I know what you mean. I like to shoot the breeze with tourists, cabbies, pretty much anyone who seems nice enough and has a little time to kill. And my husband's a gregarious barfly who often strikes up conversations with strangers when we're out. We've had so many interesting conversations that way.
We went to Arthur's Tavern for jazz on one of our free nights. It's on Grove, just off 7th Ave above Bleeker St. , a small narrow space.
Mondays they have Dixieland, the Grove St. Stompers. I told H. I bet the same audience has been coming to hear the same group for 40 years. At the end of the set we got into a fun conversation with the couple next to us. They'd lived in that neighborhood for a long time, and said they had been coming every Monday night for 40 years.
The music was good, and they have a few younger guys sit in.
My impression of this place was more negative, partly due to a strong rank odor and partly because of the stern pressure to buy the minimum 2 small pricey drinks/set. During the break the leader also carries a tip bucket around and holds it under your nose. My husband, who admittedly plays out mostly for the fun of it, would never do such a thing.
I recently heard that a jazz musician in NYC in the 1930's could make ~$100/night. Today he can make ~$100/night. So we sympathize.
Thanks for mentioning the thread, bixa. H and I were just discussing this trip last night. She frequently wants to go to NYC, "like right now."
I realize I forgot to mention the jazz club we really did like, suggested by W's concierge as a casual place you could drop in for a drink and good music. Garage (a former garage) on 7th Ave and Grove St. in the West Village. garagerest.com/
Our first night in town, after we'd ruled out TKTS and Broadway, we headed to the Village in search first of a middle eastern restaurant I'd read about. We took the 6 train to Astor Place and ended up wandering down Bowery, not finding our original place, but lucked upon Forcella. A distant memory bell rang, and I remembered this review from NYT: www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/dining/forcella-in-noho-restaurant-review.html (I value this review for the information, and also the word "pizzarazzi.") Deep fried crust, montanara, yes! H's was more traditional, but both were excellent. I think the chef won some sort of world pizza award, and deserves it.
From there we could walk west on Bleeker to 7th Ave and up to Garage. We lucked upon Marc Devine and his combo. He's on keyboards, with a bass and percussion. We liked their warm style, sat at the bar, threw a tip in the jar as we left. Now we have our little neighborhood jazz club in New York. The concierge said it's a good place for dinner, too.
I also neglected to mention how glad I was that the Holiday decorations were still up, including the tree at Rockefeller Plaza overlooking skaters, and lights all down Park Avenue. I think the tree came down Jan 10th, but not before we were able to walk by several times on our way to and from the W.
If weather cooperates, early January after the confetti is swept up is a great time for the city. Smells, room rates, and crowds are all down, and the magic is still there.
I will confess, I know nothing about New York City other than what I've read and seen in the news media and films. I spent 24 hours there when I was 15, which I've reported on elsewhere, and I've not returned. Unless something falls through at the last minute, one of my children will be accepting a job offer and will start work just after the holidays. She knows New York somewhat since she's visited many times, and is very excited about this opportunity. The work location is near the World Trade Center and Trinity Wall Street. She'll need a place to live, and last I heard she was thinking about Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, I'll be reading through threads here in an effort to cram as much knowledge into my head before I have to go up there. A help with the move has been mentioned, but that would mean time off from work for me at an extremely busy time of year, not to mention the anticipated cold weather. I'd need a new coat and certainly appropriate boots.
Any advice you can send my way would be welcomed. Anyone have a lead on a decent apartment?
NYCgirl would know more about this than I but, apartments in Manhattan are near impossible to find. People comb the obituaries to see who died recently with the hopes of grabbing up an apartment. Brooklyn used to be more affordable but as a result of the influx of people that have moved there and the gentrification that has ensued, it is difficult to find places there as well.
I wish I had something more positive and hopeful to report. Who knows, she may luck out and I'll ask some of my friends in NYC if they have any advice to offer to steer her in the right direction.
Thanks, Casimira. Any information would be much appreciated. The situation and plans continue to develop rapidly. It looks like she may be moving in for awhile with a cousin who lives in Queens. Then she can get settled in the job and, hopefully, find an apartment to move into by the end of March when I'd also be more available to help.