Friday, April 18, 2008

Spa Day in Midtown Manhattan

Every year in many cities there is a special national promotion called "Spa Week," and a lot of spas in the five boroughs of New York City participate in it. Deep discounts of half price or more for certain services are given during spa week, and reservations fill up fast!

My daughter and I took the opportunity to go to a Brooklyn spa last year where we both had our first massages. This year my daughter wanted to go to the Elizabeth Arden's "Red Door Spa" in Manhattan for a facial, so I met her in Manhattan yesterday, at her place of work, and we walked over to the spa on 5 Ave. Believe me, I'm not the typical spa-goer, but I have to admit it's nice to be pampered once in a while, and especially at half price!

I also have to admit that, even though I am a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, and often venture into Manhattan, midtown is a little overwhelming for me! It's jam-packed with traffic, tourists, workers, and residents, plus an assortment of odd characters. It also has so much to see and do that you could walk many miles in a circle and not realize it!

My first stop was Grand Central Terminal which was built in 1913 and is the largest train station in the world.

I confess I really didn't need to go to Grand Central, but I lack a sense of direction, and when I got off the express bus that brought me from Brooklyn into Manhattan I walked the wrong direction and ended up there! So I went inside to take a few photos of the beautiful and cavernous main concourse where the train ticket booths are located. The four-faced clock on top of the information booth in the middle is perhaps the most recognizable icon of Grand Central. Each of the four clock faces is made from opal, and both Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses have estimated the value to be between $10 million and $20 million! There are many shops and restaurants in the lower concourse of Grand Central including the famous Oyster Bar Restaurant.

If you get a chance, go to this YOUTUBE video and see a very amusing video of an IMPROV group that froze in the middle of Grand Central for five minutes as a skit! It will give you an idea of the size and hustle and bustle of Grand Central Station.

After I met my daughter at her workplace, we walked quickly up 5 Ave and passed Saks department store, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Rockefeller Center.

As much as I wanted to stop and admire them longer, we couldn't, as we are trying to keep our spa appointment time.

Next, we passed the Cartier Jewelry store, which has been an establishment for over 150 years on 5 Ave. It is especially beautiful at Christmas as they wrap the entire building in red ribbon as if it were a large gift package!

Finally, we reach the famous red door of an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa and go in!

We go to the eighth floor and have tea in the waiting area, and then each of us is called in for our facial. I took a quick picture of the room when I was left alone to put on my towel wrap.

There were candles burning and soft music playing, and the bed was very soft and comfortable. A very nice woman around my age did my facial, and it was very enjoyable. They exfoliate, cleanse, steam, hydrate, massage your scalp, face, neck and shoulders and hands. A free makeup session was also offered but we couldn't stay for that as my daughter had to return to work. I did see, and feel, a big difference in my skin afterward, and it felt nice to begin the spring season with a little glow!
I really have to thank my daughter for encouraging her somewhat plain and usually frugal Mom to do these type of things, and it was fun way to spend some time together!

Afterwards, we quickly walked back down 5 Ave so my daughter could return to work, and I travelled on to the main New York Public Library to spend some time. The New York Public Library is simultaneously one of the largest public library systems in the United States and one of the largest research library systems in the world. The 5 Ave main building was dedicated in 1911, and is a National Historic Landmark. You can see how impressive it is inside on this web site's collection of photos.

I love the two lion statues outside, who were nicknamed "Patience" and "Fortitude" in 1930 by the then Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, for the qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the economic depression. These names have stood the test of time. Patience still guards the south side of the Library's steps and Fortitude sits majestically to the north.



A view of the shining top of the Chrysler Building from the library block.

Behind the New York Public Library main building is a large Urban park called Bryant Park where the average lunchtime crowd on a nice day can number 5,000 people! Yesterday had mild weather, so many people were still relaxing in the park, even though I took this picture around 3 pm in the afternoon.
In the summer there is an outdoor "reading room" area in the park, with a selection of books, periodicals and newspapers offered for use. There are readings and programs at lunchtime, after work, and some are especially held for children. Sometimes mini concerts are held here and movies are shown. In the winter the city has installs an outdoor ice skating rink in the grass area, and there are craft booths with items for sale during the holiday season.

Le Carrousel in Bryant Park has fourteen delightful animals, replicas of classic carousel creatures, revolve to the sounds of French cabaret music

Here are some pictures of the "cross roads of the world," Times Square. This area is where many of the theaters are located, and many other attractions, and the best viewing of all the lights and action is obviously during the night time hours. Below is a photo of the tower where the New Year's Ball is dropped, on the south end of Times Square.
Here is a web site cam where you can see different real time views of the streets and sidewalks in Times Square.

Below is a photo of the view from the north end, and also the Times Square ABC TV "Good Morning America" studio.

Wow, this has been a very long blog post, and I thank anyone who is still with me! I hope I showed you some highlights of midtown Manhattan that brought back memories to you if you've visited, or enticed you to want to visit one day!

Maybe next time there is a spa week we can go for facials together!

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Beverly said...

That was truly exciting. I have never been to NYC, but I hope to one day.

It was nice seeing it through your eye.

Mrs. B said...

Every single one of your posts about the places you go makes me want to go there too! This was great. Hopefully I will get to go sometime in the next couple of years. Good for your for pampering your self a little too!

Kentucky Bound said...

Oh THANK you for that wonderful tour. The sum total of my experience in NY City consisted of arriving at Grand Central by train from the Newburg area where my husband's family was from, taking a taxi to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where my mother-in-law was to have a treatment, sitting in the hospital for 6 hours with her, back in the taxi to Grand Central to catch the train back to Newburg. You have taken me on the tour that I have dreamed about!

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you'll come back to visit regularly!


Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Oh! I envy you sooo much! I have always wanted to spend some time in NYC....I lived in upstate NY for 10 years - near Rochester, but never made it to the city. I am such a spa girl! I go once a month for massages. Get a facial about 3 times a year and get monthly pedicures...

All of your pictures were so inviting...Can I come visit you?

An Enchanted Cottage said...

Pat, I loved visiting the city with you through your blog post! You always share such interesting background info. I loved learning about Patience and Fortitude, and how they came by their names. I'm glad you and your daughter had such a wonderful spa day. My two girls and I have talked about getting facials together and after reading your post, I think I'll schedule something for the 3 of us when everyone is home from college this summer! (I've never had a facial or a massage or even a manicure! LOL)

I've also loved reading your posts about the Civil War and the information regarding specific soldiers. It's so interesting. I can't believe all of those letters were just going to be tossed!

Oh - and I'm glad you enjoyed the post about the jelly cupboard! Have a great weekend!! You and I have very similar weather and it looks like we have a beautiful weekend ahead of us!... Donna


Pat, you had a fun packed day! Nice to relax and be pampered for a change. One of our local jewellers wraps itself up as a parcel at Christmas, I wonder who copied who? x

CatHerder said...

You put me to shame...Im less than 20 minutes from there and I almost NEVER venture into the city. I am going to Carmines in a couple of weeks, we are throwing a party there...I should reap the benefits of being so close, I just dont....I really need to get off my butt

Lisa B. said...

I do want to visit. My mom and I had actually always talked about going together...but never have. I think we need to get planning that long overdue trip. Thanks Pat! I think we will be able to use your posts as a travel guide!! lol.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Still with ya! I love these tours and each post has so many trails to follow. I usually read through to the end and then go back and follow anything that piques my interest, which is usually everything. Then, if I run out of time, I sneak back late at night and follow some more trails. I'll probably never get to them all!

I was intrigued by your facial experience. A few years ago, I had my first and only spa facial and while I did enjoy the experience, it was also just uncomfortable enough for me that I know I won't do it again. Am I weird or what?!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I'm with you too! I enjoyed all your pic's sounds like a great day to spend with your daughter. Chicago needs to get on board and have a spa week too! It's good too pamper yourself every now and then!

Rue said...

Good morning Pat :)

Another fantastic post from you! For my 13th birthday, my mom took me and two friends to get our makeup done at Elizabeth Arden. It was funny because it was the mid eighties, so we walked out with greasy faces and blue eye shadow LOL It wasn't as popular back then, but now it's very expensive :) It sounds like you two had a great time.

Have a beautiful Saturday!

lisa said...

i had a great time at the spa...i'm ready to go back!

Kari & Kijsa said...

What a fabulous day!! Thanks for a great tour!

kari & kijsa

Cori G. said...

HI Pat,
It sounds like you had a wonderful day with your daughter and the tour was fun too! Thanks! Hey, have you ever been to Lady Mendahl's for tea?

M.KATE said...

love all the building pictures, and spa, i'd die for one!! please I seriously need it!!

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks for the links to the tea rooms. I looked at both and they look like wonderful places to spend an afternoon although, it looks like Lady Mendl's may be a bit pricey. Oh well, a girl can dream.
I too love the little prince. It has always been one of my favorites. I love the part about the fox the best.
Have a great week.

Cowboys & Custard said...

Another fabulous tour Pat..and I didn't have to leave my armchair to see it all!
I love Grand Central station.. especially the gorgeous deli shop in the basement??
Isn't the main concourse the biggest room in the world??
The Chrysler building is magnificent.. have you been inside.. fabulous art deco interior.
I remember taking a ride on that very same carousel..all by myself!
I hope Elizabeth Arden pampered you well..


Kathleen Grace said...

oOooh, spa day with your daughter, how much fun is that!? Thanks for the tour of NYC, one of those places I havent been but hope to see some day:>)

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!
I'm ready for that facial! I enjoyed catching up with your posts. It's so amazing to me that you can go on an outing and see our country's famous landmarks, incredible! Thanks for the great tour, I'm always ready for your exciting journeys!!
Hugs, Sherry

steviewren said...

Thank you for the guided tour. Although I have never been to NYC, it is definitely on my most wanted to visit list.

One question, do all of those people bring their own seating to Bryant park with them? Okay, two questions - is this the location of Fashion week? I am such a Project Runway fan.

Rhondi said...

Hi Pat
Thanks for the tour of New York. One of my favorite days in NYC was one fall when my mom was staying there for a few days from Toronto and we were living in Phillie so I drove into the city and spent the day with her. It was one of those beautiful days and we did the art museum, had lunch in the museum restaurant, went to the zoo and strolled through Central Park. A perfect day. Mother daughter days are to ber treasured. Glad you got to have one with your daughter!
Rhondi xo

Linda's Blue Gate said...

Wow ... what an amazing day and to be able to share it with your daughter.... what a special time.... your pictures of New York make me want to hop on a plane...
Thanks for visiting my blog

willow said...

Hello Pat! What a wonderful blog! (this is my first visit to your spot) Delightful post about your mother/daughter time. My daughter lives in Philly and is in NYC quite a bit for auditions, so I am hearing a lot about your city on a regular basis. Thanks for stopping by my little manor! I'll be back for a visit again soon...

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

Oh this is such a tease for me... I was supposed to be there today!!!! We had to cancel our little family vacation plans at the last minute... (sob sob). But your pictures are GORGEOUS! I know Grand Central well! And I am amazed at its size! I had a piece of Juniors cheesecake at their Food Court downstairs once... mmmm!

Junie Moon said...

What a fantastic day you had! I enjoyed the "tour" through midtown Manhattan. And good for the two of you treating yourselves to the day as well as the pampering.

twiggypeasticks said...

Thanks for sharing your day. It's funny I've never been to NYC but those iconic buildings are on TV so often it's great to see them on your blog and share your experience. I couldn't live somewhere more different to New York (In the Yorkshire countryside, in the UK) but it looks so exciting and full of energy, would love to visit one day. I LOVE the Chrysler building
Twiggy x

Susie Q said...

You are just trying to kill me tonight huh?? *laugh* Oh how I LOVE NYC. It is so amazing I love it more each time I visit it.
Your photos and descriptions are such a treat for me.

And wow. To be behind that red door and getting a little pampering! I have now turned an even darker shade of envy green!


Gina said...

Incredible pictures Pat, looks like you had wonderful weather. Glad you had a special time with your daughter! Oh how I would love to visit that library!! Gx