Monday, July 19, 2004

We're back from vacation - I know, you missed me. We had a full week in New York City (stayed at Swissotel The Drake, Park & 56th). Here were a few of the highlights:
  • The Shows!
    • A taping of The Late Show w/ David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theatre (Monday's show, with Kristen Davis and Ali G, plus Frozen Yogurt Night for the audience).
    • The Lion King at the New Amsterdam Theatre
    • Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) at Carolines Comedy Club
  • The Food!
    • Vincent's on Mott, Little Italy - traditional (and reasonably priced) Italian - I had the Fried Calamari Parmesan with Linguini in Marinara. Incredible.
    • Katz's Deli, Lower East Side - The Pastrami! The Pastrami! It's sliced thick, but just melts on your tongue.
    • Bar Pitti, Greenwich Village - upscale Italian, with class and care. Not another tourist rip-off, but a true gourmet experience.
    • Hop Kee, Chinatown - get the roast pork lo mien and the roast duck won ton soup
    • Gray's Papaya, the Village (and elsewhere) - 2 hot dogs & a "healthful" juice drink for $2.75
    • Drinks at the Carnegie Club w/ a smooth jazz trio playing (drinking Manhattans, of course)
    • The best, Sourest pickle ever from a street vendor's barrel in the Lower East Side
    • Several fancier (and pricier) dinners and lunches around Midtown, the Theatre District, and the Upper East Side, including the Oyster Bar at the Plaza
  • The Tours!
    • Going to the top of the Empire State Building
    • The Lower East Side Tenement Museum - You must visit 97 Orchard Street when you are in New York
    • The Circle Line "Liberty Cruise" up and down the Hudson and around Liberty & Ellis islands
  • The City!
    • Central Park, especially Strawberry Fields & the Secret Garden
    • Walking endlessly up and down and through Broadway and Midtown, etc.
    • Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, from Manhattan to Brooklyn
    • Riding the subway everywhere ($21 for a one-week pass is the best transportation and touring value for visitors to the City)
    • The architecture; from the Midtown skyscrapers to the Lower East Side tenements
    • Waking up in a city that never sleeps
If you're planning on going to New York, and somebody recommends you try "Ray's Pizza", be sure to get more details than that, for instance, is Ray famous, original, neither, or both?

There are a total of at least 51 "Ray's Pizza" of some sort listed in the Manhattan phone book, including: Ray's Original (1), Ray's Pizza (19), Ray's Pizza Restaurant (2), Ray's Pizza and Bagel Cafe (1), Famous Original Ray's Pizza (14), Famous Original Ray's Pizza of 6th Avenue (1), Famous Ray's Pizza of Greenwich Village (1), and Original Ray's Pizza (12). There's also one "Original Famous Pizza", but they don't have a Ray.

We were aware of this problem thanks to a Seinfeld episode (that show has the answer to everything) in which Kramer is lost downtown and calls Jerry to pick him up. Jerry asks where he is. Kramer replies "By Ray's Pizza." Jerry asks, "Famous Ray's or Original Ray's?" "I don't know, Jerry," Kramer cries, "It's just Ray's!"

We walked into a few of the Ray's to check out their slices and figure out which one is supposed to be the good one. If they didn't look perfect, we walked on, sliceless. We finally ate at the Famous Original Ray's Pizza on Houston Street. It was very good, very authentic, New York pizza, but I'll stick with the original Regina's Pizzeria in Boston's North End (that's the original one, you know, not their suburban clones).

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