I took my daughter for her 16th birthday and my 15-year-old niece. We had a busy, busy four days in New York. We checked into our hotel around 5:30 Friday evening. We stayed at the Affinia Manhattan. It was wonderful. It was the perfect location for walking to a lot of the sites and catching the subway. The hotel was clean, the concierge was very helpful, and our room was very, very quiet. We were tucked in a corner and away from the street noise. We headed out and the girls were delighted to find an H&M near our hotel. They did some shopping there and we stopped in Macy's and looked around. It was huge and packed with shoppers so we didn't stay there long. We kept walking and found our way to Times Square. We ate at Tony di Napoli's, which was wonderful. They serve family-style Italian food and the service and atmosphere were great. After dinner, we walked around Times Square. The girls loved Toys R Us. We all rode the ferris wheel. They also liked the M&M Store and the Hershey store. We were tired from our flights so we walked back to our hotel after that and went to sleep.
Saturday morning, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was on my niece's list of things to do as she is an artist. We took the subway and began a habit of using it to get all around the city during our stay. She loved seeing the French impressionists and Andy Warhol paintings. We got tickets for the Cloud exhibit on the roof and they enjoyed climbing that. The view of the city from the top of the Met is spectactular. After the museum, we walked through Central Park and stopped at the Boathouse for lunch. It was beautiful and the girls were entranced by the setting. After lunch we walked through the park to Fifth Avenue. We went in Tiffany's, FAO Schwarz, American Girl, Trump Tower and just did a lot of window shopping. All the stores were packed. It was a Saturday and great weather.
We went back to the hotel to rest up before our show that night. We had tickets to Anything Goes. We got started late so we ate at The Brooklyn Diner which was across from the theatre. It was not like any diner I had ever been to. It had white tablecloths and the dinner ended up being pretty expensive, which I was not expecting for a hamburger and macaroni and cheese. We had front row seats for Anything Goes and it was hands down the best experience I've had in a theater. The singing and dancing were phenomenal. My daughter, the theatre geek, said it was the highlight of her trip. She got the CD and has been listening to it non-stop.
Sunday was my daughter's birthday. We took the subway down to Soho and had brunch at The Cupping Room Cafe. It was exactly what I pictured brunch in Soho to be. The food and atmosphere were great. We then walked around Soho and went in some stores. The girls found the Kardashians' store, Dash, but of course, we weren't able to afford anything there. We then walked towards Greenwich Village as my daughter wanted to see some of the NYU buildings. We went into the bookstore and she bought a t-shirt. We walked to Union Square but were so tired by the time we got there that we got on the subway and headed back for a much-needed nap.
We had reservations for the birthday dinner at Buddakan. We loved it. We had a terrific waiter who gave us recommendations which we took and had a fabulous meal. The birthday girl wanted to go to Serendepity for dessert so even though it was all the way uptown, we went for it because she'll only be 16 once. We took a cab and they dropped us off on the corner by Dylan's Candy Bar, which unfortunately was closed on Sunday evening because it looked like so much fun. Serendepity had an hour wait at 9:30 p.m. so we started walking down the street to pass the time. Well, we came upon the Roosevelt Island tram and decided to try it out since we had the time. The girls remembered it from the Spiderman movies. We used our subway cards to get on. The tram was one of the most memorable things we did. We were riding high in the sky over the river and the view at night was amazing. We got off and went down by the river and took pictures of the skyline across. I got some amazing pictures. When we got back, it was time for us to sit down at Serendipity. We had the frozen hot chocolate which was more than any of us could eat. It was really good, though. And after that, they wanted to go to the Empire State Building. It was 11:00 when we got there. I had gotten express passes after hearing the horror stories of people waiting for hours but there was hardly any lines at this time of night on a Sunday. But the views were worth what I paid. I stayed up there forever taking pictures. The girls had a great time walking around the outside deck. I bought my daughter a snowglobe of the ESB which plays "New York, New York" for her birthday. It was a magical night.
On Monday, we took the subway to Chinatown when we woke up. We walked through there and to Little Italy. We didn't care for Chinatown much, but the girls loved Little Italy. We stopped for some gelato at a pastry shop. Then we headed down to the TCKTS booth at the Seaport. There wasn't much to choose from on a Monday night so we ended up picking Priscilla. More on that later. We ate lunch down at the Seaport and then headed towards the 9/11 Memorial as we had timed tickets for 2:30. The memorial was incredibly moving, and it was interesting seeing the construction of the new trade center around it. After the memorial, we wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. The girls had seen a speedboat, the Shark, at the Seaport, so we had a cab drop us off there in order to make the 4:00 boat ride. I'm glad we did because my niece said this was the highlight of her trip. We sped across the Hudson, slowing down at the edge of the financial center to take pictures of the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a lot of fun and the views were incredible. After the ride, we took the subway right at 5:00 from Wall Street to Penn Station, which was terrible timing. We were smashed in like sardines the whole trip there.
We got back to our room and only had time to change and head out again to find some dinner before the show. We ate at John's Pizzeria in Times Square. It was great pizza and the place was huge. It's in a converted church. After dinner, we headed to our show. I knew a little of the storyline of Priscilla. I knew they were drag queens, but it was more over the top than I even imagined. The girls were initially shocked but once the story got rolling we all got into it. The costumes were amazing and it was a very flashy set. It was definitely entertaining, but it was such a contrast to Anything Goes. It seems the trend is to make big, flashy shows from movies these days, but I think I like the old style better. The girls had fun with it, though, and were joking about it the next day. I don't think they'll ever forget seeing drag queens on Broadway.
We had a 1:00 flight Tuesday, but we got up early to head to the Today Show. This was more for me as I have watched this show every morning for years and just wanted to see Matt, Ann, Al and Natalie up close. And we did get close and got to see them all. I got some great pictures. After a quick breakfast at Bouchon Bakery, we headed back to the room and then onto the airport.
I'm already ready to go back. Now, that we have all the touristy things out of the way I would love to go back for a weekend of theater and keep a slower pace. Our feet hurt so bad from walking and I'm still exhausted. It was worth every minute, though!Edited: 15 June 2012, 12:14