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Three Fun Days in New York...


Evelyn Hannon

Recently my daughter was invited to do some work in New York City. Since she already had the hotel room booked I was invited along for a three day joyride. Daughter worked, mama played. It was a totally last minute plan and if truth be told all I wanted to do was walk, walk, walk the city and shop for a few things I needed to freshen up my wardrobe. I didn't step into one museum or gallery. It was Spring in New York, the people watching was fabulous and the shops beckoned.

Times Square area hotel...

My daughter chose The Courtyard by Marriott Manhattan Times Square South because the price was right and it was close to where all her meetings took place. We were both won over by the very friendly and courteous staff, the 'full of info' female concierge, the luxurious bed linens, and (considering we were in the heart of Times Square traffic) the absolute quiet of our room. We both agreed that we'd stay there again in a minute.

I was the one doing the exploring and was genuinely pleased with the location because I had never stayed in this area before -- right in the heart of the Fashion District, just blocks from 42nd Street, Times Square and the Theater District. It was new territory and I looked forward to walking it.


Eating not dining...

While I have many favorite dining spots in New York I chose not to spend my money on fancy restaurants this time. My wardrobe needed a pick me up and that's where my dollars were going to go. In this Times Square area we found it was easy to find moderately priced, good, healthy food.

Breakfasts were a takeaway treat at the Jamba Juice franchise located at 1440 Broadway. You could choose from freshly squeezed and blended fruit and yoghurt drinks with happy names like 'Bright-Eyed & Blueberry' or 'Mango Mantra.' Delicious! When I needed more of a filler I chose Organic Granola (spoon required) with banana and brown sugar topping. Oh my goodness it was good and breakfast came in at under $5.00 for either choice.

Another excellent do-it-yourself spot came from Cafe Duke at 1450 Broadway corner of 41st where breakfast goodies are served until 11:00 AM. My morning regime consisted of a container of yoghurt plus fruit by weight from their huge fruit buffet. It was fresh, appetizing and healthy. My daughter chose from their diverse 'made to order' omelet menu. Cutlery was plastic, plates were paper, the cafeteria-style service was quick, clean, efficient and the price was perfect for this budget holiday.

In fact, Cafe Duke is ready to serve you all day with short order staff preparing everything from Pad Thai and salads to Smoked Turkey with Brie Sandwiches and Gourmet Wraps like Tuscan Tuna Salad all priced at $6.95. Highly recommended.

Most evenings we were too pooped to face a sit-in restaurant so we ordered food and brought it back to our hotel room. The hands down winner in that category was Ruby Tuesday located at 585 7th Avenue (corner of 41st and 7th Avenue). Their huge serving of grilled salmon steak with Asian marinade, steamed broccoli and brown rice was excellent. Of course the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc purchased that afternoon at Cambridge Wine (594 8th Ave.) helped to make our dine-in experience more than satisfactory. And our dessert? A whole package of red licorice twizzlers divided between us. Not a gourmet choice but very mother-daughter getaway fun!

When I dine solo I love to people watch. For those who'd rather chat with the locals I suggest Le Pain Quotidien right up the street at 70 W 40th. This chain is well-known for their communal table that allows for singles to dine with company. The decor is warm and welcoming, the menu is varied and the food is good. This is also a great spot to pop into when you feel as if you can't walk another step. Revive yourself with a Belgian Brownie, Lemon Tart, Almond Meringue or Apricot Crumble with a cup of Cafe Mocha, New York style.

P.S. Interested in the restaurants that JourneyWomen worldwide suggest for New York City? Click here and scroll to the middle of the page.


Shopping for the kiddies...

A short walk down 40th to 5th Avenue, then along 5th to 49th Street takes you to American Girl (609 Fifth Avenue ) the spot that so many young girls dream about. Picture three floors of dolls, fabulous outfits for those dolls that also come in styles that fit little moms, a hospital, a doll hairdresser, furniture for dolls, a bookshop, and a cafe that serves lunch and dessert to three generations of women -- mom, daughter and baby doll. Must be seen to be believed. P.S. I hope my young granddaughters are not reading this article. I succumbed and bought each of their dolls a yoga outfit which I'm saving to give the girls on their birthdays.

Starting back at the hotel and walking in the opposite direction will take you to Toys R Us located 1514 Broadway at 44th Street. How big is this store? Well, imagine this. It houses a 60 foot high ferris wheel and two amazing floors filled to the brim with everything associated with Barbie. There's a 5-ton, 20-feet high, 34 feet long animatronic T-Rex from Jurassic Park plus every toy you've ever heard of from old-fashioned yoyos and bolo bats to the latest in Disney costuming. Warning: I defy any grandmother to leave this store empty handed. Check out their website and dream:


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