Midtown Madness

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Where I stayed
Horizon Apartments, Midtown

Flag of United States  , New York
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Although we planned to restrict our trip to the midtown area today as we didn't feel like travelling too far out from our apartment, we ended up travelling down to Chinatown for lunch. What can we say, we love our Asian food and New York has its fair share of it.

We rode the subway downtown, stopped at Little Italy, which happens to be more picturesque than neighboring Chinatown in my opinion, before arriving at Penang restaurant.  Penang restaurant specializes in Malaysian and Thai cuisine and we were rather pleased with the quality of the food. It was also one of the more value for money meals we had in our trip to NY.

Following lunch, we headed back up to Midtown to Rockefeller Center.  Took some shots in the area and visited some of the stores in the plaza.  As pretty as it is in the summer, Rockefeller Center is even more magical during Christmastime, so I'd recommend a trip more so in that time than in summer.  Didn't go up the Top of the Rock this time, as we'd been previously, but we did make a stop at Magnolia Bakery.  Despite being famous for its cupcakes, we were more intrigued by their mini cheesecakes and what a discovery that was!  I have to say, the key lime cheesecake was one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had.  In fact it was so good, in our week's stay in NY, we visited this store on more than three occasions.  We even bought some to eat on the plane on the way home!

Rockefeller Center is also heavily featured in the TV series 30 Rock so we took some pictures around the more famous areas of the center, such as the Atlas Statue, located opposite St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Next we headed to nearby 5th Ave to do a little more window shopping and along the way came across the New York Palace Hotel.  This hotel is where Serena and Chuck lived or lived in, in the TV show Gossip Girl.  We took some shots and proceeded to the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store at the southeast corner of Central Park.  Even as an adult, this store is worth visiting especially if it's your first visit to the Big Apple. 

We decided to take the most scenic route home to our apartment and passed major landmarks such as Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building and the United Nations, by routing our trip on 42nd street east to First Ave where our apartment was located.

Lessons Learned
1.  Areas we visited today were rather touristy.  If you prefer trips off the beaten track, this itinerary probably isn't the best for you.
2.  As mentioned, in my opinion, the best time to visit Rockefeller Center is during Christmas when there's a huge tree, a skating rink, lighted-up angels, and projected stars to be amazed at and indulge your Christmas spirit.  It's still nice in summer, very floral, but not as magical.
3.  We didn't go up the Top of the Rock this time, but I highly recommend going to this observation deck instead of the Empire State's.  You'll at least have the Empire State Building in your photos and you get better views of Central Park.  Visit during sunset for best lighting!

Experience Ratings
1.  Penang Restaurant - 8.5/10, pretty good Asian cuisine and definitely value for money.  Address in Manhattan is 41 Elizabeth St, Chinatown.  There are other branches in America and in Queens as well.  Visit http://penangcuisine.com/ for more info.
2.  Magnolia Bakery Key Lime Cheescake - 10/10....in my opinion, exactly what a cheesecake should be!  It's also a served in a perfect size for one person, not too big so you need to share and not to small it makes you angry.  Cupcakes were nice, but couldn't beat the cheesecake. I believe there are other branches of this bakery.  Visit http://www.magnoliabakery.com/ for more info.   
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