on them. The heavens opened while we were there though, so got soaked walking back to Tut. The exhibition was ace, it has the first ever (and currently only) re-creation of Tut’s skeleton – he was very small, even at 19. I also never knew he was married, and had two stillborn children - hence there being no heir to the throne at the time, even though by 19 most people had several children then.

    We were still pretty stuffed from breakfast, so decided to go around Madam Toussauds before even thinking about lunch. This is a pretty standard place, if you’ve been to the one in London you know what to expect – they’re no longer charging for photo’s with Obama though, that distinction now belongs to Robert Pattison!

    We were finally dried out, so time to get wet again – we took a walk down to Madison Square Garden, as the MSG tour was next on our to do list. It wasn’t until we got inside the arena and near the box office that we were told they had temporarily suspended the tour until the winter while they do some renovation work – pfft. They don’t mention this on their website (that I noticed, anyway).

    It was way too late for lunch now as we were planning on having a big meal for Carol and Garry’s wedding anniversary (it had been thirty years and one week). So we skipped lunch and went up to Rockefeller Plaza to book the NBC tour. The first gap they had for a group of six was 10.15 the next morning – fine by us, we’ll take it! We also pop in to Radio City, but they book their tours on a daily basis with no set times, so we have to come back tomorrow and hope. We walk back to the hotel via many shops, and refresh / shower / change for dinner.

    Carol and Vicky are quite fussy eaters, so we tried to go to mainstream / easy looking places for dinner where we knew they’d eat. So we went to Olive Garden, the place that backs on to the Times Square TKTS booth. We had a cocktail or two while waiting for our table, and the meal was really nice – I can’t remember what I had for starters, but for the main course had a mixed grill, which was basically two massive kebab skewers of chicken and steak. Nom nom!! They also brought us daft amounts of breadsticks and salad, which all got demolished. I was sooo full it was untrue by the time I’d finished. I was in fact so full, and everyone was so worn out after our fist day, that we resisted the Irish pub next to the hotel on the way home, and went straight to bed!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    fab start mark


    we need pictures too

  3. #3
    pictures will be going on facebook later I think, I'll steal the best ones and post them here too

  4. #4
    Nice report. Sounds like everyone is having a good time (regardless of the rain). It's good that you liked the Olive Garden. It seems a bit odd to dine there when in Manhattan, but hey whatever works for your group!

  5. #5
    We don't have Olive Gardens in the UK, so it was still different for us - we only had one meal down in little Italy (at Vincents), and that was quite a fuss with just Vicky (the mom and dad went to Burger King, of all places!), so we stuck to places like Ruby Tuesdays / Planet Hollywood when eating as a whole group. I'd have preferred a bit more of an adventure, dining wise, but me and lou were the only ones, so we gave it up really to eat with everyone else.

  6. #6
    Yep, we have had vacations like that too. The larger the group, the more challenging the dining becomes, eh? We love to try new places and are fairly adventurous when it comes to trying new things. Family? Not so much.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Berkshire UK
    We ate in Olive Garden as well! Had as lovely meal in there with one of the best servers we had all holiday.

    Shame about the MSG tour - we managed to do it but there was already a lot of work going on - really enjoyed all three of the tours we went on.

    Great report Mark - Can't wait for the next installment!


  8. #8
    Tuesday: We got up nice and early again – up at 7.30, meet people in the lobby by 8.30. We walked towards Rockefeller plaza and stopped off for breakfast (I can’t remember the name of the place, there’s so many of them) – I calmed down today and just had pancakes for breakfast, hoping not to put on too much weight while I’m there!

    We were on the 10.15 NBC Studios tour and had to be there for ten – we were there nice and on time, and after watching the short ‘history of NBC’ self-congratulatory video, we were off! This tour took about an hour and a quarter, and included looking at the MSNBC newsroom, the room where all the staffers / writers work (I thought one guy was dossing on facebook, but we were assured it’s the MSNBC FB Page). Then it was up to where they film Saturday Night Live (we walked past it, but couldn’t go in as they were rehearsing / making new stages), and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (who was away presenting the Emmy’s). They conveniently gloss over Conan O’Brien’s time here, its like he never existed!!

    Then the fun time – two volunteers please? Over enthusiastic guy ‘Jack’ pops his hand up, and after a moment of awkward silence, Louise does too. Standard green screen playing where he reads the news and Lou did the weather. They then inform us that it was actually being shown downstairs to the NBC Experience store, and on a small screen outside for passers by J - for a moderate $40, we now also own this footage! I’ll let you know if we put it on youtube…

    One tour down, one to go – we walk out of NBC and around the corner to Radio City. They have a tour at midday with space – yes please! This place is massive. You wouldn’t think a concert hall for 6,500 people is that big given the size of the o2 and MEN etc, but this is a purpose built concert hall like Symphony Hall, so its massive (symphony hall only holds 1500). Very well presented, a lovely place to walk around. We met a ‘Rockette’ too.

    Its half one now, and nobody was hungry – so we headed down to Empire State Building. We used our passes, and when doing so was told we could pay for the 102nd floor while up there on the 86th if we wanted to – so we thought we’d see how it went first. While walking to the queue we saw the NY Skyride (flight simulator) was also included in the pass, so we did that first as the line was quite big (I figured it couldn’t possibly get worse!). Kevin Bacon still does the voiceover so it hasn’t changed since 2003…

    Up to 86 we go! It’s a grey day but not raining right now, so the views are quite good. Then we ask about the tickets to 102 – if youre paying cash, you have to get them from the front desk. Doh! No explanation as to why you cant just buy them at the gift shop that’s up there. So half an hour later, I return with the passes. This isn’t great, its only worth going up to say you’ve done it. Suprisingly, theres precious little you can see at 102 floors up that you can’t see from 86!

    Walking back, Carol and Garry decide they are hungry, and want Burger King. This is LAST on my to-do list, so we decline, and head off to little Italy. I remember eating at a place called Vincents with dad years ago, and that it was fab, so we went there. Still wonderful food, I’d recommend a trip to Chinatown / Little Italy any day of the week.

    We head back to the hotel and meet the oldies at Emmet O’Lunney’s, the irish bar next door to the hotel. Garry wanted to go to 53rd and 3rd (for personal reasons, nothing special) so we do that and walk straight back to the hotel / pub - Garry’s a real creature of habit, and once he finds somewhere he likes, that’s it. We had our final drink of the night here three nights in a row!

    Up to the hotel room, and a quick hour of playing cards to pass the time. We have another busy day tomorrow: no sights, no tours, just shopping!!

    Wednesday: was actually a bit flat for most of the day. We had breakfast at another new diner / deli place (at 8th and 42nd) – it was a mixture of a deli, a subway, and a kfc. Interesting combo…

    The only notable thing I bought was Jeans. DKNY jeans and Calvin Kleins to be precise – at $30 A PAIR, it’d be rude not too!!

    Carol and Garry wanted to do more ‘souvenir’ shopping than clothes etc, so we arranged to meet them back at the hotel. On the way back up we were approached by several people offering tickets for comedy clubs left right and centre. Most of them were far away, but the ‘comedy central showcase’ is right there on times square, at a place called ‘HA!’. The guy told us tickets were $10 with one catch (at least he was honest) – theres a two drink minimum. That’s fine by me!! I recognised a few of the names on the list (they’re on a lot of comedy central shows), and was assured that they have the biggest names around as comedy central help subsidise it, and film a lot of it just incase someone really funny comes along. I recognise one guy instantly (the photo, not the name) – it’s Gris, Tracey Jordan’s entourage guy from 30 Rock. That’s me sold!!

    We went back and met the ‘rents, and they’re up for it too. I was a bit surprised, but impressed they’d try it. What impressed me more was that this is apparently a ‘family / tv friendly’ comedy club, NO SWEAR WORDS!! Some touchy subjects, especially about us – we were in the front row, and one guy clocked that it was blantly a family with the two girls bringing their partners. They were all very funny, the guy that plays Gris was third up out of 5. I’d recommend this to most people – the setting isn’t the ritz, its underground, and it looks like they have four rooms running on rotation. I wanted a picture with Gris but when our show finished he was at the back eating, and I’m not rude enough to interrupt him.

    Back to the Pub? Sure, why not… But nothing too heavy, we have an early start on Thursday, its Statue of Liberty day!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I think I need to go back to bed. Do you know how many times I had to read it to realize what the MSG tour was? Very sad

    I love NYC. Can't wait to hear more!!

  10. #10
    Yes more please. enjoying these.
    I am a fully fledged member of the Pastafarian Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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