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Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Cardiff
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Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

We recently returned from our first trip to New York. To give a bit of background we are a married couple from the UK in our early 30s. I didn't ask many questions on the forum but I read it every day and found a lot of info.

Wednesday - we took a Delta / KLM codeshare flight from our local airport with a 2 hour lay over in Amsterdam. The flight and connections were fine. I was a bit worried about our luggage making the connection but no problems there. The Delta flight reminded me a lot of the now defunct Zoom airlines if anyone on here remembers them i.e. no frills but otherwise fine. We were only slightly late arriving at JFK and we got through customs in around 30 minutes. It was pretty funny when the official thought my hubby was born in Thailand....Bangor Wales does not equal Bangkok Thailand!! We took the airtrain and subway and finally arrived at our hotel around 5 pm. We got a bit lost when we came out of Canal St. station but a friendly local stopped to help us (typical of many people we met on our trip). We were staying at the Hampton Inn SoHo (a recommendation by NYwhiz) which turned out to be a great choice. I'll write a full review later but free WiFi, breakfast and complimentary tea/coffee and cookies were bonuses. We were tired when we arrived so we unpacked, nipped around the corner to the Vandam diner for a bite to eat, then had an early night.

Thursday - we were awake early so after breakfast we bought our 7 day metrocards and headed uptown to the Intrepid museum. We had booked on the Concorde tour which worked out well as the weather was miserable. We would highly recommend the tour, as well as the museum and hubby loved it too. After we had finished up at the museum the weather had cleared up, so we grabbed a hot dog then went for a stroll around midtown, taking in Times Square, Rockerfeller, St Patrick's cathedral, library, Grand Central, Macys and ESB. We were going to go up TOTR but the guy on the door said leave it until another day as the visibility was poor. We headed back to the hotel for a rest. That evening we ate out in an Italian restaurant, Aurora, which was a short walk from the hotel. We had good food and there was a nice cosy atmosphere.

Friday - we headed downtown this time to lower Manhattan as we had 10 am tickets for the 9/11 memorial. Most people there were respectful although there were a few groups of tourists who were giggling and posing for group shots which I hate. We had a bit of time before our 1 pm statue cruise so we visited St Paul's Chapel which wad incredibly moving. It really brought home the personal loss, with the photos, the fireman's boots etc. We stayed there a while to reflect before wandering down Wall St, past the Federal building, the bull, Bowling Green, then we grabbed a quick lunch at Cafe Deli Plaza near Battery Park. It didn't take too long to get through security before boarding the ferry. We didn't bother getting off the boat at Liberty Island, we took a few photos from the boat, instead we went straight to Ellis Island which was fascinating. I never knew 'the sound of music' was a true story! After arriving back at Battery Park and watching an impromptu dance show we headed back to the hotel for a rest.

That evening we had a reservation at Tribeca Grill, again we walked there from the hotel. Both the food and service were excellent and the wine list wad amazing. I couldn't quite finish my main but I was saving room for desert.

To be continued...

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

I'm planning a trip to NY city. Your post is interesting. Can't wait to hear more.

Cardiff
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2. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Saturday - this was a sort of "finishing up" day to visit the rest of the places on our hit list. We took the subway to Grand Central again to see the Chrysler which we somehow managed to miss on Thursday. We then headed over to 5th Avenue for a browse around FAO Schwartz (the big piano) and Tiffanys. Sadly hubby wasn't forthcoming in buying me a gift! We hopped back on the subway uptown and strolled past the Guggenheim and the Met before cutting across Central Park. We saw the lake, Bethesda fountain and Strawberry Fields and we had a quick snack at the Pain Quotidien stand. I have to admit I wasn't overly keen on the park but I appreciate it's probably nicer in Spring or Summer. We took the subway back to midtown where we shared a well deserved slice of Juniors original cheesecake before heading back to the hotel.

That evening we walked to Greenwich Village. We ate at Surya, an Indian restaurant on Bleecker St. The food was very good although there wasn't much atmosphere. We decided to go for drinks, we tried the Duplex piano bar first but it was crammed full so we carried on down Bleecker. We went to the Red Lion pub where they had live music playing. I had a Bubblicious cocktail, hubby tried the Brooklyn Beer. We stayed here for a while as we were enjoying the band. We headed home via Bar 89 where we stopped for another cocktail. It was amusing being asked to show I'D to get bars since we're the wrong side of 30 these days!

Tbc

Netherlands
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3. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Nice read, looking forward to the next bit...^_^

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Sounds like a great trip that was very well planned. You managed to cover a lot of ground in a short time. How did you pick your restaurants?

Cardiff
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5. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Final part of trip report:

Sunday - our mission this morning was to get a photo of Joey Ramone Place for my cousin. He's a huge Ramones fan but has never been to NYC, so he said we had to go on his behalf. We managed to find it and felt like we had a good tour of the area on the way. This area (Little Italy? East Village?) looked grittier than West Village/Soho. After having my photo taken under the sign we were were headed to Union Square to meet for the 'Slice of Brooklyn' pizza tour at 11am. Unfortunately the Bleecker St station was closed that day so we ended up walking as it was a nice day and we had of time. We were glad when the bus arrived so we could rest our legs! The tour was great, it was really interesting to see another borough and there were some locals on the tour which is always a good sign. We stopped at a few places so we could take photos back across to Manhattan and they pointed out various movie locations. We had tons of pizza and soft drinks at Grimaldi's and L&B, we didn't eat for the rest of the day! We stopped off for a stroll along Coney Island boardwalk before heading back via Brighton Beach. Our guide Paula was excellent, she knew everything about Brooklyn and was telling us the latest installment of the Grimaldi pizza saga, with the new pizzeria Juliana's due to open right next door to Grimaldi's.

The tour dropped us back at Union Square at 3.30pm. It was the first clear day we'd had and since we had pre-booked ESB tickets we decided to head up there. The guys in the street were trying to sell us express tickets but I'd read about them on TA so we knew not to. There was no queue whatsoever at ESB, we went straight to security and there were maybe 3 others waiting for the lift with us. We were glad we did it, we didn't want to miss something so iconic.

We were running late by the time we got back to the hotel, so we literally had time for a quick change before going out again, as we had tickets for Rock of Ages. We both loved the show, the music was great and it was so funny. We would highly recommend it. Afterwards we decided to walk to TOTR. Again there was no queue and a handful of other people up top. I was glad we did this at night as there was a great view of ESB lit up and World Trade Center One a bit further back. A lovely way to finish up.

Monday - time to return home. We took the subway to Penn Station and the NJ transit to Newark which was easy. Again we were flying Delta/KLM. Flight and connections were fine, the tv screen near us wasn't't working but we weren't too concerned as we wanted to try and get some sleep. One thing I will say is that I've never come across such miserable (sometimes rude) cabin crew as we did on that Delta flight home. We mainly fly on budget airlines so we don't have particularly high expectations but the staff are usually cheerful at least.

All in all we had a fantastic trip. The best advice we had was to buy the metrocard, we covered loads of ground. We only took a few wrong trains but that was all part of the fun, such as getting on the wrong direction at Bowling Green and ending up in Brooklyn! We also found the people to be really friendly and courteous everywhere we went. I would advise against too strict an itinerary, you have to be prepared to switch plans according to the weather, no point going up ESB if you can't see anything or traipsing through Central Park in the rain.

There were things we would have liked to have done but either they were booked up months ahead or we didn't have time, these were:

Explore Upper West Side

Federal bank gold vault tour

Sleep No More

Spend more evenings in Greenwich Village

South Street Seaport

Visit some of the museums

Cardiff
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6. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Thanks nywhiz. I found a few threads on here which listed loads of bars and restaurants in Soho and Greenwich Village, so we took a list with us. We walked past Aurora when we took a wrong turn out of a subway station and it was actually really close to our hotel so we went back that evening. We liked the sound of Tribeca Grill so we reserved on Open Table. I loved hubby's description of it "it's like TGI Friday's multiplied by 4!" We knew we wanted to spend Saturday evening in the Village so we chose a place from our list. There were so many other places we would have liked to try but just didn't have time.

Durban, South Africa
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7. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Really enjoyed the report, it was interesting.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Wonderful trip. Leaves you lots to do next time. ;)

Belfast, United...
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9. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

Wonderful report, thanks for sharing :-)

10. Re: Trip report 29 th February - 5th March

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