Subject: Lucy went to New York
Hi Ziners Linda asked me to report in on our recent trip so here goes - be forewarned it's long.

Dan and I have just returned to rainy Toronto from sunny New York, where we spent five nights and four days. I have to report that, with the Canadian dollar up against the greenback, NYC is a better deal than it has been for a long time and is one of the most memorable holidays you will have if you like the urban vacation. NYC is one of the great cities of the world - GO.

A brief rundown with some highlights for those of you who plan to visit soon. Theatre: Man of La Mancha, A Long Day's Journey Into Night and Hank Williams: Lost Highway. All three touted by the critics and all worth the money for different reasons. Man is beautifully staged and the voices are fabulous. Journey is just that, a journey. Long play, one of the best in American theatre history, and leaves you wanting to either throttle or hug someone. Highway is special. You don't have to like country music. It's about family, music and American history. All three are recommended by us.

Food: We had a light dinner at Palette on Macdougall Street with lovely, attentive service and interesting sandwiches and salads on Thursday, lunch at Les Halles on Friday (Tony Bourdain's busy bistro (Dan had duck, I had pate and poulet - warning: substantial portions, don't over order. Tony was there ensuring good service) and a great dinner at Elysee on Prince Street in Soho on Saturday. Elysee has been opened for 11 months and the owner, from Nice, is trying very hard against big competetion. On Monday we had dinner at Alma Blu also on Prince Street, across the street from Raoul (hot spot, bad menu). This is a new restaurant (opened two weeks ago) with fabulous Mediterranean style food and the service is very attentive. Because we were there on a Monday, with only one cook in the kitchen, the service was a bit slow so the owner offered us each a glass of wine, gratis. We had breakfast at French Toast (a chain) with good coffee, but so-so food. Don't bother, Starbucks is a better experience. I am partial to the Vanilla Latte.

Because the weather was so good, we walked miles and miles and decided against museums (the MET has a Velaquez/Monet showing on now). A good bet, which after many years we have now discovered, is the outside bar at Clinton Park at the edge of Manhattan. We sat outside for a few hours watchng the Staten Island Ferries go back and forth. Perfect after walking.

Shopping: Who wants to join the Power Shoppers Club? - one hour on one day and 15 minutes on Day 2 and came home with a suitcase full of stuff for less thatn $300 C. Shoes, jacket, trousers and lot's of other stuff, all from Filene's, Century 21 and Parade Shoes. I am ready for summer.

So now for the real secrets, which is why we log on to Travelzine. Fanelli's in Soho, which every New Yorker knows, is the neighbourhood bar everyone wants to go to after a long day. It's one of the oldest bars in NYC, on Prince and Mercer in Soho. We've been going there for years to unwind and talk. Everybody is interesting. Sit at the bar and talk to New Yorkers. If you're there any night from Thursday to Sunday, talk to Bob the bartender. Don't sit at at a table, you'll miss the experience (always sit at the bar anywhere in the world - you will find out everything you need to know about the place you're visiting).

We stayed in a B and B (fridge with food) on Gay Street in a house built in 1820. Lovely garden. John Read, Mary McCarthy, Emma Goldman all lived in the buildings at one time. David, the owner, is most hospitable. It's a kitchy kind of place. Not to everyone's taste. This is NOT a hotel. It's off Christopher, about a 100 meters from the site of the Stonewall Riots so it's not for everyone but we felt like we were staying with a friend. Ziners who are visiting NYC can write me and I'll give you details. Lucy

Finally, we had lunch on Sunday with four ziners from NYC - arranged by Candace - at 8-1/2. Good food, good service and great conversation. A highlight of our trip.