Trip Report -Graduation Sojourn to NYC


SBH Member
The last time I was in NYC was in January 1981. It is a trip that I remember even now as one of the highlights of my college years. It was a great privilege to take two of my children and my wife back to NYC after so many years. My wife, who is from New Jersey, had been to Manhattan many times as a kid. My middle daughter, age 18, had been to NYC a few years ago on a choir trip. This was all new to my youngest daughter who is now 14.

Both of my daughters were very excited about the city for some of the same interests we share as a family. History, art, music, dance and fine cuisine are all things that we love and enjoy together. I am fortunte to have kids and a wife who love all these things and don't view going to The Met as punishment. We were very fortunate in that the weather was perfect during our stay.

Our very busy six days started with our arrival on Saturday June 23 at LaGuardia and pick up by Commlink car service. They were on time when arriving and departing and I would recommend them. After checking in to the Marriott Marquis, which was nice except for the crowds in Times Square, we explored Times Square and headed to our first dinner reservation at Aoki 234. (Thanks Amy.) We loved the Sushi. I had a Sashimi platter that was wonderful. My wife had a Dragon roll. My youngest daughter had a plate of Nigiri style Salmon and Crab. My youngest had a Teriyaki Chicken dish, not a sushi lover.

Then it was on to Peter and the Starcatcher. The play was incredible in the economy of the set design and how brilliantly the cast used it. The story is from a beloved children's book which many of us read prior to the trip. The whole play was funny and breathtakingly creative. I can see why it won big in the Tony's.

Sunday brought some much needed rest and a trip to Hoboken to Carlos Bakery. My middle daughter loves the show (Cake Boss) and since this was partly her trip we accomodated her and waited in line 1.5 hours to get in to the bakery. The best part of the wait was that a few of us walked over to a little pizza place called Bardo's and had the best pizza and eggplant parmsasean we had tasted in a while. (Since our spring trip to Chicago.)We all got cannolis from Carlos Bakery which were almost worth the wait. We did walk to the riverfront to eat our cannolis and look at the Manhattan skyline. It was very beautiful even on a cloudy day.
That night we had dinner at Da Nicos in Little Italy. (Thanks Mike R) Our food was fantastic. I had a veal chop that was butterflied and grilled and was incredible. Afterwards we walked to SoHo and did some window shopping. My daughters would later camp out at Kate Spade on a subsequent day.

Monday brought a morning trip to Ellis Island. We passed on the Statue of Liberty as it is closed for renovation. We really enjoyed Ellis Island and I recommend the audio tour highly. We spent some time looking up ancestors in their database and had fun finding folks from both sides of the family. We found that both my grandfather (father's side) and my great grandfather (mother's side) were listed as having made trips to Italy and Great Britain as US citizens in the early 1900s. My fathers family is actually from Northern Italy.

Dinner on Monday was at Le Bernadin. The food and service were top rate and so was the price. We had the four course dinner; I had the fluke sashimi, seafood medley served in some kind of shell and baked lobster. For dessert was the Hazelnut-Marshmallow, a combination of light chocolate ganache, vanilla marshmallow and hazelnut ice cream. Our evening ended after seeing Phantom of the Opera. Current cast was good but not great.

Tuesday we slept in and traveled to the LES to the Tenement Museum. My family was a bit skeptical about this stop but were won over very quickly. It was a great follow up to Ellis Island. This was recommended by many on this website and we are very grateful because we loved it. Consider 5-7 people living in a 326 sq ft apartment with no running water and minimal gas lighting and a wood stove. We heard the stories of two families that lived there during different time periods and were facinated at how they thrived despite terrible hardship.

Dinner was at Benoits, a wonderful informal French restaurant with great service and wonderful food. I had the Cheese Souffle appetizer and the Chicken Fricasee entree. My wife and youngest shared the Organic Roasted Chicken for 2 while my middle daughter had the Steak with frites.

After dinner we split up, two going to see Evita and two seeing One Man Two Guvners. I saw One Man Two Guvners and thought it was laugh out loud funny. My daughter laughed louder then I have heard her laugh in a while. I can see why James Borden won the Tony for Best Actor. That night post theater I dragged them to BB Kings to see George Duke and Stanley Clarke. Stanley Clarke has been a hero of mine for a long time. He was one of the first bassists (along with people like Jaco Pastorius) to make the bass a lead instrument. George Duke as also wonderful and the two of them had some great repartee during the show. My wife and daughters loved it as well which was a bonus for me.

Wednesday was the day we spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We went to the Prada-Shiaparelli exhibit first. I recommend it even for non fashion lovers as the comparison between their styles is facinating. We then did the Directors audio tour of the first floor and were disapointed that we only got through the first floor that day. We will do the second floor on our next visit. This itinerary takes you through all the galleries on that floor where you view highlights from each section. Again, a great way to organize yourself in a museum that is overwhelming in size. We left for a brief time to have lunch at the Central Park Boathouse. We spent a little time walking through Central Park.

That night we attended the ABC performance of Swan Lake. It was glorious and the setting in the Metropolitan Opera House was divine.

Thursday we travled back to Central Park to see Strawberry Fields and the Dakotas. My middle daughter likes John Lennon and requested this stop. We then went back to Rockefeller Center and had lunch where the skating rink normally is located. After lunch I walked back to the hotel while the ladies got last minute shopping at the enormous Anthropologie located at Rockefeller Center. We left for La Guardia feeling like we were so fortunate to be able to make such a wonderful trip.

My two daughters are both interested in living in Manahattan for different reasons. My middle daughter wants to be a Journalist and my younger daughter aspires to a career in Musical Theater. I can only encourage them not only in their career pursuits but in wanting to live in a city that is so very different from our suburban existence. I think they are better people for what they saw and experienced on this trip. Not only the cultural and dining experiences but every subway panhandler and hustler, every down and out homeless person, every person who visibly committed some act of kindness or neglect made them expand their perceptions of life and the kind of people they are called to be by God.


Senior Insider
Wow, you packed a lot in! I'm fond of Da Nico too. I particularly like the courtyard out back, where you can enjoy dinner outside, but without having to deal with the exhaust fumes that you get at the restaurants with curbside tables.


Senior Insider
An excellent report. Merci! You "took Manhattan" in grand style and covered all the bases--art, culture, cuisine and sightseeing. No wonder your daughters anticipate heading to NYC one day---you've opened their eyes to some of its best aspects.


Senior Insider
What a great report. This is one family trip that all enjoyed-and no wonder. You hit a home run and touched all the bases! Thanks for letting us know how wonderful the trip was and congrats to the graduate.


Senior Insider
Wonderful report! We have some special love for NYC and the Tisch School of Drama at NYU. Sounds like you may as well :)


SBH Member
I looked at the NYU website and they have a four week summer dramatic arts program for high school kids that I think we will look into for our daughter. She is just a rising Freshman so she couldn't appy for another year. Thanks for the tip.