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....
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!