It’s that time of the year again! Holiday time in NYC which means my friends from MD come up for a girls weekend (YIPPEE!!!)
We started this in 2012 because I missed my friends after I had moved back up to Long Island and my friends want to see NYC at Holiday Time when the windows are done up and the stores have some amazing sales!
So this year we started planning at the end of September, of course that was just to set the date everyone was available to play. The previous two trips have been the weekend just before Christmas. This year seems the best weekend was a week after Thanksgiving!
Once we had the date secured on our calendars, it was time to search for a hotel. You know how this goes, hope for the best, expect the worse. It’s holiday time in NYC, so of course hotel prices will be high (granted NYC most of the year hotels are pricy). We searched on all the hotel search sites because we weren’t sure what hotels were in the area we were looking. We found that staying in the Herald Square area of the city works best.
Based on our parameters of Date and area we settled on the Radisson Martinque at 6th Avenue and 32nd Street. It was easily accessible for me coming in on the LIRR to Penn Station. I just had to exit at the 7th Avenue exit, cross 7th then walk straight down 32nd Street and boom, there was the hotel waiting for me at the corner.
The lobby was nice and big. There was a couple of couches and chairs for sitting, with enough to stand milling around without really being the way of anyone else. Check in was fairly easy, though when I showed up at 2, they said they had no rooms available because check in was a four so I should leave my bags with the bell desk and come back in 2 hours. Now I travel a lot for a living, I often show up at the hotel prior to the official check in time where I am still able to get a room with little hassle. Sometimes they tell me the reason why one is not available: we were sold out last night so rooms are still being cleaned, check out time hasn’t occurred yet so we don’t have any clean available rooms at the moment. But if check out is at 12:00 noon and it’s now 2pm, either tell me you were sold out last night and don’t have any rooms cleaned yet, or say I am waiting for some clean rooms to show as available, don’t just dismiss a paying guest.
As I do travel so often, I rarely back down from a check in desk staffer who lacks customer service skills so of course I asked when would the earliest time a room be available? Finally she searched in her screen and come up with something available around 3pm. I could handle that, it was closing in on 2:30 already. So I found a couch space and read another James Patterson book on my Kindle (FYI: I finished NYPD Red 2).
So I checked in and went on up to the room. For a NYC hotel room it was quite roomy. It wasn’t big by normal hotel standards, but it was nice sized for four adults and one pack n play. The shower didn’t drain easily, but really that was the only major complaint I had about the hotel. They have two sets of elevator bays so depending if your room is towards to the front or the back you have options of which set of elevators you want.
Friday night has become our annual trip to a delicious Jewish Deli. This year we were up to Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We attempt to hire an Uber since it was 2.5 miles away, but the first few got cancelled, the one we got messed up and cancelled the car when we got in, then with the surge, tried charging us $48, so we hopped out at 3rd Avenue and 13th Street, gave him some $$ and walked the rest of the way down. We walked up to 2nd then down to Houston. The deli is at Houston and Ludlow right on the corner – you can’t miss it with signage like this:
When you enter, you are handed a ticket – don’t lose this ticket, you need it to pay and leave the deli (and there is a hefty cost if you do lose it!). We opted for table service instead of counter and seat yourself service. We had a bowl of pickles brought over and then we each ordered. I ordered a hot dog and salad (as did my friend Meg) and my friends Lana and Jess ordered Matzoh Ball Soup with Half Reuben. Delish all around! Lana fed her 18 month old daughter some new food to try, most of it was a hit (though the pickle took two tries…)
We then hailed a cab back to our hotel. It was raining when we walked down there, so we opted for the cab ride home. We made great time right until 30th street. The protesters were back in Herald Square Friday night, 2 blocks from our hotel.
Saturday was spent walking around the city, enjoying the holiday sites. Well, it was supposed to be. We didn’t make it any further then Herald Square because it was pouring all day long. My friend did manage to get a Santaland picture of her daughter with Santa (well, sorta, the kid wasn’t having anything to do with Santa!). We then did a bit of shopping at Macy’s. The sales weren’t quite there were when we visited the weekend just before Christmas, but a sale was taking place.
After a bit of shopping along 34th Street, it was time to start searching out a restaurant for dinner. However, the hotel concierge wasn’t on duty anymore at 5:30 on a Saturday evening just when we were looking for recommendations! What hotel does that during one of the busy seasons?
So we just asked the front desk for some help, and found a lovely restaurant up on 3rd Avenue call La Giara in the Murray Hill area. It was still raining, but it was only a 7 block walk (5 cross down and 2 up town) so we hoofed it again.
I must thank whoever at the front desk recommended this place to us, it was great! We called just before we left to check availability. They held their last table for us (4 adults and a high chair!). A few minutes after we sat down, my friend placed an order of Mac & Cheese for her daughter, they were quite accommodating. The decor was interesting – red brick walls (red was an overall color theme), a couple of booths, a number of regular tables. The space wasn’t very big, but it was big enough to fit about 15-18 tables of varying sizes. We were brought water relatively quickly, and we had just the right amount of time to review the menu when the waiter came back over to take our orders.
The menu wasn’t large, but had enough variety that we were all satisfied with options, and our actual orders. The food was delicious, everyone was thrilled. My friends daughter gives it two hands up, as she tried a little of bit something from each of our plates and was happy with each!
How very Italian themed of them, they have a pasta press when you first walk in!
Again, we walked back to our hotel and just chilled in the room talking and catching up. Sunday morning, we checked out and I walked back down to Penn Station to catch a train while my friends made their annual stop at Ess A Bagel to bring some NY bagels back down to MD with them!
As always, it was amazing hanging out with some of my girls in my home town. I wish more of them would visit more often – but I am working on it!