Our weekend in the City was fantastic, though I'm still amazed at how much there was to do in the Financial District. Stupid me for always eschewing it due to it being "boring". There's SO much to see and do... in the four days we were there we ventured uptown only twice, once for dinner and once to see a show.
Recommend visiting the National Museum of the American Indian, or at least checking out the amazing Alexander Hamilton Custom House which holds it. The sculptures, architecture, fixtures...incredibly beautiful. The museum is an arm of the Smithsonian, so it's free of charge to enter.
Speaking of bargains, it was my goal to make this trip as inexpensive as possible, and nearly everyone asks how much the room (for 3 nights) cost. So, here's a breakdown:
Room: Booked "blindly" on Travelocity which means you are told the neighborhood and given general info about the hotel but NOT given the name until you actually book it. This is the best way I've found to nail a bargain. SO, we stayed at the Club Quarters Wall Street for $88. per night. We booked Friday, Saturday and Sunday...it's a better deal to stay in the FiDi when the Market is closed so weekends are priced lowest. It was immaculate, close to the 2 and 3 trains (though we walk A LOT the subway is necessary and the more convenient the better) and has a kiosk check-in and check-out system which was supremely convenient. The only negatives I read are that the staff isn't terribly friendly (who cares? As long as you get what you need, you don't need to cultivate a friendship with them.) and the rooms can be small. Which is a complaint usually posted by people who haven't been to NY before and/or aren't aware of the premium on space. Give me a clean bed, a basic bathroom and I'm happy. The room we had at CQWS was seriously twice the size of the one we stayed in at the POD a few months ago, and we found that one to be perfectly fine. There is a substantial tax slapped on the bill, but even so, for accommodations three nights in Manhattan we paid just over three hundred dollars total.
We did "splurge" and take the ferry in, which is twenty five dollars per person one way as opposed to the NJT trains which are 15 per person, one way. But the views were spectacular. It's funny, we live so close to the City and a lot of people commute there for work but it's so easy to overlook just how beautiful it can be and how awe inspiring it is. I'm grateful the Mister and I both appreciate it and LOVE spending time there.
Eating out: Used American Express voucher for dinner at Smith & Wollensky, tab came to around one hundred dollars. http://www.smithandwollensky.com/home. Also ate at Ulysses http://ulyssesfolkhouse.com/ on Stone Street (the first paved street in Manhattan, now lined with pubs and quite the place to be. Tables are set outside for good-weather dining and the food was perfectly acceptable.) That bill was under thirty dollars. Mark may have scored the ultimate bargain at Steak and Shake http://www.steaknshake.com/ ...hot dog, drink and fries for like six bucks in the Theater District.
For breakfast Mark would walk over to Leo's Bagels http://www.leosbagels.com/#/bagels right around the corner from the hotel. Also picked up some cookies at a Farmer's Market...a great way to support real food and the people who bring it as well as get some great food at reasonable cost...here's a list of NYC Markets: http://www.grownyc.org/ourmarkets
Didn't do much shopping so that wasn't a money pit. Did see "Other Desert Cities" on Broadway. For Broadway tickets just hit one of the TKTS booths http://www.tdf.org/TDF_ServicePage.aspx?id=80&%20do=v(there's one in Times Square) for steep discounts on shows. Our tickets were in about the sixth row and cost $65. each. Stockard Channing and Judith Light both earned Tony nominations for their performances in it.
One of the biggest chunks of change we dropped was at the Almondine Bakery in Brooklyn. For a dozen macaroons and a chocolate pastry the bill was over thirty dollars. Worth it for the taste, at least in dollars if not calorie wise.
The sight seeing is where it's at. For no cost at all (except for comfortable shoes), you can walk Battery Park and check out all it has to offer, http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/batterypark , walk over to City Hall Park http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/cityhallpark of course walk the Brooklyn Bridgehttp://brooklyn.about.com/od/brooklynbridge/a/How-To-Walk-The-Brooklyn-Bridge-Manhattan-To-Brooklyn-Brooklyn-To-Manhattan.htm , check out the Irish Hunger Memorial http://www.nyc.com/arts__attractions/irish_hunger_memorial.1379/editorial_review.aspx go to South Street Seaport (touristy to the max but still worthwhile) http://www.southstreetseaport.com/dining-shopping .
Here is where we leave you. Already scoping out bargains for our next weekend away...I have my eye on the Rockefeller Center Club Quarters but beating 88 bucks a night is going to be a challenge. Our girls want to join us on the next trip so I'll be hunting down things to do with a 20, 17 and 14 year old.