New York on $500/day

Alrighty, finally, the blog post from New York. Let’s re-wind back to the 16th.

Thursday: We slept in (we spent both Wednesday night and Thursday night at the Belvedere (which was a perfectly fine hotel), grabbed breakfast at Pigalle a french cafe not far from the hotel (I should have had a croissant sandwich).

The Group

We then subwayed down to Century 21. If you’re in New York and you’re into clothes you have to check out Century 21. Why? It’s a massive discount store with amazing deals on a wide range of brands. Brands like Penguin, Le Tigre, Diesel, Chip and Pepper, Seven, DKNY, Juicy Couture and on and on. Now while you can get a pair of Diesel jeans for $50 you likely only have one style to choose from and it might be a style that is clearly something only suitable for a discount retailer because no one wanted to buy them from the gay boutique in Chelsea. So be careful not to get sucked into the deals just because they’re deals :). The other catch with Century 21 is that, at least for men’s wear, there are no change rooms! This means you should wear a t-shirt so you can at least try on shirts and sweaters. But for jeans unless you know your size (which for me varies by jean manufacturer and sometimes varies across their lines) you will likely be buying a couple different pairs and returning the one’s that don’t fit. Anyhow, the place is often a zoo but deals can be had. I loaded up here and ‘saved over $650!’ :P.

Century 21

For dinner we ate at Thai place in midtown named Chanpen Thai. Then we headed off to see the Broadway show Grey Gardens. We had mistakenly thought it was a play but it turned out to be a musical. Unfortunately I didn’t quite appreciate it as much as Alex since it’s based on a documentary I haven’t seen and I’m also not much of an American royalty follower so I’m not up on the last hijinks of the Onassis’s and Kennedy’s.

Afterwards we had drinks at two wine bars, the first in midtown, [insert name], and at another in Chelsea named Veloce. Before dropping into Veloce we prowled around the neighborhood and had $1/drinks at an absolutely trashy gay venue named View Bar (not recommended). Sadly I forgot about the Tech Crunch party at Bungalow 8 (a very upscale club that is impossible to get into unless you’re a cast member on a WB show).

Friday: Friday we slept in again and then switched hotels to the Hampton Inn (nicer than the Belvedere but pricier). Next we grabbed breakfast at Cosmic Diner. Then we trekked over to Central Park to enjoy the New York sunshine.


Katrina and I then split off from the group and headed down to SoHo to hit up the G-Star store and learned that the next trend in men’s jeans will be all black jeans (ugh). Instead of SoHo we should have gone skating in the park (next time).

After SoHo a few of us went to the MOMA for Target Free Friday Night. We had been warned there would be a big line, and there was, but it moved fast and we were inside in less than five minutes.


For dinner we went to a tapas place, Oliva, in the lower east side, drank lots of sangria and ate lots of food. It was loud, yummy and fun. They also packed us in so tight that you couldn’t go to the bathroom without clearing the tables out of the way, gotta love New York.


Next Bria led us on a tour of the L.E.S. (which one of us embarrassingly asked what it stood for) as none of us had partied here before. We started at Verlaine for $4 lychee martini’s that was packed with an incredibly diverse range of people all sucking down cheap martini’s. Then it was onto Suba a restaurant/bar with a fancy interior featuring a grotto downstairs, worth checking out for the interior alone. Next we went to The Delancey which looked to be like a cool bar with a view of the Williamsburg Bridge exit but oddly no one was there. Next it was off to the Stanton Social Club which was the highlight of the night with mini-burgers, beautiful people, nice interior design, and boy was it packed. Definitely violating some crowding laws. After the Social Club we went to the French bar Cafe Charbon were we saw the L.E.S. shirts. Then we ended the night at Happy Ending a massage parlor turned club but sadly it wasn’t the happy ending we were looking for to a long night but it had to do since it was nearly morning.

Saturday: Saturday we slept in again (noticing a trend?) grabbed breakfast at a touristy diner and then Ben and I headed down to West Chelsea to hit the gay shops and boutiques (it’s so nice to visit stores just for men). Since I spent my budget at Century 21 I held back and watched Ben drop lots of money on some great items. We also visited a couple stores in search of Freitag bags and found a motherlode at Atrium which looked to be a great shop in SoHo which I wish we had more time to explore but we had to meet up with the other kids at Magnolia bakery to have some cupcakes to celebrate Alex’s birthday. That place was a zoo and the cupcakes rich.


Next it was off to Better Burger for some organic goodness. Next stop was the hotel for a nap.

Before our 10pm dinner reservation we headed to The Dove a great lounge in Greenwich that I’ll definitely go back to if I’m in the neighborhood. We showed up before the 9pm rush and the hostess was very nice and let us sit at a reserved table for a couple rounds of drinks. Then we grabbed dinner at a little ten table French restaurant named, [insert name], and had a great, rather affordable meal (we had wanted to go to pricey Nobu but the only sitting they had was at 11:15pm! Next time we’ll book restaurant reservations with our plane tickets). After dinner I tried to lead a tour of the Meat Packing District and West Chelsea. We started at the Highline, a place I could imagine the older Jetson kid’s grabbing a drink at. It even had a small splash pool in the basement.

But the crowd was too young and we felt out of place and so we headed to The Park which when you first get in feels like a small lounge but we discovered the place had many many rooms. We had a drink and explored the garden, the patio, the upstairs dance floor, the fireplace rooms and the hot tub area (closed) but again the crowd wasn’t right and people weren’t really getting their dance on.

Next stop, West Chelsea. Unfortunately we rolled into West Chelsea sometime close to 2am and everything was at capacity. Buying a bottle here or there (at $360/bottle) could have gotten us in, or Katrina and I on our own could have gotten in on our own, but with three guys (even though one was gay) and two girls made it hard. So we had some drinks at Brite Bar, a lounge on the corner (recommended). After a few drinks I scoped out Marquee and we decided to try and get in and fortunately they let us past the velvet rope. Marquee was pretty cool, decent music and all and two dance floors but not amazing. When we spilled out in the wee hours of the morning (4am-ish) there was tons of cabs but they were all full. Katrina and I headed off uptown on foot but ended up taking a cycle-rickshaw the twenty blocks back to the hotel (cycle rickshaws appear to be more prevalent in New York than in India).


Sunday: Oddly I was less hung over today and spent my few hours between waking up and leaving first at Century 21 returning a pair of jeans that were too tight and then getting lost on the subway (a bunch of lines weren’t running and I got confused about local vs express trains).


We then had a thankfully uneventful flight home. Though as soon as I dropped my bag off I picked up my hockey bag and headed out to a game with John. Even though I was exhausted I scored two goals :).

Photos: You can find them all of the real ones on Zooomr and some camera phone ones on Flickr.

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