Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New York City - Hotel, Food, and Packing Suggestions

I've been asked by several people where we stayed in New York and I'm always happy to tell them about the great hotel we found.  We have stayed at the Salisbury Hotel three times now and have never been disappointed.  By the way, this is not a sponsored post - just a helpful tip in case you are looking for a good place to stay in New York City.

The Salisbury Hotel is on 57th Street in midtown Manhattan just across the street and down a bit from Carnegie Hall.  It was built in the 1930s as a church-hotel complex with the adjoining Calvary Baptist Church. The rooms are adequately sized, but even more importantly are modestly priced. If you love fancy shmancy hotel rooms then you may not love the bathrooms as they seemed a bit dated, but apart from that the rooms were spotlessly clean and well cared for. In addition, most rooms have a small kitchenette so you can get your own meals and snacks as desired. There are many small grocery stores in the area (the nearest one being just a few doors down the street) to get some fruit, yogurt, bread, soups etc or even a take-out meal. 

Small kitchenette in our room with a sink, microwave, and a bar fridge below
I love the location of the Salisbury Hotel as it is central and a good walking distance to all the major museums, Central Park, the Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall. And I felt completely safe on 57th street and didn't hesitate to walk around the area even at night.  I really didn't want to be in an area that felt unsafe so I would hesitate to go out in the evening.  Also the Salisbury Hotel is well served by transit as it is very near several of the subway lines.

View Larger Map

As for food, we were pretty frugal which will come as no surprise if you know me. We brought granola from home and bought milk in New York and had that with coffee and tea made in our hotel room every morning for breakfast (we brought four plastic nesting bowls and plastic spoons to use for our cereal).  Our breakfast was basic, but quick and easy.  

If we had been visiting when it was warmer we might have picnicked for lunch, but that was out of the question in March so we mostly ate in different cafes and delis. M-T, from the blog French Touch, lives near New York and she recommended the cafe Le Pain Quotidien which was wonderful and very near our hotel.  The food is healthy, organic, and really delicious.

We also ate at the cafes in several of the museums like this one at the Guggenheim.

On one of the days we had lunch at Katz's, a venerable old Jewish deli in the Lower East Side that was established in 1888. The walls are covered with photos of celebrities that have eaten there. Katz's is famous for their mile-high corned beef and Reuben sandwiches. We ordered Reuben sandwiches that were tasty, but man were they hard to eat. They definitely took the prize for the messiest food I have eaten in public.

And one day we ate street food ... in the snow (I think the snow had stopped by the time I took this photo, but you can see us eating in the snow in this post.)

Several times we were rushed at dinner time because we were going out again in the evening so we bought some tinned soups, mini pitas, hummus, and carrot sticks to eat in the hotel room. Just down the street was a lovely Italian restaurant  called Angelo's (sorry I didn't get a photo of it).  We bought take-out pizza there one evening and another we ate there.  The food was great, but we chose the restaurant mostly because it was two doors down from our hotel and the thought of walking any further wasn't appealing to us.

I know that regime doesn't appeal to some people as they love to eat out, but we were happy with the arrangement as it saved money and was faster than eating in a restaurant every evening so we could be off doing other things.

Are you a minimalist packer?  I know a lot of people would like to be, but end up taking too many things that they don't end up using. We only took carry-on bags with us for the five days. I was pretty happy with the amount I brought as I felt like there was enough variety so I didn't feel like I was wearing the same thing every day, but it was all easy to carry. 

I was actually forethoughtful enough to get some photos of what I packed before I left (I should have taken the photo on something that wasn't red so my rust t-shirt showed up better, but laying everything on the bed seemed the easiest thing) and you can read about what we did each day here.  Here's my list:
  • jeans
  • black pants
  • black cardigan
  • navy cardigan
  • navy and cream striped long-sleeved t-shirt
  • rust coloured long-sleeved t-shirt
  • black long-sleeved t-shirt
  • cream camisole
  • black camisole
  • green scarf
  • navy and cream scarf
  • necklace
  • sneakers
  • black flats
  • socks, unmentionables, pajamas
  • winter coat, gloves, hat, scarf (natch)

Day 1
I wore jeans, my striped shirt, navy sweater and navy and cream scarf on the first and last days.

Day 2 
I wore jeans, my rust shirt, navy cardigan, and navy and cream scarf.

And that evening I wore my black pants, black shirt, black cardigan, and necklace with the black flats to the opera (sorry - not a very good photo, but my 18 year old just didn't get how to make a photo flattering and believe me it is hard to be both in the photo and giving instructions on how to take the photo.)

Day 3 
It was very cold on this day and we were going to be outside a lot so I doubled up on my shirts.  I wore jeans, a camisole, rust t-shirt, black t-shirt, and black cardigan, with my winter scarf, coat, hat, and gloves when I was outside.

Day 4 
I wore jeans, my black camisole, black t-shirt, and black cardigan with my green scarf.  I had to include my green scarf given that the St. Patrick's Day parade was going on.

And outdoors I wore my winter coat and usually my gloves and hat.  I always wore my sneakers (which you can see in the photo above) unless I was going out, in which case I wore black flats and I carried my yellow cross-body bag and camera everywhere.  It all worked well.  I always wore my jeans during the day, but my black pants were my back-up in case I spilled something on my jeans. I had enough variety of tops and two cardigans so again I was fine if one top or sweater got dirty.

Since we took granola and almonds and a few snacks with us we had some room to bring a few things home. We are not big shoppers (well I have the potential to be, but not with the three people I was with) so only bought a few souvenirs.  The three things I bought were a silk neckerchief in a William Morris print from the Met,

a small plate for $1 from a Goodwill in Greenwich Village,

and a book on the different art movements (which we studied at night before going to the next art gallery - I know, what a bunch of egg heads, eh?).  

William bought a few other souvenirs and we had a few things for the rest of the family, but we managed to cram them all in.

Do you love to shop when you go on vacation?  Although I love a good shopping expedition, I rarely do a lot of shopping while on holiday - mostly because I'm with people who would not be interested. 

Anyone have other suggestions of places to stay or eat in New York.  It is such an expensive city that I'm always interested to hear about other people's finds.

If you want to see what we did while we were in New York read this, and if you want to see what March looks like with both flowers and snow in Central Park, read this.

Pin It

Linked to Open House at No Minimalist Here


  1. Grace, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated this post! For most of my life (and now) I've lived about an hour outside of Manhattan, but because getting into and out of the city is expensive and does require some degree of logistics (Hoboken to PATH to Grand Central or car to garage in Manhattan?) so much of it remains an enigma!

    I am grateful for your hotel recommendation, in particular, as my husband and I always like an overnight getaway. And we're never absolutely sure where to eat, so we take your restaurant recommendations seriously! Your photos are amazing, and have made me look at the city in a new (and ever more appreciative) light.

    Apologies for the long comment - I just had to tell you!

  2. Thanks for this post. I would love to make it to New York city but have always been turned off by the price of hotels. I stay in a lot of hotels for my work and I know NYC has some issues with hotels and bed bugs. So, it is great to hear about inexpensive hotels that do not have issues. Sounds like a really fun trip.

  3. Great post, Grace. Your packing tips are spot on, and I'm so glad you enjoyed Le Pain Quotidien. We often pack a lunch from there and eat in the car before going to the opera. That way we never have to worry about missing the curtain due to slow service at a restaurant or waiting for the check, which always seems to take forever to come when you're in a hurry.

    By the picture, I think someone ordered my favorite tartine. Yummy!!

    We have a time share at the Manhattan Club during the opera season, but sometimes we run up off-season, so I'll definitely check out your hotel. It's perfectly situated for us.

  4. I 'll try and remember that hotel when we go to NYC next year.
    It looks great and centrally located and nice to have a small kitchenette.
    Your scarf looks lovely and I like how you packed for the trip...I am always pack too much!

  5. We have been to NYC from Australia 4-5 times.
    We also stay at the Salisbury!! Its basic i agree & the bathrooms would turn up the noses of many people. But I so agree. Its in a superb location,clean,has larger rooms& comfy beds. We are great shoppers so the wardrobes are useful as well. And basically we prefer older buildings.
    We stay there from a friend's recommendation.We have strayed.... but always come back.
    Plus the staff have remembered us & are so very helpful.

  6. So great to read about your experience in NYC. I will definitely be checking out this hotel, thanks so much!