I always struggle with how to cover New York City on this blog. As a lifelong New Yorker, I consider this city to be the world's greatest tourist destination and I could easily devote my entire blog to what to see and do here. But one of my goals for Travelogged is to cover as many destinations as possible. So, I've decided to write about events (like the Easter Parade and the St. Patrick's Day Parade), dispense advice (like how to buy cheap Broadway tickets) and throw in a few only-in-New-York posts (like how I managed to be the only person in the Whitney Museum not to see Kirsten Dunst).
The other problem with my writing about New York City is that I tend to take certain things for granted — just like you do wherever you live. So, I was thrilled when San Francisco resident Suzanne Battat Dowling wanted to tell me all about the fabulous long weekend she and her husband spent in New York in April. Both of them have been to NYC several times, so they were able to devote their time to lesser-known gems. Here, Suzanne shares her experience with lots of tips for those planning a NYC getaway.
Great Rate for a Great Hotel: We stayed at 6 Columbus Circle which was a fun new boutique hotel in a fantastic location. I spent a lot of time trolling the web and found a great deal ($142 per night) at Quikbook, which does not require prepayment to make most reservations. Hotels change the deals they offer through Quikbook, Hotels.com, Expedia, their own websites, etc., on a daily basis. So if you follow those sites for a while, you can end up getting a great rate on a nice room — the economy has definitely wreaked havoc on hotel pricing.
Most Memorable Activity: The Central Park Conservancy's walking tour was a major highlight. We've both been to New York many, many times, but neither of us really knew anything about the park. Not only did we see parts of it we'd never seen before (Conservancy Gardens pictured right), but it was an entertaining botany/history/landscape architecture lesson rolled into one. And it was free to boot.
I always encourage people to take advantage of walking tours, whether they're free or not. They're a great way to learn about the city from a local who knows far more than your guidebook.
Favorite Meal: We went to Dovetail, a popular New American restaurant on the Upper West Side, for the Sunday Suppa, a $38 prix-fixe meal. The food was of outstanding quality and, not surprisingly, the restaurant was packed. I had made our reservation about one month before. If you're planning a trip to New York, start looking up restaurant reviews and then book the ones you want as soon as you can. Popular restaurants fill up well in advance.
After dinner, we grabbed a cab down to the East Village to have a delicious dessert at Chikalicious.
Favorite Bar: We loved the Pegu Club in Soho. We felt like we were back in Rangoon — only with much better cocktails.
Give My Regards to Broadway: We saw the musical Hair for half off. We bought tickets that day but we didn't use TKTS; we used the discount vouchers that we got from the Official NYC Information Center in Midtown.