Monday, September 22, 2014

NYC Advice and Tips

Getting Around: Use Public Transportation
Before we left for New York we looked into possibly buying a 7 day pass for a hop-on-hop-off style bus. We have them all over San Francisco and it seems like the easiest way to get around in the city without getting lost. However due to the higher cost we decided against it and went with the 7 day unlimited metro card for $30 each.
We found that getting around in New York was very easy with the aid of our friend Google Maps. We did a lot of walking which is made relatively easy due to their grid like numbered streets and avenues. And with the help of Google Maps we always knew which subway or bus we needed to take to get to where we wanted.

Attractions: Buy Online and Go Early
We considered buying one of the many city passes available for New York. However, after careful consideration of the attractions we actually wanted to go to it was cheaper for us to pay the individual entry fees instead (especially when you take into account that many museums offer discounted/free entry days, student discounts, or are donation based).
We purchased most of our attraction tickets online a day ahead of time which meant we didn't need to stand in line at the attractions to buy tickets. This ended up saving us a lot of time. We also tried to go to the attractions earlier in the day. We went to the Top of Rockefeller Center as soon as they opened and because we bought our tickets online ahead of time we had no lines to wait in to get up. Not to mention that it was so nice and peaceful up there since there were only a few other people at the top while we were there.

Tapings: Only if You Have an Extended Stay in NYC
The tapings we went to were great and definitely a ton of fun. But if you're only in NYC for a few days don't waste your time. Going to the tapings was a huge time investment between standing in line to pick up tickets and then standing in line to get into the studio. Attending the live tapings we went to took up a good 5-6 hours of our day. If you have a short stay in New York don't waste it all by standing in line. There's so much more New York has to offer.

Broadway/Off-Broadway: TKTS for Deep Discounts
Tickets for almost every Broadway and off-Broadway show are available at the TKTS booth in Times Square. There are only a handful of extremely popular shows you won't be able to get there (ie: Wicked and Book of Mormon). I think it'd also be safe to assume that if a show has won any Tony awards this year (especially best musical or best play) you'll need to buy your tickets ahead of time.

While I'm no travel expert hopefully those of you who may be visiting New York for the first time will find these little tidbits helpful.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Motown: The Musical

Good morning, ya'll! Last night we went to see the first musical in our SHN 2014-2015, Motown: The Musical. This was our second year with season tickets and we decided to pick up a set of 4 tickets this season so that we could share our musical experience with some of our friends and family. We tried to figure out which of our friends and family would enjoy this show the most and ultimately decided to bring hub's dad and girlfriend with us. It seems like we made the right decision as they reminisced about growing up with the music of Motown.

 The music for the show was great! I mean how could it not with all the super hits that came out of the Motown record label? With songs like Ain't to Proud to Beg, What's Going On, and ABC the music of this show definitely had the audience bopping along. The story follows the conception and life of Motown Records by legendary producer and song writer Berry Gordy.

For me the plot fell short, so much focus was put on the music of Motown which is great, but I still feel like they could've done more with the story. I understand that clearly the focus of the show would be the amazing music they made, but there are other similar musicals out there like Jersey Boys and Beautiful: The Carol King Musical that focus highly on the music and are still able to make time to tell a story. My final thoughts...go for the music, but don't expect much of a storyline.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our Favorite NYC Eats [picture heavy post]

Since we ate a lot of good food in New York I thought it'd be a good idea to compile some of our favorite eats from our trip.

On Sunday morning we brunched at Good Enough to Eat which was highly recommended by one of my high school classmates who lives in New York. Although the food was good it wasn't out of this world. But it was all worth it experience the quintessential brunch staple of the Upper West Side, strawberry butter. It boggles my mind to think of the genius who thought this delicious concoction up. Slathered on their warm biscuits or or all over fresh waffles it was absolutely magical. 
I'm literally drooling on my keyboard right now

That night we made our way to a Momofuku Milk Bar to try the legendary crack pie. When we got back to our hotel room with our pies we were a little weary of the fact that butter is the first ingredient listed...what had we gotten ourselves into??? After our first bite of buttery, sweet, chewy goodness I was in love. We went back to get crack pie to finish off our day almost every night we were in New York. There's definitely no denying why they call it crack pie. 
Oh butter, you've never done me wrong!
Unwrapped and in all it's crack pie glory
While researching places to eat in New York we happened across the BuzzFeed Donut Crawl. Although the author doesn't make the latter half of the donut crawl sound enjoyable by any means they did mention a creme brulee donut at Doughnut Plant which we knew we just had to try. Not only was the creme brulee donut to die for but their cake donuts all have fillings which make them extra moist and extra delicious. So good we had to do a repeat visit on our last day in New York.
top R to L: coffee cake donut and creme brulee donut
bottom R to L: creme brulee donut and tres leches cake donut
Coffee cake donut filled with creamy goodness

Later that day we went to Eataly and had lunch at Rosticceria where we shared to most delicious prime rib sandwich my mouth has ever had the pleasure of meeting. The bread was just the right amount of crusty (crunchy without tearing up the inside of your mouth) and the meat was seasoned to absolute perfection. So glad we stumbled upon this gem.

The next day we ate dinner at a New York staple, Shake Shack. I remember standing in line for HOUUURSSSS in Madison Square with my parents in 2010 just to get a taste of Shake Shack goodness. Luckily now there are many more chains open and we were able to get our grub on in a reasonable amount of time. While the burgers ain't no In-N-Out their shakes are undeniably good.

I love a good pastrami sandwich so we had to make a trip to the famed, Carnegie Deli. Their pastrami is so flavorful and tender without being overly fatty. Not to mention their monstrous portions are legendary. Even after sharing a sandwich we were so full we had to take our cheesecake to go.

Almost every night we came back to our hotel from the theater we would pass by a street cart with a huge line of people. We finally looked into it and found out that The Halal Guys is basically a New York City institution. Once we knew that we just HAD to give it a try. After reviewing yelp we decided on chicken and rice. The plate was so big that the two of us were able to fill up on just one plate. Needless to say yelp didn't lead us astray and the food was delicious.
so simple yet so delicious

Last up on our list of favorite eats was Gotham didn't think we'd have a list of NYC eats without pizza did you??? We ate a lot of good pizza but the grandma square pizza at Gotham was the best. The homemade marinara sauce and the drizzling of olive oil on the thin crispy crust was a perfect combo.
what New York trip would be complete without pizza?

And that concludes the series on our New York trip. I'm glad I  got to wrap up this final post just in time for us to get ready for out trip back in November!