Mike’s Travelogue: Giant Adventures in New York

May 12, 2023, 5:07 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2023, 11:04 am

New York...

Giant adventures in New York when you fly Alaska Airlines. (Courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

(Courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

SPONSORED – You may remember that nearly a decade ago, Seattle went to New York and dominated for its first NFL championship. To say that MetLife Stadium has happy memories is an understatement! Kam Chancellor pounding Demaryius Thomas. Peyton Manning wishing he had used the silent count as the crowd was so loud he fumbled near his own goalline. Percy Harvin taking the second half kickoff to the house. Confetti and trophies and rings and…you get the idea.

So why not take an early October game as an opportunity to get back to that holy site and pay homage to the greatest day in franchise history?

You certainly have plenty of options as Alaska Airlines offers direct flights from Seattle to both JFK and Newark-Liberty airports. Both are easy train trips into the city (if that’s your destination) but Newark is just a 15 minute drive from the stadium which might be handy if you are leaving straight after the game.

There is no right or wrong way to experience New York. If you’ve never been, you are in for a treat. If you have spent any time there, you know that there are an endless number of options available for food, entertainment and culture. Here are a few of my favorites from visits over the years.

When I’m in New York, I always look to try things that can’t be found elsewhere. And Broadway is unlike anything else in the country. The sheer volume of shows can blow you away and the prices can be outrageous, especially for the hottest tickets in town. Fortunately, there is TKTS. This booth on the corner of 47th and 7th in the middle of Times Square offers heavily discounted tickets for those who aren’t fussy about which production they see and are willing to wait in line for about an hour. It’s open every day and they have tons of options. Even better, if you want to see a non-musical, there is a much shorter line available. But if a musical is your jam, make sure you see Sutton Foster (my daughter’s favorite actress)! Right now she is in the Music Man.

After getting your tickets, you’ll need to eat in Times Square. And while there are the usual assortment of chains available there, I recommend some barbecue at Virgil’s Real BBQ. It’s a staple of the neighborhood and they have the best honey butter and biscuits you’ll find north of the Carolinas.

And staying in Times Square isn’t necessarily as challenging as you might think. Try the M Social Hotel on 52nd Street. Nice rooms in a perfect location and at a far price. And if you have kids, you won’t be too far from Ellen’s Stardust Diner where Broadway stars-in-the-making sing while taking your orders. It’s worth it!

New York is famous for its street hot dogs and you can find them virtually everywhere. But if you want the best, you have to go to Gray’s Papaya on 72nd and Broadway. While the city can feel extraordinarily expensive, this is the best bargain you will find. I recommend the “Recession Special” with two dogs and a medium tropical drink for $6.95.

With the money you saved on lunch, you can afford a big old steak dinner! You’ve probably heard of Peter Luger’s (and it is great), but one of the best meals of my life was at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, founded by Luger’s former head waiter. It also works well as a group spot and they can cut up a large order to be split by the entire table.

Yes, my recommendations tend to focus on food, so once you have gotten hot dogs, bagels (try them with lox, tomato, red onion and capers), pizza and deli sandwiches, you are going to need to walk it all off. Yes, you can head uptown to Central Park, but if you want to go the other direction, make sure you check out the Highline. The elevated park/walkway runs along the city’s west side and makes for a beautiful way to experience the beauty contained inside the bustle.

After your time in the city, you’ll be ready to get away from the noise, sirens, horns, cabs and people just generally in a rush. You’ll be ready for some noise of a different kind: a Monday night primetime football game! Get yourself on a train to MetLife Stadium and get ready to receive some funny looks from New York fans who aren’t too used to visitors in their midst!

Stadium: MetLife Stadium
Stadium Food: Corned Beef or Pastrami Hoagies
Seattle haunt: Feile (Midtown) and Carlow East (Upper East Side).

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