Subject: Four Days in New York City

Last weekend we were in New York City for the Marathon. It's always a great event, well organized and supported by New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs. It ends in Central Park so it affords the opportunity to linger in the beautiful park area.

We stayed in a private home on 11th Street at 5th Avenue, near Washington Square so we spent a lot of time in lower Manhattan. The weather was spring-like and we did a lot of walking. Here are the highlights.

The newly-renovated MOMA appears to be more open and airy. With the added exhibition space, one of the museum staff told me that the showings have increased by about 50%, there is still a motherlode of art work in storage which is changed on a regular basis. Some masterpieces are hanging in stairwells! We spent a few hours viewing old favourites and having fun with the installation art. Check before you go to find out if you/your travel partner's employer sponsors exhibitions at the MOMA or other museums because you can bypass the line-up to purchase tickets. You can check for current exhibitions here:

We saw three plays: "A Naked Girl on the Appian Way", "Orson's Shadow" and "Jersey Boys". All different and all excellent in their own way.

Among the restaurants we ate in: Pastis, 9 Ninth Ave. (West Village) at Little W. 12th St. 212-929-4844 Danal - 90 E 10th St, (212) 982-6930 Jarnac - 328 W 12th St, (212) 924-3413 Mon Petit Cafe - 801 Lexington Ave (212) 355-2233 French Roast - 11th St at 6th Avenue (there are a few locations in the city)

The latter is good for breakfast/brunch and we always return there. It's open 24 hours/day. Our dinner at Jarnac was especially good and we shared it with Ziners Candice and Tony. The dessert (fig sorbet, lavender/honey sorbet and creme fraiche sorbet) was amazing.

New York is filled with great discount shopping. Here's where we got great deals: Daffy's at 115 5th Ave (there are a number of locations in Manhattan); DSW (Union Square location); Filene's Basement (Union Square); and some of the shops on 14th St between 6th Avenue and University Place. This doesn't begin to scratch the surface of what's available.

Among world cities, NYC is one of my favourites. We feel very comfortable there. We walk everywhere but if we're in a hurry or tired (which often happens after so much walking) we hop in a cab. They are cheap by Toronto standards and cabbies know exactly where you want to go.

We always start and finish our visits to the city with a stop at Fanelli's (94 Prince St. at Mercer St. 212-226-9412). It's been a bar/restaurant since 1922 - originally a pharmacy. It's noisy, the patrons are opinionated and every visitor remembers the bartender.

We didn't have time to revisit the Battery Park City area or the Upper West Side. We're already planning our next visit. Lucy, Toronto