Planning a surprise anniversary trip to NYC: Questions about neighborhoods (romantic walkabout?), hotels (romantic ambiance), and recreational cooking (don't burn me, bro!).
So I'm planning the framework of a 10th anniversary trip to NYC. I'll spring the surprise well beforehand so that my wife can have time to prep the outfits and we can enjoy dreaming of our adventure together, but I need to get some of the high-level stuff in place:
1) Neighborhood: We love the walk around / discover new places mode of travel. I want to be in a walkable neighborhood so we can duck into awesome kitchy shops and coffee bars, and at night find random cool dive bars (preferably with random music discovery). Is the East Village / Bowery good for this? I think I just need validation here, but maybe there is a better neighborhood? We do NOT want/need to be near any touristy places (Times Square, Broadway, etc), we can always subway to them if necessary.
2) Hotel: Price isn't too much of an obstacle, although it would be nice to get under $300 a night. The place needs to be "romantic", and that ambiance includes the immediate vicinity, i.e. when you walk outside the hotel, there's a bit of a sidewalk atmosphere (coffee shop nearby, etc). Basically I want it to feel like it's in a neighborhood. I'm leaning towards the Bowery Hotel
, reviews seems good, and google streetview seems to validate the atmosphere.
3) Recreational Cooking - My wife is a great cook, and we love to cook together when we have time. She has asked for a cooking class before. There are alot of options in NYC for this type of thing, ICE Culinary is one that looks cool, but I worry that it would be too institutional. I want something that will inspire us, give us new ideas and skills.
4) Bonus - We are flying into Newark. We could take a train into the city, I know, but I'd rather use ground transport, since it's our anniversary trip I'd like to pamper her a bit. I'm afraid of a $80 cab ride though... Is there something in between, like a shuttle?
Thanks so much for your thoughts, experiences, and wisdom!