A completely biased list based on solely my opinion.
"Maura, your phone is so vintage that it's cool."
Yep, everyone in NYC has a smart phone, it's like being in the future. Bob and I pride ourselves on our lack of need for them... but then again, we often seem to be lost.
The High Line, Chelsea. This park is New York City's newest park, made by converting miles of raised rail lines into grassy areas and benches. Perfect for a stroll, perusing the local artists who display their wares there, an impromptu knitting circle, or getting a lovely view of the Lady Liberty.
Sam Brocato Salon, SOHO. Caroline Cooney recommended this salon to me. If you want NYC swanky salon treatment at a North Carolina price, make an appointment with a "New Talent" stylist at this Salon, (make sure they are "new talent," cause you can't afford the other people). I was very happy with the way my hair turned out and even purchased some of their line of leave-in actives. I felt pretty glam.
Best Rooftop Bar:
Birreria, the beautiful brew pub on top of Eataly, Madison Square Park. Clayton Fox took me to this new brew pub in Manhattan. Here you can drink delicious cask ales brewed in collaboration with Dogfish Head, Baladin and Del Borgo just 30 feet from where you sit. A lovely view of the skyline transported me above the busy city below to an Italian summer's day.
Best Pricey Seafood:
Ocean Grill, the Upper West Side. Matt and Rich took me to their favorite restaurant and it was amazing. First off, you've never had a better chopped salad than the one they make. I know, what can be so great about a chopped salad? I don't know. But this one is SO GREAT. For my entree, I had the Blackened Swordfish with Chorizo Whipped Potatoes, Broccolini and Chipotle Red Wine Sauce. The portions were perfect and the fish was cooked to perfection.
Best Thrifty Date Place:
Best Thrifty Date Place:
Bianca, the East Village. You really can get your money's worth at this great tiny Italian place in the Village. The dining room opens onto charming Bleeker street. The vino is choice. I had the "Tagliolini Ai Frutti di Mare with clams, mussels, calamari and shrimps sauteed in garlic, extra -virgin olive oil and lite tomato sauce." All that for $11.50! This place is full of simple goodness and NYC romance.
Best Pricey Performance:PUNCHDRUNK'S Sleep No More. This 3 hour sensory experience is a thrilling, film noir version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The audience, behind the anonymity of their birdlike masks, is given free rein to wander through the McKittrick Hotel. You can rifle through Lady Macbeth's desk and read her private letters to the King, follow Macbeth through the graveyard as he is tormented by the three witches, or spend some time in a pre-war psychiatric ward. PUNCHDRUNK "has pioneered a game changing form of immersive theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. Blending classic texts, physical performance, award-winning design installation and unexpected sites, the company's infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences." Plus Neil Patrick Harris was there the night Susanna and I went. Totally worth the week's wages I spent on it. (Don't fret, I don't make that much a week...)
Best Free Performance:
Asscat at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Sunday nights at 9:30 the Upright Citizens Brigade puts on a free Improv show. $3 PBR. The talent is fabulous: Horatio Sanz, Zach Woods, and Bobby Moynihan performed the night we went. Get there early, eat McDonalds in line, you'll make friends, you'll laugh, you may even give the most mocked suggestion of the night.
[Performer: "Give me a movie everyone has seen." Susanna: "The Notebook!"]
Best Place to NOT buy a vegetable quesadilla:
The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Fulton Pier, Brooklyn. After the failed quest for Chicago's finest hot dogs, we settle for a quesadilla from the stand and have this interaction:
Man at stand, completely serious, in broken English: "We have two kinds of quesadillas, chicken and vegetable. But we are all out of vegetable, so which would you like? Chicken or vegetable?
Us: (look at each other, dumbstruck) "Chicken?"
Turned out to be quite good. But the vegetable quesadilla must be freakin amazing, as they are always out of it.