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Visiting from Toronto - thoughts/suggestions?

four of us will be visiting for four nights in early may from Toronto. we have a few friends in manhattan and have been to nyc a few times before, having eaten at a good variety of places (ssam bar, katz, russ & daughters, joe's shanghai, craft bar, bar americain, shake shack, ippudo, grimaldi's, silvia's, red rooster, peter luger's, bonchon). pretty much seen most of the touristy sights. the trip is intended for shopping and eating (for half the group; the other half is fine with whatever we choose). we're going to be staying midtown (?) at the wellington hotel.

feel free to suggest better options than those we've currently decided on! we want to eat well and try things uniquely new york.

thursday night arrival:
- snack: halal chicken & rice, la esquina, or meatball shop
- any evening activities?

friday:
- quick breakfast: wichcraft or eggs-travaganza cart
- midtown shopping
- lunch: jean georges for their 2-course prix fixe
- more midtown shopping
- snack: burger joint (at the parker meridien)
- MoMa for uniqlo fridays
- dinner (needs to be in the upper westside and moderately priced): tum & yum, amy ruth's, the cottage, flor de mayo, xi'an famous foods
- sleep no more (either friday or sat night)

saturday:
- breakfast: balthazar (i'm wide open to better suggestions, especially if they're closer to the places we're going)
- hell's kitchen flea market
- high line
- lunch (trying to keep it light before peter luger's): 15 East (should we go with omakase or a la carte?) or Cha-An
- union square + shopping
- brooklyn flea (williamsburg) + oddfellow's ice cream
- early dinner: peter luger's (4:45pm)
- SoHo shopping and/or sleep no more
- late night: spot dessert bar or mad for chicken

sunday:
- late breakfast: white manna hamburgers
- woodbury outlet shopping
- quick lunch: ideas close to the outlet?
- nordstrom in white plains
- dinner: louro for chef's table

monday:
- breakfast: norma's
- central park or shopping
- lunch: gramercy tavern (prixe fixe or a la carte?), the modern, ABC Cocina, or have a picnic at central park (grab food from ... whole foods?)
- leave for toronto

cheers!

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  1. Eggstravaganza has upgraded to a truck, but is still in the same location. For coffee, Demarco and Ground Central Coffee are a block or two away from Eggstravaganza. By Hells' Kitchen flea market, do you mean Gotham West Market? Unless you eat at Ivan Ramen, it should take maybe 10 mins to go through the place. Nothing flea about it. Smorgasburg is inside Brooklyn Flea for the winter, but might be outside at a different location by the time you get here so check to see where they'll be located. Are you gonna speed shop through Hells Kitchen, Union Sq. and Brooklyn Flea all in the same day? Union Sq. and Brooklyn Flea could each take up a day on their own. Spot Dessert Bar is small and gets filled up so if you can't get in or don't want to wait, Chikalicious, Milk Bar, Big Gay Ice Cream, Van Leeuwen ice cream, and Veniero's are a quick walk away, and Rice to Riches and Ferrara's is just a little further. Woodbury's kinda meh for the distance you have to go to get a bargain. For a picnic in Central Park, you can grab food from Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Zabars, Citarella, and Fairway.

    Pick up grits, Nathans hotdgos, tons of Trader Joes stuff and whatever else is on the list of stuff you can't get in Toronto, bring it back and sell to Tdot CHers and pay for your NYC trip.

    4 Replies
    1. re: GoodGravy

      Hell's Kitchen Flea Market is held at West 39th Street between 9th & 10th Avenues and open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday all year long (weather pending).
      http://www.hellskitchenfleamarket.com...

      Smorgasburg is already back outside as of April 5. Saturdays in Williamsburg at East River State Park (where Kent Avenue meets N. 7th Street) and Sundays at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 5). Outdoors until November 2014.
      http://www.smorgasburg.com/

      1. re: kathryn

        TIL about Hells Kitchen flea market. Thanks Kathryn!

      2. re: GoodGravy

        thanks for the spot dessert bar alternatives! are these close to the st. mark's location? i recall that there are 2 locations of spot dessert.

        haha! selling stuff to TO CHers would be interesting! although, it seems many on the board go to nyc quite regularly.

        1. re: msprnt

          Yeah, the first group of places are pretty close to the St. Marks location. The other couple places are south in Little Italy/SoHo. The St. Marks area is pretty good for walking and noshing w/ a group so you can all sample a bunch of stuff while wandering from place to place.

      3. > thursday night arrival:
        > - snack: halal chicken & rice, la esquina, or meatball shop
        > - any evening activities?

        Pretty wide spread there especially in terms of neighborhoods. Why these three? Maybe you'd be interested in going to a nice bar? Attaboy, Experimental Cocktail Club, Nitecap (all cocktail bars on the LES)?

        > friday:
        > - quick breakfast: wichcraft or eggs-travaganza cart
        >- midtown shopping
        > - lunch: jean georges for their 2-course prix fixe

        Do you already have a reservation? Do you plan to drop off shopping bags in between? Will you go back and change clothing at the hotel?

        > - more midtown shopping
        > - snack: burger joint (at the parker meridien)
        > - MoMa for uniqlo fridays

        Free Fridays at MoMA sometimes have a looooong line, BTW. And having lots of shopping bags with you may be annoying.

        If you need to be on the UWS at a certain time, you'll need to plan appropriately (esp. taking into account time in transit, like transferring from the E to the C).

        > - dinner (needs to be in the upper westside and moderately priced): tum & yum, amy ruth's, the cottage, flor de mayo, xi'an famous foods

        Why UWS? This sounds like an extremely long day.

        > - sleep no more (either friday or sat night)

        I hope that you realize that SNM is THREE hours of standing or walking or climbing stairs. You will be exhausted after shopping, JG, shopping, MoMA, dinner on the UWS, and then SNM.

        Also, buying a "later" ticket time for Sleep No More merely means you get to see less of the show. The only difference between the 6:45pm ticket and the 7:45pm ticket is that you paid the same amount of money for less time inside the show.

        There is also always a line outside to go in because they let you enter in batches so if you show up right at your designated time, you may still have to wait 10-15 minutes to enter. Bag check is mandatory, so definitely drop off your shopping bags before hand.

        > saturday:
        > - breakfast: balthazar (i'm wide open to better suggestions,
        > especially if they're closer to the places we're going)
        > - hell's kitchen flea market

        Unfortunately, the HK Flea Market is near Port Authority, can't think of a lot of great breakfast places nearby. You need something open early? Maybe pastries somewhere in Midtown, near Times Square or your hotel?

        Near your hotel, you could try Bouchon Bakery, Petrossian, Maison Kayser, or Payard for a light breakfast. Then go to the HK Flea Market.

        I love Balthazar but geographically you are ALL over the map. Soho to Port Authority to Chelsea then over to Union Square?!

        > - high line

        The High Line has some pretty great food vendors!
        http://www.thehighline.org/about/high...

        Delaney BBQ is excellent and not likely something you can find at home.

        You're also skipping Chelsea Market, which is literally right by the High Line, and a worthy stop.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844638

        ALSO you need a backup plan in case the weather is bad this day.

        > - lunch (trying to keep it light before peter luger's): 15 East (should we go with omakase or a la carte?) or Cha-An

        15 East also has a $32 prix fixe.

        > - union square + shopping
        > - brooklyn flea (williamsburg) + oddfellow's ice cream

        The Brooklyn Flea (shopping, not food) is in Ft. Greene on Saturdays.

        I think you are mixing this up with Smorgasburg, which IS in Williamsburg on Saturdays in the same space, and is all food vendors. Do you want all food or do you want shopping?

        Also note that this space is entirely outdoors, so the experience will be not as good if it is raining.

        Or if it is very nice out that day, lines at Smorgasburg will be very, very, very long.

        If you want to go to Smorgasburg you need to do before lunch time. Vendors can and do sell out of food, quickly.

        > - early dinner: peter luger's (4:45pm
        )> - SoHo shopping and/or sleep no more
        > - late night: spot dessert bar or mad for chicken

        You will run yourself ragged with this itinerary. Soho to Port Authority to Chelsea then over to Union Square then the Williamsburg waterfront and then Peter Luger (which is a bit of a walk from the WIlliamsburg waterfront -- like 20 minutes) then back to Soho or Chelsea then down to the East Village or K-town.

        It will also be less than ideal if it is raining this day.

        Another thing, you are not leaving yourself any time to hang out at Gallow Green (rooftop bar) or the Heath (restaurant with live music) before or after Sleep No More.

        monday:
        > - breakfast: norma's
        > - central park or shopping
        > - lunch: gramercy tavern (prixe fixe or a la carte?), the modern, ABC Cocina, or have a picnic at central park (grab food from ... whole foods?)
        > - leave for toronto

        Avoid Norma's. It is overpriced and not of high quality. Gimmicky menu.

        For a Central Park picnic, I would go to Epicerie Boulud, Jacques Torres, Salumeria Rosi, and/or Zabar's to fill my picnic basket. Maybe also Levain Bakery or Magnolia Bakery (non cupcake items only).

        7 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          wow! thanks for all the info and deep thoughts!! let me see how i can respond.

          thursday:

          those just seemed like good, cheap, and quick places to grab a bite after our flight and check-in. the nice bars you mentioned sound good though, since we're not really doing that.

          friday:

          we will have the option to drop off bags if we need. i'm really hoping we don't actually buy TOO much stuff. i probably won't be buying much. haha! we have a lunch reservation at jean georges and know they don't allow jeans/sneakers for lunch (which we may need to change for).

          thanks for letting me know about the LONG lines at MoMa fridays. should we go early to line-up? say 3:30pm?

          i'm a pretty hard traveller. when i was in japan, we'd go 9am - 1am most days (esp. in tokyo). UWS is to meet a friend there in the evening and those were his current "local" and uniquely-NY favourites. he grew up in the suburbs of TO before going to college in the US. however, if we go to sleep no more, we don't have to go up there. perhaps, we should push SNM to the following day. thanks for the insight on the SNM as a whole!! we probably will be too tired to go 2-3 hours of walking/following the action.

          saturday:

          thanks for the tips for a quick breakfast bite near the hotel! (Bouchon Bakery, Petrossian, Maison Kayser, or Payard for a light breakfast). Then go to the HK Flea Market. part of my willingness to change balthazar is because of the location not making any sense. :D

          appreciate the highline tips! (http://www.thehighline.org/about/high...) including delaney bbq. we've all previously been to chelsea market, so won't include it in our plans.

          we don't really "want" more food at smorgasburg, but thanks for the tip on lines! we want to do more shopping, so may head to ft. greene or williamsburg instead. which of the "goods + food" brooklyn flea markets would you recommend from http://www.brooklynflea.com/markets/ ?

          i don't think we'll realistically make it to SoHo for shopping after dinner at luger's. might make more sense to go to SNM sunday night to see the entire performance. then head to dessert or mad for chicken. these two spots are pretty firm for us, but will definitely have some good back-ups!

          sunday:

          any thoughts on places near the woodbury outlet?

          monday:

          norma's is that bad eh? what about burger joint? is that gimmicky too? i love burgers and want to fit one in somewhere. i'mi also thinking of blue smoke. i will take notes on possible picnic food places!

          thanks so much!!

          1. re: msprnt

            Be careful of trying to pack too much in (food and otherwise), unless you have a huge appetite, you'll find diminishing enjoyment of your meals and exhaustion will affect your enjoyment.

            I would definitely avoid Norma's. Burger Joint is meh, it's very packed, dingy, dirty, the prices have steadily increased and what used to be an inexpensive tasty burger is now a hype and hassle.

            Ch An and 15 East are very dissimilar, Cha An is for a light lunch, 15 East excels with omakase at the bar. I've been disappointed otherwise.

            Woodbury is for the most part, a total tourist trap.

            1. re: msprnt

              thanks for all the feedback! you guys are super quick!

              woodbury is not my choice. the ladies are insisting on it. one of which is looking for last year's valentino or kate spade shoes for our wedding. the outlets could be worth a shot.

              i'll try to avoid norma's .... maybe i can sneak into burger joint at a down time by myself, unless i can find another burger spot, while we roam about.

              you guys are right, we might need to dial it back a bit on friday and saturday... i know i can take it on, but the rest of the group may not be able to. thanks for the sanity check!

              if we do the lunch prix-fixe at 15 East, is it heavy in any way? that is, will it be too much to feast on peter luger's 3 hours after lunch? were you disappointed with the prix fixe pookipichu?

                1. re: AubWah

                  yeah, we loved it though. MUCH cheaper than the ding tai fung in the subsurbs of Toronto. also, allows us to basically eat all the xiao long bao we wanted. i think a table of 8 of us ordered something like 14 "leungs" of it a few yrs ago.

                2. re: msprnt

                  I like the smoke shack burger at Shake Shack if you're looking for a fast food burger.

                  Also, don't neglect the flag ship stores in Manhattan, I've found better deals in Manhattan than many outlets. St. John's was having up to 60% off sales, Gucci, Valentino, at Ferragamo 50% off shoes. Only a few stores don't have sales or are stingy with discounts. Saks has some good sales too.

                  I haven't had the pre-fixe lunch at 15 East, only a la carte dinner and omakase. I had a bad experience with the soba and the a la carte in the dining room was disappointing in general. Nothing was great, merely good and expensive. Perhaps someone can chime in on the pre-fixe lunch.

                  You know your appetites best, lunch then porterhouse 3 hours later might be too much, especially if you've had breakfast. :)

                  Blue Ribbon Market does a fried chicken picnic, David Burke at Bloomingdales does burke in a box and Bouchon at Time Warner has some nice picnic items.

                  1. re: msprnt

                    Woodbury's around an hour's drive from NYC and on weekends it's a mad house. Century 21 might be an alternative and Macy's offers visitors a discount card that can be used for any purchase, plus stuff is always on sale. You can get it on the mezzanine level at the Herald Sq. store. And try googling sample sales going on during the time you're here.

                    For xlb, I prefer Shanghai Cafe to Joe's. As for burgers, you've got plenty of options all over, but in midtown, there's PJ Clarke's (expensive), Clarke's Standard (by PJ Clarke, but cheaper), Flip in Bloomingdales, The Counter in Times Sq., in addition to the Shake Shacks and Five Guys scattered around.

              1. Fri pm:
                I have taken lots of visitors to amy ruth's and they have universally enjoyed it- beware the portions are huge! However if this is your theater evening its far away

                Sat am: balthazar is too far out of the way, i agree with suggestions in time warner center or you could go to the pick a bagel not far from your hotel (note they will also deliver to your hotel for free, its customary to tip the delivery guy though):
                http://www.menupages.com/
                restaurants/pick-a-bagel-2/menu

                Your saturday agenda is insane and not realistic. I would omit at least one and probably two activities.

                Sunday: i agree with others its a huge time investment with minimal results. Resourceful shoppers with a computer can find much better deals on the exact same product. (Ps check here for updated info on sample sales while you are here: http://ny.racked.com/tags/sample-sales)
                Sun:
                I agree with others, skip normas.
                Go out to lunch and grab the picnic for the plane (or so you have dinner once you get home exhausted!!)

                3 Replies
                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  looks like we're moving louro to friday night and going to snm sunday night instead!

                  also, we'll cut down on saturday's plan. it is insane! haha!

                  i have sent the ladies the sample sales link! Thanks! we'll see how long we actually take at woodbury, it is one of the things they're looking forward to, but if enough shopping is done earlier, maybe we can ditch it!

                  after all the advice to skip norma's, i think we will! we wanted to do a picnic at central park anyway, so we'll probably go for breakfast ..... and then do a legit gramercy tavern lunch! :D

                  is the food hall inside the plaza hotel like the one's in the basement of the department stores in tokyo?

                  feel free to keep the thoughts coming!

                  1. re: msprnt

                    I haven't yet been to tokyo, but their website gives you the hours and all the vendors there- they open at 8am so would be great for breakfast picnic supplies
                    http://www.theplazany.com/dining/food...

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      thanks! from the few photos, it does look similar to a european food hall and bares some resemblance to a japanese one as well (but with actual seating). looks like a good place to go if you ever need some good food quick!

                2. Try the Food Hall inside the Plaza Hotel. Many options for lunch.

                  1. We really like the spring and summer street fairs held on weekends at revolving locations throughout Manhattan, particularly those that run at least 10 city blocks, where the entire length of a street (say, Lexington Ave.) is blocked off for vendors. There are two main promoters of these fairs, Clearview and Mardi Gras. They're briefly summarized at http://www.newyorkled.com/nyc_events_... plus each promoter has its own website.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Interesting. I find most of the vendors who sell at every street fair to be bad. Which ones did you like?

                      1. re: Pan

                        Well it depends what you're looking for. The one on Lexington Ave. was 15 blocks long so there was a great variety. But we're not looking for high quality merchandise at these things. More like HK street market goods.

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          I think Pan was asking about the FOOD vendors, the MozzArepa, generic lemonade, Italian sausage, pad Thai, etc ones.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            I always end up with some of the classic kettle corn and maybe one of those grilled corn at the street fairs- the rest of the food vendors tend to have mediocre greasey stuff IMO

                            I would not recommend the OP make a point of finding and eating at a street fair here.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Im not sure how length of the fair is any guarantee of variety - was recently near columbia (bway between say 116th and 110th) a few weekends ago in even just 6 blocks saw the same burrito vendor with mutliple stalls, a couple duplicate corn shops, and the ubiquitous "dollar" thai stand with two tents also.

                              1. re: tex.s.toast

                                I was referring to the shopping portion of the request, as there are a numerous shopping references in the original post. I do find the cornbread "pizza" interesting, though.

                          2. re: Chandavkl

                            thanks for discussing this and coming to a conclusion for me! :D

                            we've all been to HK and the older we get (and specific our preferences get), the less appeal the "ladies market" and "fa yuen" street market types have in our hearts.