Angela and I recently visited New York City to see a couple of Broadway shows and visit friends. This was a true vacation so we didn’t have much planned outside of the theater tickets we held when we arrived. As always, it was great to return to a city that we’ve grown to love so much – it never fails to disappoint.
We planned this trip at the end of 2021, and I was happy to find some good pricing for our outbound air travel. I originally booked a non-ideal itinerary for the return flight but decided to change it about a week in advance of our trip when some Delta award availability opened up. Like our last trip to NYC, I optimized this one for overall comfort and enjoyment even though it meant splurging a bit. With the decrease in our overall travel, I’ve found it worth it to spend a little bit more on each trip to avoid connections and travel in comfort.
The air itineraries were easy to book:
Angela and Nicholas
- 848.40USD per person (cash fare, booked with JetBlue TravelBank)
- LAS-JFK on B6 J
- 32,500 Delta Skymiles + 25.70USD per person (including a 20.10USD per person Excise Tax Offset Fee for American Express transfer)
- JFK-LAS on DL J
- 848.40USD per person (cash fare, booked with JetBlue TravelBank)
The return flight was surprisingly cheap in comparison to what I would generally expect for a business class flight on a lie-flat product to or from NYC. We could have flown on a plane with Delta’s newer staggered business class seats, but I opted for the older A332 because the schedule was much better.
Our last few stays in New York City have been at the Conrad New York Midtown, which we will certainly return to in the future, but we wanted to try something new on this visit. Based on some points that I’d recently earned, I knew exactly what my choice would be.
- One room for four nights at the Andaz 5th Avenue for 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night
With how quickly travel requirements change, it is likely that those we encountered and are outlined in the following few paragraphs may be out of date when you’re reading this. That being said, this is what we dealt with on this trip.
There were no testing or vaccination requirements for our air travel, but masks were still required in the airport and during the duration of a flight. One of the passengers on our flight did not get the memo, though, and was detained by authorities after landing because he refused to keep his mask on. Once we arrived in New York City, we were asked to present our proof of vaccination for indoor dining and for entry to most indoor spaces. The vaccine check was diligent, too, with a comparison to your government issued identification and more than a quick glance at the vaccination card.
Masks were not explicitly required at all locations, but every place we entered either requested that you wear a mask or required that you wear a mask. Mask enforcement during Broadway performances was very strict, with venue teams very clearly telling people to think of other people and cover both their mouth and nose.
We dropped Fitz off at Boca Park Animal Hospital where we had secured him a VIP Suite with 24/7 camera access and individual play sessions three times a day. With his recent health problems, boarding him at a location that has access to medical facilities is important for us and will be our plan going forward. Afterwards, we headed to the airport for our flight to New York City.
After a brief stop in the lounge, we boarded the flight and were greeted by the friendly service that we’ve come to know and love from JetBlue and, in particular, their Mint cabin crew. Angela partook of the signature drink, I drank some sparkling water, and we enjoyed a delicious meal in the sky. I continue to be impressed with just how much better JetBlue is compared to other domestic carriers.
When we arrived at JFK, we walked to the taxi stand, secured a yellow cab, and yelled the address of our hotel repeatedly at our driver who struggled to understand where we wanted to go. Luckily, we made it to the hotel safely (although we got dropped off on the wrong side of the street), checked in, and made our way to our room. Thanks to the Globalist benefits conferred on us by Randy’s Guest of Honor booking, we were upgraded to a room with a view of 5th Avenue and, in particular, the facade of the New York Public Library.
The room was nice, but was bewilderingly non-functional in a couple of ways. There was nearly zero storage space except for a small free-standing closet and two nightstand drawers. The shower was beautiful to look at, but without a door or any other barrier, water went everywhere every time you turned it on. Besides those two issues, though, the bed was comfortable and there was quite a bit of space compared to the typical metropolitan hotel room.
After unpacking our suitcases, we decided to visit the nicely appointed fitness center and get a workout in given we’d been sitting for the majority of the day. The gym had something for everyone with a nice set of free weights and weight machines, cardio equipment, yoga and stretching accessories, and more.
We successfully worked up an appetite and decided to grab some tacos from Tacombi, a restaurant that we had previously visited that has a few locations around Manhattan (and elsewhere). They were just as delicious as we remembered!
With our bellies full and a long day behind us, it was back to the hotel to prepare for the adventures the next day would bring.
On our first full day in the city, we woke up and dined in-room thanks to the complementary breakfast provided due to our Guest of Honor status. We each enjoyed the egg sandwich on brioche and highly recommend it for in-room dining as it is a little messy to enjoy in a restaurant.
After breakfast, we walked to the local subway stop and took the train to Brooklyn to see our friend Lori and her dachshund, Noodles. After a brief walk around Bay Ridge, we dropped Noodles off at their apartment and enjoyed lunch at The Dandy Lion where we sat and talked for a couple of hours about all the ways the world has changed in the last few years and where we all go from here.
We said our goodbyes to Lori and took the train to Nolita where we visited the 30 Prince Street location of Little Cupcake Bake Shop to pick up a slice of Dreaming Princess Cake for Angela and Brooklyn Blackout Cake for myself. We stopped at Devoción for coffee and ate our cake in Madison Square Park before walking back to our hotel in midtown. The cake was delicious, like always, and the coffee from Devoción was good, but not excellent. I wouldn’t pass it by if we were in need of a cup, but also wouldn’t seek it out or specifically recommend it.
After freshening up, we set off in search of some dinner and ended up at Thai Chella which, while not our first option, turned out to be quite tasty. The dining area was small and the service was quick. It was well-located, close to many of the theaters on Broadway, and a good choice for a pre-show meal.
After dinner, it was off to see Chicago. I purchased tickets during Broadway Week and was able to secure second-row seats for 125USD each (plus some minor taxes and fees). It was quite a deal, in retrospect, as the performance was excellent with a wonderful cast and incredible energy. If you haven’t seen Chicago and have an opportunity, I highly recommend it.
We had a leisurely morning on our second day in New York City knowing that the matinee performance we were going to precluded much in the way of morning excursions. This was a vacation, after all – no reason to get up early and hustle around. We enjoyed in-room dining for breakfast, again, with us both opting for the egg sandwich before getting dressed to see the show we’d been anticipating for months.
Setting off a little early, we stopped at Gumption Coffee for a couple of delicious flat whites before meandering over to the Winter Garden Theatre to see The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. Due to the star power, the tickets for this show were 599USD each (plus some minor taxes and fees).
The show was entertaining and the stars definitely pulled the performance to heights it probably couldn’t achieve on its own. Hugh Jackman is a better dancer than a singer (although admittedly, very good at both) and Sutton Foster made the role her own. I enjoyed it, but as a standalone experience sans the star power, would not recommend it to those who don’t already love musicals. Given all those caveats, though, I do not regret paying the price we did to see it.
After the show, we stopped at Laderach on 5th Avenue to secure some chocolate before returning to our hotel to watch The Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. We enjoyed some delicious burgers courtesy of room service as we took in the thrilling performance. While the Rams emerged victorious, it is apparent that the Bengals have a lot of success in their future if they can continue to play the way they did in 2021.
On the coldest day of our visit, which happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day, we enjoyed breakfast in the restaurant. Angela ordered the pumpkin French toast (incredibly delicious) and I ordered the avocado toast (similarly delicious, but in a more savory way). We bundled up and left the hotel in search of a good cup of espresso. While we walked, I captured Angela’s beauty next to a random fountain.
We stopped at Culture Espresso and enjoyed a respite from the cold while sipping on some delicious coffee. After half an hour, we set off for lunch at Sushi Lab where I had made a reservation for a table at Sushi Lab Rooftop. We entered the lobby of the hotel in which Sushi Lab is located, they checked our reservation, and we were directed to the sixth floor. After wandering down a dimly lit hallway, we entered a stairway and eventually ended up at the restaurant after climbing a few flights.
The restaurant was beautifully decorated and had a wonderful ambiance. The highlight, as expected, was the food. We both opted for the small omakase lunch special and were delighted by the experience. After ten distinct seafood delicacies, we were treated to a final course of lightly torched A5 Wagyu steak which melted in our mouths. If you like sushi and find yourself in Manhattan, Sushi Lab is a can’t miss.
We were in the mood for a bit of dessert after lunch and, on the advice of a friend, we walked to San Ambroeus in the Loews Regency Hotel. While a bit expensive, the patisserie was absolutely delicious. If you don’t mind spending 15USD for a piece of cake, I don’t think you can go wrong here.
The next stop was The Metropolitan Museum of Art where we viewed the exhibitions on Walt Disney’s inspiration by French decorative arts and Afrofuturism.
After a few hours of culture, we took the train back to our hotel to rest for a bit before setting off to get dinner at Dim Sum Palace. We must have been less hungry this time because we weren’t told we were ordering more food than we were going to be able to eat.
With time running out on our trip and the weather outside frightfully cold, we decided to take it easy on our last day. We took breakfast in the restaurant before working out and packing up. We checked out, had the front desk hail us a yellow cab, and headed to JFK where we enjoyed the Centurion Lounge before heading home on a Delta One configured A330-200. The flight was nice, but it is bizarre how Delta and other legacy carriers continue to offer a slimmed down service, which doesn’t include things like lemons for sparkling water, especially compared to our outbound flight on JetBlue.
Thus ended another fantastic trip to one of our favorite places in the world. While it was a bit colder than we’re used to, we loved spending a few days together in a place with so much to do within walking distance no matter where you find yourself.