Before I post my trip report, here's a little background info. I visited NYC with my sister. We are both in our mid 40's. She had never been to NY, I'd been twice before many years ago. But, I hadn't planned either of those trips, so this was new for me in that respect. I got tons of advice on this forum, and really believe that our trip would not have been so much fun without the input of the experts here, so for that, I thank you all very much! I had won two round trip tickets on Air Tran last summer, and could use them to fly anywhere domestic that Air Tran goes, and NYC was at the top of our list.
We arrived on time, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 4th to LaGuardia. We had to fly from Indianapolis to Atlanta and catch a connecting flight to NYC, but hey, it was free, so no problem! Got our bags fairly quickly and made our way to ground transportation. We had 3 people approach us offering rides, but thanks to the forum, I knew not to accept and continued on to the taxi area. The driver had a bit of trouble finding our hotel, the Amsterdam Court on 50th St. between Broadway and 8th. The cab ride cost $32 plus tip, so not bad. We checked in and although I knew the room was small, the reality of seeing it was a little surprising. I mean, it was VERY small! But it was adequate for our needs, very clean, and not loud at all.
We dropped our bags off, then went out to walk around Times Square and get our bearings. My sister was amazed at the amount of people walking around, and I pointed out that the theatres were probably just letting out, so that was most likely the reason for it being so crowded. We got a hot dog from a street vendor, and looked into some shops, then went back to the hotel and relaxed for awhile before hitting the sack. I set the alarm for 6am, as our first stop in the morning was the Today show.
The next morning, I woke up, saw the clock said 6:45, and realized we'd overslept. Jumped in the shower and was ready in 20 minutes. My sister, however, needed an hour to get herself ready, so by the time we left the hotel, it was after 8am, and we went straight to Rockefeller Center, but couldn't even get close to where they were filming. So, we decided to try again on Monday morning, before we had to get to the airport, and went on to TOTR.
TOTR was amazing! We stayed up there about half an hour going from one side to the other, taking pictures, and trying to send them on our camera phones to family back home. It never worked too well though, I guess we weren't doing it right, cause we did figure it out later in the trip. Once we left the observation area, we were starving, so stopped at a place downstairs for an egg sandwich on a bagel, then made our way to our next stop, the NYC Public Library.
I work in a small town library, so was really excited to see this one. I had been there on my first trip, but never gone inside. The building is just gorgeous, lots of dark wood and the ceilings were awesome! We strolled around inside, looked in the library shop for a bit, and took in a couple of exhibits they had on the second floor. All in all we spent about an hour ther, but we never saw any books! Where are they kept in there? We made it up to the third floor, but decided to go on, as we needed to get to Grand Central and then Pier 83 for the Circle Line boat.
We walked from the library to Grand Central, went in, marveled at the architecture, the ceiling, etc., then went downstairs to find Junior's. We got there at a good time, it was about 11:30, no crowds or lines at all, and got seated and ordered right away. I had a chicken sandwich, my sister had a club sandwich which was huge. She could only eat half of it. We split a piece of the strawberry shortcake cheesecake, which was very good.
After eating, we found a machine and attempted to purchase $10 Metro cards for each of us. The first time I tried, I mistakenly hit the button to use a credit card, so went on with the transaction, but the machine wouldn't take my card. I tried a couple of more times with no luck, then started over and selected the cash option, and it worked fine. We must have stood there for 10-15 minutes trying to figure out the whole process, and felt like idiots, but at least we finally figured it out and were on our way.
We walked outside, found the bus stop for the M42 line (thanks GWB), and didn't have to wait long before the bus came along. We rode it all the way to 12th Avenue, where the Circle Line boats are, making it in time for the 1:30 boat for the 3 hour trip around Manhattan.
We both really enjoyed the boat trip. I had done the 2 hour one my first time in NYC, and loved it, and the 3 hour one was even better. The weather was in the 70's and sunny that day, so it was very relaxing to just sit on the boat and relax for awhile. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, and I would highly recommend it. We took tons of picutres too.
We took the M42 back across the city to Times Square and walked to the hotel, stopping in some of the shops along 8th Ave. We saw lots of cheap prices for t-shirts (6 shirts for $10). We stopped at one place, and the guy working there got snippy with us, telling us repeatedly not to mess up the shirts. We told him several times that we were buying them, not just looking, and he just kept saying "don't mess up shirts" over and over. Finally, we both just threw the shirts we had down and walked off! Two doors down, we found the same shirts at 7 for $10, and ended up buying some there!
By then it was almost 6pm, and we had tickets for an off Broadway play at 8:00, so needed to eat and change, then get a cab to the theatre on E. 91st St. So we grabbed something from the deli around the corner from the hotel and ate in the room while getting ready. We had no trouble getting a cab, and got to the theatre about 7:30 p.m. We saw Menopause the Musical, which was hilarious! Just the right show for us too, as we "got" all the jokes, being in that age bracket. I even bought the CD, I liked it so much!
After the show, we got a cab again to the Empire State Building. There was no line, but it was still a bit of an ordeal to get up there. It seemed like they had one money making opportunity after another around every corner! I could see what it would be like if going there when it was crowded, and was glad I'd brought the tickets along and that we could do it at night. The observation area was smaller than we imagined it would be, and there were a lot of people up there, so we didn't stay too long.
We decided to dive right in and try the subway, since we would be taking it the following morning to South Ferry anyway. As we were walking, we passed a bank and a young woman inside waved us over. It turns out she was locked in there and asked if we could help her get out! We looked around for a policeman, but didn't see any, then just as I was about to go back to the ESB to find someone, a guy walked up and used his bank card to get in, and she got out. (the guy who let her out went on to another branch of the bank, as he didn't want to get stuck in there either). Apparently she'd been in there for about 15 minutes, trying to get someone's attention, and we were the first to see her and attempt to help. She was very nice, a student who lived in Brooklyn, and she helped us find the subway station and gave us advice on how to use it and where we wanted to get off. We did have a little trouble with swiping the card, but got the hang of it fairly quick, and got back to our hotel with no trouble. We stopped in a drugstore for a few things, then went to our room, relaxed for awhile and hit the sack around midnight.
More to come!