Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I Heart NYC! #MoreNYThanNY



Howdy from Times Square!
     A couple of months ago my hubby surprised me with a trip to NYC for our anniversary. We've been married 15 years. Holy Moly I can hardly wrap my brain around that one!! 15 years seems like an eternity but then again, there are times that our wedding day seems like yesterday.  Three kids later, time really does fly when you're having fun. :)

     Needless to say, I had mixed feelings when he first broke the news to me that we were going on a surprise getaway. I've been to New York City one other time and I had been dying to go back! 

The mixed feelings were because: 
1. ) We were leaving within a few days (no time to plan anything). 
2. ) My hubby planned and bought the whole trip. Where in the world were we staying??
3. ) I usually buy new clothes before I travel on major vacations. What the heck??
4. ) I'm wondering if he remembered that we need flight tickets. ;)
Row NYC. Front Entrance.
     As it turns out, he did lots of research, found a FABULOUS Hotel in the heart of Times Square and got an excellent deal on Priceline.com.  I've never used Priceline.com so I almost freaked when he told me that part. I always book everything through my handy dandy travel agent Main Street Memories.

     We stayed at Row NYC and I really cannot say enough good things about this hotel. As soon as we arrived, we instantly felt welcomed to and were treated with the friendliest staff! I dug around a little bit on their website and found out that this hotel is a timeless icon in the heart of Times Square. Through the years it has had the names, Lincoln, the Manhattan, and the Milford Plaza. Now it is forever known as Row NYC!!

Wondering what you experience at Row NYC??
You'll have a front row view to the middle of it all – and you wouldn't want it any other way. Next, an influential place where of-the-moment urban design, art, culture and taste conquer all. Must-haves? An endlessly lounge-worthy lobby & statement spaces, artfully adorned (of course) in sleek stainless steel, wood and glass. Positively plush rooms made for unwinding – boasting white-hot hues & Manhattan-inspired décor. Throw in a walking tour at every corridor through street artist photography, tantalizing NYC sourced eats and a cocktail (or three) for good measure. Now, things are really rolling – and not only because the nearest subway is across the street. Ready to get started? Welcome to a hotel that's more New York than New York – the Row NYC.

Located at 700 8th Ave. New York, NY,
smack in the heart of  Manhattan's Theatre District.
Looking out to the city.
Love the graphics on the walls!
#TheCityThatNeverSleeps
Modern ammenities.

The view from my room. Looking down into the Theatre District.

More of the view from my room. 

Looking down from my room. I spy the Shake Shack!!

Such a cool and super quick elevator system.
Please Do Not Disturb me in the Landau Wool Co. :)
     I really enjoyed taking in all of the sights inside of the hotel..time to hit the streets! The big apple is calling my name!! I left my hotel, walked a city block and was right in the heart of Times Square! HELLLLLLOOOO NYC!! I've been waiting to meet you!!! And I'm starving. Where's the pizza????

Row NYC located one block from Times Square!  
     Found it!!! I've died and gone to Pizza Heaven. My first slice of New York Pizza came from Ray's. I think I spent the rest of the weekend trying every other pizza joint in town.
New York pizza on every corner. The runner in me is not complaining!
I love my carbs...especially with Feta Cheese and Spinach. :)
     After we grabbed pizza, we decided to walk around and check out what else was close to our room. Ummmm. EVERYTHING in NYC is close to our room! I had been telling my hubby that I had to see Central Park.  We walked over and didn't even scratch the surface on it. It's huge!  FYI...I WILL spend more time there on my next trip. One afternoon in Central Park was definitely not enough. This might just be one of my most favorite places that I've ever been. I could run here for hours everyday. #LovedItSoMuch.
Total tourist pic in Central Park.
     Heading back towards our room and ready for a night on the town! I'm loving the busy-ness of this city. I live in a tiny tiny two red-light town where no one is driving around past 10pm. And I mean no one! Somehow, I have planted myself in small town Alabama (probably because I was born and raised in Alabama. duh. ) but the gyspy heart in me likes to roam around. That's one thing that drives my hubby crazy. I'm not just a runner, I'm a destination runner. I've always got a few trips on the books. Always. I start twitching if I'm home for too long. There's too much world out there for me to see and one day I'm gonna see it all!

I walked around the hotel and took a few pics. Take a look!
The inside view of the lobby. 
Super trendy internet bar inside the front lobby.  
Complimentary Wifi @Row NYC. 
Retro meets Modern.
Row NYC.
     I stopped for my coffee each morning in the District M. area. At night it evolves into a fabulous bar/lounge area. I loved this part of the hotel even though I'm not a drinker....what a great place to just sit and chill out!



District M:  A European express cafe by day, a Neapolitan pizza bar and cocktail lounge by night
District M am:
Whether you are an early bird executive needing your latte, or a jet lagged traveler sneaking in breakfast just before noon, District M has exactly what you need.  Start your morning with one of a dozen sweet and savory pastries from some of NYC’s finest European bakeries-Payard, Balthazar and Pain d’Avignon.  In addition, District M serves hot steel cut oats, granola, fresh fruits and berries, Greek yogurt, boiled farm eggs, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, and a full European coffee program.
District M pm:
District M comes alive in the evening hours featuring a commissioned digital art gallery by paparazzo extraordinaire, Ron Galella . The digital gallery will present still photographs capturing the hedonistic heyday of New York City during the late seventies and early eighties.
The specialty cocktail list and wine and craft beer menu brings guests the best of the US and regional New York, while also highlighting international greats.  The dinner menu is simple and flawlessly executed to give diners a casual, yet high quality experience with a hand-selected cheese program from the famed Murray’s cheese shop in Greenwich Village, prized domestic and international charcuterie, and their signature Neapolitan-style, hand-stretched pizzas in unique and crave-worthy combinations like pepperoni, fresh basil and white truffle oil–or melted leek, roasted mushrooms and Fontina cheese.  Diners can finish with a dish of Affogato–hand made cream gelato topped with a shot of La Colombe espresso–or with perhaps just one more of the 7 specialty cocktails created just for District M.
Lounge area. 
Bar area.
     One of the highlights of my trip was a night on the town courtesy of Row NYC! Tonight we are #MoreNYThanNY!!
The Late Show with David Letterman just a few blocks away.
Soon to be vintage. :(
This is happening just around the corner from my room. Denzel on Broadway!
I {heart} Denzel.
      First, we headed to Zagara Ristorante Wine Bar in the Chelsea district for an excellent Italian dinner. I loved the quaint ambiance of Zagara....cozy elegant setting with delicious food.  We had Octopus, eggplant, lobster...oh my! See Zagara Wine Bar entire menu here.


Headed to the Chelsea district.
The outside of Zagara Wine Bar and Restaurant.

     Urban, sophisticated and lively, Zagara Chelsea is energetic and chic. Zagara is the Restaurant and wine bar where friends come together to enjoy the warm Mediterranean atmosphere. Welcoming ambiance meets fresh, local harvest produce and exquisite, hand-crafted wines within our elegant interior. It is a landing place after a busy day, an alluring location for a business lunch or dinner, a romantic setting for a date night or a festive location for a group party. No matter the occasion, you are always welcome at Zagara. Here, you will experience the “modern Mediterranean”, both in culinary expertise as well as authentic hospitality. Our aim is to transport you into our exotic culture.

Loved the ambiance.
Zagara Wine Bar and Restaurant.
The hubby and I enjoying a super yummy meal at Zagara.
Appetizer: Grilled Mediterranean Octopus with Radicchio & Endive Salad.
Appetizer: Tagliere di Salumi e Formaggi Italiani
(AKA Italian Cheeses & Cold Cuts with Italian Olives)
Hubby's Entree. Paccheri alla Norma (Aka Eggplant Parmesan)
My entree. Lobster and Risotto...Not sure of the fancy name. :)
I'm pretty sure that it was offered on the special for the evening menu. 
     I was thoroughly impressed with the selection and varieties of foods on the menu at Zagara. All were very tasty. I have to brag on the grilled octopus just a bit. I'm from South and I eat along the gulf Coast ALOT....this was very good.  
    For my entree,  I didn't realize that the sauce that was mixed in with my risotto was a red pasta sauce. I'm not a huge fan of red sauces so I won't be ordering that entree on my next trip to this restaurant. However, in saying that, it was still delicious (I'm just not crazy about red sauce). My hubby was down with it.

     Next Stop. Gotham Comedy Club. We were treated to a preferred VIP seat starring comedian Christian Finnegan.  This guy was a native New Yorker with native New York humor. He was a funny dude but I was just praying that he didn't figure out that I was from Alabama! He could have done a whole show about me. Two Words: Southern Accent. :)



      This was the sign hanging in the lobby before you walk into the seating area.  Supposedly, there is a legendary stain on this sign from where Jerry Seinfeld spilled his drink. Who knows if that's true or not, but hey, I'm on vacation and I'm not from here so I'm sure they are loving telling me that story. That reminds me, I need to google that little tidbit of Gotham Comedy Club rumor information. #Sucker.


The stage and seating area.
Gotham Comedy Club.
New York City. 
It's hard to tell in this pic but right under the "O" is
where the damage was done to this sign by Mr. Seinfeld. ;)
The stage and seating area.
Gotham Comedy Club.
New York City.
     This was the point in the trip that my hubby almost flipped out! He planned this trip for me and he ended up being my VIP guest. :)))

     I keep telling him how lucky he is to be married to me, now I think he knows it.  Just kidding....I think we are both pretty lucky. We've come a LONG way baby! ;)
Welcome Card from Row NYC and #GothamComedyClub.
Tonight you are officially #MoreNYThanNY! LOVE!!
     We had a GREAT time on the town in NYC! As we were walking back to our room, I had to stop for a few corny photos! My poor hubby...He tolerates my silliness. Thankfully for his sake, I have lots more that I would never post for the public to see. He tells me..."Baby, you're just not right." Ha!

Tacky Gift Shop Statue of Liberty pic. Yep, I'm from Alabama!
     We finished the weekend out seeing all of the sights of NYC. We took the Redline Tour bus, visited the Lovely Lady Liberty, visited the 911 Memorial, went on a night tour of Brooklyn, China town, took in a Broadway play (We saw Rocky) and of course hung out in Times Square for the majority of the time. I think we must have gone in the Disney Store a million times (They all knew that I was a runDisney runner by the end of the weekend). LOL. That was my hubby's homebase restroom. #SafeRestroomSyndrome
     Again, I just cannot say enough good things about my experience with Row NYC! They were truly fabulous hosts from the moment we arrived in NYC until the time we left! And no, I did NOT want to leave!!! I am hoping to return to New York City later in the year so that I can watch my sister run the 2014 TCS NYC Marathon. I am still praying that somehow just somehow I will get a spot and be able to run it too! I will be trained so I could hop in with her, no prob!

      If it works out that I am back in NYC for the Marathon, there is no doubt that I will be staying at Row NYC. If not, 2015 NYC Marathon, Here I come!! I will be back soon to get my run on the streets of NYC! I am forever #MoreNYThanNY. :)

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**What are some of your must-do's in NYC??