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Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Galveston, Texas
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Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Background – 1st Trip, 8 days/7 nights. 40th Birthday Trip – 2 Mum’s and 3 Teenagers (17, 18, 18). Stayed at the Salisburys (Check out full review on My Reviews Page -- Only recently posted so might not be up yet).

Day 1 – Wednesday

Our flight was due to leave from Heathrow at 8:50am from T5 with BA. This was out first time flying with BA, and everything went smoothly no luggage lost -- Woohoo! We arrived at JFK around 11:30am local time, immigration was easy and the queue went quickly. Even though they have made the ESTA mandatory, we still had to fill in the green forms! -- Why?

We collect our luggage, and followed the signs towards the AirTrain, and boarded the Train to Jamaica. Once at the Jamaica Station we brought our tickets for AirTrain ($5 each), and our 7 day unlimited metrocards ($25 each for all subways and local buses – though we did manage to get on express buses!).

At Jamaica we boarded the E train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike; we had a bit of trouble getting our luggage through the ticket turnstiles/barriers, but we got them through! We transferred to the F train, and stayed on until 57th St.

The ride was easy and quick, and we would recommend to anyone, and only $7! FYI when you get on the subway remember whether you’re going uptown or downtown. When we boarded the E at Kew Gardens, we were just making our way down the stairs, and just rushed on to the train that was waiting at the platform. Then it jumped into my head is this the uptown or downtown, we needed the downtown. The locals piped in, and we quickly rushed off the train, and waited on the other side of the platform, before it departed – Phew!

As everyone is says the locals are so friendly, they are! We were dragging our luggage up the stairs and a nice man helped us get our luggage up. Throughout the week, we had many more encounters with locals helping us out, and generally just being friendly!

I will never forget our first sight of NYC, after hauling our luggage up the last lot of subway stairs. There it was New York City!!! It was amazing the vibe, the sounds, everything. We found our hotel (The Salisbury), not 2 minutes down the Street.

We checked into the hotel, had a fax waiting for us from the BAG’s. One of the Two Lifts was already broken when we arrived, the bellman took our bags and we may our way up to the 8th floor. The room was huge! -- Plenty of room for the 5 of us, we weren’t living on top of each other. The only real fault was only one bathroom, which for 5 girls can be a bit of a pain, but we managed. The beds were firm and very comfy, not what I was expecting. We had a little kitchenette, which worked well for teas and coffees in the morning and the evening. The hotel had a subway station at either end of the St, very convenient. We never tried the $4 breakfast the hotel offered.

It was about 2pm now, so we dumped our bags, freshen up and headed out, to check out the sights of Midtown.

More to come soon WATCH THIS SPACE…

Texas
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1. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Emma I can't believe this is your first trip! You have frequently offered advice and directions to posters such as myself over the course of the last few months. I was under the impression you were a frequent visitor to NYC.

Were the travelers in your group your Mom and your daughters? Did you get a good rate on the Salisbury?

I can't wait to hear all about your stay, so I'll definitely stay tuned..... :D

Queens, New York
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2. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

"Then it jumped into my head is this the uptown or downtown, we needed the downtown. The locals piped in, and we quickly rushed off the train..."

Not only are we friendly and helpful, we're also psychic! ;o)

I also keep forgetting this is your first visit, emmaxoxo! I'm so glad you're giving us a trip report! Looking forward to next chapter.

Galveston, Texas
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3. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Thanks guys!

>>>Were the travelers in your group your Mom and your daughters?<<<

No, I'm one of the daughters, the 18yr old to be exact. It was me and my mum, her best friend who's 40th it was, and her two daughters.

>>>Did you get a good rate on the Salisbury?<<<

I booked our hotel and flight and as package deal, before I knew about TA, and Quikbook etc... But I still think we got a good deal, as we paid all in GBP it's works out about $165 USD a night for a 1bedroom suite at the Salisburys.

Galveston, Texas
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4. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Day 1 – Wednesday Continued…

We headed out the Hotel, and made our way downtown on 6th Ave, we were right old tourists with “OMG”’s “Look at that!”, and heads constantly up in the air. Just turning the corner you could straight away see Radio City Music Hall, we couldn’t believe how close we were to everything.

We decided to go up to ToTR and there was no queue, I loved the staircase on the way up to the ticket desk. We used the $3 off coupons that have been active on this forum recently, and saved ourselves $15! We made our way up the evaluator, liked the little show they had on it, gave it something different that the ESB didn’t have.

Wow, the view once you get to the top is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I loved the Central Park side, it would look even better when the trees have all bloomed. It was cold and windy on top, we warmed up in the foyer bit, and went back outside on the ESB side, loved it! We were trying to guess all the different buildings. We were up there for round about an 1hr, and made our way back down and went into St Patrick’s Cathedral.

St Pat’s – I didn’t realise how big the Cathedral was, it’s huge. I feel quite rude being in there, with people praying. I was wondering how back in the day people actually heard what the Priest was saying, without all the plasma TV’s and sound systems. Our friends though their church was high-tech, with their PowerPoint Presentations they did.

We saw Saks next door, but we never ventured in, and carried on downtown to Grand Central Terminal (I think this was my favourite place, we went 3 times during our stay!) The architecture is remarkable, we checked out the Whispering Concourse and I was surprised it actually worked!

After a brief stop, at GCT for a rest and drinks, we went on to NY Public Library, once in there we got constant commentary, about SaTC scenes, we walked round to Bryant Park. BP feel like such as secluded place to rest and relax.

Off to Times Square now, we had decided to eat at the Hard Rock Café (My mission to get a tee shirt from them all, so far 5 down, about another 100 so or more to go). We have all access passes for HRC, which gives us priority seating, it’s was about a 3hr wait, but we only had to wait 30mins. From this dinner we learnt that with 5 of us, most of the time it would be 1 person sitting at the end of a 4 person table.

Anyways Dinner was good, your usual HR affair, one of the few places in NY you can actually get free refills on your soda, and Mountain Dew. I love myself some Dew! After Dinner, we made our way up Broadway, checking out some of the shops.

We had an incredible 1st day, and were surprised we got soo much done. It had been a long day, but all the excitement had kept us awake, we had been up since 5am London Time.

Next Day – Downtown WATCH THIS SPACE….

New York City
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5. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Hi emmaxoxo,

Love your writing and observations. Even after 64 years of living in NYC I still look around in amazement, relax in Bryant Park when nearby and still enjoy playing tourist. Come back soon when everything is in bloom !!! Sounds like you had a great time here.

Stoke-on-Trent...
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6. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

good trip report look fowward to rest. we are there in october!

London
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7. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Great trip report so far! Im looking forward to reading the rest!!

Texas
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8. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Emma, I'm amazed that you are only 18 years old. You are obviously an intelligent, well organized, and confident young lady! (I'm amazed that you were able to plan such a delightful trip.) My 18 year old step daughter while intelligent and organized doesn't have near your confidence. This is an attribute that will serve as an asset to you your entire life! Okay, the "Mom" moment is over. LOL

I really enjoyed your trip report. I too am excited about spending some time in GCT.

Looking forward to the next chapter!

Galveston, Texas
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9. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Day 2 – Thursday

We were up early today around 7:15am it was, we all showered etc… only took us 1hr45 for the 5 of. Then we headed out looking for a place for breakfast, I had a few spots on my list, and we chose Café Europa.

We enjoyed this restaurant we were promptly seated (again 5 on table for 4 – surprise!) I had an egg and cheese roll w/ bacon, which become a common choice for myself for breakfast. This roll was HUGE though, and filled us up for the rest of the day.

After breakfast, we made our way onto the subway to the SI Ferry. I didn’t realise as soon as you exited the subway station there in front was the entrance for the ferry, with the giant “Staten Island Ferry” lettering, and the mass of commuters coming towards you, we weren’t sure if we were going the right way. But it turns out a ferry had just docked, and that was everyone getting off. So we were able to board the ferry straight away. Again I didn’t apprehend the amount of people/tourists who would be on the ferry, it was packed!!

At first we just stood inside looking out the window, as the balcony area looked too full, but then some lovely people decide instead of sitting of the bench, they would sit on the top rim of the bench. Therefore we could see NOTHING! So we ventured outside, the ride was lovely and well really quick actually. It was a great way to start the day; the sun was attempting to come out as well!

We the made our way through Battery Park, we got our photo taken with one of those SoL humans (I don’t know what to call them), as we thought it was free! Turns out our goofy photo cost us $5. Never mind.

There were quite a lot of men in the park, trying to sell you fake designer bags that they stored in large sacks. I didn’t think that the park would allow this, especially when there was a policeman on horse just a little further down. It was probably around 10ish now, and there was a enormous queue in the park, that went all round it, which I must presume was for the ferries to Ellis Island and Lady Liberty.

We found the Charging Bull and I was quite surprised that more people were taking photos at his head rather than the other end! We got to Wall St afterwards and checked out Federal Hall, NYSE and Tiffany’s (We preferred this location to the 5th Ave one). We checked out Trinity Church, but a service was going on, so we didn’t go in even though some people did.

We were in need of a rest and a coffee, the first two places we went into didn’t have any tables for us to sit at, but 3rd times a charm we ended up at Café Taz. I was an alright place for a stop, busy with workers on their lunch break as it was 1-2ish.

After resting our poor, tired feet we went to the WTC; I couldn’t believe how big the buildings must have been, we went and paid our respects at St Paul’s Chapel. We decided to check out Century 21, well that was a mistake. I hated it in there it was like a meat market, we decided to go check out the shoes – that was a trek and a half. We didn’t find anything, we check out the make-up counters, and the assistants were really pushing the gift sets, and not very helpful or friendly at all.

We were getting a bit grumpy now and in need of food, we walked through the City Hall area. And decided to eat in Chinatown, all the restaurants were pretty dead, as it was about 3:30 now. We decided to go in this one restaurant I can’t remember the name it was Vietnamese and had a Zagat rating on the door, so I thought it must be alright. I wanted to get to Amazing 66 or New Green Bo, but we couldn’t be bothered to walk anymore.

When we went in there was only one other group eating in there, and all the staff were eating too. The food was alright I didn’t really like it, but the others seem to have enjoyed it. We never really explored Chinatown which I’m disappointed about, as I would have like to see more of it. We decided to go and collect our tickets for Wicked from the Will Call box, and just have a rest.

We all really enjoyed Wicked, I would recommend it to anyone. Our seats were on the right back row to the left, they weren’t bad actually I don’t think we missed anything. Well we wouldn’t know if we did miss anything!

Overall we have a really good day, but I think we did too much and we were knackered for pretty much the rest of the trip, and were constantly in need of rests for drinks.

As usual WATCH THIS SPACE more coming soon…

Texas
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10. Re: Trip Report 8-15 April 09

Another fine post Emma. I was interested in hearing how long the line was for the Ellis Island/SOL ferry. We too are booked in on a Thursday. I was planning on eating a "big" breakfast prior to departure, but maybe we should skip that and get in line immediately instead. As always, I'm enjoying your report.

Continue please. :D