We'll Take Manhattan...

The holiday crowds were gone, the weather was agreeable (though it rained Friday night at least the temps were in the high 40s/low 50s and there was a miraculous lack of wind)the teenagers were agreeable, the hotel was given high marks by everyone...I'd say our weekend was a success. Eldest daughter chose to stay home and enjoy the company of her friends/the peace of a quiet house, so our party consisted of me, the Mister, our 18 year old and our 15 year old. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel on Madison and 45th. I'd scored 2 rooms at $90. per night per room. The rooms were immaculate, well sized and very comfortable. Both rooms had King sized beds generously piled with pillows and topped with some sort of magical, sleep inducing, fairydust filled featherbed. Bath products are Bath and Body Works (which made the offspring happy and the Mister's hair smell like Rain Fresh Leaves or some such scent.) Staff was lovely, friendly and efficient. Location is perfect-it's located right near Grand Central Terminal. (Side note: if you're planning a trip to NY and reading a lot of patron reviews, you'll notice a lot of people are super harsh on hotels. If you've not stayed in NY before, I suppose the smaller sized rooms can be a surprise? Along with other negative comments, I've found you have to temper them with the fact that NYC is unlike any other place in the country...and hoping to get a mid-west size and priced hotel room is just not gonna happen.) Second to getting such well priced rooms in Manhattan, I am most proud of my packing prowess. For our Friday-Sunday stay, I basically packed everything I needed in a tote bag. Not a jumbo one, either. I stuck to what I'm comfortable in...tights or leggings, boots, skirts and black 3/4 length cotton shirts. Wore a denim jacket under my winter coat and brought gloves, a giant scarf and knit headband/ear warmer. Felt polished yet comfy. Actually brought a dress which I wound up not wearing at all. I just didn't feel like dealing with a suitcase, no matter how small. My girls were on the same wave length and also packed totes. So, quick overview of what we did: Got there in the afternoon. As we're walking through Penn Station, we run into a lovely woman I know who comes into the library. We chatted for a minute, she told me she works at 2 Penn Plaza and they have a second house at the shore, which is why they use the library down there. One of my girls commented as we were walking away, "Leave it to Mommy to know someone every place we go." Checked into the Roosevelt. It's quite beautiful, and has a rich history...from Guy Lombardo to Mad Men to Man on a Ledge, it's worth taking a peek: I loved it immediately, not in small part because it was vaguely reminiscent of the "Overlook Hotel" from "The Shining". At least in my mind it was. Kind of eerily formal. First evening: Walked over to the majestic Grand Central Terminal and had dinner in the Dining Concourse. It's such a beautiful building, so many people say it feels as though you're in a movie when you're there. There are sit-down restaurants and of course the famous Oyster Bar, but the lower level is casual and inexpensive. It's pretty much the ideal place if you're visiting NY with children of any's busy, fairly loud and there's a good variety of foods to choose from. We got a few slices (mine with mushrooms, roasted pepper sauce and onions, daughter chose Sicilian and we split a piece of white pie which had nice big slices of garlic on it) from "Two Boots". The Mister and other daughter had delicious sliced steak sandwiches from "Tri Tip"...tender, flavorful beef on perfect rolls accompanied by thin, crisp fries and a side of au jus. Enjoyed a bit of dinner theater presented by a group of adult ragamuffins threatening to fuck each other up over some perceived and, evidently, long standing slight. Strolled around for a while after dinner, 18 year old daughter is a hard core Sephora junkie, so we hit 3 of them. Yes, three of them. Younger daughter is not so enamored of the art of cosmetology but she was happy to be out of the rain. Side note: while Times Square is now tame as a kitten, if Bloomberg could do a little sumthin' about the Comedy Club pimps and the roaming characters decked out in dingy, second rate costumes well...that would be ideal. I'm starting to think the bedbug epidemic which seized Manhattan probably began in one of those hideous, matted Elmos (replete with fanny pack in case you actually wanted to have your photo taken with said character. Then you are evidently expected to tip them, thus filling the fanny pack with cash. I got a tip for you...drop that shitty costume off at the nearest dry cleaner. Or landfill.) Headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the Magnolia Bakery cupcakes we'd gotten at Grand Central. Next day, Saturday: The Mister walked over to Ess-A-Bagel and brought us back breakfast. We finished eating, walked over to Central Park and headed uptown. Hit "Shakespeare And Co." book shop which greatly appealed to our 15 year old. She loved the selection, was very appreciative that the YA section did NOT consist of a zillion "Twilight" series books (she's not a fan) and wound up buying 3 books which left her in a happy mood. The Mister wanted to see "740 Park Avenue" as he is currently reading the book by Michael Gross and, hey, we were in the neighborhood. 18 year old fulfilled her wish of hitting "Laduree" for macaroons. What a gorgeous shop...what incredible macaroons. We ordered: coconut, coffee, hazelnut and vanilla. They're heavenly. Walked back down Madison Avenue and window shopped the fancy stores till we got back to the hotel. At this point I lay down on the magic bed "for just a minute". Just a minute turned into a deep, dreamy nap. The Mister and Casey walked over to Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park. Maeve stayed in the girls' room and read. We headed over to Smith and Wollensky for dinner. We eat on the "Wollensky Grill" side. The Mister and I have developed a huge fondness for this place. It was the girls first time eating there and it didn't disappoint. Filet mignon sandwiches with hand cut fries for the Mister and Maeve, the "Horseshoe" sandwich (filet, cheddar, onion, horseradish on a buttered u-shaped roll) for me, lobster tail and filet for Casey (who later said, "I think that was the most expensive meal I've ever eaten" Yes, my love, it probably was. But worth every penny.) Side of crazy-good, creamy, perfectly broiled top macaroni and cheese and dessert for all. I will spare you the details of my obsession with the Coconut Cake. I dream of it. Anyway, the dinner seemed to be the highlight of the trip for felt relaxed and comfortable, and just a really nice family outing. Service is polished and charming, the food is exceptionally good, what more can I add? After dinner we walked over to Bryant Park. The holiday kiosks were gone, but the skating rink was full and the night was a little foggy, beautifully so. The next morning we again had Ess-A-Bagel for breakfast then headed out. Time flew far too quickly. Walked through Macy's (God, those wooden escalators!!! LOVE them.) and headed to Penn Station to catch the train home. It's a weird feeling leaving Manhattan after a weekend...I'd love to have the means for a place there someday.
The only things we didn't do, which were more my wants than anyone else's, were to see a show and to visit the Matisse exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the Mister and I can head in and do that stuff another time. This trip was more about spending time with the girls.