Monday, February 1, 2010

New York: Recap

I'll return you to my regularly scheduled blogging this Friday with the Heights Arts House Concert, and Saturday with the Orchestra (Interestingly, Mr. Boulez is conducting this weekend's concerts -- something I didn't realize until I found the postcard in my mailbox yesterday). For now, the recap of New York, from the comfort of my own sofa.

The last set of pictures is here, pictures from the full set are over there.

Overall: Really, New York is one of the most amazing cities on the planet and certainly the most amazing I've visited thus far. There's an infinite variety of things to do, see, hear, touch, feel. I can't wait to go back (and if I ever win the lottery, my first stop would be to buy a pied-à-terre in the City. Just next time I'm not going in the middle of January.

Lodging: Stayed at both the Waldorf-Astoria and the Hilton Times Square. The Waldorf was nice, but superficially so; the Hilton is in a great location, had fantastic views, great rooms, and an incredibly accommodating and personable staff. My next trip will definitely include the Times Square location if the rates are in the ballpark.

Transportation: The NYC MTA is an amazingly efficient and wonderfully comprehensive network, of which I only sampled a small portion. The $27 7-day unlimited ride MetroCard is quite possibly the best bargain in New York, and the MTA NYC Subway staff are some of the most courteous and helpful transportation employees I've encountered. The lone exception would be the R train Saturday morning where not only were the doors closed with a large number of passengers still trying to board, yours truly included, but the doors were closed without warning, and on a tourist who was halfway through the doors at the time (with an arm and leg outside the car) -- and didn't reopen them (Specific descriptions here, here, here, and, described by my mother as hallucinogenic, here).

Theatre, Music, Dance: Phantom Of The Opera, the New York City Ballet, Next to Normal, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. All tremendously entertaining in their own ways, and all with very full houses. Of course TKTS made prices for Phantom and Next to Normal reasonable.

Art, Culture, Randomness: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and Central Park, The Museum of Modern Art and Seghal's This Progress at the Guggenheim, possibly the most thought provoking piece of art I've encountered. Last but not least is MTA's Arts For Transit with art sprinkled throughout the stations... and opening your mind to look for art in places that you aren't expecting, like this and this.

Despite using HHonors points to pay for my three nights at the Waldorf, according to preliminary credit card statements and cash on hand, as a single traveler I contributed somewhere between $700-800 to the New York economy, about 20% more than my original expectation. It was worth it.


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