For the last week or so the forecast had been for rain all day today. As such we had declared this our Museum day. Everything we had planned today would be securely under a roof only heading outside to get between places.
However, at the last minute, the forecast gave us a reprieve. The rain was delayed and would not hit us till mid-afternoon. It was still to be fairly grey and overcast, the worst day of the trip so we didn’t change our plans, only we could count on not getting soaked between locations.
Day 2 of our New York Pass
Yesterday had been a heavy day, and last night a heavy night and we were finally getting our body clocks realigned so we actually managed a lie in and lazy morning today. Still by 9:00 Am we were ready and raring to go. However being 9:00 Am nothing would be open yet so we just headed out for a wander about.
We strolled down fifth Av headed in the general direction on Tiffany’s, we had a quick stop off at the iconic St Patricks Cathedral. The incredible Exterior of this building is only beaten by the quite simply stunning interior. Being a working church it’s free to take a look in and we highly recommend you head into one of the most spectacular cathedrals in the world!
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
We had reservations for breakfast at the now famous Blue Box Cafe inside the Flagship Tiffany & Co store on Fifth Av. This booking had been rather tricky to come by and very nearly didn’t happen. You need to be ready in the dot when the booking opens for your day and breakfast slots will be gone in 5-10 seconds! With other slots throughout the day gone in less than 5 mins … and this was a quiet time in New York.
However, we had managed to sang them and were very excited about actually having breakfast at Tiffany’s. Why? well, we are not really sure, but the phrase is so iconic now due to both the film and song that it’s just something you feel you need to do. Even though we could have replicated Audry Hepburn’s actual Takeaway Coffee and Pastry Breakfast outside the store anytime we liked, It just feels this is something they should offer…odd as it is a jewelry store after all.
Well Finally after years of not giving the public what they want they have finally opened up their doors to let customers have their breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s quite a special Breakfast at that too. Yes, you get a Pastry and a coffee but it’s all a bit fancier than a paper bag and cup affair.
You are offered a choice of three set menus, Breakfast, Lunch or Afternoon Tea. As much as we love a good afternoon tea it was 10:30 in the morning and we wanted breakfast at Tiffany’s! So we obviously opted for the Breakfast menu. This consisted of the first course of Coisaunt, with summer fruits and a selection of Nutella and Honey Butter. Simple but very tasty.
The next course was a choice of Smoked Salmon Bagel Stack, Coddled (soft poached) Egg, Avacado on Toast, or a Buttermilk Waffle. Served with a choice of tea or Coffee.
We can’t say it was the best breakfast we have ever had but it was not far off and a very good dining experience and the incredible table setting and location really helped make it a special meal. It’s not cheap at $32 per person but this is the sort of thing you only do once. Like us, we imagine if you really want to have breakfast at Tiffany’s you are not going to let $32 stop you.
Service was incredible and our table seemed to be waited on by four or five people and ran very smoothly. Really this is a genius move from Tiffany’s as not only is the cafe oversubscribed every day and running an easy to provide “set menu”, it also gets people into the shop who are going to spend…Like us. Well at least that’s is one Christmas present I don’t need to worry about! While we were there we took advantage of Tiffany’s free cleaning service and popped up to the top floor to relaxed with a complimentary coffee, while they made some pieces of jewelry like new again.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
After Breakfast, we headed to our first paid attraction of the day. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This place really is incredible. It is absolutely enormous. Using the, quite frankly useless map provided you first realize the scope of the exhibit space when after wandering for a long time you realize how little you have moved on the map! It is well over 4 city blocks on several floors and really you do not have a hope in hell of seeing even half of it on one trip.
It feels odd to criticize for this but really it just is TOO big, with TOO much to see. Even single exhibits such as the vast Egyptian exhibit, you find yourself not really taking everything in as its just too comprehensive. Of course, this is no reason not to come, even the highlight real of the collections are staggering.
Most people think of old paintings when thinking of art but the Met is anything but an art Gallery. Art could almost be the wrong word to describe the museum, it’s more of a cultural museum, as technically anything culturally based is art. Clothes, Films, Pottery, Music, architecture, sculpture, Religious artifacts, etc Prety much anything you can think of and from just about every culture on earth from modern day to the ancient past. It is a look at our fabulous cultural artist past and is a truly wonderful collection of artifacts.
That said, let’s not forget Paintings are a big part of art and the collection here is enviable, Van Gough, Rembrandt, Monet, Turner, Picasso, Renoir, to name a few it’s an enviable collection. One we, unfortunately, didn’t get to see this time as the whole European Paintings section was being refurbished! Which was rather annoying.
As we said though there is more than enough here to take up a year of your life with or without the European paintings section. So we explored the exhibits until out feet ached before heading off to our next museum. Just across the Park. By now the rain had arrived but it was fairly light and we are British we can take a bit of rain!
American Museum of Natural History
Having done the American Museum of Natural history in depth on our last visit this was a fairly quick tour around the best the museum has. As always the highlights are the Diarama Collections and the Fossils halls. But We love the Human Origin Halls and the Meteorite collection, well I love the meteorite collection, kate just can’t see past it being a load of rocks!
We didn’t linger too much as 3 days of trekking was by now taking its toll on our feet and we still had a busy night ahead. So we made our way back to the Hotel to prepare for our evening. As we did so the light rain got heavier and heavier, and the wind stronger and stronger. To the point, it smashed our Umbrella too pieces! All their gift shops do have a use after all!
Dinner and a Show
The Plan had been to head over to Hells Kitchen and find somewhere interesting to have dinner, but the rain was absolutely teaming it down. It really never rains like this in the UK and if it does its a heavy shower that passes quickly but this was continuous and sustained torrential rain.
So we decided dinner would be close. This was problematic being on time Square to get anything other than chain restaurants. Ellens Stardust Diner was the obvious choice, this quirky joint is a New York Icon, and Handily we could actually see it from our Hotel window. Unfortunately, we could also see the huge queue of Umbrellas snaking down the road, with no way of booking we had no desire to join that queue so looked elsewhere. Namely Juniors. At least if we were hitting a Chain Restaraunt we should at least hit a New York Chain.
While no the classiest joint it has a unique retro feel and the food is cheap and in huge portions. We both had Deli Sandwiches which were 3 or 4 times more meat than bread and were utterly delicious. It’s not what we had planned but it hit the spot. Unfortunately, there was no room left for any of their famous cheesecake, so we decided to put a pin in that and come back for take-out at another time. Our total Bill including drinks was a little over $ 50.
After Dinner it was time for one of our trip highlights…there tends to be quite a few of these, but we were very excited about getting to see a real Icon of New York’s Holiday Season. The Rockettes!
The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
We missed out on the Rockettes last time we were in New York for the Holidays, and we regretted it ever since so we made no mistake this time and were booked in to see the opening show of the opening night! Due to the Driving rain, we arrived at Radio City Hall very early, around 1hr 30 Early in the hope we could avoid queueing out in the rain!
This gave us ample time to take in the venue, purchase some souvenirs, such as the Pandora Charm presented in its own Christmas tree decoration, Another Christmas present sorted and sample the Christmas cocktails and drinks that were on offer. There were other things to do such as meet Santa and a Real Rockette among other things. Our 1 hour plus wait flew by before we settled down in our seats ready for the show.
Now I have a Confession. I don’t really know what the Rockettes Christmas spectacular is all about. It is an American Institution and it seems you are almost taught about this in school. I, however, had never even heard about it before Our first New York Christmas trip. Kate Waxed lyrical about it being a “Must See!” And something really amazing, but was never able to accurately articulate what it actually was…
Now, Of course, I could have just Youtubed it to find out but I figured a lot of the magic would be lost through that medium so happily went along with my eyes and mind open feeding of Kates Excitement.
So what was it? And What did I think of it?
Well, Despite being a Cynical Brit, I was definitely pleasantly surprised. It is definitely hard to not be blown away by the precision and perfection of the Rockettes dancers. Their ability to move in exact unison, where not even a millisecond of miscoordination is noticeable is genuinely remarkable.
Combined with the stunning lighting, costumes and sets it really is a wonderful spectacle. The show has a very loose story, but that is probably the weakest aspect. It is all about the dancers and the simply stunning choreography
The 1 hr 30 odd minutes the show last flew by and as the show was beginning to wrap up I was genuine upset it was all over. Lovers of the show, or people who have always wanted to see it will need no encouragement but those of you like me who are not too sure or just don’t know what to expect I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
Kate obviously falls into the former category and loved every minute of the experience from the moment we got out of the rain to the final curtain. Really If I had hated every minute it would have been worth it for that!
After the Show, the rain had finally subsided and we headed back to the hotel for a nightcap and to prepare for our last full day in the City.
New York Pass Running Total:
Thur 8th Nov:
- Attractions Visited – 4
- Face Value – $170
Fri 9th Nov:
- Attractions Visited – 2
- Face Value – $48
- Total – $218
- Pass Cost – $199
Today was a very light day with the Pass. Only two attractions! As we had other plans we just used the pass to see what we wanted and didn’t rush anything. This helps illustrate there is not always the need to cram too much in to still get Value from the Pass. Today we exceeded the cost of the pass with attractions visited so the next day would all be free attractions. And we have a lot Planned.