New York, New York!
Three days in New York City! Fall is a beautiful time to see NYC especially Central Park and the stores along 5th Avenue. Plan your indoor and outdoor time according to the weather forecast for sunshine–you’ll see what I mean once you get there.
The purpose of our visit to this magnificent city was to see the play ‘Hamilton’ at the Richard Rogers Theater. This was my reward from my wife for turning 66 this year. It was my wonderful wife’s idea to do something special for me and with my first social security check! (Just kidding!) She is still working (thankfully!) and we thought it would never get any more financially feasible to do something like this. (Yes, the tickets are beyond expensive if you purchase them through the normal ticket sellers…but there are alternative ways…see Day 2’s post for more on that).
Let the Fun Begin!
After arriving at LaGuardia Airport, we hail a ride with the bain of all taxis in the world (Uber) check into our hotel (Club Quarters Across From Rockefeller Center) and meet two friends formerly from Lincoln who will join us for the long weekend. Our friend Stephanie has been a long time resident of NYC and our other friend, Jay. Jay had lived in NYC for many years but now lives in Washington D.C. selling real estate. His familiarity with the city dates back to his college graduate years at Columbia, studying under Robert A.M. Stern and during his later employment with Gensler architects. I mention their resumes as both Stephanie and Jay bring in-depth knowledge about the city and the needed know-how of navigating around the public transit systems and large museums. More importantly, they both love and know the city’s rich culture. The security blanket of their company is reassuring and provides to us the ability to just be tourists. I’ve said it before, but either hiring a local guide or, as in our case, be lucky to have friends who know their way around will provide the best experiences for your visit to this city.
First order of business…toast our return to the Big Apple!
Our travel experiences always center around food and this trip is no different. For help in determining where to go for our first meal, we use an app called ‘Open Table’ to book the perfect place. ‘Open Table’ has features that allowed me to narrow the search for Italian restaurants (at my wife’s request) within lower Manhattan. From several hundred choices, we found a restaurant called Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria in the Bowery that had an opening in our time slot and budget range. Little did I know, but, it also came with a world renowned reputation which says volumes about New York City’s restaurant scene.
There are two Il Buco’s within a block of each other. The original Il Buco is located on Bond Street between Lafayette Street and Bowery. Of the two, it is probably the more well known. We had dinner at Ill Bucco Alimentari & Vineria located at 53 Great Jones Street–within the same neighborhood. The story of Il Buco is one of transformation from an antiques store into an internationally renowned restaurant. Check out their interesting story here.
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria’ cuisine is authentically Italian. It is known for its house-cured meets, house-made Ricotta cheese and other excellent Italian delicacies. On the menu, you’ll also find fresh seafood, house-made pasta’s and incredible house-made breads…always a popular Italian staple. Oh, and brush up on your Italian language skills (if you’re inclined) to try it out on your friendly and plentiful server.
Take a Stroll
After a fantastic time at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, we take a stroll around the Bowery. The area is bustling with activity in-spite of a slight drizzle. We play the role of gawking tourists quite convincingly (I’m sure). We window shopped and people watched our way to the nearest subway station for a quick ride back to our hotel to make it an early night after a very full day.
The agenda for Day 2 is to take a stroll to the MET for our favorite sport…art appreciation!
For our first brief day in New York City, we managed to pack in a lot of great experiences and fun thanks to our friends and luck in finding Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. I don’t recommend leaving everything to chance, but once in a while it will add to your traveling experience in ways that will surely be remembered fondly.