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My mum and aunt are going to NY. Guess who needs to do the planning?

Hello chowhounders. It has been been a while since my last post.

My mum and aunt are going to NY for 3 days and asked me for some recommendations. A little bit of background: they are looking for a relaxed atmosphere with no need to dress up type of place. Both ladies are in their early 60s and they are pretty active. They are staying near Bryant Park and probably will not adventure far from this area for dinner.
They are taking the bus from Boston and it is my aunt's first time in NY.

Here is the planning so far:
16th July - Arrive in NY around 11am
Lunch at Shake Shack or Maison Kayser
Walk around Rockefeller center and Central Park
Afternoon coffee at Lady M (Bryant Park) - what is good?
Dinner Reservation booked for 8pm Toloache

17th July
Walk to Eataly for coffee and croissant. Check out flat iron building
Go to Washington Square by train
Maybe lunch at Russ & Daughters?
Go to Whitehall Terminal for the ferry.
Hang out at Battery Park, Charging Bull.
Where should they go for afternoon tea?
Dinner at Mudville 9

18th July
Maybe breakfast at or near Central station? Zucker's?
Lunch 12.30: Booked at Balthazar
Will probably need to pack something for the bus ride back to Boston
Go back to Boston

What do you think? I have not included pizza in the itinerary but I am sure they would love to have some. Last year I went to Joe's Pizza and it was OK but with the limited amount of time not sure where would be a good place to go.

Thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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  1. Re afternoon tea, the Pierre is lovely albeit pricey. I have not had afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental, but it is in the Lobby Lounge on the 35th floor and the views are spectacular. Reservations well in advance probably needed for Mandarin Oriental, but Pierre you could probably reserve day of. Ah, just saw that your mom and aunt don't want to dress up. Not sure what you mean by that. I certainly wouldn't go to either the Pierre or the Mandarin Oriental in sweats or blue jeans or shorts and flip flops.

    Food for the bus back is easy -- Eataly. Go to the station where they have the whole chickens. Every day they have a different sandwich. (Sorry I don't know the Friday selection offhand). Saturday selection is turkey and oh boy, it is the best thing to take on a plane when everyone else around you is eating the crap they sell at the airport or on the plane.

    Hadn't realized Lady M opened a branch at Bryant Park. Love the one on the Upper East Side.

    1 Reply
    1. re: omotosando

      They will not be in flip flops and shorts. Jeans for sure. So will probably need to give Pierre or Mandarin Oriental a miss. The views are spectacular though.

      Keeping Lady m in the list. Thank you

    2. Are they coming in through Port Authority? Will they do Shake Shack first before dropping off bags? If they get there before the lunch rush it might not be too bad. Be prepared for lines and fighting crowds for a table to sit down. Shake Shack is only 2 blocks away from Port Authority.

      For Maison Kayser near Bryant Park, this is a grab and go location. No seats, no table service. If the weather cooperates, they might be able to eat in the park.

      In Rockefeller Center, there is Blue Bottle coffee (no seating), which is excellent, and La Maison du Chocolat, for great chocolates and macarons. I also have enjoyed their chocolate ice cream in the past. And they could also pop into Bouchon Bakery for some treats.

      Lady M is famous for their crepe cakes.

      The next day looks all over the place geographically. Eataly doesn't open until 10am. Then I guess you could take the F/M down to Washington Square Park, and then walk over to Russ & Daughters. But that's a bit of a walk (20-25 minutes). Then it's inconvenient to get to Whitehall from R&D. No subway line will take you there directly without a transfer, likely they will want to take a bus or a cab... It's a long walk. Over 2 miles.

      Before going back to Boston, pick up some sandwiches from Despana.

      8 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        They are coming through Port authority. Probably go first to Shake Shack before dropping off the bags.

        Thanks for the advice on day 2. Will rethink the itinerary. There are two things they want: the ferry ride and good bagels.

        Did not know Eataly opened this late. So, probably not an option for breakfast. Thank you.

        Maybe on day 2 grab coffee and pastries at Maison Kayser and then take the train to Whitehall station to go to the ferry.

        Not sure about lunch on day 2. I was trying to fit Russ & Daughter and get them to try the SHTETL. Maybe Black Seed bagels? Seems a bit easier to get to. If not then maybe Blue Smoke or North End Grill?

        Dropping Mudville 9. Although I really liked it for wings it may be a bit loud for them.

        Despana looks fantastic for some bocadillos take away. Thank you.

        1. re: perrin99

          Black Seed may be sold out by the time they get there after the Staten Island Ferry.

          1. re: kathryn

            Thanks for heads up.

        2. re: kathryn

          You can take the 15 bus to South Ferry on Allen St. It shouldn't be too long a trip with the "select" bus - I'm guessing no more than a half hour, but I haven't tried it.

          1. re: kathryn

            I've enjoyed Balthazar in the past, but it has gotten panned several times on this board recently. You should be fine if you stick to baked goods there - I went to their bakery in Englewood, NJ, where they actually bake them, a couple of months ago, and the stuff I had was great. But I post this as something for you to consider.

            1. re: Pan

              Ok, thanks for the info. We were there last year and enjoyed the caramelised onion and goat cheese tart and the onion soup. Bread was good to.

              1. re: Pan

                thank you for this - had no idea regarding the bakery in engelwood!

                1. re: jmp80

                  Glad to help. It's well worth going there if you're in the area.

            2. On the 17th for "tea" (which i'm reading as sit down for a cup of tea and pastry vs a proper tea service) there's billy's bakery in tribeca or the japanese bakery takahachi.

              I really like zucker's for breakfast, they could even pick up a few to take back home as well. Inside of grand central the market and shops have good choices for snacks for the bus home, and +1, despana is great for sandwiches.

              Btw, if its rainy the tenement on the les could be an option after russ and daughters instead of the ferry and park...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ttrockwood

                A Japanese bakery sounds like fun! Thanks for the recommendation

                1. re: perrin99

                  They have an ethereal super light souffle style cheesecake that i strongly recommend :)

              2. I must say that i am a woman in my early 60's and I don't think Shake Shack is the way to go - long lines for a hamburger. What about Bryant Park Grill? Or if that is too expensive, Szechuan Gourmet is right near there. You could even do Eataly for lunch. With the exception of a few top end places, you can go almost anywhere in decent jeans.

                6 Replies
                1. re: JC2

                  All the food I've tried at Bryant Park Grill has been mediocre; I would avoid it.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Me too though. Even bad. I had heard there is a new chef.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      I only ate there once and it was definatly a don't return again meal.
                      Nice for a glass of wine and a table outside in the area but that's about it.

                    2. re: JC2

                      I have never been to Bryant Park Grill. I did have pizza at Eataly last year. it was OK but not great. Anything specific that you liked?

                      1. re: perrin99

                        I love the fresh focaccia- its not ready til 11am fyi, but when its warm its amazing! For lunch they could also sit at one of the restaurants' counters. I'm bias but have really enjoyed le verdure...there are another six or so daily specials as well.
                        http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...
                        Or Bierra on the roof has a nice view if its good weather- huge beer selection if they're interested as well.
                        http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          Thank you!