Monday, July 20, 2009

A Couple of Days in New York...and on to Boston

We had a lovely time in New York. We are going to spend some more time there at the end of our holiday before we go home as well, but the first couple days have been super. We stayed in the Crowne Plaza at Broadway and 49th - Times Square. The public areas of the hotel were stunning - very modern with great views - but the rooms were fairly small compared to what we are used to in the US. We had a wonderful view from our windows though - although I must admit I never did get used to being on the 37th floor! It is a good city-centre hotel, but there is nothing that special about it. Having said that the service was very good; the staff were friendly and any requests were dealt with immediately.

The weather was very hot and sunny, which was wonderful for sightseeing. We did a lot of walking, making our way to Grand Central Station and from there along Park Avenue to 5th Avenue. We spent some time in St Patrick’s Cathedral which is so beautiful and peaceful, despite the hundreds of folk who pour through its doors daily. Of course all churches are spiritual places, but St Patrick’s seems to have an extra wonderful feel to it. From there we headed to Rockefeller Centre, and then on to some retail therapy at Lord & Taylor, where we shopped the sales (I got two Ralph Lauren dresses and a little cardigan at fantastic prices, and our son got some clothes as well). After a brief stop at the hotel, it was back to 5th Avenue (in a taxi this time!)and into the ultra modern glass cube that is the Apple Store, just across from the iconic Plaza Hotel and right beside Central Park.

While I checked my email using the free wi-fi, my husband and son shopped. The weather was still lovely so after we were finished at the Apple store so we walked through Central Park, past the zoos, and the lake. It was gorgeous. It is so incredible to find such a huge and beautiful green space in the centre of such a commercial city.

If you read my blog regularly, you may recall that on our last visit to New York, we celebrated the New Year at the Bull and Bear restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Sadly we were less than happy with the meal we had there. The whole experience was a bit disappointing. Well, when I did tell a member of staff in another one of the Waldorf’s restaurants how disappointed we were, the General Manager of the Bull and Bear, Oran Kierans, contacted me immediately. He apologised, and explained that things had not gone at all as planned. He refunded a good portion of what we had spent on the evening and said that we should get in touch on our return to New York so that he could buy us dinner. I was not sure if he would remember us or his offer after six months, and almost hesitated to email when I knew we were returning. However, not only did he remember us immediately, but he was good to his word and booked us a table for last night in the restaurant. What a wonderful meal we had, all courtesy of Mr Kierans and the staff at the Bull and Bear.

We all agreed that the steaks were among the best we have ever tasted, and everything else was scrumptious as well, especially the shrimp cocktail I had to start and the beautiful desserts. I was also very impressed by how my complaint was handled, and frankly have been more than compensated for any disappointment on New Year. Seriously, if you are in New York and fancy a real treat, do go to the Bull and Bear. I recommend it highly.

Today we head off to Boston, a place I have never visited before. I have to say I am feeling very excited. I’ve always wanted to go to Boston, ever since I was a little. There is something really wonderful about fulfilling a dream; it makes me feel very grateful!

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