THURSDAY 25th JAN:
We were originally booked into the Crowne Plaza Times square but decided it was too "in your face" being in the middle of Times Square, so opted for the Crowne Plaza United Nations. We stayed from 25th - 28th Jan 2007.
We Arrived at JFK,and got a taxi to the Hotel ($45 plus toll cost $4.50 plus tip) and was ushered to the express check in being a Priority Club member and was upgraded to a Junior Suite..NICE !
We were in New York to celebrate my 40th Birthday and the reception staff wished me happy birthday, with no prompting at all. Arrived at the room as was surprised as the room was a good size and the bed was very very comfortable. Large bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath. Had a great 3 night stay all the staff were great. Left the cleaning maid a couple of bucks a day, and she always left extra soaps, shampoos, body lotions, towels e.t.c.
Nice touch was that there was a sweetie jar on the desk full of nice sweets, which we helped ourselves, too on the way out for our long walks around the great city that is New York.
I would highly recommend this Hotel, it’s in a great location, close to, and on the same road as the Iconic Chrysler building and Grand Central Station. If you fancy a beer on your way home from somewhere, there is an Irish bar opposite the hotel called McFadden’s, which was fine most evenings, it was heaving on Saturday night, full of a young crowd but no bother.
Arrived at Hotel and checked in and made our way to our friends Hotel "The Alex" which was on E 45th just 3 blocks away. After checking out each other hotel rooms, we walked up to Grand Central Station which is a few minutes walk away. On the way we walked past the Chrysler Building which is amazing to look at. Arriving at GCS we had a wonder around and checked out the food hall which is a must for everyone who goes to GCS. Also you must check out the food Market, which was not the best place to be when you hungry. We made our way back to our Hotels and arranged to meet up that evening as we had a table booked at the Tribecca Grill in the Tribeca area. With it being my birthday my brother had arranged a bottle of Champagne to be delivered to my room for my girlfriend and I so our friends came up to our room and we started the evening off with Champers before jumping into a cab to get over the Tribecca Grill. Had cocktails at the bar and then were seated for a great meal. We popped out for a cigarette half way through our meal and the wind nearly cut me in two it was so cold outside. Jumped into a cab and made our way back to an Irish Bar called McFadden’s which is on the corner of E 42nd and 2nd close to both our Hotels. In bed, cream crackered by about 01.00am.
FRIDAY 26TH JAN.
Met our friends at "the Comfort Diner" on E45th St for breakfast. I have never seen breakfast like it, it was huge, and the place was packed. We went there for Breakfast every morning after that, what a great way to start the day. We walked from there shopping on the way, so the girls were happy, and arrived at the Rockefeller Centre. Watched the Ice Skaters on the Ice Rink and took the obligatory photos. We then booked to go up to the observation platform on the top of the building. A truly amazing experience which I implore everyone to do when in New York. We jumped on the subway and made our way to Chinatown and walked and the girls checked out a few fake designer bags, DVDS, Watches e.t.c Had a walk around Little Italy as well and chose a restaurant we would return to the following night. After leaving Little Italy we made our way again on the Subway to Madison Square Garden to see the New York Knicks play the Miami Heat in the NBA. (The Knicks won 116 -96 if any of you were interested) What a great atmosphere. We managed to consume a legendary “footlong” hotdog and a couple of huge beers each as the game went on. I’m a football fan myself (soccer) so was thoroughly entertained on between all the time outs and half times e.t.c with the cheer leader girls dancing and firing tee-shirts out to the crowd with catapults.
Also at half time they had some BMX Stunt drivers doing tricks, it was all very entertaining. After the game finished we were tired so we made out way home after another long day and crashed out.
SATURDAY 27TH JAN
Met up with our friends Jem and Katherine and had breakfast a “the Comfort Diner “ again after gorging ourselves we jumped on the Subway and went down to Bowling Green, which is the nearest subway stop to the “Stattan Island Ferry” As we were walking through we saw this old guy with squirrels running up and down his arms and legs, as he was feeding them. Sally my other half loves animals and he got her to sit next to him and to hold some seed so the squirrels came and sat on her lap too to feed. She thought it was great. I dropped the old guy $5 for the entertainment value and also I’m sure he’s trying to make a living from it too, so why not. He mentioned he’s been on the TV as he’s been there for 8 years and reporters from around the world have interviewed him.
Went over on the Stattan Island Ferry and took some great Pictures of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty, and the best thing is it’s a free ferry ride. We got off in Stattan Island but were disappointed about bothering as there’s not much to see or do. After returning to the Manhattan we walked from the Ferry Terminal through the Wall Street area to Ground Zero which was a strange place to describe. Eerily peaceful in a busy city. People were just standing and staring. We were by the Fire Station which overlooks Ground Zero, and while we were there they Fire Station had a call out and two engines sped off to attend the call. It was a strange feeling watching them go, trying to think what the fireman must have thought attending the call out just across the street from them 5 years ago. We all popped into to Century 21 store which is close to Ground zero but only lasted about 5 minutes as I wasn’t in the mood for it then. Got the subway back to GCS and walked back to the Hotel to get ready for the evening. Met up at around 8pm and got a cab to the Rockefeller Centre where we got the elevator up to the “Rainbow room” cocktail lounge on the 65th floor. It has the most amazing views of Manhattan and the Empire State building, truly awe inspiring. For anyone who fancies checking it out, you must wear a jacket. Luckily I had one on but my friend Jem didn’t, so was lent a house one, which was hilarious. It was about 10 sizes too big for him, but it was hilarious, so worth it burly for the comedy value alone. After cocktails we grabbed a cab down to Little Italy for a nice meal. Cabbed it back to the Hotel and another busy day was over.
SUNDAY 28TH JAN
I couldn’t believe it was our last day, and as it panned out, a day I would rather forget. They say bad luck comes in threes, well read on.
We had breakfast as usual and jumped on the tube to 59th street and walked to Central Park. This is where we split up as our friends were getting an earlier flight. They headed to Bloomingdales to do a bit of shopping and we walked along Broadway, just checking out the area. Walked for about 10 blocks then decided to grab a taxi back as we had to check out of the Crowne Plaza at 3pm. We checked out, and left the bags with the front desk, and decided to head back to Times Square for the obligatory photographs with the billboards and neon lights. We grabbed the subway from Grand Central direct to Times Square and had a wonder around checking things out. We popped into a bar for a couple of beers to wait for night to fall. At around 5.15pm we walked out and took the photos we needed and headed back towards the Hotel. We Stopped off at a restaurant along 42nd street and ordered our food.
While we were waiting I was looking at the Photos we had taken over our trip, suddenly the camera turned itself off without warning. I turned it back on and tried to review the photos again but to my horror, the memory card had erased all the 90 or so pictures we had taken. I couldn’t believe it, I was gutted, we had lost all our photographs from our first trip to New York.
Despondent and not in the best of moods we finished our food and headed back to the Hotel to collect our bags and make our way to the Airport.
The Hotel Doorman bought our bags out from the back, and waved a taxi down for us. We said thanks and headed off to the Airport in a Yellow Cab. Had a good chat with the taxi driver who was originally from Russia and took us another way to JFK so we didn’t have to pay the $4.50 toll cost, and to show us a bit of the city. It was a great run and he was a real character.
We arrived at the Airport and I pulled my wallet out and paid him, jumped out and grabbed the bags and we made our way to Terminal 8 to check in. We checked in and then had to walk back to Terminal 9 as that’s were the flight was departing from. We went to the shop area and I went to get my wallet out to pay for something and too my horror I realised I had lost my wallet. I traced my way back and asked at the lost property dept to see if it was handed in but no joy. So the first thing I had to do was cancel my Credit cards. A kind lady who was waiting for a flight saw this develop and lent me her phone to call the Yellow cab company to ask it the wallet was handed in… it wasn’t, so she suggested I go up to the Admiral (frequent flyer) lounge and ask to use their phone to cancel my credit cards. I did this and she was very helpful. Bare in mind we still had to make out flight which was at 11.45pm Sunday night, and time was getting on it was almost 10.45pm.. So with no money, no photographs of the weekend trip and a heavy bag we checked in and made out way to the gate.
We got to the gate and then the Airline (American Airlines) announced that there was a power cut at the terminal and we ended up with a 4 hour delay with no shops open to buy anything but that didn’t matter as I has lost my wallet so I couldn’t spend any if I wanted to.
What a day, finally flew out at 04.00am and arrived back into Heathrow at 3.30pm after customs we were collected by my sister and headed home. On the way home I had a call from my friend Jem who went home on the earlier flight saying he had a call from an attorney on Wall Street who found my wallet in the back of the cab, and jems number was in my wallet. My friend passed me his number and I called him and he is being kind enough to post it back to me, so a bit of good news at least.
This will not dampen my memories of a fantastic first trip to New York, and I will unequivocally return again.