NYC weekend on a budget – it can be done with style!

by MPI Traveler on February 2, 2014

We love New York City, but it is one of the most expensive cities to visit, so when we saw super low fares on American we grabbed them up.  It also helps to travel in the winter…no one really wants to go when it is snowing and there is a good chance your flight will be delayed.  But if you have some flexibility and can act on short notice, here are some ideas.

First, check out your airline’s last minute deals.  I fly American and they had a special fare that came out on Tuesday for travel that next weekend – RT SFO – JFK $224.  That is cheap these days!

We stayed at the Double Tree Metropolitan by Hilton which is conveniently located in Midtown at 51st and Lexington. Easy access to subways, restaurants, theaters, etc. This is a nice hotel, clean and comfy with a rate that weekend of $109/night…in Manhattan – sweet!  There are tons of small local eateries within 3 blocks any direction.

We needed a quick bite to eat when we got into town, so wandering a couple of blocks from the hotel we found Hillstone (which I know is a chain and why would you do that in NYC?) but the food is consistent and it was snowing, so we went in. Note: the last time we did this it was pouring down rain and we looked up and there was Hillstone! It seems to be our go-to spot when the weather is not cooperating.

For dinner on Saturday we found Le Bateau Ivre, New York City’s first “true French wine bar,  raw bar and grill”.  You will find excellent service, a nice selection of wines and delicious food that won’t break the bank.  They have a nice brunch on Saturday and Sunday with live music on Sundays.  Wine tasting every evening at 6PM!  Definitely try them out next time you are in town.  Le Bateau Ivre is at 231 E 51st St, a short walk from the hotel.

A great  spot for Sunday Brunch is Lexington Brass.  We got there about 1:00 PM, but had failed to make a reservation and there were no tables any time soon, so we made a reservation online on the spot for 2:15.  Why would we do that?  Because they have a Chef’s Special Champagne Brunch which includes a four course shareable selection of sweet & savory dishes plus a bottle of Pere Ventura Tresor Cava (+ mixers for mimosas, etc.) all for $55 for two people.  There is way too much food for two people, but you eat slowly and savor the champagne!  Great service, good food.  And only a block from the hotel!

Since we had an hour to kill we wandered over to Ground Central Coffee and warmed up with a nice latte and chocolate chip cookie.  “A crucial aspect of our cool, calm coffee approach is our Pour Over Bar, where we serve seasonal single-origin coffees prepared to bring out the maximum freshness and to honor the complexity of flavor in every cup.”  Yeah, it is kind of like that.  And they have “vinyl” along the wall – all kinds of vintage Rock & Roll that they play throughout the day.  A nice library in the back is great to sit, savor your beverage and read a good book.

We had a very casual dinner that night at Sofia Wine Bar, also very close to the hotel.  Friendly service, good food, nice wine list, very reasonable prices.  This place is quite busy but we had no trouble getting a table. We shared a pizza and a bottle of wine to wrap up a very quick but enjoyable visit to one of my favorite cities.



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