Saturday, February 6, 2010

Top Ten List for NYC

Jill at Fizzy Thoughts has embarked on a wonderful challenge idea! In honor of BEA 2010 (Book Expo of America) and the Book Bloggers Convention, she has challenged us to read ONE book about or set in New York City between now and May 15. This sounds doable, doesn't it? I do not have my book selected, but I definitely plan to participate.

In addition to the book challenge, Jill will also host monthly mini-challenges along the way. February's mini-challenge is to make a top 10 list of anything having to do with New York - this could be a book list, a song list, an activity list...well, you get the idea.

I used to live in New York City - Greenwich Village, to be exact - from 1984-1988. It was the most unique, fantastic experience of my life! For the most part we were DINKS -- that is, Dual Income, No Kids -- and we tried to take advantage of that free lifestyle while living in the city that never sleeps. I had the opportunity to return to New York in 2006 and take my youngest daughter for her 13th birthday, and I made sure that I took her to most of my old stomping grounds. I was also fortunate to be able to attend BEA 2009 and had the opportunity to revisit some of my favorite spots. For a city that is always changing, it is amazing how much of it stays the same.

Here is my list of 10 spots I would like to go, if I have the opportunity to attend BEA 2010:
  1. Take a horse carriage ride through Central Park - making sure that we ride past Tavern on the Green. The lighting outside is breath-taking: like a winter wonderland! As long as I am in Central Park, I will plan to awaken that inner child and take a ride on the old-fashioned Carousel. Of course, Sheep's Meadow is always a lovely place to relax in the city, and a walk through Strawberry Fields is not to be missed, especially for are a Beatles' Fan.
  2. Visit Kitchen Arts and Letters - a bookstore devoted to cookbooks and kitchen paraphernalia. I lived in the city when the store opened, and that was one of my favorite Saturday jaunts. I feel certain that I could spend 2-3 hours in this one store.
  3. Visit Macy's, Herald Square --- this was my other favorite Saturday jaunts. While we have a Macy's in Kansas City, it in no way compares to the original.
  4. Eat a vendor pretzel --- my husband prefers the "dirty water dogs" but my street food of choice is a NY pretzel, with a little salt, and yellow mustard.
  5. Go to an Italian street festival and have some Zepoles! OH...I love Zepoles. Hot fried pizza dough smothered in powdered sugar. An Italian donut, so to speak. Last year we were fortunate to visit Little Italy during one of these feasts (but I don't remember which feast - maybe St. Anthony?) and I was able to savor these tiny morsels once again.
  6. Visit Partners in Crime - a great independent mystery/thriller bookshop located in the Village. I only spent about 30 minutes there last year, but could easily have spent two hours.
  7. If money were no object - I would catch Broadway show, and I would still probably do it via the TKTS booth. There is something very spontaneous and exciting about purchasing tickets at half price and not really knowing which show I will see. The last time I was in New York we were able to score half price tickets to Beauty and the Beast with Donny Osmond starring as Gaston (some of you may only know him as the winner of Dancing with the Stars, but I was of the generation that swooned over his pictures in Tiger Beat magazine).
  8. I can't go to New York without walking past our old apartment at 160 Bleecker Street in the Village. While this would not hold much charm for you - there are numerous sites to see and small eateries to explore in this neighborhood. The Arch in Washington Square Park, as well as the working fountains, are a site to behold for any movie buff; there are quaint sidewalk cafes that offer wonderful cappuccinos and plenty of people watching; and the small out of the way restaurants, like Panchitos Mexican Food and Ray's Pizza are quintessentially New York dining establishments for the common folk.
  9. Visit the Strand Bookstore - again. Oh My -- this is the mecca of used books. I have been there numerous times and have never felt as though I have done more than just skimmed the surface. Allow plenty of time to snoop.
  10. Visit Zabars on the Upper West Side. If you consider yourself a foodie - Zabars is the place to go. Downstairs is a food emporium with every imaginable cheese, bread, etc to choose from (not to mention the best bagel with a smear in the city). Upstairs is a culinary gadget heaven. I mean they have EVERYTHING - and I only wish I lived closer and didn't have to worry about shipping.
So there you have my top ten list of places to visit in May.

It is a true dream of mine, however, to someday return to New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I would want to rent a room that allows me to view the parade from inside the warm confines of a luxury building. However....I would gladly stand out in the cold for hours to attend the annual "blowing up of the balloon" at Central Park West the night before. I didn't hear about this event until it was too late, and I have always dreamed of being a part of this magical moment. I will make this happen - sometime before I die.

I hope many of you have the opportunity to visit this amazing city and realize that it is really many, many small, family-friendly neighborhoods in a very small space. You are in for a treat of a lifetime!


  1. What a fantastic challenge. The book I am reading right now is in NYC. I love NY I was there in 2001 just before the attacks.

  2. What I love about your list is that this is NYC behind the glitz. Bookstores and eateries - I love it. How wonderful that you had the experience of living there when you were footloose and fancy free!

  3. Fantastic list! Now I want to go to Kitchen Arts and Letters too!

  4. I might just plan a trip to NYC just to visit Kitchen Arts and Letters!

  5. I'm most likely not going to BEA, but my family is vacationing for almost a week in NYC during June, and I will be saving your post for reference. A nice long visit to Macy's is already on our list :-). (Yes, we have a Macy's at the town mall. NOT the same thing.)

  6. Great list! I am having serious neighborhood envy - the Village is a fabulous place to live!

    Did you hear that Tavern on the Green closed? The owners had to file for bankruptcy and the last dinner was served this New Year's Eve. It has been bought by the same people that own the Boathouse but its not clear if the newly renovated restaurant will be able to retain the Tavern on the Green name - the end of an era!

    Sheep's Meadow made list of fav places to read in NYC.

  7. I LOVE the Strand. Even if I'm only in NYC for a day, I have to make time for it. Have to! :-)

  8. What a wonderful list. This is the kind of behind-the-scenes look at a big city that I love - all the best book stores, kitchen stores and great places to eat.

  9. Sadly, I don't foresee a trip to New York, ever in my future. :( But if I were to go, your list looks fantastic!

  10. Oh my goodness! I came to check out your blog because you were kind enough to stop by mine. It was kind of freaky to read your post about New York. It appears we have more in common than the fact that we both teach English! I also lived in NYC...and around the same time, too. ('84-'86) I love NYC.

    Do you remember Body Electric Aerobics (on B'way between Bleeker and Houston)? How about the Figaro I (think that's what it was called) Cafe, which was in the Village. I used to sit there and drink iced cafe mochaccinos and feel quite sophisticated. And Ray's Pizza? Are you talking about the one on 6th...around 23rd Street? (If memory serves...and let's face it, that's the first thing to go!)I dream about their pizza all the time! And the Strand. And the East Village. I haven't been back in 20 years, but my kids are now old enough to appreciate all that it has to offer and so we're due a trip!

    Anyway, I am adding you to my Must Read blog roll and I'd love to chat about teen books!

  11. I'm printing out this post and taking it with me to NYC in May :) Thanks!!!

  12. What a great list! My next visit to NYC, I'll be keeping your list handy.

  13. I went to NYC September09. It was really amazing. I have to say, pretty much all the hype the city gets, it well deserves.
    I went to the Strand bookstore, I never wanted to leave!

  14. The Strand is popping up on a number of lists...I'm gonna have to make time for a visit!

    Thanks for joining the challenge!

  15. Did you ever drive in Manhattan? When I lived in Pennsylvania I'd drive my car into the city 3-4 times a year. It was always a white knuckle experience for me. I love your top 10 list and plan to put one together too.

    The Strand is mecca! They have a good on-line store too with some new books going for half price. You still have to pay shipping.

    Aloha from Rob

  16. Hi Molly!
    I like your list. TKTS is priceless and you can't beat the Strand. Unfortunately the Strand Annex closed, leaving only the main store and one less place for us book lovers to go!

    Gotta say that I'm super jealous that you used to live in the Village! If I could live anywhere, it'd be there. (Not that I don't love Queens!)

    I'm participating in the New York Challenge too, and if you'd like to see my list of NYC musts, it's here!


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