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I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Sydney, Australia
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I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

It's been over a week since I left New York City but I'm still reading the forums and looking through my NYC pictures nearly every day so I thought I'd write up a trip report :) I love reading trip reports, especially those with a lot of detail, so apologies in advance if I ramble on. I might add quick summaries for those that don’t want all of the details lol.

A bit of background before I start: My fiancé and I are from Sydney and we travelled to NYC for 7 days in early March. It was my second time to visit NYC and his first, and despite the fact that being Sydney-siders we had never been so cold in our lives, we had the most amazing week and ticked off so many things from our to-do list. Anyway, on to the trip report…

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21. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

What a great post! We go on 4 May and cannot wait. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience of this amazing city and hope you're enjoying the rest of your trip.

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22. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Thanks so much Swaggie2013 and juleslfc! You'll definitely have an amazing time in NYC :)

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23. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Arrived back in Sydney this morning and I’m continuing with this trip report in an attempt to stay awake and avoid jet lag. It’ll be nice and long and rambly since we did quite a bit on our fourth day in NYC :)

DAY 4: SUNDAY

(Summary: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Museum with StatueCruises, 9/11 Memorial, Greenwich Village, the FRIENDS apartment building, Carrie’s apartment from SATC, the LOVE sculpture, Pret a Manger, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, and the NBA store)

(Mini collage: http://i1351.photobucket.com/albums/p796/pastelsandpink/NYC2014_Day4_zpsbed116b2.jpg)

On Sunday we woke up bright and early and I was relieved that we had yet another day of sunshine and blue skies. Well for the first half of the day anyway. I was quite worried prior to the trip that it would be cloudy and grey, or even worse, rainy and wet, the whole time we were in New York but thank God we had sunshine and blue skies for pretty much the whole week!

The first stop for the day was the 10am cruise to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island that I had pre-booked through www.statuecruises.com. By this point in the trip we were getting used to the 5-10 minute walk to our nearest subway station at Times Square and 42nd St, and although we hadn’t quite figured out how to read the subway map, www.hopstop.com on my phone was a great help as it gave us detailed transit and walking directions to wherever we wanted to go.

We caught the subway down to Battery Park and as it was the first cruise of the day, it didn’t take very long for us to go through security and get on board, which was great because it was absolutely freezing and super windy near the water! Last time I visited New York it was Summer so I had sat on the upstairs deck on the cruise, but it was way too cold this time around so we were fine to stay indoors and just look out of the window. It didn’t take too long until we arrived at Liberty Island anyway. Once we arrived I practically ran off the boat and onto a pretty much empty island, and whilst gazing up in awe at Miss Liberty I had one of my many “I’m in New York!!!!!” moments. We stayed on the island and took photos for as long as we could handle the cold (which sadly wasn’t very long) and then ducked into the café on the island for a snack. We also purchased some souvenirs from the shop before boarding the boat to Ellis Island where we had a quick look around the museum before catching the ferry back to Battery Park.

Our next stop for the day was the 9/11 Memorial which is quite close to Battery Park (for anyone planning to visit both and wondering how to group them in their itinerary). We paid our donations and went through all of the security before entering the Memorial. It was really sad reading all of the names listed and having it really hit me while being there that what happened was much more than just something I heard about in the news all those years ago.

After the Memorial we hopped back onto the subway and made our way to Greenwich Village where I loved looking at all of the little cafes and the beautiful homes in the area. Using HopStop, we looked up the corner of Bedford and Grove Street, also known as Monica Gellar’s apartment building from my all-time favourite TV show, FRIENDS! I know that they only used the exterior and that most of the filming of the show was done in California (I think?) but I was still incredibly excited to be there and took a whole bunch of photos. After the FRIENDS apartment, I looked up 66 Perry Street, also in Greenwich Village, which was Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment from SATC. It was such a beautiful place and street and luckily we bumped into some other tourists who kindly offered to take our photo so that the both of us could be in it :) After Carrie’s apartment we got a little bit lost making our way back to the subway station but it didn’t matter as we got to stroll through some more of the pretty streets in Greenwich Village before finally finding the subway station.

From Greenwich Village, we used HopStop and the subway to get to the LOVE Sculpture (1359 Ave of the Americas) where we took a few quick snaps before making our way to the Top of the Rock (“TOTR”) Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Center. On my previous trip I had visited both the Empire State Building (“ESB”) and the TOTR but I preferred TOTR because of the view of Central Park, and also because I remember long lines and still having to climb a few flights of stairs at the ESB.

Before fiancé and I got to the Rockefeller we popped into the nearby Pret a Manger to defrost for awhile with some hot drinks, chicken noodle soup and delicious chocolate croissants. I wish we had time to visit more Pret branches while we were in New York as I really liked the chocolate croissants and the fact that (as listed in their store), each night instead of keeping the leftover food for the next day or letting it go to waste, they give to the homeless people in the area.

After our bellies were full and we were nice and warm, we headed over to the Rockefeller Center, exchanged our NewYork GoSelect Passes for tickets and caught the elevator up to the TOTR Observation Deck. I was glad we didn’t have to wait very long in line and it wasn’t as cold and windy up there as I had anticipated. The views were breathtaking, even if Central Park wasn’t as lush and green as the last time I had viewed it, and I had no regrets about only seeing the TOTR and skipping the ESB this time around.

After TOTR, we made our way to the nearby NBA store, at fiance’s request. Being an NBA fanatic it was kind of like his Disneyland, and at first it was really cute seeing his eyes light up at everything and him grabbing so many things off the racks, but after awhile and after all of the walking we had already done that day, my legs were starting to ache and I kept on wishing that they had chairs for girlfriends at the store lol. Now I know how men feel! In the end it wasn’t that bad though, plus I ended up purchasing a few gifts for people back at home as well. When we were done at the NBA store I was freezing and exhausted so we made our way back to the hotel. While walking to the subway station some of the guys at the stalls selling scarves/hats/gloves were joking around with my fiancé that he had emptied the NBA store and not left anything for anyone else, that’s how much he had purchased hehe.

By the time we got back to the hotel room I was too tired to go anywhere for dinner so fiancé offered to pick up some Chinese food and bring it back to the hotel while I rested. We did a search online and a Chinese restaurant called ‘Ollie’s’ came up as being right near Yotel so we placed an order with them. There were too many items on the menu and we were too tired to be adventurous with the food only to be disappointed so in the end we just split a fried rice (good decision because the serving was huge!) and I ordered some egg rolls as well because I always hear people talking about egg rolls on American TV lol. And that concludes Day 4, thanks so much for reading!

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24. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

DAY 5: MONDAY

(Summary: American Museum of Natural History, NBA game at the Barclays Center)

No mini collage and this will just be quick post as unfortunately our Day 5 wasn’t as eventful as the other days. Looking back, I’m annoyed at myself for wasting time sleeping in on this day but I just couldn’t get up as I was still exhausted from all of the exploring we had done the previous day.

By the time we had gotten ready and were all bundled up, we did our usual brisk walk to the subway. By this point I was wondering why I had ever thought the subway might be unsafe - there were always plenty of other people around, the weekly Metrocard was really good value for a week for exploring, plus it was quick and convenient (i.e. aside from the times we used it during rush hour when the platform and the subway would be completely packed and I just couldn’t wait to get out of there).

Anyway, we caught the subway to the American Museum of Natural History ("AMNH") and since it was so late already we just had a quick lunch at the Shake Shack down the road from the Museum. The AMNH was one of the three attractions I had added to my New York GoSelect Pass that I had purchased from www.smartdestinations.com. The other two attractions were the TOTR Observation Deck and the Metropolitan Museum of Art including same-day admission to the Cloisters. I think the pass was good value since we knew which specific attractions we wanted to visit, and the total for the three attractions for the both of us was just $123.72. When I say good value I mean in comparison with the New York CityPass which would have been $218 for the both of us for six attractions but I already knew that we didn’t really want to go to the ESB or MoMA and that I wanted to purchase my Statue of Liberty cruise tickets from www.statuecruises.com so that I could select the departure time.

Once we were done exploring the Museum, we walked back to the subway for our next stop for the day which was another NBA game, this time it was the Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The subway wasn’t crowded at all when we got on so luckily we got some seats for the 30-minute subway ride. We got off at the Fort Greene Pl and Atlantic Ave stop and again I watched fiance’s face light up as he saw the Barclays Center, which I must say, I like much better than Madison Square Garden. We had All Access passes which meant that we could get free food from any of the vendors at the Barclays Center by simply showing our passes, and I was really excited about this as I had read that there was a Junior’s at the Barclays Center. Once we entered we had a look at our seats and then went to have a look at the restaurants/food stalls. I regretted having a late lunch as it meant that we were too full to eat at the buffet but we did stock up on junk snacks to take back to our seats like hot dogs, nachos, cheese flavoured popcorn, drinks etc and one slice each of Junior’s cakes – he got the original cheesecake and I got the red velvet cake which was amazing! It was a huge slice and it took me forever to finish the cake, especially since our seats were quite close to the front so I had to try to eat it demurely instead of scoffing it down incase they captured us on TV :P

The game itself was actually interesting to watch (coming from someone who isn’t really into watching sports), but I love the atmosphere at NBA games and how fans just strike up conversations with each other (okay well they struck up conversations with my fiancé and I just sat there nodding and trying not to look like I had no idea what was going on), plus there was so much entertainment on the court whenever the actual game wasn’t on. I think it was past 10pm when we were done with the game so after taking a few pictures we headed out into the massive crowds to try and get a subway back to the hotel. Tried to sleep early that night as we had a full schedule planned for the next day, which was my birthday and also our last full day in New York City :(

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25. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Some slow days are good days when you are on vacation. You need them sometimes.

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26. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Seem like you had a great time. How did you score those All access passes at Barclays Center??

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27. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

I agree, Aynat62 :) It was just hard to allow myself to have a slow day since there's so much to do/see/eat/explore in NYC. Definitely going to give myself more than one week next time I visit!

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28. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Thanks idrinkwater, I definitely did :) My fiancé purchased them from TicketsNow (http://www.ticketsnow.com/nba_splash.html) the official NBA Resale Marketplace and you'd need to select a ticket that says under 'Details' - "Club Access with unlimited food and non alcoholic beverage". (For anyone who read about the hiccup with the other NBA game, those tickets were purchased from a different reseller)

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29. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Great..thanks or the info. I will definitely look into it.

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30. Re: I miss New York! March 2014 Trip Report

Almost finished with this trip report! Thanks to those who have read it so far :) Day 6 for now and then I’ll finish up with Day 7 later.

DAY 6: TUESDAY

(Summary: Tiffany & Co 5th Avenue, Central Park, lunch at the Loeb Boathouse, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, dinner at R Lounge at Times Square, Times Square)

(Mini collage: http://i1351.photobucket.com/albums/p796/pastelsandpink/NYC2014_Day6_zps7ceaf92f.jpg)

I woke up with mixed emotions on this day as it was my birthday and also our last full day in the most amazing city in the world (to me anyway lol). Fiance greeted me and said that our first stop for the day was the flagship Tiffany & Co store on 5th Avenue where I could choose whatever I wanted as a birthday gift! :) I got ready faster than I ever had before, quickly had the delicious complimentary blueberry muffins and hot chocolates they serve at Yotel for breakfast and then we made our way to the Upper East Side. My eyes lit up when I saw the Tiffany store the same way his eyes lit up at NBA games and the NBA store hehe. I practically ran inside and was in awe at all of the displays and the store itself, having seen it in the proposal scene in Sweet Home Alabama. I oohed and aahed over all of the pretty things before finally picking the yellow gold ‘Return to Tiffany’ heart pendant and chain, since I had been wanting it for awhile anyway. We also spontaneously decided that we might as well get our wedding bands while we were there and since Tiffany (along with everything else) is cheaper in America than in Australia. Picking those was really fun as well, although looking at our credit card statements afterwards wasn't hehe.

Our time at Tiffany’s ate into the time that we had set aside for exploring Central Park but we did get to see a little bit of it as we made our way to our lunch reservation at the Loeb Boathouse. I was sad that we didn’t get to explore all of the things I wanted to in Central Park but I had already seen it all lush and green the last time I visited and it just didn’t seem as pretty to me. Plus we weren’t dressed appropriately for the weather so it was much too cold. Anyway, I really enjoyed lunch at the Boathouse. We had the scallops, steak frites and split a delicious crème brulee for dessert, plus I really loved the incredible view and the atmosphere. After lunch we had a quick stroll through the park, got excited over seeing the squirrels scurrying around and enjoyed the serenity of the park and that fact that you could barely hear the hustle and bustle of the city around us. The next time we visit I will have to make sure it’s during Spring or Summer and everything is in bloom so that we can take a full day to explore Central Park.

The next item on our itinerary was the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), something I was really looking forward to as well as I love anything to do with Ancient Egypt and it also allowed us to escape from the cold. The Met was the third and final attraction that I had chosen as part of my New York GoSelect pass from www.smartdestinations.com (again really handy for those who know that they only want to go to certain attractions). Spent a good hour or two browsing the Met and then took the obligatory photos sitting on the Met steps before heading back to the hotel so that we could get ready for dinner that night.

We had booked dinner at the R Lounge at Two Times Square and while I had read the reviews about the food and service not being that great, I really wanted to go for the view and thought it would be ideal to have our last dinner overlooking Times Square. We caught a cab from our hotel to the Renaissance Hotel which is where R Lounge is, and I was surprised that it wasn’t crowded at all. I was also pleased that they had given us the window seats that I had requested. We ordered a bunch of items and drinks from the menu (from memory we had the sliders, calamari, home made chips, fried prawns etc) and had an amazing final night in New York City just relaxing on our couches that were facing a window that overlooked the bright lights and hustle and bustle of Times Square and recounting the amazing week we had just had.

When we were finished eating, ‘Empire State of Mind’ by Alicia Keys and Jay Z started playing at the R Lounge and it was just so surreal to be listening to that song and overlooking Times Square that we just sat and stared out of the window and people watched and then took a bunch of pictures of the view. Perfect way to end our last night in NYC :) After dinner we were extremely full so decided to walk back to the hotel rather than catch a cab. We took even more photos of Times Square before sadly having to go back to the hotel to pack our suitcases and get ready to check out the next day :(