Sunday, December 11, 2011

New York City vacation: part one

New York City was a place my mother had always wanted to visit, so this summer I granted her wish and took her to the Big Apple for an extra long weekend.

I booked a room at the well-located Holiday Inn SoHo on Lafayette Street between Chinatown and Little Italy, and within easy walking distance of the Lower East Side and East Village for my late night dive bar visits. This was my sixth trip to NYC, so I know it reasonably well, but thought the best way to introduce my mom to the city was through a three-day, hop-on hop-off Gray Line double-decker tour bus pass.

Our first day began with a walk further downtown that took us past a number of captivating buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the South Street Seaport (where we stopped at the TKTS outlet and bought a pair of tickets for Sister Act for the next day) and the financial district before arriving at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

The free ride took us within easy viewing distance of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which I've visited in the past but didn't on this trip. Upon disembarkation, we strolled past the Richmond County Bank Ballpark (the home of the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League) to the September 11 Memorial and then back to the terminal for the 25-minute return ride to Manhattan. This was my second time in Staten Island, but both have been short trips, and I'd like to explore more of it sometime.

The same can be said of Brooklyn, which I got my most comprehensive overview of on the Gray Line tour of New York City's most populous borough.  The two-hour tour was the of the day and our guide and driver made it entertaining and informative.

We decided to have dinner on Mulberry Street, the heart of Little Italy, and just made it inside Cafe Napoli before a massive downpour hit. My mom had an expensive but tasty stuffed veal dish, while I went with some fish. She called it an early night, I did some writing and then stepped out for drinks at Lower East Side watering holes Iggy's Keltic Lounge, The Cake Shop, Max Fish and Arlene's Grocery.
Max Fish

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