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DETAILS: The Manhattan of 'Mad Men'

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

GETTING THERE: Amtrak operates multiple trains daily between Union Station and New York's Penn Station. Advance-purchase fares can be as low as $49 each way (800-872-7245, http://www.amtrak.com).

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STAYING THERE: With the average price of a room now hovering at about $350 a night, booking Manhattan hotel rooms is not for the faint of heart. We found rooms at the Roosevelt Hotel (45 E. 45th St., 888-833-3969, http://www.theroosevelthotel.com) for as low as $195 a night, although you could easily pay twice that or more during busy periods. One new budget option is the Jane Hotel (113 Jane St., 212-924-6700, http://www.thejanenyc.com) in the West Village, where an unbelievably small room (50 square feet) with one single bed (shared bath down the hall) goes for $99.

EATING/DRINKING THERE: Just off the Roosevelt's glittering lobby, the Madison Club Lounge is great for a pre-show drink or late-night cocktail. Not far away is the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal (212-490-6650), where a platter of eight oysters on the half shell goes for about $18 (depending on the market) and a pint of Blue Point lager is $6.50. Reservations are strongly recommended at Sardi's (234 W. 44th St., 212-221-8440), especially for pre-theater dining. They've been serving the cannelloni au gratin ($25.75) -- a crepe stuffed with beef, veal and pork and topped with a tomato cream sauce -- for decades. P.J. Clarke's has three locations ( http://www.pjclarkes.com). I visited the original at 915 Third Ave. (212-317-1616) and had a great corned beef Reuben ($12.90) with a cone of shoestring fries ($4.30). In Greenwich Village, the Esperanto Cafe (114 MacDougal St.) is open 24 hours and makes for a great breakfast spot. Grab a fresh cherry Danish ($3) and a window seat for a glimpse of what remains of la vie de boheme. Just across the street is Cafe Wha? (115 MacDougal St., 212-254-3706), a nightclub that dates to the '50s and was once a Bob Dylan haunt.

WHAT TO DO: In addition to bars and restaurants, New York has no shortage of thrift shops and vintage stores. Cheap Jack's (303 Fifth Ave., 212-777-9564) is convenient to Times Square and other tourist attractions. Women in the market for something new but "Mad Men"-inspired can visit the flagship Michael Kors boutique on the Upper East Side (974 Madison Ave., 212-452-4685) or any of several department stores that carry the designer's line. Through Feb. 22, Daniel Radcliffe stars in "Equus" at the Broadhurst Theater (235 W. 44th St., 212-239-6200). And the ghosts of the Stork Club tread lightly at tiny Paley Park (3 E. 53rd St.), where a waterfall bubbles amid the skyscraper bustle of midtown.

INFORMATION: NYC & Company, http://www.nycvisit.com.

-- S.V.


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