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October Trip Report

Dorset, UK
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50 posts
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October Trip Report

We planned to visit New York three years ago but didn’t make it due to the ash cloud. A few weeks ago we went out with friends for the evening and after a few drinks decided it would be a good idea to book the next day for two weeks later! This was followed by a few panicky postings on the New York forum for help with hotels, theatre tickets and transport. Many thanks to everyone who replied and especially to nywhiz for helping us to find the wonderful Wyndham Garden Inn Chinatown.

The best advice came from my daughter who said ‘There is a surprise around every corner in New York, make sure you leave time to enjoy whatever you come across’.

Dorset, UK
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50 posts
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1. Re: October Trip Report

Day 1

We flew Delta from Heathrow to JFK, impressed with Delta think they do a better job that BA.

Immigration at JFK was very well organised and we were through in less than 15 minutes. Wish I could say the same about Customs which was a zoo. Three lines running into one, then a ‘queue jumpers line’ going to the front of that one. Eventually a uniformed lady with a puzzled looking dog came and sorted it out or we would still be there now.

We found our friends in the taxi line and got a big taxi van for the four of us which even had a ramp into the back to wheel the luggage. We didn’t have to wait any longer for the bigger taxi and it cost the same price. Although the driver was eating his dinner which was balanced on his lap he did a great job of racing up the outside lane and cutting in which saved us the time we wasted in the customs line. We were happy in the back seat but our friend in the front was a bit shaken.

Check-in at the hotel was simple, they didn’t even need our paperwork and we had a very friendly welcome. The hotel was lovely, brand new, spotlessly clean, wonderful bathroom and right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Chinatown which was great fun and felt very safe even late at night.

After unpacking we headed down to the hotel bar to find they were in the middle of Happy Hour which actually went on from 5 -8pm. Our friends were drinking beer - I didn’t come to New York to drink beer! Happily they were doing $5 cocktails which was a perfect start to our New York adventure.

After that we headed out to Lombardi’s which was just a short walk away and a really good reason to stay in Chinatown. We had a huge pizza with pepperoni, roasted red peppers, extra mozzarella and a side order of wild mushrooms (because the waiter said they would make the pizza soggy!). It was amazing and wish I had one now.

Brooklyn, NY
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2. Re: October Trip Report

**Although the driver was eating his dinner which was balanced on his lap he did a great job of racing up the outside lane and cutting in**

Funny....but such a NYC thing....

Dorset, UK
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50 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: October Trip Report

Day 2

Got our 7 day Metro tickets this morning, went to the Rockefeller Centre, bought our tickets for Top of the Rock then got a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast while we waited our turn to go up. So glad we did this on the first morning, all the views were great but I was mesmerised by Central Park. The Rockefeller ice rink had just opened too.

We walked up 5th Avenue to Central Park managing to avoid the shops (not hard for me, I’m not a shopper but our friends kept getting distracted). We walked through the park stopping to watch some acrobats, a very good jazz trio and a wedding being photographed. We came out of the park by Strawberry Fields and crossed over to the Upper West Side and went to Shake Shack for lunch, burgers and chips were perfect and we got a sunny table in the window. Walked down towards the Lincoln Centre, looked into Magnolia Bakery, went to Century 21 for friends do some shopping (I didn’t know Century 21 was there or I would have crossed the road!).

We caught a train to Grand Central Terminal (absolutely beautiful building) for cheesecake at Juniors. I had my camera out ready to take a photo but before I knew what had happened we had eaten it! And it was good! Had a walk around the terminal and went to the Market in there which was gorgeous. It was almost Halloween and there were loads of themed cakes with ghosts, witches and coffins.

Got the subway back to near the hotel but just couldn't figure out which way down the road to walk so of course I picked the wrong way and got lost in Chinatown which is not such a bad thing.

After a rest we all met up in the hotel bar for Happy Hour. Over sticky pink cocktails and $1 oysters we had a debate about where to eat and decided to stay in the hotel. They have a restaurant called Elevate, strangely, because it is in the basement. They were doing a 50% off offer which made it a real bargain. I had striped bass with purple potatoes, asparagus and beurre blanc sauce, everyone else had steak. Lovely food and the presentation was good too.

Dorset, UK
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50 posts
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4. Re: October Trip Report

Day 3

Not only is NY the city that doesn't sleep, it is the city where I couldn’t sleep. Our room was pretty noisy being near the street so this morning I asked if they had a room on a higher floor. Result, we were moved to the 9th floor and had a view of the NY skyline - Empire State Building and Chrysler building being the stand out places. Amazing! I didn’t care if I didn’t sleep with that view.

This morning we went first to the 9/11 memorial site. We didn’t book tickets online as we were not sure what time we would arrive, and when I checked online all times were available so didn’t think it would be a problem. We got there about 9.40am not realising they don’t open until 10am. We joined the line and at just before ten they let the ticket holders in and then our line. The engraving on the memorials is cut very deeply and touching the names of the people who lost their lives on that day is incredibly moving. The story of the Survivor Tree was fascinating. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to see planes flying so close to the buildings but I got shivers with every one that went by.

We walked through the financial district, past the Stock Exchange to the waterfront and along to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal where the ferry was just about to leave. We decided to wait for the next one so that we could choose our seats to see the Statue of Liberty (right side out, left side back). We had a bagel and coffee while we waited - don’t ever do that!

Fabulous views from the ferry but freezing cold. Left our friends outside to take photos and huddled inside in the warm. There was just one ferry running so when we got to Staten Island every single passenger did the route march through the terminal, up, down and around and back onto the same boat. Going back was even colder but really worth doing. Hard to believe that you can do all this for no cost.

We had planned to go to Brooklyn and walk back over the bridge but it was so cold we didn't fancy it, so we caught a train to the Lower East Side and went to Katz's Deli. I think we picked the wrong time, right on lunchtime, it was MANIC, but fun. First we had to queue outside, then once inside it was crazy busy. The servers were shouting at the customers ‘GET IN LINE!’ ‘THAT’S NOT A LINE, GET BACK IN LINE!’ but they were also handing out little plates of meat for you to try while you waited. There was a film crew in there so that didn’t help as they were blocking the aisles. DH and I shared pastrami on rye of course as I think that’s the law for your first time. I had a chocolate egg cream, never again, fizzy chocolate is just wrong in so many ways.

Yesterday our train stopped 'momentarily' for 10 minutess and I got talking to a girl on the train about her work, our vacation, The High Line, Obama's visit to Brooklyn and so on. Afterwards I thought that would never happen on the London Underground - people don’t talk to strangers in London. We have come across such friendly helpful people here.

After Happy Hour in the hotel bar we got the train to Times Square to see the lights which I really did love. We were heading to Broadway with tickets to see ‘After Midnight’ and allowed plenty of time to make sure we found the theatre. No-one trusts my navigational skills anymore, I am fine with the subway but have no clue which way to turn when we emerge onto the street. I even brought a compass but I think New York is too magnetic and it doesn’t work. We had thought about booking the Capital Grille for a pre-theatre dinner but no-one was hungry after lunch at Katz’s so we planned to head to Hells Kitchen afterwards. Anyway we arrived with plenty of time to spare so we went into an Irish Bar next to the theatre which, guess what, was having Happy Hour.

DH and friend (F) thought After Midnight was among best musicals they had seen. I thought that the music, singing and dancing were wonderful but I really missed a storyline. Friend’s wife (FW) is not a fan of musical theatre but said she enjoyed it.

After the show we walked towards Hells Kitchen, clutching a list of about 20 recommended restaurants. I think I must have turned the wrong way (left not right) when we got there and couldn’t spot any of the places I was looking for. I would have walked another mile to find the right place but everyone was getting tired so we went to a Thai place and had an average meal. Back to the hotel then for the amazing view from our floor to ceiling windows.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: October Trip Report

"I even brought a compass but I think New York is too magnetic and it doesn’t work. "

Ha ha! Enjoying your take on everything.

Dorset, UK
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50 posts
8 reviews
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6. Re: October Trip Report

Thank you BatteryParkNYC and ter1413. It was an amazing visit and I just want to come back now and do all the things we missed.

West Yorks
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7. Re: October Trip Report

Thanks for the report. Very informative.

I'm quite surprised at how cold you said it was, especially as it's only October!

I have the same problem as you, when you come out on to the main street - never know whether to turn left or right. Do they have maps of the local areas in the subways like they do in the London Underground?

Dorset, UK
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50 posts
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8. Re: October Trip Report

The temperature did drop from the previous week but it was still great weather for a visit with quite a lot of sunshine, really ideal for sightseeing. I think that particular day was cooler, but mainly it was because we did the round trip on the Staten Island Ferry and there was a bitter wind on the water.

I also think I didn't plan my clothes very well!

Dorset, UK
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9. Re: October Trip Report

Sorry I forgot to reply about subway maps. You can pick up a really extremely good map at the offices in the subway, free of charge. I don't know what I would have done without it and I found the subway very easy to use. But the subway map doesn't show too many streets, I should really have also carried a good street map. I don't recall seeing any street maps on the subway walls but I may have missed them. However, we saw some great sights by going the wrong way and chatted to some lovely people who helped when we got lost. What really surprised me was that mostly you didn't even have to ask, so many people just came and offered help.

Hervey Bay...
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10. Re: October Trip Report

Loving your report. Look forward to reading the rest of it.