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Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

London, United...
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Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

Firstly, thankyou to all those who contribute to the forum and offer their advice and knowledge. It's only fair i do the same, although i must warn you all that i do tend to waffle and go off at tangents. I'll slowly be doing reviews of the various restaurants, places we visited and of course, the hotel we stayed at.

Two friends/travel buddies: 1 male, 1 female, very early 40's:-)

Sun 13th.

We arrived @ EWR about 2pm. After collecting our bags and making a quick diversion to the gents / restroom where i was somewhat bemused at the 'cultural' differences between the US & UK. Seeing loo doors starting so high off the ground with a nice 3/4 inch gap running down both sides certainly gave me food for thought. I never knew i could go 'that' fast.

By the time we got out of the terminal we'd already been asked twice if we needed a car, both times we said we'd rather get a yellow cab. Nipped over the street to the despatcher lady who gave us our ticket, unfortunately the shiney mini van got knicked by some old lady [ok ok, so she was there before us, but so what, hahah] and we got stuck with a taxi that looked like it had spent most of it's life being driven around Afghanistan. But what the cab lacked in looks and cleanliness it certainly made up for in speed. I'm not sure what the limit is on those particular roads but at one point i thought our driver was auditioning as the new Stig on Top Gear!

After checking-in at our hotel [Staybridge Suites] and getting a choice of 2 lousy rooms [we picked the best of the worst] we freshened up and hit the streets. I was surprised just how noisey New York streets are, although it was mostly due to taxi drivers randomly 'honking' at each other!

We had a table booked for 6pm @ Bryant Park Grill which was just a few blocks down the street, nice and easy to find on our first evening out in the Big Apple. I knew via TA that the ice rink was in full-flow but we weren't expecting all those cute little craft stalls to be there too. The BPG was very quiet when we arrived which was just what we needed after a long flight. The food was a bit hit and miss, well mine was, but the lovely waitress and the chap constantly filling our water glasses made up for it. Hey, we're British, easily pleased ... well i am. lol.

After a quick stroll past the stalls, the opening of my friends purse, plus an unexpected view of the Chrysler Building all lit up, it was back to the hotel for some rest .... or so we thought.

Edited: 24 November 2011, 21:42
UK
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1. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

I'm laughing already!

I have also stayed at Staybridge Suites and quite enjoyed it.

Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

>>...with a nice 3/4 inch gap running down both sides certainly gave me food for thought. <<

Yes. This! I also find this disconcerting.

Please continue writing, I am eager to read more of your observations. :-)

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

Great report so far. More please!

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

I can tell this is going to be a hoot!

Sparks, NV
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5. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

Look forward to hearing more. :)

London, United...
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6. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

Mon 14th.

At 6am sharp, after the worst nights sleep ever due to a terrible bed, the noise of a fridge and a thousand air-con units directly outside the window we hauled ourselves down to breakfast. By 07:30 we're on 9th Ave having hailed our first taxi and feeling chuffed and slightly surprised the 'finger in the air thing' actually works.

So off we headed down past Chelsea Piers towards Battery Park with our driver casually weaving from one lane to the other. We had the usual chit-chat. I remember asking him about those funny car parks on stilts and what their names were, to which he replied they were called 'parking garages.' Surely they have a cooler name than that? Do cars ever fall off?

Arrive at Battery Park just after 8am, first in the queue, feeling smug [snooze you loose]. As the crowds behind us built up a rather animated ranger stood on the ramp, next to the strip and search building, telling us all the rules and regs, his coffee in one hand whilst waving the other about wildly and nearly smacking a female co-worker in the face as she walked by. Boy did she look mad, hahah!

We decided to stay on the boat at SOL and get off at Ellis Island. The view of lower Manhattan was fantastic but i couldn't help wonder about the missing Twin Towers and those that died. Although Ellis has gotten rave reviews we found it all slightly underwhelming, maybe it was jet-lag or no sleep but very quickly we ended up in the deserted cafe seeking sustenance in chicken wraps and diet coke. As we tucked in a little bird fluttered around looking for scraps of food, he got none from us, we were starving.

Back at BP my friend had a pizza pretzel whilst we strolled past the ferry terminal and the heliports touters who were giving it the usual, ''i'm gonna do you a favour and knock 10% of the price, just for you,'' and i'm standing there thinking to myself, ''yeah, and when we get inside they'll add 15% back on.'' Needless to say we didn't bother. we walked up towards the Seaport, past those funny little chairs that face out to the river, bought a 'i heart NY t-shirt' which went straight in the bag. Apart from being dragged around some lingerie shop there wasn't that much to see at the Seaport, although we did get a few nice shots of the Brooklyn Bridge from the upstairs balcony.

Then it was up thru Wall Street, past all the Police, baracades, droning helicopters and protesters at Zuccotti Park and on towards the WTC. We were early for our 3:30 tickets so went down to a cafe on the corner of Rector and Greenwich. Just about to place my order when some random guy jumped in and said 'i'm ready, gimmie XYZ,' How rude, i know this is New York but patience and politeness cost nothing.

After queuing at WTC for what seemed an eternity, we finally got into the memorial. The pools were lovely but i couldn't help thinking the place seemed a little touristy, which is a strange thing to say as we were tourists ourselves??? An hour later we flagged a taxi back up to our hotel on 40th street. Got the driver from hell, we ended up getting out 1 block short as he just kept moaning about the traffic, kept rocking back and forth in his seat and chanting in Arabic.

Later, after freshening up we took our seats for the performance of Rent @ New World Stages. Great seats booked thru Broadwaybox. Rent seemed a little 'jazz hands' at first but i soon got into it, it was quite moving in parts. The ladies wore some rather interesting outfits, lol. Afterwards it was straight round the corner to Thalia for some grub. The place was half empty so decent service was guaranteed. The food was hit and miss [once again] but the absolute nutcase who went berserk outside on the street more than compensated. I've put more details in my review on TA. By this time it was getting late so it was time to get back to the hotel and start counting those sheep!!

Edited: 25 November 2011, 06:32
Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

I really can't understand the bad room and noise you got at the Staybridge Suites. I stayed there in October and thought the rooms were very quiet, well mine was (though I switched my a/c off overnight). And my bed was one of the best I have slept in anywhere. I had a King with View room. What a shame you got a dud room.

I'm enjoying reading your report though.

Australia
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8. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

Wow busy first day!!! I'm surprised you had to count sheep, I'd have just passed out! Laughed at the toilet story.... that was one thing I was amused at when we went... a loo is a loo is a loo, you'd think, but they're quite different there!!

I'm a bit confused about you saying "was hit and miss [once again] but the absolute nutcase who went berserk outside on the street more than compensated. I've put more details in my review on TA." I didn't see any review??

Looking forward to reading the rest.

London, United...
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9. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

Great review so far, can't wait to read more! I'm hearing you about the toilet doors, them gaps down the side! Need I say more...

New York City
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10. Re: Trip Report. Sun 13th - 20th Nov

What's with all the taxis? Did you never take the subway -- which would have been faster, easier, and cheaper?