Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NYC Vacation

Okay, since so many friends have asked "how was your New York vacation?" I figured I'd post up about it here. So basically, my wife and I spent a week in NYC on vacation, mainly to do some shopping, go to a few little events, and just chill. Here's a recap of the trip.

We stayed at the Hotel East Houston because it is affordable, modern, in the right location (Lower East Side) relative to our planned shopping, and because it has a kickass outdoor rooftop terrace that we could drink and smoke cigars on. The rooms are small, like most others in the city, but it was very nice with a damn comfortable king size bed. I heard some of the smaller rooms have chintsy bathrooms, but ours was great with a huge shower, much bigger than the one I got at home. I highly recommend this hotel, especially considering the rooftop terrace and awesome location.

The hotel is right in the middle of the areas we were planning on checking out: Lower East Side, East Village, Little Italy, SoHo, NoHo, and Greenwich Village--which are basically the areas where most of the big time vinyl record stores and sneaker/streetwear shops are located. We pretty much spent Monday through Wednesday just shopping. I'll be blogging about those places over the next few weeks, so keep reading this blog to check them out.

Also in the area around the hotel are several famous old timey restaurants and pubs. In fact, right before we left, I caught the Anthony Bourdain's “Disappearing Manhattan” episode of No Reservations, and two of the places are just a couple of blocks east of the hotel. Also, Little Italy is only three blocks to the west, so there is plenty of food around.

Speaking of Little Italy, every September the streets transform into the famous Feast of San Gennaro where you can eat yourself to friggin' death on Italian food. We've been before on past NY trips, so we knew to plan this trip to coincide with the event. The "Holy Cannoli" gelato from Cha Cha's alone is worth the trip.

The SoHo shopping and fashion district is just two blocks west of Little Italy, and the Fashion's Night Out event was taking place on Thursday night, kicking off New York Fashion Week. The streets fill up with taxis and a bunch of really tall, skinny women drinking champaign and shopping their asses off til 11pm. It's a complete zoo, for real, really neat to see in person.

Speaking of taxis, we spent a week in the city and never took one! Instead, we bought week-long MTA passes at LaGuardia airport and got around exclusively via subway trains and city buses--even back and forth to the airport. By the end of the week, we had a firm grasp of how the subway works, and I gotta say, big ups to the MTA for making that shit easy to ride. I don't think we ever walked more than 6 or 7 blocks at a time; anything more than that and we just hopped on a train. The iPhone subway maps make it real easy to figure it all out.

The best ride we took was probably the B train out to Crown Heights in Brooklyn to hit a specific sneaker shop. It was a totally different experience than the touristy shopping in Manhattan--and the coolest part is that the train goes over the river on the Manhattan Bridge, a really scenic (if somewhat seedy) little trip.

Another subway trip we made was on Friday, September 11th, down to the World Trade Center site. The place is mostly a giant construction site right now, but being there on the anniversary of 9/11 was pretty surreal and somber.

Friday evening, we rode the subway up to midtown to visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) which was having Target Free Fridays. It's a real tourist trap, way too damn many people to properly enjoy the art I suppose, but hey, it's hard to bitch when it's free.

Finally, a music related comment. On Tuesday, two significant new NY-based albums came out: Raekwon's long awaited Only Built For Cuban Links II and Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3. For real, it seemed like every single record and sneaker shop we hit all week was playing one of those two albums. Everywhere we went in the city, those albums was playing. New York was most definitely representing.


  1. I had been recommended NOT to take the bus to and from La Guardia by a couple different people. But I just had to check it out on my last trip. When I stepped up to ground level from the train at 125th on the East Side to catch the M60, I was the only white person in view. A whole other NY! Was simple and easy though, but very, very crowded. Will probably ride that way again.

  2. So you caught the 6 up to Harlem to ride the M60 to the airport?

    We just took the F train all the way into Queens (Jackson Heights/Rosevelt Ave) just south of the airport and then took the 33 bus from there. That part of Queens seems to be a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood...so pretty much like over by my house in Dallas. LOL


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