by Tracy Kaler
|Beautiful Washington Square Park|
This week I played tour guide for my sis-in-law, Amy, and my soon-to-be-graduating niece, Whitney, who was on her very first trip to New York City from Atlanta. With only a few days, we had to move quickly and efficiently to hit as many NYC highlights as possible. If you visit New York and have a short time, you can definitely make the rounds if you plan ahead. I also want to mention that Amy and Whitney went to Chinatown and a took a tour of Rockefeller Center on their own time.
First stop, pick-up at the Hotel Wellington at 55th Street and 7th Avenue. We proceed to the subway at 50th Street, ride to Rector Street and walk to the 9-11 Memorial. Note: I recommend ordering timed tickets before arriving to guarantee admission. Since it was mid-week, we didn't have to wait at all. I imagine weekends would be more crowded.
I recommend visiting the site on a fair day, but know that most of the area is not shaded and in direct sun. (As the weather warms, be prepared with a hat and/or sunscreen.) For us, it was a picture perfect day and we did a lot of just that --- picture taking.
After touring the site, we stopped by the gift shop for souvenirs before walking west to Battery Park City. The promenade is one of the most peaceful spots in Manhattan even though it's just a few minutes from One World Trade's construction site. The temperature was warmer than expected (in the eighties) yet we needed our jackets as we approached the water to view the elegant Statue of Liberty. We sat on the promenade and relaxed for a few minutes before strolling along the water.
|Battery Park is one of the most peaceful spots in Manhattan--by Chris H Connelly via Flickr|
Now that we had energy, we made our way to Uniqlo, which happens to be one of my favorite stores for basics. I think Uniqlo quickly became one of their favorite stores as well. Amy and Whitney were impressed by the 89,000-square-foot flagship, considering the space constraints in Manhattan.
|Uniqlo flagship is 89,000 square feet|
|City Center is located on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues|
|Luna Sur in Hell's Kitchen--photo via Luna Sur Latin Bistro|
We all met in the West Village and started the day off right with a delicious lunch at Good Restaurant. I loved the Peanut Chicken Salad (butter lettuce, radicchio, corn peanuts, and honey jalapeno dressing.) The Burger on Ciabatta was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the Green Chile Mac + Cheese with a tortilla crust was to die for. I've been to Good several times before, and this was by far the best food I've ever eaten there. It seemed as if they really stepped it up a notch.
|Good is located on Greenwich Avenue in the Village|
|A classic townhouse in the West Village--by Eden Pictures via Flickr|
|Jackson Square Park was on our travels in the Village.|
|The trees were beginning to bloom at Jackson Square.|
|Beacon's Closet is a well-known thrift shop|
|You can buy, sell and trade at Beacon's Closet.|
|Looking north from Washington Square Park, just inside the famed arch|
|Henna tattoo in progress|
|Minetta Lane, 6th Avenue, and Bleecker Street|
Back to their hotel to change clothes, and back to the Upper West for me, our next plan to meet at Central Park for a carriage ride was quickly scratched due to an inaccurate weather forecast. It began thundering and raining despite the only cloudy prediction, and so we moved onto plan "B," which was dinner and music on Restaurant Row.
Michael and I met the girls on West 46th just off 8th Avenue. We thought we'd give Becco a try, the well-known Italian restaurant owned by Lidia Bastianich, and we were lucky enough to snag a table. Several hours, three courses, and two bottles of wine later, we were filled to the brim after indulging on Caesar Salad, Antipasto, Gnocchi in a Chive Cream Sauce, Grilled Salmon with Pan-Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Ribeye Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli, and Ricotta Cheesecake, the best cheesecake of my entire life, I might add.
|Becco has the best ricotta cheescake anywhere!|
The following day, Amy and Whitney checked out, ate breakfast at Cafe Metro, followed by a stop at Bergdorf's and Central Park, and finally a cab ride to the airport. Meanwhile, I spent all day catching up on the blog.
Have just a few days in New York City? This is how you do it!
And now --- I need a vacation.
|Amy, Tracy and Whitney in NYC|