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Trip is over! Here's the report....

Gloucester...
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Trip is over! Here's the report....

After months of planning, daily reading here, many questions asked/answered - The Trip is Over!

This was a traditional trip. I have 4 children, when they turn 11yrs they get to go to NYC with Mom. This is my third child. He has been anxioulsy awaiting his turn! It did not disappoint!

We came in on Amtrak at 10:20 am Thursday.

Stepped outside Penn Station and there was our hotel. Hotel New Yorker. I was a tiny bit nervous, having read both bad and good reviews. I chose this hotel for 2 reasons, price and location. I wanted something near Penn Station/MSG. One comment I hear a lot given to planners is that it doesn't matter where your hotel is, you can get a subway anywhere. I have to say, being so close to PS/MSG was great for us. We dropped off and picked up bags with ease, never having to schlep very far. Also, having such a landmark as "home base" made it easy to get back from wherever we were. Price was around $200/night including taxes. Room was small but sufficient, bathroom was fine... I heard people had problems with water pressure, but not us, it was perfect. $10 extra per night gave us a room on the 35th floor with an amazing view of the ESB. All employees we ran into were pleasant enough. I would stay at this hotel again in a heartbeat! Tick Tock diner downstairs had good, basic, relatively cheap food 24hrs/day. Waffles were a hit with my son!

We dropped our bags, had our first meal at Tick Tock then headed to HOHO. My review of this bus tour is as follows: It cost $100 for me and my son. 48hour, uptown/downtown/night time. We used it day one to go from TS area to Downtown. We did the Uptown run day 3. We had only one night free, I really wanted to do the night tour, but it was rainy and foggy so we skipped it. It's a great way to see the city while sitting down. This was important to us on day 3 as our feet were KILLING US! I also really really enjoy the narrative.... we had great tour guides each time. You really hear a lot of history and tidbits of info that you wouldn't otherwise hear. The Uptown tour was my favorite, really brought you all around places you (I) wouldn't normally go.... lots of interesting info in Harlem, Museum Mile... nice to see (at least the outside) of Central Park. As the regulars say, I wouldn't use this for transpo, you could, but it's not a good use of your time. Do the loops, get a bit familiar with it all, then go off on your own, walking or subway.

While Downtown we did:

Walked through Battery Park to SIF - nice park, good views of SOL... bought a churro from a vendor... these are our favorite things to get in Disney World... but this one was NASTY! We had fun feeding the squirrels and pigeons though! :)

Staten Island Ferry - drizzly, rainy, foggy. Not ideal. We are troopers though, so we donned our rain jackets and planted our feet on the outside deck. Windy and cold! But what an experience! We saw Lady Liberty and the skyline through the fog. Hopped off and hopped back on for return trip to Manhattan.

911 - breathtaking, emotional, peaceful.

The survivor tree is an amazing thing to see and feel.

The fountains are ... breathtaking.

The Freedom Tower is just awe inspiring.

America definetly Rocks. And NYC is the heart of it all.

Great conversation with my son while there....

The Subway!

If any of you have been reading my posts during planning you will know that this was a mission for me. I have been to NYC a half dozen times and never ventured down. This trip was the one we would master this mode of transportation! And we did! All I can say is Duh… why did I wait so long! It was big and confusing, yes… but totally doable, quick, cheap and yes, even fun! We had great entertainment while on board a few times… singers and guitar players and a couple of young guys doing amazing breakdancing with pounding tunes! My son loved it and is convinced when he grows up he will live in NYC and be a Subway Superstar!  All you have to do is stand in one place looking lost and people will offer their expertise! Honestly after day one I stopped bringing all my google maps and just depended on the kindness of NY’ers to show us the way. So many helpful people! I read here on a post, someone said… NY’ers are know-it-alls… we love to show off how smart we are. True that. And it’s much appreciated NY’ers, keep the help coming!

We were pretty tired by this time and decided to go back to the hotel for an early night. We stopped at a corner $1 slice pizza place – pretty yucky, but they had hot dog pizza and that made my strange garbage disposal of a son happy.  While there a gentlemen was trying to give away Broadway tix…. I’m KICKING myself for not taking them. I wanted to have an early night as we had been up since 4am and needed to get an early start the next day. I wasn’t familiar with the show when he mentioned it but have since decided I really would love to see it! Voca-people… I saw an ad that says it’s “Blue Man Group meets Glee”. RIGHT up my alley! I’m so bummed, I was stupid to not just grab them! Oh well… what can you do.

So back to the hotel for us. We grabbed a couple slices of cake from Tick Tock to eat while watching TV. Funny, this was our first night and I looked out the window at our view and was a bit confused… I was certain we could see ESB from here, but nope, couldn’t see it at all. Imagine my surprise the next morning, when it was clear, that YES, it IS the ESB outside our window! Amazing how the fog made it impossible to see just a few blocks away!

Day 2 coming up!

Edmonton, Canada
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1. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

Great start to your report! Sounds like so much fun - glad you conquered the subway. Looking forward to reading more.

London
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2. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

wow what a great day 1!!! Thanks fr that.

Gloucester...
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3. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

Day 2 - Bright and Early!

Up and out of the hotel at 7am.

We went to Subway, a couple doors down from our hotel. They had a buy one get one free before 9am. We were doing cheap eats, so this was perfect. Ate while we walked.

Headed to TOTR - stopped for a few at the Today Show, got to see Al... which meant nothing to the kid. :) He was impressed a bit by the set up though, seeing the cameras and stuff. I will put the show on one of these days at home so he can see what he saw.

Went into Nintendo World, which was cool, we played the new 3D DS for awhile and checked out all the neat stuff.

Stopped in the NBC store, which, again, meant nothing to the kid as he's strictly a Nickelodeon child.

Spend a bit of time in the Lego store, cool again.

The Space Shuttle was due to fly by TOTR this morning and I thought it would be great to see it, but we didn't stay up there waiting for it. It was a bit cold and very windy. The sights are amazing, expecially Central Park. The block of green in the concrete jungle. Took our pictures and down we went.

Walked to M&M and Hershey store, this impressed the kid no end! Bought our chocolate and took a bunch of pictures with the cool stuff that I would not spend the money on. Like the Worlds Biggest Gummy Worm that it took 2 hands to hold and cost $40! Not happening. Taking pictures of things worked out pretty good. Didn't need to spend the money but still had something to bring home. I did this quite a bit in some of the expensive stores.

One of the places I wanted to eat was Shake Shack and this was on the way back to the hotel so we stopped. Definetly good burgers and not too pricey.

We stopped back at the hotel to rest for a bit.... by this time our feet were KILLING US! We must of walked 10 miles these three days! Even the boy was pooped!

We headed out again to hit Central Park Zoo. The Concierge at the hotel gave us subway directions, but I think she may have misunderstood.... she got us to Central Park, but not the closest stop to the zoo. No worries, the bike taxi was willing to give us a guided ride for a mere $30. Expensive, but one of the things I wanted to do. The boy loved it, we got to see some sites and rest our feet again.

The Zoo was fun. Small, but that's all we needed at this point. Sea Lions were funny and playful, we loved the penguins, polar bear was cool.... and the monkeys were entertaining. The best part for us was the petting zoo. My son loves animals and getting to feed and touch was awesome. We spent a good 1/2 hour here.

Back on the subway to the hotel to get ready for Blue Man Group!

Blue Man Group was, as always, an awesome show! I did this show with both other kids and continue to enjoy it! The boy has been asking for weeks "what's it about? What's it like? What do they do?" I just kept telling him, "can't explain it, it's something you have to see." After the show I asked him, so, tell me what it's about? He said.... "I don't know Mom, I can't explain, it's loud and it's funny and it's rocking!" About sums it up!

We were exhausted by then, back to the hotel to sleep.

Final Day coming up!

UK
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4. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

sounds like you had a great time, but does the boy have a name????

Gloucester...
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5. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

:)

Daniel. The boys name is Daniel.

Final Day

We tried to sleep in a bit today, no big plans, just gonna wing it.

We were both up and ready to get out by 10am.

I decided, since we'd only taken part of the Downtown tour on the HOHO bus, that we would do the Uptown portion today. I spent $100 on it, I was determined to use it. Plus our feet were still pretty sore at this point, so it was a way to see lots of stuff with very little walking.

We got on at the very first stop and rode it till the very last. About 2 hours. This tour was awesome as far as info and sites, though Daniel was pretty bored with most of the history. We saw the Plaza from Home Alone, The Dakota, Jackie O's place, Museum Mile, some pretty cool history in Harlem, like the Hotel that Fidel Castro was banished to from the Astoria after it was found that he had live chickens in his suite. Apparently he didn't trust the food in America, he thought we were going to poison him. Seriously. Entertaining info. :)

We got off in TS and walked allllll the way back to FAO Swartz. We should of gotten off the bus closer to there, but no biggie. We loved walking, being part of the mass of humans, seeing all the different stores. An amazing experience for such provential peeps. :)

FAO was super cool, loved all the toys, another Lego area with lots of statues, amazing candy section, honestly, save your bucks, your gonna want it all! ... plus THE BIG PIANO! We timed it just right apparently as Daniel was one of the last group allowed on the play before the "show". 2 young girls that work at FAO did 3-4 songs while "playing" the piano. They were very entertaining and talented as they glided across the keys making the best music! It was definetly a high light! I suggest it as a must do if you get the chance.

After this is was time to head back to the hotel to pick up our bags and get to Penn Station. Of course we were not looking forward to the long walk SO I found a bus stop. Yep, not only did we master the NYC subway station, but we also got on a Metro bus. Took us almost to the front door of the hotel. Easy Peezy! LOVE NYC transpo! I'm now a believer! :)

It was a big hockey weekend at MSG and as we walked by from bus stop to hotel there was some outdoor concert or something going on, couldn't see it, but we could hear it for the 2 blocks we walked. I Love Rock and Roll, loud and crazy with all the fans dancing in the street. Perfect end to a perfect trip.

Hopped on the train and home we headed. Sad to leave, but exhausted and fullfilled by all we saw and did.

It's funny, when we were at South Station in Boston getting on the train I told Daniel to look at all the big buildings, I told him NY would be bigger... it was hard for him to believe. When we got home to SS, waiting for the cab outside, he looked around at the buildings and said... Mom, these are not tall at all! Ah yes, a new perspective to his world. My work here is done.

:)

Hope you all enjoyed the report, hope you get a little something out of it.

Please ask me questions... I almost feel like a NY'er - I know it all!

Thanx

Kath

ontario canada
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6. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

Sounds like a wonder mother son trip!!!

Headed back in a month wish I could bring my son along too. I know he would love it. Probably not keep up like your son did!! Good for him!

Gloucester...
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7. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

Ya, it was exhausting... my son is not a couch potato either... he plays football and basketball and is always out on the street playing hockey, but man the walking you do! Without even knowing your doing it....

I wish I had brought a pedometer.. it would of been interesting to see just how many steps we actually took!

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

new yorkers are really the most helpful people, it is amazing! glad to hear the subway went so well, and you guys enjoyed it so much!

Edited: 01 May 2012, 05:05
Park Forest, IL
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9. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

What time was the show by the employees at FAO? Thanks

Gloucester...
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10. Re: Trip is over! Here's the report....

OMG can't tell you the time... but I think it's probably every 1/2 hour or so.

When you get into the Big Piano section of FAO there is a "booth" a check out counter... they can tell you for sure when the next show is.