Destination: New York City
Just last month our President Paige Zutavern took a quick trip to the east coast with our newest additions to the Strictly Business family – Lizzie, our intern from South Dakota who is currently attending UNL, and Lynn, our foreign exchange student from the Netherlands who is staying with the Zutaverns during the 2015-16 school year. This was a big-time adventure for the two young ladies, who had both never been to “The Big Apple” before. With so much to see and only a weekend to pack it all in, the group focused on what they considered to be the NYC staples: a Broadway show, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, a local brewery, and a classic New York steakhouse.
Central Park Horses | (212) 470-7893 | www.centralparkhorses.com
You’ve likely seen the classic New York City carriage ride on a TV commercial or in a movie, and it certainly merits a spot on everyone’s “Bucket List” because it’s everything you’d expect it to be and so much more. This is by far one of the best ways to go sightseeing, and we were incredibly fortunate because the weather couldn’t have been any better. While enjoying an absolutely gorgeous, sunny fall day in Central Park we also had no shortage of things to take in, from the scenery to the people and all of the action going on everywhere. Our friendly, courteous driver was everything you’d hope for in a tour guide. He was very knowledgeable and chatted with us about everything from the history of the park and the city to fun facts and making recommendations of must-see places in NYC. We even got a longer ride out of the park and into the streets of New York City because our horse needed a break for water, so we got to see much more of the big city action than we had originally planned for and from a unique vantage point nonetheless. It’s important to note that we only had time for the shorter version of the ride, but if we had to do it all over again we would have cleared our schedule for the longer version because there is so much to see and it goes really fast. Overall it was a very cool experience and the perfect activity for tourists who are headed to Central Park!
Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse | (212) 997-9494 | frankieandjohnnies.com
Established in 1926, Frankie & Johnnie’s is exactly what an authentic New York Steakhouse is all about. With a Broadway show on our itinerary for the evening, it was also in an ideal location right by where many productions are held – although it will soon be moving to a larger space nearby, which is still conveniently situated close to the heart of Broadway. Aside from its location, Frankie & Johnnie’s is an ideal place to dine prior to a Broadway show because of the opulence it exudes as an old-fashioned steakhouse with a modern fine dining twist. Highlights of our dinner included service from seasoned professionals, amazing fare, and a warm ambiance. It’s an intimate space but with plenty of windows to watch all of the action out on the streets, which definitely added to the charm of the restaurant. Our appetizers and entrees, from chicken livers served foie gras-style to cold lump crab legs to filets and lobster tails, were cooked perfectly, had incredible flavor, and the portion sizes were truly enormous and worth every penny. In fact, we weren’t even able to finish the lobster and that’s a first! On top of that, the presentation of every dish was like a piece of culinary art. As with the waiters, you could certainly tell that the chefs were trained experts. We watched those nearby get their meals as well and with the creativity in the arrangement of the numerous dishes, each looked like a piece of art. As just one example, none of us had ever seen a T-Bone served fileted off the bone and not only was it a very appealing way to showcase such an impressive cut of steak but it was also nice to have the meat already cut into ideal bite-sized pieces. All-in-all it was an unforgettable dining experience that will be very hard to top on any of our future travels.
Finding Neverland | findingneverlandthemusical.com
This was one truly amazing Broadway show! Although we’ve seen a lot of theatrical productions over the years, all of the hype about seeing a show on Broadway is completely legitimate. The theatre was small and intimate, which really allowed the audience to get immersed in the show. While many are familiar with the tale of Peter Pan, Finding Neverland took it to the next level with an incredible storyline. We laughed, cried, and were on the edge of our seats the entire time which of course was thanks to the incredibly talented actors and actresses, impressive costumes, stunning set and props, and spectacular special effects. It was the real deal! Even after eating a full meal the action-packed, magical performance kept us alert and ready for more. The show is great for all ages and the narrative was very touching, which is something we hadn’t really anticipated. In fact, we had such a great time that we didn’t want the show to end; two acts just weren’t enough! All things considered, there is certainly something to be said for seeing a show on Broadway – it’s an absolute must-do if you are in New York City.
BrickHouse Brewery | (631) 447-2337 | www.brickhousebrewery.com
The next day we went on a little Long Island adventure to a local brewery in Patchogue, which had been recommended to us and for good reason! This is a place with a great atmosphere full of fun people, live music and original art, a wide-ranging menu that incorporates classic bar food as well as upscale dining options, and an extensive line-up of award-winning beer brewed right on the premises. In classic brewery fashion, you can try samples in flights which we feel is one of the best parts of the experience because of the nice selection to choose from. As such, the food and drink was every bit as delicious as we hoped it would be. From the moment we walked in it felt like a familiar place, very comfortable and welcoming, and this extended throughout our entire visit. The layout of the bar is great and although it was fun during the day, we suspect it’s a great place to spend an evening too!
While our trip to New York City was brief this time around, we were lucky enough to pack in some fantastic experiences that we feel gave us a true “taste of the town.” There’s definitely never a dull moment in New York City, with so much action and rich culture to take in. As American author and journalist Tom Wolfe famously once said, “One belongs to New York instantly; one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” We agree, and we’ll miss you until we meet again NYC!