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If you follow NPS, you know about no fly July which basically gives me a chance to slow down and think away from airplanes. You may also have figured out that this year has (thankfully) been a light year of travel so far. After more than a decade of road warrior work, that feels pretty good FWIW.

Anyway, no fly July plans were interrupted this year for a trip up to NYC. United was its usual awful self. For the first time ever, I paid revenue for what was essentially a jump seat on a propjet. United has gone completely to the dogs.

It got better. The NJTransit train from EWR was convenient and fast.

Once we got to NY, we started with a game of Escape the Room, which was pretty fun all told. The only problem with the game is it is not puzzley enough and relies too much on random finding. But we had a good time (even though we ultimately did not escape the room).

We regrouped at Butcher’s Daughter near Little Italy to plan a quick trip down to Battery Park. Where we took a very touristy sailboat ride to the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Dinner at Keste with Jason and Haley was fantastic and authentically italian as always. A quick trip to Mulberry Project was kind of disappointing due to the thundering dance beat. Good drinks, wrong atmosphere.

View from the Cigital apartment in NY.

View from the Cigital apartment in NY.

We’re staying at the apartment again. Midtown 36th floor penthouse. It’s gorgeous in NY this week. Kind of Fall-like weather. Not bad. I guess nature is playing along with no fly July.

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More NY impressions…

Morning way up north at the cloisters. A visit to the conservatory gardens in central park. Excellent tapas at Txikito. Comedy at the upright citizens brigade. Late nightcap at Ayza wine bar.

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

A walk down the high line after a very late but decent breakfast at the Petit Poulet (right across the street from the apartment) is a good way to start the day. Follow that with coffee at the superb Happy Bones. Then a first visit to the 9-11 Memorial museum. When you go, plan to spend over 3 hours.

Liam Finn at the Poisson Rouge

Liam Finn at the Poisson Rouge

A late night begins at Le Poisson Rouge (LPR) for a Liam Finn show. Great show. Excellent use of charisma. Followed by midnight dinner at the Blue Ribbon.

Liam Finn also loves customer 42 (starbucks identity of NPS)

Liam Finn also loves customer 42 (starbucks identity of NPS)

Sunday included a trip up the Empire State Building next door, a visit to the Brooklyn flea market (meh), lunch #2 at The Meatball Shop, an Iranian film (close curtain) at Film Forum and dinner at L’Asso.

The apartment and its tall next door neighbor.

The apartment and its tall next door neighbor.

Way down there is the roof of the apartment.

Way down there is the roof of the apartment.

Time to go home (on the Acela).

6am came awfully early this morning. I made it through Logan in a daze. Uber’ed up a car and slept on the way in to the apartment.

Empire state building (the neighbors)

Empire state building (the neighbors)

Looking down from the roof.

Looking down from the roof.

Manhattan.

Manhattan.

Things are even more stunning at night.

Moon by Empire State Building

Moon by Empire State Building

Movie set.

Movie set.

Caliope in the west village is outstanding. Simple French bistro food done right. They do need to remove some tables and charge more so things are not so tight and a little less hectic. But the food is outstanding. And they make a great Negroni.

Also worth a visit (and way better than Hearth) is Fedora in the west village. Well crafted cocktails made by barkeeps who know what they are doing (Negroni, Old Fashioned), a quirky wine list heavy on the French and a bit overpriced, and very good food. The mushroom appetizer is a must.

After dinner with Chalmers and a quick run by a tribeca party at Steve Pyke‘s house, we headed up to ZZ’s Clam Bar for a nightcap. Delicious oysters and well-crafted cocktails from the tiki side of the universe. I ordered off the card, and barman James Kaspari (who had on very silly shorts) made the following ZZ Topper (my name):
1.5 oz Bourbon (Elija Craig 12 yr)
.75 Apple brandy
.5 Cinnamon bark syrup
Teaspoon orange liqueur
4 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes mole bitters
Stir down, serve on the rocks with an orange twist.

ZZ Clam bar is worth a visit. Though rumors of their tiny size seem to be holding people back, we were gladly received and had a great time. Just go.

Sunday brunch at the gorgeously-appointed Maialino (in the Grammercy Park Hotel) was a perfect ending to a great weekend.

Maybe the awful United express flight up here in a creaky old expressjet CRJ200 was foreshadowing of some sort? In any case, there is nothing quite like New York City to disavow you of your ego! Even the hotels and my own best guys are in on the game.

Just when we thought Kimpton loved us here at noplasticshowers, we were unable to finagle our favorite room for one of my companion’s rare visits to the city. (We admit that we waited way too long to ask nicely, but the powers that be are keeping us way too busy these days!)

And the note, though handwritten by Santo and very much personal, was handed to me with the new loyalty program chit instead of being secreted away in my room? Dang. There’s no way that a $30 minibar credit makes me feel as welcome as cold sparkling water, a bottle of wine, and some cheese. Especially since there is no sparkling water in the minibar. (Minus 10.) Maybe the corporate apartment is better.

Too many people in the Kimpton loyalty program?! The inner circle is way way wide. Horrors. Now we’re all the same?! Noplasticshowers prefers the grade inflation found outside of NY where everyone is above average.

This is not cheese?!

This is not cheese?!

Palomars where are you?? Come rescue me.

OK OK, first world problem. It’s true. And maybe this all has something to do the the scaffolding all over the building and its deleterious impact on room service? Quite possibly there is no cheese (or sparkling water) to be found.

Room 1515 is nicely way up there and has a classic 70park layout. Excellent style with good lines and great use of mirrors. We’ll feature the mirrors in the pictures this time.

Bed in the mirror.

Bed in the mirror.

Bed in the other mirror.  And an infinite mirror too!

Bed in the other mirror. And an infinite mirror too!

Bathroom mirrors can't be left out.

Bathroom mirrors can’t be left out.

But sadly, there is a shower curtain. You know how we feel about those on this blog.

Curtain over a tub.  Uh oh.

Curtain over a tub. Uh oh.

To add insult to injury, blue smoke is out of Hirsch ’76 (no more left in NY or maybe on planet earth). We are in a three showerheads kind of mood. Meh.

Want sparkling water? Well go get it yourself from Starbucks.

And then things took a serious turn for the much better (not at 70Park but in NYC). Thursday evening included a walk downtown on the high line, a visit to NYU and Washington Square, an outrageously great meal at annisa in the village (really, best restaurant ever in NY which is high praise), and the best time ever for NY mixology at Lantern’s Keep. All in one evening.

We are so glad that Raines Law Room was once again too popular for its own good, because we met barman Bob and his merry band of friends. What’s not to like about outstanding shots of agave tequila and zacapa 23 from paper cups in between delicious beverages? Real daiquiri shooters all around got us started. There was even homemade amer picon (kinda) for a Liberal. Lantern’s Keep is now high on the NY mixology list.