Meat Packing District: No where in New York has there been a faster change than in Meat Packing district during the past year. The place is seeing significant invasion of expensive stores. You know the place is trendy when Apple opened its 3rd Manhattan store here. However, the area still contains a small but active meat packing operation – which we expect to disappear soon. Start at 14th st and 9th avenue. Walk along the 14th St. heading west. You will see some very nice and fancy boutique stores along both sides of 14th St. Turn left at the next junction – note this is a T-junction where you will find Diane Von Furstenberg store on one side and Scoop store on the other corner. After you turn to the road, turn right on the next one or two streets. You will find faded paintings on the wall and sometimes active operations of meat packing plants. The contrast is incredible.


Circle Line Boat Tour: This may sounds touristy. But the half-circle tour is absolutely worth it. The tour starts and ends at the Circle Line terminal/pier at 42nd st and 12th avenue. The semi-circle tour is a two hour boat ride taking in most of the sights of Manahatten including a swoop past the Statue of Liberty. It really is a great way to 'tick-off' the sights whislt you relax and listen to an excellent commentary. Call for schedule before going.


Grand Central: The minute you set foot on the Grand central concourse you head is whisked back to any number of old movies that have been shot in the place. An hour can easily be spent wandering about the place watching the world rush past you in all directions. There are a number of good restaurants and bars in the building. For example, the Oyster Bar and the Campbell Apartment which is arguably one of the most popular bars in New York. The only snag is that they may have dress code.

  Yale Club NYC: 50 Vanderbuilt Avenue. If you are either a guest or member, you should visit the roof top. The restaurant is ok but non-distinctive. However, bar outside on the roof is very relaxing with view of Grand Central Station and 42nd Street. Opens from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Strictly non-cash.

Have a drink on top of Peninsula Hotel: Peninsula Hotel (700 5th Avenue at 55th St) has a roof top bar which is open to non guests. While the drinks are expensive, you get great aerial view of 5th Avenue and its not well known so there are never any lines or crowds. Best visited in the evening. Closed for refurbishment till May 2008


5th Avenue and Time Square in the night and in the rain: Wait for a rainy night and head to Time Square. The place will not be crowded but the lights and reflections are well worth the visit.


Walk the Brooklyn Bridge: Best done after sunset for fewer people and better view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan skyline as well as the other bridges. We took the taxi to the Brooklyn side of the bridge and walked back on the elevated walkway abovethe traffic. Beware of the speeding bicycles and skaters.



Visit Mt. Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem: During a recent visit to Harlems Cotton Club the lead Gospel singer recommended Mt. Neboh Baptist Church (1883 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Avenue, or otherwise known as 7th avenue, between 114th and 115th Streets) as 'the place to go' for a gospel choir experience. The service was amazing with non-stop music clapping, waving and dancing of both pretchers and congregation. The energy was unbelievable. (and the band gets totally out of control). If you go, be prepared to be part of the service – which means sitting downstairs with the congregation in the service. The church also has a balcony for visitors – which was full of white faces and disappearing after awhile. The whole experience was superb and make sure that you sit by the center aisle in the middle of the downstairs section. The total service lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes.


Visit B&H: 420 9th avenue, at 34th street,
Probably the best camera and optics store you will find anywhere. Fun to browse even if you don’t think you need anything but beware as you WILL be carrying a B&H bag when you escape. The place is owned and staffed by authodox jews so not open on Saturdays and closes early on Fridays.


Apple store on 5th Avenue: between 58th and 59th streets: Very impressive glass cube structure over the hole in the ground that contains the Apple flagship store. Building design is impressive, especially at night, but the products are just the same as any other Apple store. Always crowded so when you have had enough of your feet being trodden on head across the road to Bottega del Vino


Museum of Modern Arts: 53rd street, between 5th and 6th avenue: Always worth a visit and generally has interesting photographic exhibits.


Music in Central Park
It is worth checking out the free music series every summer in Central Park. We went to listen to Casandra Wilson – it was great. Place is full of locals with picnics, not a big attraction for tourists.


Jazz at Blue Note: 131 W. 3rd St, 212 475 8592 (near MacDougal St)
Probably the most famous and respected Jazz venue in the world. Small and intimate with real atmosphere it is one of the places that you should not miss. The tickets are generally under $30 and are suprisingly easy to get unless there is a huge name on the bill. If you have an American Express card, use it for reservation – which will give you reserved and preferential seating.


Jazz at Iridium: 1650 Broadway at 51st st, 212 582 2121
We had very good time at Iridium on Christmas Eve in 2006 with Cyrus Chestnut playing. We were left with Les Paul for 2007 Christmas Eve. Even though music was bad in 2007 the night was very entertaining. Guess you can get away with political incorrectness if you are 92 years old like Les Paul! Book the 10pm session and follow the concert with a midnight stroll around Rockefeller.


Jazz at Zinc Bar: 90 W. Houston St at La Guardia Place, 212 477 8337
The music is generally Latin/Cuban and played by a gaggle of musicians who are having fun. The front room is very small so try to sit at the bar next to the band to get the real feel of the place. The back room is large, dark and poor sound so if the band is not to your liking head to the back. Music is hit and miss – Cover charge is $7 and no need to book.


Visit Di Paolo's: at the corner of Grand and Mulberry St in Little Italy 212 226 1033
Great Italian store. You are obligated to try it before you buy – even if you know what exactly you want. Great cheese selections and an amazing smell. There is always a line.





Meyers of Keswick: 64 Hudson Street between Horatio and Jane Streets. Myers is one of my best finds in New York. You can buy freshly baked pork pies, scotch eggs, cornish pasties, english sausages and bacon. The shelves are jammed with provisions such as Marmite, Garibaldi biscuits, pickled onions, Gripe Water, Colmans Mustard and Smarties. All of this is almost impossible to buy anywhere else in the US although I suppose it appeals to me and likely confuses you so make up your own mind if you want to go to Meyers. The snotty northern woman who runs the place seems unaware that rationing ended in 1954 as she restricts pork pie purchase to a maximium of 8!
English shop – where Steve has to go to get the pork pie and other English stuff which you don't want to know about

  Walking Manhattans Rim - The Great Saunter: After buying this book we are now in the process of walking the rim of the island. A total of about 34 miles broken into easy legs that take in many unsung areas of Manhattan. The waterfront is mostly forgotten and a far cry from the rest of the city.
  Vartali Salon - Hair Color: If you want to visit a colorist, you need to see Jim Clinton at Vartali (48 E. 57th Street on 2nd floor). Jim is close to a color genius as they come. He is always looking for perfection in colors. So make sure talk to him before going to a hair salon.