A Weekend in New York! Part Two-Back on Home Turf!

It isn’t “Over the River and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go”….but is more like “Over the GW and through Riverside Drive, to Mid-town NY we go…”

As I begin to tell you about the venture from Upstate to New York City, I want to start off with this:   The last time we stayed in the City was the weekend before the big lockdown. It was the last of February/first of March and things were eerily empty.  Here’s the link to that blog post so you can get a better idea for comparison’s sake.


This time around, we were back just as The City was about to reopen.  People were on the streets without masks, and although masks were still required in establishments, there was a very different vibe.  People looked happy. And there were a lot more people on the streets as well as a lot of traffic.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve passed these signs over the years, I would be able to buy a new apartment in the city!

So, we drove over the GW and took Riverside Drive HH Parkway  to Midtown. We crossed over in Central Park and decided to do a little drive to Times Square and over to the Upper East Side where Bonaparte lived when he came to The States.  We were opposites even before we met. He was an Upper East Sider and I was an Upper West Sider!   (Note to self-this is another blog post).

Here’s the building I lived in from the 1970’s to 1985. It was more like a dorm back then and apartments are now selling from close to a million to over a million. My luck has never been in real estate!



And here’s where Bonaparte lived on the Upper East Side. Definitely more chic and refined than the old, funky building I lived in!  Opposites in every way!

It was so apparent that we are, quite possibly, returning to the pre-pandemic normal!

Check it out–definitely more people than pre-pandemic! It’s good to see everyone out and about. Traffic sucks though.

We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard on Third Avenue and 53rd Street.  Before I get into how this hotel was, you need to know that we are loyal patrons of Marriott Hotels.

Courtyard New York Manhattan Midtown East (New York, NY): What to Know  BEFORE You Bring Your Family

Thank goodness for Trip Advisor–I forgot to take a photo of the outside of the hotel. It’s not very interesting though.

However, it’s only steps away from the subway–which is remarkably convenient!

We used to stay at the Marriott Midtown—and that’s where we stayed just before the lockdown.  Sadly, the hotel has closed—and the reason for the closing was due to the lack of business during COVID. And that’s sad on so many levels because it was a grand, old-school hotel. Very elegant and very old New York.

It breaks my heart that this Marriott Hotel closed. It was such a great old-school hotel and I do hope Marriott has the wherewithall to reopen it.

Anyway, my husband decided to book a room for Saturday night at the Marriott Courtyard. And here’s where my only gripe about our weekend came.  First of all, the room was great.  The bed, as with all Marriott hotels was incredibly comfortable. The views were spectacular.  The staff was friendly, helpful and fun. The room was very clean.   And we even had a large-screen TV.

In typical Marriott style, the bed was comfortable as all get out and I love the simplicity of the bed linens.

The big screen TV kind of surprised me but Bonaparte was happy!

The bathroom was fine–but I’ll get to my gripe about it in a bit.  The lighting? WTF is going on with hotel lighting lately?  In Paris, horrible lighting is used in hotel rooms but the bathrooms are well-lighted. We need good lighting to get ready!!

But….and please read this carefully if you are going to be traveling any time soon.

I do believe management at Marriott took a bit of an advantage with the pandemic. It was the pricing.  Bonaparte paid $350 (tax included) for the room. For one night.  It may seem reasonable for New York City but here’s where I digress.

There was no doorman to welcome us nor was there a valet to take our car. Instead, we were given a little piece of paper with a map to a garage around the corner and up the street.  After dropping the car off, the paper had to be validated for a whopping $5.00 discount.

The house restaurant, The Bistro, was closed due to the pandemic. It hadn’t reopened yet.  And the oddest sight was a microwave oven in the hallway –what?????

Bitmoji Image

My exact reaction upon seeing the microwave oven in the hallway. 

Even more perplexing was the placement in the bathroom of the body gel, shampoo and conditioner. These items were securely placed into a holder that was attached to the wall. You couldn’t get the toiletries out.  I took a bath.  The products were a good four feet from the tub. Perfect if you were taking a shower but not so if you enjoy a relaxing soak. I had been in a serious bath tub accident years ago. I didn’t need another one.

Really???  Really???? As if I’ll steal these huge bottles? Bring back the sample-sized goodies please…

Take a good look at this photo.  I took it moments before soaking in the tub. Now look at the placement of the products. This is not very clumsy-person friendly. I envision many bathtub accidents almost as bad as the one I had.

While I realize you may be thinking that I’m a pain-in-the-ass with my gripes about the hotel but here’s my point.  Marriott cut corners due to the pandemic—and rightly so.  However, the prices should have been lowered a bit and the amenities that were no longer available should have been a part of a slight cut in the price.  If I’m rambling, I’m sorry.  It’s just that this bothers me. And if you have plans to travel any time soon, check with the hotels to see if they have returned to all their services. That’s all.

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The objective is for the customer to SAVE money. Not for the establishment to be stingy. Thank you.

Other than those issues I mentioned, the hotel was fine.

The views were wonderful..

And as evening approached, the views became rather magnificent.

There’s something very comforting about the sight of a city all lit up in the evening.

I really cannot complain about the views we had. A corner room makes all the difference!

We walked around a bit then headed back to our room for a bit of rest before heading out to dinner.

We took a little walk around..

…and enjoyed the views from the ground.

Perhaps it’s because Bonaparte and I could be creatures of habit. Or perhaps that we’re just older now. But we do like to play it safe when we go out to eat.  We have our favorite places in Paris. We have our restaurants of choice in Philly.  And when we are in New York, we love having dinner at Le Relais de Venise L’entrecôte.  Honestly, it’s our go-to.  Especially with my Steak/Frites lovin’ Frenchman!

Ready for dinner. I did a quick change by adding a bit more makeup, changing my hair from Reeves to Finn and wearing a go-to travel dress purchased a couple of years ago at Old Navy. I love the dress so much I bought a backup and use both all year round!

The restaurant is just a couple of blocks away from the Courtyard. It was a great evening for walking!

The menu is limited. Very limited to a salad with a terrific mustard dressing; steak, cooked to your liking of rare, medium or well. And let me tell you the rare is delightfully rare. The sauce that is served over the steak is remarkable. I, as well as many, have tried to duplicate it to no avail.  And fries.  And everyone gets two helpings!  The only choices are the drinks, and dessert and the desserts are wonderful.

The salad is so simple lettuce, walnuts and dressing–but the dressing packs a punch!

Although I’m not much for fries–I’m very particular, these are great. Cooked perfectly. That sauce though. It’s unbelievable. And when you love your red meat red, Le Relais delivers on it! Sorry I didn’t take a photo of the dessert. I drank too much wine and forgot!

This restaurant is consistently very good.  In fact, there’s one in Paris that we’ve yet to go to simply because there’s always a line outside to get in!

As he carefully reads the wine listing, he ponders not the taste or which wine will accompany dinner to the fullest, but he wonders which wine will put me to sleep the quickest!

There’s no happier sight than a Frenchman with a glass of wine and frites!  He had three helpings of the fries.  Three. And he’s still lean.

And I just had a third helping of red wine!

Dinner was just as expected and with both our stomachs full, we headed back to the hotel.  Did I mention that wine puts me to sleep?  Bonaparte likes to feed wine to me when he wants to watch TV without my commentary.  Needless to say, I fell asleep as soon as we got back to the hotel.

The City after dinner.  More people now then pre-pandemic!

Did I mention we bought Milk Bread from Paris Baguette? It’s great for toasting. And for loading up on carbs!

Ahhh. Sunday! We woke up and got ready.  Again, it was a struggle for me to reach the body gel from my reclining angle in the bath tub.   We got dressed and headed out to breakfast at Paris Baguette.  We are no strangers to this place. The pastries are decent and the coffee is fantastic.   In fact, we did manage to pick up a couple of goodies Saturday afternoon and enjoyed an afternoon snack.

Paris Baguette | Midtown Lunch - Finding Lunch in the Food Wasteland of  NYC's Midtown Manhattan

Although not a French company, Paris Baguette is a chain of decent pastries. The croissants aren’t bad but the coffee is excellent!!!!!!

Our plan was to check out of the hotel after breakfast, head to the garage to get the car, meet Roman then drive over to the West Side to the Intrepid Museum.

I’ll tell you, the garage we parked the car in was the best location ever.  Across from a police station and a fire house. It doesn’t get much safer than that.  Anyway, I need to give kudos to the staff of Icon Parking.  Management at this parking company must be really good because the employees were just very nice—with a good sense of humor.  Seriously.  You know you’re old when you can’t figure out how to scan your parking code into the little scanner at the cashier.  The staff was very helpful.

NYC Parking - Book Daily + Monthly Parking Online and Save More! |  IconParkingSystems.com

Headed to NYC?  Might I suggest Icon Parking? It’s not cheap but it’s better than chancing it with street parking and tickets.

I felt our car was very safe because it was housed across from a police station and fire house. How cute is this police SmartCar?

And with that, I’m ending this and will continue Part Three, our visit at The Intrepid because that museum deserves its own post!

My only regret?  Not snacking on my favorite dirty-water dogs slathered with mustart and kraut!

See you at the Intrepid! Stay Tuned!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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14 Responses to A Weekend in New York! Part Two-Back on Home Turf!

  1. That was so fun! Thanks for sharing your trip and all the great details!

  2. Joan Brown says:

    Just love your travel blogs as I get to see places I have never been!🥰

  3. JEAN says:

    It’s not just the Marriott – as a part of conservation/climate control/greening of the planet, etc., hotels are getting rid of the cute little containers. However, you’re absolutely correct about the horrible placement of those containers.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jean. What you said makes sense–but brands should be considering a more-earth-friendly way to store these products. That placement was just wrong on so many levels. It’s an accident just waiting to happen! xOXOXOXO

  4. Marsha Wilson says:

    I so loved reading this! We haven’t been anywhere in almost five years, and it was nice to live vicariously through you. The microwave in the hallway must have been jarring to see, and how could it possibly be clean enough to use even by pre-Covid standards. I hope you get to live in NYC again sometime. Your heart really seems there.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Marsha. Yeah. WTF with the communal microwave. With all the COVID precautions one would think the hallway microwave would be trashed. I can’t understand that management train of thought. Oh lordy-I would give anything to live in NYC again!!! OXXOXOXOXO

  5. altogirl2 says:

    My college friend and I are meeting up at Arches National Park in October for a quick vacation. Prices for the Marriott Courtyard are listing at $400 a night right now. $400 for ONE night! I love Marriott Hotels because they’re clean, modern, and you always know what you’re getting, but the prices right now are insane. We may end up camping by the roadside!

    • Catherine says:

      TBH, I feel so validated in my critique of the Courtyard. $400 a night (and October isn’t even high season) is just roberry–especially for Courtyard-which, BTW came about as am alternative to high-priced hotels!! XOXOXOXO

  6. vavashagwell says:

    Last time I was in New York City was in 2016 and I stayed somewhere near the Courtyard, can’t remember the name of the hotel though. But, it was an absolute rip-off. My sister-in-law was traveling with me and insisted we stay there because some of her friends said it was their favorite place to stay. With all the taxes, etc., it ended up being over $450/night and it didn’t even have a coffee machine in the room. The gym was pathetic and there wasn’t any sort of jacuzzi. So that must be normal for NYC, is my guess. I sure wish I could remember the name of that place so I could warn people away.

    I love NYC and would like to visit again, this time with a better travel companion. (My SIL is rigid, bossy, and demanding and I should have known better than to make that trip with her.) Next time though, I hope to find a clean place to stay that is more reasonable because quite honestly I don’t spend a lot of time in the room when I’m in that vibrant city.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Vava, Wow. You bring up so many great points in your comment. First of all, I get a bit side-eye when I hear from someone that ALL their friends, etc. love staying in a certain hotel. I like to judge for myself. And, a hotel room is for sleeping, bathing, resting and if you are the more romantic sort–the bouncy-bouncy!
      $450 is a rip-off–especially when it isn’t a luxury hotel. And no amenities? Forget it.
      But you bring up the subject of traveling companion. I have two sisters. I love them both dearly and we get along very well–but one of my sisters is not the person I would want to go on a vacation with. Travel companions should be chosen with great care. My husband and I talk about this all the time. We are a great match when it comes to travel because we are so in sync with each other. We have the same preferences and love history and sightseeing.
      When Oona was competing in dance, there were certain mothers I loved traveling with and others? Well…I shall remain mum on that!
      Thanks for a great comment!!! XXOXOXOXO

  7. TURNER says:

    Missing NYC a lot right now so it was fun to “travel” with you. What did they even think you would use the microwave for? Take out? Strange, and not appealing at all. Oh, I experienced the fixed amenity bottles in the shower last time I stayed in New York which was prepandemic so I think it’s more environmental than cost cutting. And I do agree with it, However it was so difficult to get enough shampoo and conditioner out of the bottle! I had to pump it a million times to get a palm full of the product. Oh well. Less plastic is definitely better.

  8. Christine G says:

    Great posts on your NYC visit. You pack a lot into two days! I’m looking forward to the third installment. Thanks for sharing your visit with us.

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