Help a Reader Day

Loyal Smash reader Tracey wrote to me today to ask for my advice. This is always a mistake, as I’m sure you will all agree. My advice in any case is calculated to produce the maximum entertainment for your friends, rather than solving your actual problems.

For example, if you were a pal of mine, you might call me up and ask me whether or not you should break up with your girlfriend, the annoying one who calls all the time when we’re trying to have a beer, for God’s sake. I would advise you to so immediately. Further, I would suggest taking out a full-page ad in your local paper. It would say something along the lines of “Hey, Hookerpants*: Guess You’re Going to Have to Find a New Sucker to Drive You to New Jersey on Sunday” and it would feature a picture of her with a phone glued to her ear, looking angry, as usual.

Anyway. Fortunately, Trace didn’t have a question of this nature. Here’s what Trace needs to know:


Since you are a savvy NY woman who knows the city, I’m hoping you will be able to give me some advice.

My wife turns 40 in January. I think I’m going to surprise her by packing a bag and taking her on a train trip to NYC. I understand that there are plenty of things to do and places to stay within walking distance of Grand Central Station. Maybe you can provide me a list of “must sees” that my wife would really enjoy. Also, if you have any hotel suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Hope things are going well.


God, poor Tracey. I sure have him fooled, don’t I?

Anyway, trouble is that my NYC knowledge is limited to about four neighborhoods in Brooklyn and a stretch of downtown Manhattan from Delancey Street to 17th. So I’m not much help with the whole Grand Central thing. Which is why I’m turning to you, dear readers, in the hopes that you will have some advice for our pal Tracey. He’s being a nice guy and all. Anyone have any ideas?

* Tm AJ Daulerio.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

5 thoughts on “Help a Reader Day

  1. Smash and Trace,

    I am by no means an “expert” on New York, other than having two parents who were born in adjacent burroughs and who still insist on calling themselves New Yorkers despite the fact that the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn when they both left. However, I have stayed at the Grand Central Hyatt, which has nice modern rooms (not too small by New York standards) and was not too pricey (by New York standards – read: under $300 a night). Grand Central station is literally next door, and my mother and I had a lovely dinner at the Italian restaurant (Ciprielli?) in the station, overlooking the main terminal. Very classy. It’s a short walk to Times Square and the Chrysler Building is across the street. That said, it’s midtown, which is very commercial and full of chains these days. So, by all means, check it out, but ask Smash here her thoughts on Delancey to 17th and venture further into the heart of Manhattan.

  2. Rent “Six Degrees of Separation” and see what happens to a nice couple of folks looking for new fun adventures in Manhattan.

    And you won’t be meetin’ no Will Smith.

    A trick I like is to walk knowingly and boldly up to the concierge at the Ritz-Carlton (59th bet 5th & 6th, you're arriving at 42nd and Park, one over from 5th) (or the like, Pierre, etc.) and ask for advice. Slip him a $20 or more, you may get a nice table, tickets to a show at face, a tip on a cool new installation at a smaller museum, etc.

    OH OH Mr Kotter!!!! I have an idea.

    She’s 40, you’re…whatever. Sack up and go to the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis Hotel (55th Street bet 5th and Madison). It’s cool, it’s romantic it’s old school, its jazz, its New York. Get soem genuine adult cocktails and squeeze the barkeep and the patrons for tips, as per above. the people there are so classy, they’d never steer you wrong or treat youa s inferiors, as might happen in a more “hip” place.


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