Written by Joy Thrun.
New York is always a wonderful place for a special occasion. Although we were leaving for Europe on October 21, our 30th anniversary was September 27 and we needed to be someplace wonderful that day.
From Michigan, New York is a great place to spend one or two nights. You can depart Friday morning and come back Sunday night having had three full days in the city.
The question is always where to stay: in the theater district / Times Square or near Central Park. For us, Central Park South on a beautiful weekend in September was the perfect choice.
Times Square is always exciting and any trip to New York must have at least one if not three theater experiences, so you’ll be in Times Square and the theater district during your stay.
There is no place better than Central Park when it’s mid-70s, sunny, and the weekend. There is an official Central Park app that is a complete guide of the park with an interactive GPS-enabled map, event listings, and more. I encourage you to get to know the park before you head in.
From concerts to sunbathers to street artists, the vibe is not like any other. Our weekend in New York September 26 and 27 was blessed with some of the best weather you can imagine in late September: high 70s and a little color change in the leaves so our location at the Le Parker Meridien hotel was perfect. It’s a short walk to all the shops, Central Park, and many of the high-end restaurants.
I like this hotel for its trendy understated feel. Austin Mahone was staying at this hotel, which I think speaks to its trendiness. We were lucky enough to catch him coming out of the hotel along with the group of teenagers that hung out on the sidewalk outside the hotel the entire weekend. It has one of the most famous breakfast spots in New York, Norma’s. The caviar omelet for $1,000 speaks to the clientele. You don’t have to have a $1,000 omelet, the macadamia nut banana pancakes are to die for and affordable. This is where we started the morning of our 30th anniversary.
We decided to see two shows that were going to be limited runs: This Is Our Youth and on our anniversary night, It’s Only A Play with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick (the entire cast was well-known). We waited at the stage door after each show. We were lucky enough to see Rupert Grint from Harry Potter and Matthew Broderick.
Neither play was a musical, which is what most people want to see when they hit Broadway. If you don’t know what you want to see, a great way to stretch your theater dollars is to buy your tickets at a TKTS Discount Booth half-price the day of the performance. I would suggest that you spend some time with the New York Times the week before you go reviewing some of the plays so you know what they’re about and what you might like. You don’t want to spend a lot of your New York trip standing in line. We find if you go to TKTS about an hour before curtain there are no lines at all. You will still have many shows to choose from and often you will see something great you would not have picked otherwise.
Eating is another thing we spend an exorbitant amount of time talking about and doing when we are in the city. We had three restaurant possibilities for every day we were there. We were leaving for Europe in a month, so high end, fine dining was not as important this trip. Some of the places were 5 Napkin Burger and Don Antonio as we were still trying to replicate the great pizza in Naples. Speaking of Italy, our anniversary dinner reservation was at the famous Patsy’s. We love Italy, so we were looking forward to some Pasta alle Vongole and a traditional Italian New York experience.
I was a little fogged in at dinner thanks to the Cucumber Collins at the bar in the Le Parker Meridien. You must try one while in NYC but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Patsy’s was just what we were looking for. Every famous person from presidents to movie stars have dined here. Our waiter was right out of central casting and Patsy stop by to say hello.
No New York experience is complete without a little bit of shopping. If you spend time in a sidewalk café taking in the fashions, trying to decide if your blue jeans are in style, what shoes they’re wearing, you can then head to 5th Avenue and pray you will find sales. If you have the store ship your purchase home, you don’t have to pay sales tax or pack them!
Another big city tradition of mine is to have a haircut when I travel. I figure even if I don’t like it, at least it’ll be a good cut and updated style. In this case, I didn’t like it. Soup bowl bangs, seriously? Oh well, it’ll grow.
Sunday brunch is always a big decision. Because it was so beautiful, we decided we wanted to dine al fresco. We’ve always loved The Redeye Grill. It was about a block from the hotel and right across the street from Carnegie Hall. A corner table outside with bloody marys, fresh salmon, and crab cake Eggs Benedict was the perfect way to say farewell to New York.
I would always encourage you to get good advice from a well-informed travel agent before heading to any city as it helps make the most out of your trips. So, if you have a special occasion coming up and time is limited, think New York and call Classic Travel in Okemos and ask for me, Joy Thrun. I’ll look forward to helping you plan all your special occasions.