“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years”

Thomas Wolfe

If you were following my Twitter earlier this week you may have caught my attempt at live tweeting my trip to NYC Tuesday/Wednesday. In case you missed it, don’t worry, I’m gonna give you a run down right now! I went down to the city with my boyfriend and some friends on December 17th for my birthday and wow was it crazy! My mother and I decided to go the this week in hopes that the tourist crowds would have gone down and we could actually enjoy Christmas in the city even though Christmas is technically over.

We decided to drive to Poughkeepsie and take the MetroNorth in which we’ve done before and is a quick and easy way to get to the city and not have to worry about parking- or so we thought. By the time we got in the region of Poughkeepsie we would’ve had to have waited there for an hour or so which neither of us really wanted to do so we figured we’d catch it at the next MetroNorth stop and be on our way. Apparently in our experience, Poughkeepsie is probably the easiest MetroNorth station to deal with. We stopped in Tarrytown and we would’ve had to buy a pass to keep our car there overnight through the police station but if we were there a MINUTE later than 24 hours there was a good chance we’d get a ticket. This was pretty much the same story all the way down the MetroNorth Hudson line. Aside from the fact that we got to see each of these stations and where they were and experience the small towns, all we learned was that if this happens again, we wait the hour at Poughkeepsie or just drive to the city. We ended up driving through.

We were hoping to get in with MetroNorth also because it goes into Grand Central and our hotel was right next door, the Hyatt. The room was really nice and from the reviews I read online, apparently this is quite an improvement from what it used to be. All the lights in the room were by touch and it was very clean and really pretty, though not much of a view and kind of small but all we expected to do was sleep so that wasn’t too much of a bother.

First, we decided to check out all the windows from some of the big stores: Lord & Taylor &. Saks. Sadly, Saks had already taken down their windows but I saw them two weeks ago and assured my mother that she wasn’t missing anything. Lord & Taylor incorporated local children’s drawings into their windows, it was really sweet. I also learned that aside from the fact that after Christmas, no one is hogging the space in front of the window, there are TONS OF SALES. I got myself a nice pair of Sperry’s for $270 yay, already ready for Summer! On our walk to Saks we saw Bryant Park and the NY Public Library which look very pretty at dusk. We did stop at Saks Fifth Avenue for a quick snack, one of my favorite hidden locations in NYC, Charbonnel et Walker on the shoe floor of Saks Fifth Avenue- take the express elevator! We each had our drinking chocolate which is thicker than hot chocolate but thinner than melted chocolate and a White Chocolate Cranberry scone- yum!

It was perfect timing because we had reservations at a restaurant at 7:30PM thanks to a Groupon and it gave up ample shopping time and time to walk off the chocolate goodies we just had with a second to pit stop of the Rockefeller Tree to take some pictures. Dinner was at Rino Trattoria.  We had a Groupon, as did everyone else in the restaurant it seemed, for two starters, two dinners and a dessert that we ordered off a special menu. We did stand there waiting for a little while but, as I said, everyone was using their Groupon that day so I think the staff was a little overwhelmed with the volume it brought. I had the soup of the day which was a tortellini soup with a tomato broth. To be honest, the broth didn’t have much flavor and could’ve used pepper that we didn’t have on our table but the tortellini were good. To drink, what else would I order? Sangria (Red) which was delicious, perfect sweetness- white is available also.

For dinner I ordered chicken in another tomato based sauce that came with cooked vegetables. Again, it wasn’t the best food I’ve ever eaten but I did enjoy it. The chicken was cooked perfectly as were the vegetables but I think they needed a bit more salt and pepper that wasn’t available on our table.  My mother ordered pasta and that too was cooked perfectly and quite good but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. For dessert we had Ricotta Cheesecake- delicious. What I didn’t know is that Ricotta cheesecake is actually much healthier than regular cheesecake. We ate that as we talked with 2 people from Canada visiting the city for the first time sitting next to us, like true Italian eating, you may have come as just two but you end up talking to everyone around you. After that, beside how freezing it was, we didn’t have anything else to do so we headed back to our hotel.

The next morning we  woke up and I stopped in to Tim Hortons for a quick breakfast sandwich.

at 11:00AM

They were out of English Muffins so I had it on a bagel but ended up only eating half the bagel. The sandwich was kind of greasy and I wish we’d had stopped at the McDonalds on Dunkin Donuts instead because it wasn’t very good but I was very hungry. This day we just shopped a bit, stopped at Bryant Park and looked at all the shops. I started at Max Brenner’s Chocolate by the Bald Man and got a chocolate syringe cold so that I could warm it up and eat it when I got home ($5). There, I also found possibly one of my new favorite stores in NYC, WRecords By Monkey. They had the coolest stuff in there: messenger bags made from inflatable tires, bracelets made from vinyl records (which I bought 2 of), mirrors made by records, light switch covers, etc. When I was there it was buy 1 get 1 50% so I bought 2 band bracelets which came to about $27. I love stores where everything is made locally and it’s different- I’ve only ever seen this here and it’s Made in Brooklyn!

We had to go pick up our car so after stopping at Urban Outfitters and Zara, it was time to go.

Magnolia Bakery

On our way out of the city we stopped at Magnolia Bakery and picked up cupcakes for the ride home. It was a great trip to NYC and if you can help it, wait out to see the Christmas decorations until after, there is less of a crowd and less of a hassle!

For a recap on some of the older blog entries I wrote about NYC, check them out HERE: NYC Christmas 2010 & NYC Archives