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Mike’s 50th Trip to Siesta Key, Disney’s Boardwalk, Universal and New York, June 2014 - Part 14 - NY

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Mike, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Mike
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    Mike Imagineer

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    Friday 20th June

    Back to my broken sleep patterns! I woke several times, for no good reason, at 2:30, 3:30 then finally for good at 5:00. I read until Amanda woke at 6:00. We showered and dressed then headed out for breakfast at 7:00. There's a Starbucks on our block, where we buy a spinach and feta wrap for Amanda, an egg and sausage breakfast sandwich for me, and coffees for both. ($13)

    We plan to eat our breakfast at Columbus Circle nearby. This is a great spot to sit, ideal for people watching at busy times, sitting as it does at the corner of Central Park and Broadway. Unfortunately, as we reach the end of the street we find that it is fenced off, being in the middle of renovation work. Sigh.

    Ok. An acceptable compromise is a low wall at the adjacent entrance to Central Park. We sit and enjoy our food, taking in the sights and sounds, and watching the various passers-by. There are joggers and dog walkers heading into the park, people clutching coffee cups on their way to work and a boot camp of sorts where a fit looking middle aged guy is training two girl a and a man to box.

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    It's glorious today, sunny and warm even at this early hour. The huge towers of the Time Wanrner complex dominate the skyline above Columbus Circle. (This building also houses our 'when we win the Lottery' hotel, the Mandarin Oriental. It has full height glass window walls in each room, with various view options overlooking the park or downtown. One day maybe!

    At 7:30 we enter the park and wander vaguely northwards along the meandering paths. It's doggie heaven this morning, with dozens of pooches and owners at every turn. Most seem to be breaking at least one or two of the byelaws - most are off leash, and some are swimming in the fountains!

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    Our stroll takes us past Sheep Meadow and Belvedere Castle, around the Great Lawn and along the eastern side of the reservoir.

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    After rest rooming at the tennis club (almost every court is in action) we enter the upper, Harlem Mere area, passing softball pitches and a large meadow full of school parties at play.

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    We leave the park at 9:30 after a couple of very pleasant hours, onto 5th Avenue at 98th street. Strolling south, we walk for 10 blocks or so to the Guggenheim, arriving about 9:45.

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    It doesn't open until 10:00, so we join the modest line and sit on the low wall to wait. Various street vendors are bust setting up their art and food stalls along the sidewalk. Last time we came it was raining, and they were all doing a brisk trade selling umbrellas to the damp tourists!

    We enter a couple of minutes after 10 and head up the spiral rotunda walkway to view the current exhibition, comprising an impressive selection of Italian Futurism sculpture and paintings. It's pretty good, although not quite my cup of tea. Photography of the exhibits is not permitted, so here's a taste of the interior from the ground floor.

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    After reaching the top we descend slowly, entering the various galleries on each floor before leaving at 11:15. It's hot, sunny and busy. We walk south along 5th, keeping to the Central Park side to minimise the number of street crossings. The huge facade of the Metropolitan Museum is also heavily screened, also being under substantial renovation, making it almost impossible to photograph.

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  2. Mike
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    Mike Imagineer

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    We eventually reach the bottom end of the park and after negotiating the busy crossing of Central Park South continue down 5th past the designer stores and St. Patricks, reaching the Rockefeller. We cross 44th Street and buy a couple of subs from, er, a Subway for lunch. It's 12:15.

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    We have arranged to join Hayley and Dave at some offices near the Flatiron building, to meet an old friend of theirs, Josh, who runs a music and sound production company.

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    Hard to believe this was once one of the the tallest buildings in New York.

    Arriving at 12:40, we find our friends already chatting to Josh in his lovely suite of rooms comprising the whole of the 7th floor. He has a rather enviable outlook from his desk:

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    The Empire State Building towers above, and immediately below is a beautiful 19th century church, now dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers. (The images were taken through shaded glass, so I apologise for the fuzziness. )

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    Josh is a lovely guy and makes us very welcome. In addition to his busy sound business (one of the recent pictures on his wall is of Josh and Harrison Ford sitting in this very room) he also referees junior baseball and rescues cats! We spend a very convivial two and a half hours chatting and consuming his beer, before saying our goodbyes. Dave and Hayley are off to spend their last afternoon and evening doing their own thing (we all fly home tomorrow, boo!) and we have a couple of things on our agenda. After arranging to meet for a last drink tomorrow afternoon, we set off across town.

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    We walk up Broadway, and then across to 7th, through the bedlam that is currently to be found in Times Square, and over to 48th, where we stayed at the Belvedere in 2012. There's a small Mexican bar/ restaurant nearby with sidewalk tables and, formerly, very reasonably priced Margaritas!

    Ah. A quick look at the menu suggest that there has been a change of ownership since 2012, and the $11 pitchers are no more. Still, we're here, so we take seats at a table outside and order two regular Margaritas. They are lovely, and we spend a leisurely half hour enjoying them.

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    At 4:30 we walk back up the 10 blocks to our hotel, and after a few minutes in the indoor garden to catch up on social media and emails, head up to the room for showers.

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    We're ready by 5:30 and head out to the subway station at the end of the street. Our plan tonight is to head downtown to the West Village for a last meal before we head home tomorrow.

    We get an express train down to 14th Street and walk across into the Village. It's a lovely warm evening and the bars and restaurants are all busy with the after-work trade. A couple of restaurants we fancy are just a bit too busy, and we don't want to wait long, so continue our wandering search. Most of all we want to eat outside if possible. Down a quiet, mostly residential street we come across a pretty restaurant called The Place ( http://theplaceny.com ) The basement floor opens to the sidewalk, and there are a couple of tables remaining. We are warmly greeted and seated immediately.

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    The waitress takes our drinks order (bottle of Prosecco) and leaves us to browse the menu. When she returns with the wine she also brings fresh bread and olive oil for us to snack on before the food arrives.

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    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  3. Mike
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    Mike Imagineer

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    We start with "Pan Seared Diver Scallops over a watercress, Seville orange and mizuna salad with a citrus dressing" for Amanda, and "Charcoal Grilled Gulf of Maine Calamari over a spicy Asian slaw with a toasted peanut sauce" for me.

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    Entrees: "Homemade Linguine with Tiger Shrimp, shallots, wild mushrooms, spring peas, pancetta and cherry tomatoes tossed in a chablis and Maine lobster broth" (Amanda), and "Roasted Leg of Colorado Lamb over lightly sautéed basmati rice with chopped spring greens, roasted pearl onions and crumbled feta, drizzled with a fresh mint and rosemary jus" for moi.

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    It is absolutely gorgeous food. Perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. The portions are sensible, allowing us to easily squeeze in a dessert. Apple and lemon bread pudding with vanilla ice cream for Amanda...(my description, as it was off the menu by the time I wrote the Trippie!)

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    ...and "Triple Chocolate Filo Pie - Served warm with homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream and hot chocolate sauce" for me.

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    This is probably the best meal we've had all holiday, and we feel blessed that we are finishing our last full day this way. At 7:25 we settle the check (not cheap at $149 +tip, but worth every cent) and head off for a wander.

    No real plan now, but a bar with outside seating would be good. We stroll around the village area, now bustling with the Friday evening trade.

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    Not unsurprisingly, most of the places we fancy are already full, so we restroom at a hotel near Chelsea Market and catch the subway back up to Columbus Circle. It's 9:00pm. We're pleasantly weary, but a nightcap sounds like a worthy plan. There's a a small Irish bar called Coliseum on W58th, half a block from the hotel, and we head inside to have a look. It has a pleasant atmosphere, and although the bar seating is all taken, there are a few side tables free so we sit and order Prosecco for Amanda and a (Mr Predictable!) Sam Adams for me.

    I use the free wifi to check in online for tomorrow's flight and we have a final drink before strolling slowly back to the hotel at 11:00pm. Happy, weary and a little sad to be going home tomorrow, but we intend to fill the day up before heading to the airport!

    Goodnight for the last time! Thanks for sticking with us so far!

    Mike and Amanda xx

    TOMORROW - Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO breakfast, Brooklyn Heights, Rockefeller Centre, Central Library, Bryant Park, Chrysler Building and final cocktails at Ciprianis Grand Central Terminal. Oh, and a plane back to the UK!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  4. Mike
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    Mike Imagineer

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    Oops! Should be Part 15, not part 1!!
     
  5. Mike
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    Mike Imagineer

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    Thanks for fixing the title, Admin, and to 14 not 15 as I said initially! I'm blaming the heat! ;)
     
  6. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    Not a problem Mike, I thought I'd sent you a message, sorry.
     
  7. Mike
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    Mike Imagineer

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    Thanks Wendy. :)
     

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