Hello my friends !
It's been awhile. I know I totally lagged on my Dubai, Sri Lanka, Maldives blog and I promise to get back to it in due time. Meanwhile, I am on the island again in fabulous New York City for another Fashion Week. I've decided to change up the format of my blog posts to a more day-by-day review of my experience, finds, tips during my adventures. Leave me some feedback on what you think.
A few days before heading out to NYC I put out an SOS on my facebook as to what to wear, with replies as to, oh it's going to be COLD, in return I joked about weather I would need snow boots and a parka. Well it turns out it wasn't a joke gone to far. A friend from New Jersey shared a post about a Nor'Easterly alert. What the heck is a Nor'Easter and do I need to be alarmed ?
We landed JFK to normal mid 30's weather, all's fine, just as expected. Arrived at our first hotel destination, the Sheraton Times Square. We chose this hotel because of its close proximity to Lincoln Center, where all the fabulous fashion shows take place and where my husband gets to do what he loves the most, HAIR on hot babe models of course.
We were greeted by a very helpful front desk girl. She hooked us up with a great room and complimentary internet and wine ! (* Tip: It always pays to be friendly and chatty with these people in power :) please leave a tip.
The room was what was to be expected, just like the website photos, with a view of the tall buildings in NYC, king bed, flat screen tv, mini bar, feels like my home away from home. There was 1 odd thing about the room, this beat up unplugged mini-fridge blocking the mini-bar. What the heck, kinda ghetto looking to me. We called down and learned that it was a hotel loaner for a guest who must of had some food and beverages they wanted to keep cold.
*Tip Ah, great to know, that you can call for a complimentary fridge for your room.
First on our agenda, food !... Once again I put a call out on my facebook wall... where to eat in NYC. Some of the replies were : Angelo's on Mulberry, Lombardis pizza on Spring St. and Haru Sushi on W. 43rd. We decide to check out our hotel restaurant called Hudson's Market, a burger joint since we were meeting friends for drinks when we were done. After ordering our burgers, which by the way were pretty good and different (see menu) I had the California and Jeff had the Big Blue. I recommend you try the deep fried yellow peppers chips w/ the rosemary garlic mayo dip OMG and slab it on your burger too ! FABULOUS ! While dining we over heard the table with a group of business men ordering... chicken, fish, salads, soups... WHAT THE !? After picking a bone with our waitress we learned that the restaurant decided to allowed them to order off the room service menu... which was not the norm, but something they accommodated this one time... good to know ! *Tip: Don't like the menu choices, depending on where you're eating in the hotel you can ask for the room service menu. Maybe the Starwood W's Service of Whatever, Whenever, Wherever is rubbing off onto the Sheraton sister properties. :) Wouldn't that be nice.
Next, we were to meet up with our great friend Olivia (whom we usually stay with on the Upper East side) for some welcome drinks. She heads us in the direction of a bar called The Ginger Man, a beer lovers paradise... where we also enjoy drinks with 4 more of our group of friends that we get to visit with each time we are here. We enjoyed some variety of beers from my apple cider to port and a dark beer that looked like oil pouring out of the bottle. Our friend Olivia had just finished a race up the stairs of the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING ! w/ Kelly Ripa ! GO OIi !!!
We discussed this storm that was a buzz and made plans for some ice skating and snow angel making in the future in Central park. After drinks we took a nice walk back to our hotel.
The next day, my husbands first show of the week was with Richard Chai Love. After the show we met up with 3 hairdresser friends who worked the show with him, turns out they were staying in our hotel. so we walked less than a block down to a bar called The Irish Pub, sports bar/restaurant... for some drinks and lunch. I checked in on FourSquare, as I always do and go to find that they have a special for a free shot. So, I rally up the stylists to join FourSquare to get their free shot, a 10.00 value or so we thought, 50.00 SAVINGS ! whoot... turns out it's not on the premium tequila/vodkas so we ended up buying another round to get the deal.
We then decide to get manicures. Jeff dialed up a place on his phone that turned out to be pretty nice and only a block away, great service, a big place and cheap, 13.00 manis ! Serenity Spa, I'll get back to you on the exact name w/ the link, if it exists. Back to our hotel for some chill time, phone recharging and seeing what the plans were for the night.
Lots of news about this Nor'Easter... should be hitting after 11:00p tomorrow evening with an estimate of 3-10 feet of snow... After 2 cancellations for errand running for friends/meeting up with, Frank Rizzieri and Ricky, (Ricky's NYC) and 1 Fashion Week party w/ a fellow co-worker (invite only) cancellation, we decided to go out to see a play. We have 30 minutes to decide, get shoes and coat, out the door and down 4 blocks or so... wait for taxis, decide on rickshaw, cancel said $15.00 rickshaw... we're runnin' (broken toe, high heeled wedges and all !) Scurrying we get to the TKTS Discount booth in Times Square in time to purchase tix for "Once" which came highly recommended, just 1 ticket remained so we asked for tickets for Rock of Ages, 2 front row Orchestra seats were available w/ 30% deal, we'll take em. Off to 44th street, the Helen Hays Theatre. A stop at the theatre bar and a guide to our seats. We were asked to be sure to turn off our phones for the show. I start taking photos of the stage and then a facebook shot, over comes the stage Nazi (this cray-cray lady) Apparently, there are NO photos allowed in the theatre. Well, too late, I got 4 !! ha !... and then some after too :) Not one to follow directions. The show was pretty great stuff. Just like the movie only with added humor ! Glitter and some throw outs to the audience. Got my self a pair of Stacee jaxx Man Panties :)) *Tip : drinks are 12.00 a pop in the theatre for well drinks, might want to get your drink on pre-theatre arrival. That reminds me, our complimentary wine hasn't shown up, will have to follow up on that.
A stroll back through Times Square. Touristy Photo ops... we hit Rays Pizza (5.00 per slice !) Less than a block from our hotel. (There's another pizza place at .99 a slice near, will try to get a taste and give you a comparison later) and then order room-service and in-room entertainment, Silver Linings Playbook. Pretty good first days... I wonder if it will snow tomorrow.
This just popped up on my laptop (I was on the Sheraton Times Squares page at the time) :
While here I was hoping to hang outside of the taping of Kathy Lee and Hodas show, I am an avid viewer, night owl. But just my luck they left for the West coast yesterday to film their show in Santa Monica and at the Grove. Welcome to Sunny California :) NOT !
-------- Sept 8
After an afternoon of blogging and social media updating it was time to get out of this hotel room and out into the STORM , which now has a name : NEMO (how apropo for Di by the Sea !) We met our friends down in the Links bar in the hotel for some food and drinks and then we made our way out onto the street where it felt like a ghost town, covered in a sheet of snow. Snow was continuously falling at a steady rate and the temperature was not unbearable without my coat, well not initially the moisture was more the villan toward the battle of my vanity. We decided to head upstairs and grab coat and gloves before heading back out for a stroll to Times Square.
It was pure magnificence and awe as my new found friend from PA escorted me arm-in-arm with words of wisdom to avoid the wet spots and teaching me the snow lingo like, THIS is called a WHITEOUT !... for those of you by the Sea it was like a marine layer or fog all about the skyscrapers. If you looked up into the sky against the wind you would get a face full of snow, which felt like rain. If it weren't for my hand freezing outside of my glove I would have taken more photos and video of the stroll. At one point I layed my self down at the bottom of the famous red bleachers in the middle of Times Square and made my first ever SNOW ANGEL. approx midnight. Here are the photos.
While fighting insomnia and a horrible nasal drip, peering out our window, I couldn't help but ponder snow questions like how many people slip and die in snow each year and how many people die from icicles dropping off these skyscrapers ?... by 4:00am there was no sign of falling snow any longer as quick as it arrived it had gone away.
----- Sept 9
I awoke at noon to a bright sun shining day... the sheet of snow on the streets was gone all that was left were blankets of snow on the rooftops and ledges and the occasional icicle dropping off our hotel roof... crack.... and a bedside table full of cold medicine left by my sweet husband who is off doing more hair for some fabulous fashion shows.
My facebook video storm updates can be seen here : https://www.facebook.com/Dibythesea?ref=hl
For my Fashionista Friends who are reading my blog and wondering why I'm not posting anything about the shows, as per my usual Fashion Week blogs, it's because I opted out of attending any this year ! I know, crazy right... such opportunities, that anyone would die to have and I sit here in my hotel room instead. Well I am thankful and grateful for all the invites I have received to hang behind the scenes and I do miss seeing the Perry Ellis boys half naked... However, I am here for en entire other purpose and that's to check out the wholesale markets all along Broadway for my Boutique. NYC has the best prices for wholesale in the USA. Unfortunately, with this storm and my cold I have been unable to get out and about to walk the avenues from Chinatown to Greenwich as per my plan. But thank god for the internet, because I am able to pretty much do much of what I set out to do from my bed, online ! Technology today is truly a blessing.
So, I just found out that it's the Chinese New Year from a friends facebook status. The year of the snake and a Lunar year as well at midnight. I think I know where I need to be tonight !
----- Sept 10th
Happy 3rd Birthday to my Grand-daughter Shay ! After husband was done with some Lookbook photo hair trials on model for Alterna Haircare we did our usual hotel switcharoo. Goodbye Sheraton and Hello W Hotel Times Square.
Our plans for the day to head toward China Town to Roosemore park, where they were having a Chinese New Year Celebration. (*Tip: the W hotel offers a complimentary car service for drop off anywhere in Times Square, with reservation, they were booked till 3:00) So, we grabbed a cab, 25 minutes ride and made it just in time for the tail end of the celebrations. Missing out on the tigers, unicorns and dragon characters, heard some singers and got a hand painted sign with a New Year wish for our travels of "safety & luck", from the city town booth w/ a member dressed up in chinese garb. Firework poppers were going off, the snow piles on the ground were littered with glitter and streamers. Food booths were closing down.
We decided to walk over to Little Italy to grab a bite to eat and Lombardis Pizza, a recommendation by our friend Marta. We were immediately seated. Menu had basic Italian apps and salad choices, 1 Original margherita pizza, you choose your toppings, beer and wine selection. After filling up we decided to walk back and window shopped Soho, then decided to grab the Subway 8C back to 42nd street, just 2.50 vs our cab ride there that cost 20.00 and it was way quicker...
We crashed when we arrived back at our hotel room, missed a bit of the Grammys. My husband surprised us with an in-room delivery from Guantanamera cuban restaurant (not even comparable to our favorite Havana Central in Times Square ) The ropa viejo (shredded beef ) was delish. We enjoyed our complimentary bottle of red wine from the Sheraton, finally delivered the night before. We watched SkyFall (we may just get in all of the Academy Award movies before the award show !) and at 50% off, will share how later.
---- Sept 11th
Awoke to a rainy free day of sorts. My husband had a morning meet at the New Alterna Haircare Corp digs (they just moved from the West Coast of Beverly Hills) Meanwhile, I changed rooms to a corner room with views of Times Square for 35.00 a day upgrade fee. Blogging in the LivingRoom (free wifi) in the hotel. Plans for the evening will most likely be hitting up a pub and dinner out with friends, will keep you posted.
Yes, we indeed ended up hitting some pubs, all within walking distance, we started at a place called the Mean Fiddler. Irish with 80s music. A very sweet Irish waitress. We tried to order a few things on the menu but they were out of 3 of the items we ordered... mac n cheese, burger... what the heck ! Happy Hour beers were 4.00 bucks. We ordered up a custom burger, which ended up being the burger they said they didn't have ! Nachos all really good. Next stop, Rudy's Bar & Grille, beers were 2.50, this place was packed, we sat outside on their outdoor patio with jumbo screen. They had a FourSquare check-in for a FREE HOTDOG. We got one on our way out. Last stop the sign read Bar.Bar.. inside the sign read Hollands. Very nice bartender named Andy, Jukebox perfect dive bar, nothing fancy here, they serve you free popcorn bowls. What a great night with old and new friends. The locals are all so friendly here. Find my dollar bill "Di by the Sea~" stuck to the Holland sign !
----- Sept 12th
Fashion show for Alterna Haircare at the Standard Highline for Designer Misha Nonoo. I broke down and went ! Glad I did, got to see my friend Babak. (My husband invited him to come photograph 2 shows for fashion week) I used the W hotels complimentary car service, called the Acura Experience, really nice, all leather, the driver greats you at the front of the hotel, opens the door for you. You are given a card to fill out about the car (not the service), they provide you with a bottle of water and a hand sani wipe towelette. (I was informed by the driver that I was supposed to check in at recepetion and get walked down by someone, this was not relayed to me, apparently this is due to other guests claiming the car is waiting for them (even though the driver verifies your name with hotel at pickup). I would recommending this service. (available for drop offs not pick ups) This show was a presentation vs. runway (which leaves the models standing for a few hours vs. a 5 minute show) After, our group decided to walk across the street from the hotel to the Spice Market for a bite and drinks. My favorite was the coconut milk soup ! O-M-G. This place has really cool looking Asian architecture/decor, fancy ! We rode with our friend MSC in his towncar (***This is where you leave a comment below and I email you my tip for a great car service !) We went back with our friend to his hotel, he was staying at the OUT, NYC a great gay and lesbian hotel that allows Heteros as well. After a few drinks we got a tour. This place has it's own ice skating rink ! Hip vibe. (word is the food is not so good, but you can go across the street and get good food for a good price and they deliver)
Just about 5 blocks back to our hotel (my back is out) a stop off at a convenience store for snacks and beers. I send my husband out for some more Nan King (I'm begging for their chili noodles again !) and .99 pizza. He returns with something other than the noodles !! :/ and some pizza from Amedeus Pizza. (recommended from a NYC Police man) We found that the .99 pizza places have just as good if not better pizza than the $5.00 a piece place. Started to watch Life of Pi, but crashed out !
Used the W hotels Sweat Fitness Center in the am, first time this entire trip to work out ! egad ! It's a nice clean small, state of the art facility and complimentary. :) Today is all about blog catching up. I made a quick Vblog about 5 East Coast Winter Essentials. (will be uploaded at a later date ) *Tip: Late Checkout (you can always call down to reservations and ask for a late check out, we always do ! Sometimes hotels will give you a few extra hours in your room at no charge, others charge.) We were given 2-1/2. The Bellman will keep your luggage in storage, generally free of charge, but over at the Sheraton, they charged, 3.50, unheard of !. :) The hotels has a Farwell kiosk for printing out your boarding pass, nice. Lunch and some shopping for the gbaby then it's off to JFK for our late flight back to the OC.
A few other hotels that friends stayed at and sites where they booked really great deals are :
booking.com - great Hotel/airfare packages.
Yotel, NYC (no receptionist to greet you, you just check in yourself and get a key) Midtown/Times Square