Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New York City Trip

Time to get all caught up again.

Terry and I spent the long weekend in NYC for some serious sightseeing. Here are some pictures from our little adventure... I will write separate posts about the food and the hotel in order for me have a record of it and might is helpful if you are planning a trip to NYC.

Day 1
1. From the plane 2. The Battery
3. Statue of Liberty 4. Manhatten from Ellis Island

Last Friday, we hopped on a plane in Charlotte and hopped off at JFK. After spending way too much money for a cab to get from the airport to the hotel in Brooklyn, we were done with cabs for the weekend and used the Subway (more on the also in a separate post). At the hotel, we just threw our bags into the room and then headed out again to start the sightseeing trip.

This was my third time in New York, but  my previous two visits are around five years ago and I forgot a lot... It was also Terry's first time in the city and so we did a lot of the regular touristy things.

Since it was already after 2pm when we got to the hotel, we decided to do Statue of Liberty/ Ellis Island right away, because it sounded like it would fit in easily before dinner and it did. We boarded the boat to the Statue of Liberty and after that, caught the last boat that dropped off visitors at Ellis Island.... While our stop at the SoL was fairly short (the best photo opps are from the boat anyways), we took a little more time on Ellis Island. Wandered through the registration room and the museum in the back rooms.

After getting back on the other island (Manhatten that is) we were hungry and made our way back to Brooklyn, were we had a Groupon for a Caribbean restaurant. After dinner, we took the scenic route to the next Subway station (read: totally got lost) and saw some neat neighborhoods with nice bars and restaurants... Unfortunately, we already had dinner and quite honestly, were just completely wiped.

I think I passed out the moment my head hit the pillow.

Day 2
1. Subway Station 2. Times Square
3. Flat Iron Building 4. Hershey's at Times Square

We got up bright and early and raided the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then crawled back into bed (it's vacation after all), but not for too long, because we were on a sightseeing mission - remember?

Our first order of business was to find a Bank of America for some cash... I was a little surprised at how many places (especially restaurants), it was only possible to pay cash. Our second order of business was to get tickets for one of the city's sightseeing busses (hop on/ hop off) with guides. We went with CitySights, because their 48-hour ticket seemed to be a better deal over the 48-hour ticket from Gray Line. If you need a 72-hour ticket, I recommend Gray Line with the 3 attraction package... Best bang for the buck. The bus route is the same for both, but Gray Line seemed to have more busses on the road, but the wait times were not too bad for us.

We started out with the downtown loop: Time Square, Empire State Building, Flat Iron District, Greenwich Village and then got off at the World Trade Center Site. We made a quick stop there to take some pictures and see the plans mounted to the construction fence. After that, we walked to Chinatown while passing City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. We got there around lunch time and hit up a local place for some grub. Chinatown was PACKED! The sidewalks are not that wide and then add all the vendors that put parts of their merchandise (produce, livestock) on the sidewalk and then all the people... It was quite overwhelming. After we fought our way through Chinatown, we made a stroll through Little Italy, trying to pick up the bus again on it's way back to Times Square. Back on the bus, we saw East Village, the United Nations Building and Rockefeller Plaza/ Center.... And the German Embassy, even if our guide missed to point that one out! ;-)

The plan was to be back at Times Square around 3pm in order to get (discounted) tickets for a show that evening. We got there a smidge after 3pm and the line was crazy! After standing in line for almost an hour, we got our hands on two Stomp tickets! SWEET!

We had plenty of time left before the show started, so we decided to make a stop at the Rockefeller Center just to have a look around and to get some shopping in. For food, we headed back downtown close to the theater, so we wouldn't be rushed with dinner. We ended up at a tiny little Italian place in NoHo and really enjoyed dinner and after that, we really enjoyed the show as well. Can only recommend it. I don't think you can do wrong with any shows in NYC (on and off Broadway), it just depends on what's your taste. When you travel with a dude that isn't much into musicals, Stomp was the way to go! If we hadn't gotten tickets for that, Blue Man Group would have been next on the list.

We got back to the hotel at an ungodly hour for us senior citizens, especially after a day on our feet. I fell asleep right after my head hit the pillow... Okay okay, enough with the lies... There were chicken nuggets and pringles and beer... We had an early dinner and all that walking around all day made us HUNGRY!

Day 3
1. Best Buddies Friendship Bear in front of Time Warner Center
2. Peace Fountain, Church of St. John the Divine
3. Duke Ellington Statue, Harlem 4. Manhatten Bridge

We once again took the early shift at the breakfast buffet and then took it easy for a little while before heading back out.

On tap for Sunday was the Uptown Loop (Time Warner Center, Central Park, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, Frick Collection, Apollo Theater, Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, and Harlem Market). The first portion of the Uptown Loop is also Time Square, so we decided to dodge the traffic and ride the Subway out to Columbus Circle. Before we hopped on the bus, we also made a quick stroll through the Time Warner Center... Very nice bathrooms by the way.

The Uptown Loop is a little more relaxing than the Downtown Loop. You also pass through a ton of residential areas and all the guide has as content around these parts... Jerry Seinfeld has an apartment here etc. It's still really nice to see, but we got kind of baked on the bus, so we were glad to hop off at the south end of Central Park again (on the opposite corner of Columbus Circle). It was lunchtime and there were street vendors, so we had a lunch of halal and pretzel.

As part of our 48-hour ticket came a harbour cruise and that was our next stop. The pier was off the beaten path in an industrial area and while there were shuttles to take you out there, we walked, but then decided to take the shuttle back in. I wasn't sure about this harbour cruise thing, especially, since we already did Statue of Liberty on the first day, but it turned out to be one of my favorite tours (maybe ever) and there was much more to see on top of SoL. The guide was informative and funny and had a couple of really good stories sprinkled in throughout the 90 minute tour.... Also, great photo opps!!!

After the shuttle dropped us off close to Penn Station we arrived at the "Shopping Segment" of the trip, but cut it way short... We were tired and hungry, so we headed back to Brooklyn for our last dinner in the city for the trip and some sleep. We really hit the jackpot at that last dinner place: more to come on that!

Day 4

Travel Day.... Long travel day.

We already started talking about the next NYC trip and what we are going to do then, since we got all of the touristy sightseeing out of the way... It won't be for a while, but I am sure, we'll be back.



  1. I'd love to go to NYC again! I got to visit for a few short hours when I was a freshman in college - I was in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with my college marching band. Our trip basically revolved around the parade & I didn't have any time to explore. We did go to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island though.

    My husband has never been to NYC so hopefully someday we'll be able to make a trip!

  2. Aw man. I should've given you our leftover Metro card.

    I think JFK is further out than LGA? I think our cab from LGA to Manhattan (we usually stay near times square) was about $30-35, not too bad. But in general the subway has never been bad in my experience....

    I like that you took advantage of some local groupons! We actually came across a restaurant that was AMEX only. Weird, cause usually that's discriminated against.

    You guys sure did a lot!! At least you didn't have to drive home :)