I woke up the next day in The Jane, rested and refreshed…….at 7 am. Heading out for the last hours of my 24 hours of NYC, via Not For Tourists iPhone app, I found La Bonbonniere for a low-key breakfast. I sat in the corner by the window with all the diners in full view. The place was less than packed, three NYC police and two families. Table and counter seating available, definitely a traditional diner, that apparently is old school West Village and a dying breed. I read a story in the paper about 21 Speeches That Saved the World and drank my bottomless cup of coffee. I people watched the joggers, the dog walkers, and the cars on the street. I listened to the conversations around me. I soaked in the possibilities of myself. This was my New York moment.
The Official New York Magazine write up:
Tan walls tinted by cigarettes preceding the smoking ban; shabby plastic floral arrangements glued atop napkin dispensers; blue vinyl stools jammed under the Formica counter. Clearly, this dive of a diner isn’t winning any prizes for decor. Nevertheless, this low-key luncheonette has earned the lion’s share of celebrity regulars. Signed photos of Molly Shannon and Ethan Hawke grace the walls, and James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Stiles have also been spotted here. What’s the attraction? Despite its chichi sounding name, La Bonbonniere is preposterously cheap and serves unapologetically greasy food sans attitude. Like most diners, its menu is long on omelets, although some (i.e., cottage cheese, potato chips or jelly) come across as strictly conceptual. The gristly hamburgers soak up extra flavor from the fat on the open griddle. A handful of salads are also offered, but you’re better off sticking to food that sticks to your ribs. Better yet, an old-fashioned blender sits right next to the register and awaits your chocolate shake order. — Drew Pisarra
I decided to check out The Maritime Hotel through suggestions from Not For Tourists. A quick walking tour, mostly for pictures, but my pictures ended up deleted. Bummer. So, the review and experience is short and sweet. And the pictures are all “borrowed”.
That Maritime Hotel lobby is amazing. Dark and cozy with it royal, nautical blue furniture set in a fashion to invite you to sit and read or gaze out into the courtyard. I felt like I was on a ship. I rode up to the top floor, in hopes of getting a great view, but found myself in a hallway. Circular windows over looked the city at each end of the hallway.
The Not For Tourist Review:
Since NFT sells millions of books every year (not) and we party like rock stars (yeah, right), we’re used to staying in the finest hotels in the city when we can’t make it back to our penthouse apartments in Williambsurg (dream on) after a crazy night of clubbing in the Meatpacking District (we wouldn’t even get past the doorman). Once in a while one of these boutique hotels makes an impression. Enter The Maritime. Just staring at this gorgeous building brings NFT lots of joy. But the real fun starts when you enter the modernist lobby to get your room key. The staff is super cool and totally unpretentious–a rarity in the world of fancy hotels. The rooms are out of this world with circular windows perfectly framing a stunning view towards the Hudson, bath products from Bigelow, Manhattan-themed furniture, and an incredibly comfortable bed. In the morning throw in a NY Sunday Times at your door and an excellent pastry tray and pot of coffee from La Bottega, and NFT is one happy customer. Now the big question: wonder how many iPhone apps do we need to sell to afford to stay here every night?
I rode the Mega bus back to Philly, waiting in line, after I passed a fist fight in the street.
When I got home, I immediately took a shower. My legs, covered in New York grit, wash clean. My interest and excitement in NYC stays and I can’t wait to discover her other neighborhoods.