The City of New York

Saw it referred to it as this on fancy stationary once and loved it. If NYC cannot be dubbed “the City of Chad and Amy” then the “City of New York” will have to do.

When we visited: November 2010

Where we stayed: The Chelsea Star Hotel for approximately $169 a night (before taxes)

The Chelsea Star was pretty much a hole – but in a great location at 30th Street and 8th Avenue in Chelsea right next to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, also a VERY short walk to the Empire State Building and Times Square.  The hotel is located above a Subway sandwich shop which means the hallways smell of bread and turkey. You know the Subway smell…

Would we stay there again? Probably, but only if we were in a BIG pinch for a room. It was safe and cheap but absolutely nothing to write home about. The room was small, which we don’t mind at all, but the walls were paper thin. We could hear normal toned conversations others were having in the next room and being on the top floor we were afraid to walk across the room because we knew those below us could hear our every step.

The reception staff was super nice though, and when we were concerned because our bedroom window wouldn’t lock they sent someone in right away to fix it. The rooms are also all equipped with a small safe to hold valuables.  There were no other extras though like an iron, hair dryer or WIFI that would work in your room (had to go to the lobby) – or even an elevator. But again – safe and cheap was our criteria for this trip. We’ve jotted down a few new places to try for next time.

P.S. If you stay here they only take reservations 3 months in advance and require you to pay for your full stay when you get there in order to hold your full reservation. They do allow you to pay in cash though – sketch? Unsure – maybe just New York.

Where We Grubbed:

Pizza Suprema, 413 8th Avenue

We grabbed pizza by the slice here literally every day of our trip. Try the upside down slice. It’s what they are known for and quite tasty. It’s square, cheese on bottom, sauce on top and slap your mama good! About $2.50 a slice.  The guys behind the counter here are no-nonsense get you in and out of line so know what you want when you’re at the counter, take cash if you’re spending less than $10 bucks, and if you want ice in your soda you’re going to have to ask for it.

The Tempest Bar, 407 8th Avenue

Really friendly bartender that scored major brownie points (= tip) when she let us bring in Pizza Suprema from next door to scarf down with our pints. A good stop.

D’Aiuto’s Pastries, 405 8th Avenue

Noticing a trend? We had to fully explore our new ‘hood even if that meant stopping in every restaurant on the street for a little bite. The doughnuts and flaky pastries here were not our favorite – they look f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c in the window though. It was fun to stand at the counter and look at all the old black and white family photos and pics of the bakery from the 1930’s. We should have just opted for their cheesecake since they are one of the many shops that claim to have the best cheesecake in New York.

Greek Corner, 322 7th Avenue

We stopped in here on a cool but sunny morning in search of fresh coffee and orange juice. The juice was squeezed practically before our eyes and our friendly waitress kept the caffeine flowing.  We tried a breakfast of eggs, homefries and toast as well as an egg and sausage sandwich. Both were mucho tasty all for about $15, a bargain in New York.

Dave’s Tavern, 574 9th Avenue

This little dive is located in Hell’s Kitchen very close to the flea market. On the search for soup, we tried the chili, french fries, and mozzarella sticks (read: grease, grease and grease). It was tasty, nothing we couldn’t get at home, but about what we expected walking in.  The most memorable thing about this “tavern” was their very interesting choice in dance music playing at 3 in the afternoon.

Rocky’s, 45 Spring Street

If you go to New York and go to Little Italy, eat here. We rarely eat-out at Italian restaurants at home because so many times it seems like we are ordering dishes we could make at home for a fraction of the cost. Rocky’s changed our minds. We shared an appetizer of bruschetta that may have changed our lives, as well as prosciutto tortellini (the house specialty) and veal cutlets.  We ate here the night before the marathon so we skipped a bottle of wine which may have been our greatest crime at Rocky’s. It was our most expensive dinner all week, with a total bill of around $60 but for New York standards this was $ on a scale of $-$$$.

Chelsea Grill, 675 9th Avenue

Met a friend from Austin here for dinner one night and chowed down a sirloin steak salad and classic cheeseburger. Great spot for all-American food just like it sounds.

Tom’s Restaurant, 2880 Broadway

Look familiar? This is only the diner that inspired both Jerry Seinfeld and Suzanne Vega.  We curled up in a booth on a rainy and chilly day and chowed down on vegetable soup, fries and a sausage breakfast platter. 

The hot chocolate was also some of the tastiest we’ve had – go for the whip cream when asked.

The inside of the restaurant does not look like the Seinfeld set, but is similar in charm and local patrons.

Tom’s is very aware of its Seinfeld fame and boasts posters of all the cast members on the walls. You can also buy menus, tee shirts and other Tom’s souvenirs if you’re so inclined. Luckily the food prices were still cheap, probably to keep the average-joe filled neighborhood happy.  There was a minimum $6 per person to sit in a booth but those spending less can always grab a stool at the counter.

Arcane Bistro, 111 Avenue C

Yum, yum and yum. We tried the organic lime chicken and the hanger steak. Both knocked our socks completely off. This snazzy little French-Caribbean restaurant is located in the East Village and was busy but not too crowded. If you go be sure to down a pitcher of Mojitos just for fun.

Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe, 342 East 11th Street

One word: Tiramisu.

Vanessa’s Dumplings, 220 East 14th Street

Just outside of China Town, this yummy dumpling house was super-busy but for good reason. The dumplings were legit and only $1 for 4. Need we say more?

Serendipity 3, 225 East 60th Street

It was a bit too cold for us to try their famous frozen hot chocolate, but we opted for the regular stuff that didn’t disappoint. We also tried the nachos, chowder and fries. It was tasty but needless to say our digestive systems are still recovering from our vacation.

This restaurant is famous from a number of movies but also has a funky little gift shop attached and is decorated with tons of Tiffany glass lamp shades hanging from the ceilings. We had a cozy corner booth with a great view of the fireplace, perfect for celebrity gawking had John and Kate still been slurping away this week.

How We Stayed Busy – When Not Eating

Ran a marathon, check out the deets here.

Went to a couple of flea markets, check out more about the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market here.

Walked around Times Square. We look super-imposed but we promise we were really there.

Strolled through Central Park.

Shopped at Zabar’s.

Visited some a-m-a-z-i-n-g churches.

Gawked at the lovely Brownstones.

Sat in the audience at Letterman.

Became tight with Dave, Harrison Ford and a potty-mouth named Cee Lo (we won’t say what he replaced “forget” with live but you can fill in the blanks).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 Saw Rock of Ages on Broadway which now stars Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. This was a super-fun musical featuring the music of Mr. Big, Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Poison, etc. and ends with an epic performance of Don’t Stop Believing. No Cats for these guys…

Just strolled the city streets…

Including a visit to the top of the Empire State Building.

Wall Street…

and Ground Zero.

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One Response to The City of New York

  1. asouthernaccent says:

    This is awesome! I’m trying to plan for our trip next month, so these are some great tips!

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