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Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

Westbury, United...
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Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

I will post each day as a reply.

Had an amazing time. Cant wait as im coming back in January! Lucky me

Westbury, United...
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1. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

23rd May 2013

Got up at 3.50am after getting to sleep around 11.30! Showered dressed and on way by 4.20am.we were making good time to get to parking for 6am, when Steve missed a turning, apparently it was the SatNav’s fault! We ended up with SatNav taking us to the short stay parking area of Heathrow which you couldn’t get out of unless you paid, how I don’t know, as the guy lived quite bit in the other direction. We got dropped off at Heathrow at 6.30am our flight was 8.40am . We had plenty of time so after we had checked in we went and had some breakfast and then off to our gate.

We didn’t have high expectations for our United Airline flight as it has been referred to as the Ryan air of long haul flights but we were pleasantly surprised. We had the TVs in the back of the seats and a decent amount of leg room. The flight went quite quickly and before we knew it we were circling down to land in Newark. As we came through the clouds I spotted the Empire State Building in the skyline, I almost squealed with excitement. Our journey through security and baggage collection was quick .We landed at 11.50am found the Airtrain and NJ Transit easily and were climbing aboard the 12.55 train to Manhattan Penn Station.

We came out of Penn station to bright sunshine and stood there a little gormless, turning our map this way and that trying to get our bearings on how to get to 24th Street for the Hampton Inn, a friendly New Yorker came to our aid and immediately got us off in the right direction. We spotted the beautiful Flatiron building as we wandered along. I say wandering along it was more of a struggle and fight along, as my stupid suitcase kept tipping over as the wheels weren’t spaced far enough apart. On arriving home that suitcase was banished to a rubbish tip somewhere in Wiltshire.

We finally arrived at The Hampton Inn, the reception was friendly and we were soon up in our room, think it was around 2pm. We then had to get our bums in gear as we had a little mission to get to The City Clerk’s Office to get our license to wed. Off we went it was much easier without the stupid suitcase. We found the subway we needed on 23rd St, bought our $31 7 day unlimited metro cards (best buy of the week). Off we went to Canal St with a short walk the other end to Worth Street. As we got out of the Subway it started raining a little. We found the Office and got our ticket and sat down that was around 2.50pm until we were called. We paid for the License ($35 by credit card) and within half an hour we were ready to go off for a wander. However as we went to leave it started crashing down with rain and then a bit of thunder thrown in for good measure. We waited in the Lobby for it to slow a little.

We headed of towards Mott St, by this time we were feeling a bit hungry, we ended up in Big Wong’s Chinese Restaurant. I checked it on my TA app and it had some good reviews, the interior was basic but the food was yummy and plentiful and at $37 before tip pretty reasonable. All full up we headed up bowery road, looking in the windows at all the different things.

Once we got closer to Hampton Inn we stopped in a grocery store and got some bits for the room. The plan was to have a little lie down and then go to Times Square, however Steve and I were shattered and I was happy to chill out and write up how we’d spent our day. I also had to send an email to the Photographer to get confirmation on what time he was meeting us on Tuesday ,I hadn’t heard anything before leaving so was a little worried he might be a no show.

We were in bed for 7pm!

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

fabulous...and really looking forward to hearing the rest. I bet you woke up on the 24th at about 3am...oops!

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

Love reading TR's. Looking forward to the rest Binx :)

Leicester, United...
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4. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

Another forum member looking forward to reading you TR. You got off to a good start.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

"As we came through the clouds I spotted the Empire State Building in the skyline, I almost squealed with excitement. "

I did the same thing, except with Central Park. It put the whole city in perspective for me. I could see where everything was based on that view.

Nice start to your report, I will wait for the rest.

Westbury, United...
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6. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

Friday 24TH May FREE TOURS ON FOOT (All in one Downtown Tour)

Woke up at 2am, I made myself drift in and out of sleep until 4.50. At this point I gave up and did some emails to the children and tidied the room. Steve was feeling pretty poorly, he had had a scratchy throat whilst at home so knew something was on its way. Whilst in the store yesterday evening we had bought up all the drugs for cold and flu relief, sore throats and runny noses. So we dosed him right up so he could feel comfortable through the day with regular top ups. We had our 6 hour walking tour today so he had to man up and get on with it ;o)

Off we went for a big breakfast around 7.30am we were going to need it for our big walk. The breakfast was yummy, I made a waffle, unfortunately there was an oil spray you were supposed to put on the pan and I didn’t spot it, so my first attempt was burnt and stuck on. I sheepishly called a member of staff and they helped me sort it out. What a Wally hey!

We left the hotel around 8.20am and got the No1 train down to Rector St. We weren’t meeting the tour until 9.45am but we wanted to get there early so we knew where we had to meet. (I hate being late). The meeting point was the George Washington Statue outside Federal Hall. We found it easy peasy. With that sorted we had time for a little exploring beforehand.

We walked down to the water front and strolled along to Pier 16. (our meeting point for the boat trip on Sunday) .We then made our way back to George. By now I was peckish again (it’s all the walking honestly and I’m eating for two as Steve isn’t feeling like eating much ;o) ). So I bought a cheese and egg roll of a cart $2.97 and sat on the steps of Federal Hall to eat it. How sophisticated hey! It was delicious.

The other members of the tour party now started turning up along with our guide Onel, a really nice guy from Brooklyn. A lovely couple from London joined the group (Neil and Karen) we chatted to them whilst everyone signed in.

The first area we toured was the Financial District; it was information overload, fantastic! We saw so much. Onel told us lots of historical facts and other trivia. How he keeps all that information in his head I do not know. On to Little Italy and Soho, again information overload. The weather at this point was slowly deteriorating; it was very overcast and raining.

We stopped just outside Greenwich Village for lunch. Onel said we had to be quick as we still had lots to fit in. We spotted a McDonalds close by (yes I know) which seemed a good solution. We went in and placed our Food order and when asked what drink we wanted said Sprite, the lady said “we have no sodas left” no problem I’ll have a smoothie. “we have no smoothies left today” was the reply. What drinks have you got I asked, just Iced Tea was the response. I’ve never heard of a McDonalds running out of drinks before. We decided to give it a miss.

We walked along a came across The Greenwich Village Bistro, when we got in there we spotted Karen and Neil, they invited us to join them. We had a lovely meal and a few drinks. They turned it around very quickly for us as they knew we didn’t have long., I didn’t manage to eat all mine as I was talking too much.

We then met back up with Onel at 2.30pm, it was pouring down now. Off we went to see some of Greenwich Village including The Friends Building, Magnolia Bakery and a lot of historical buildings. The pace was really picking up now as we were all getting cold and very wet. (lucky I had my umbrella). On to Chelsea Market, we didn’t stay very long in there so we will pop back later in the week to look at, along with The Highline we didn’t do much of that either.

The Tour finished around 4pm, we all said our goodbyes. We couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to get warm and dry. Steve was feeling quite rough with his sore throat etc. so was looking forward to a little sleep. We picked up some cookies and a warm drink in the reception and went up to our room. I started to write up today’s report and emailed my children whilst he snored his little head off (it’s no wonder he’s got a sore throat ;o) )

Getting near to 6pm I woke him up, we freshened up and we jumped on the Subway to 53rd St to go to MOMA free time. There wasn’t much of a queue at this time we went in and went straight up to Starry Night. I enjoyed the top two floors it was quite interesting. I’m not an arty person so some of the stuff on the lower floors bypassed me completely; I don’t get how a pile of mattress stuffing on the floor is art or how a square white canvas painted white is art but hey what I know. We came out of MOMA at 8pm and walked down towards Times Square, it was quite pretty but a bit overwhelming. We were lucky it was so cold because it made Times Square more navigable without the crowds. We aimed for our hotel. The camera flashed up battery exhausted, not half as blooming exhausted as me!

We got back to the hotel around 9.45; I finished writing today’s journal and then was off to the land of nod.

P.s We had email from the photographer today, he is going to ring us, so all good at the moment.

Haifa, Israel
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7. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

I love this report. Thanks for writing.

I'm supposed to take the All in one Downtown Tour in a couple of weeks, and was wondering if you could answer a few questions about it:

How long was the lunch break, and where was the meeting place afterwards? I would like to plan my lunch venue in advance.

Where did the tour end?

Finally, I was wondering what's an appropriate tip for a 6-hour tour?

Thanks so much in advance!

Westbury, United...
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8. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

Thank you. i think the break was about 45 mins to an hour. The break was near the Greenwich Village Bistro. Joes Pizza and a Macdonalds. They tell you exactly where to meet back to so it was no problem. We did $35 each. I think most people did between $25 and $35. The tour ended in the Chelsea area, I think it gives you a general idea on the Free Tours on Foot website.x

Haifa, Israel
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9. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

Very helpful, thanks!

Westbury, United...
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10. Re: Trip Report 23rd May - 30th May

Saturday 25th May THE MET MUSEUM

We got up early and got breakfasted, the weather was still miserable, raining and cold . We got on the subway for 53rd St. The original plan was to do The Met Saturday evening so we could hear the music but with the rain we decided to jiggle the plan and go this morning. It didn’t open until 9.30 so we had a fair amount of time to explore some of Central Park on the way, such a beautiful space.. We took wildlife photos on the way , yes of course we got one of a cute squirrel, they are not so brave at home so its difficult to get photos. We went past the Zoo and the Bethesda Fountain and quite a few statues.

On reaching The Met at 9.15 a queue had already started forming . We enjoyed the Met we spent around three hours in there and that was us done, as said before we aren’t really very arty people but can appreciate that you could spend a hell of a lot longer in there.

Then off to Shake Shack for lunch. We had cheeseburger cheesy chips and a shake, it was delicious. After Lunch we strolled down 5th Avenue taking in the shops and buildings on the way down. Most of the shops were way out of our price league i.e Saks. The buildings are more my thing. We walked all the way back down to 24th Street.

We got back to the hotel around 4.45pm. Steve had a little sleep (he is manging the days well though considering he has man flu) whilst I chatted by email to the children. At 6pm we went in search of food and found The Storhouse on 23rd , Steve had a Steak and Chips I had a very delicious roast chcken with vegetable and boiled potatos. It was so nice to have some vegetables. When we finished eating we sat at the bar and chatted to a few locals. We ended up going back to the hotel about 10.30 ( this was the time on my bar receipt so we are going by that). We were stunned we managed to find our way back in our state , we struggled sobre ;o)