New York City
New York, New York
New York City Reviews
Jul 15, 2007
If you are making your way to this East Coast city... be prepared... for greatness!! I had no idea what to expect in New York City. Although I was there during the Christmas/ New Year season I had a blast. At times I could not take the huge crowds, but it was well worth it.
Take the tram to Roosevelt Island and eat at The Trellis a quaint little place. Seems like it has been there forever. I just love grumpy old men sitting around watching you eat.... ha ha.
Make sure you see a play or musical... Here are three I know you will love:
Altar Boyz!! This is outstanding! Based on a catholic boy band, enough said. They sing songs like, You Make Me Want to Wait... it is hilarious!!
Wicked- The life of the Wicked Witch of the West. This is far better than the book would ever lead you to believe.(great costumes!)
RENT- If you saw the movie and love the songs, then you will enjoy this even more!!
Be sure to take a few rides on the Subway, this makes you feel like a local and it is fun! It is even better when you have a local friend who can show you the ropes. See the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, The Wax Museum, Hard Rock Cafe, Bleeker Street Pizza (really good), the Brooklyn Tabernacle (amazing choir), hot dog and hot nut vendors, etc. Have an open mind!! Try everything. Oh, and don't forget the Trump tower for kicks.. the Time Warner building has a great Whole Foods Market at the very bottom!!
Take a two hour bus ride from Port Authority to Pennsylvania's Center City in Philadelphia.. you can see the great city hall, center city is fantastic, the liberty bell, the Famous LOVE statue, the Rocky statue, and much more. If you do not want to stay in New York City, Fairfield New Jersey is just a 30 to 40 minute ride from Port Authority bus terminal. There are a few hotels here. I stayed at the Best Western, bus stops are right near it. The only thing about being dropped off is you must cross four lanes of traffic! But it is an adventure, I am sure the locals laughed an awful lot as my mom and our two friends ran across the street with our luggage, looking very tourist like. Ha ha.
Other things to see:
Serendipity Cafe (make a reservation can be 2 hour wait)
Central Park (carriage ride)
Ice Sakiting in Rockefeller Center (so fun, but you can do it for cheaper in Central Park)
Radio City Music HAll
Toys R Us (Ferris Wheel inside, yes, you can ride it!)
FAO Scwartz (giant Piano from the movie BIG)
Times Square (get a picture with a police man!)
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Jun 18, 2006
In Feb 2003 we had a 6 night break in New York City.So Thursday 12th February arrives and Paul and l pack ourselves off to Belfast City Airport to catch our BMI flight to London Heathrow, after navigating ourselves from terminal 1 to 4 and putting in a bit of duty free shopping, we head towards the BA lounge. This bit confused me totally, l thought we were in Economy, but oh no, Paul (did l tell you all how wonderful he is!) had upgraded us to Club World (aka Business). So we trundled down to our gate and jumped up the queue – we were in business don’t you know!! Well l was in for another treat! A fully flat reclining bed, TV, Molton Brown travel bag, and Kir Royales to kick start the flight – fantastic!! The bed was brilliant up bed down bed up bed down bed!!! I was a child with a new toy!So that was my flight over – unfortunately on the way home l came back down to earth with a hard bump – we were back in Economy and the worst this was l knew what l was missing!! Oh well that will teach me not to be a snob!Anyway back to the opinion New York.We stayed in Manhattan in Lexington and 50th in the Waldorf Astoria – and l am not going into the hotel as that is a review in itself, just to say that the lobby is fantastic to look and l would recommend taking a peek, but don’t bother staying – when l write the review you will learn more!New York is huge and l know we only saw a minute part of the city so l can only recommend what we indulged in!This was my first visit to the States and my initial opinion was – noisy and busy. People never stop, and why oh why do they need to shout so much? I’m a country girl you see!! Still it was enthralling to watch! Another thing l initially noticed when we were wandering the streets of Manhattan trying to orientate ourselves – the New Yorkers sure do love their coffee – absolutely everyone it seemed was carrying a grande star bucks take out coffee cup! Star bucks too seemed to be at the corner of every block – yet it hasn’t even arrived here in Belfast yet!! NYC is big and tall, boy oh boy is it tall! I was warned by friends and colleagues before l went, be prepared for a creek in my neck from staring upwards all the time – l thought they must exaggerate – but nope they were definitely right!! The only other observation (if you can call it that!) is but in February New York is COLD, no not just cold but bloody freezing – l have never felt cold eyeballs before but l did in New York – l thought it was cold in Russia in November – ha that was a veritable summers day!! It was at one stage minus 10 Celsius and that was not taking the wind chill into account!We walked a lot – lm still suffering from the bruises to prove it!! It really is the best and cheapest way to explore the city. Otherwise we jumped on the subway – which are pretty easy to navigate around and there are subway points absolutely everywhere in Manhattan. It costs $2 for a single trip or you can buy cards for various amounts of days. The subway stations are entertaining in themselves – literally – we were often serenade by would be singers, or rappers or indeed the audience to a troop of break dancers! Even on the trains themselves, it was possible to get some mad eejit singing up and down the carriages – all good fun!! There are the obligatory yellow taxis, which cost an initial $2 then various charges depending on where you want to travel. We hailed a cab one evening back to our hotel and to be honest it wasn’t too expensive, but what I did note was in the back there was not really too much room for maneuver!So what did we do and see?Staten Island FerryIf you get the subway down to bowling green in Battery Park follow the signs and you will find yourself in the queue for the Staten Island Ferry, which shuttles forward and back between Manhattan and Staten Island. And it’s absolutely free. At the minute there is quite a bit of construction work going on so it is a bit mucky around the area. Jump on the ferry and see so wonderful views of the city from the harbor. In the distance you can see the Statute of Liberty, view the skyline of Manhattan which is an amazing view in itself and also the famous Brooklyn Bridge. We queued for about 5 minutes – the ferries leave every half hour, and take about 20 minutes to do the crossing – jumped on the ferry took in the views on the way over and simply stated on and made the return crossing.Wall StreetTake a wander up Wall Street in and around the financial district, and feel the money (though not as much as on 5th Avenue!). Get your photo taken with the Wall Street Bull – what the significance is l have no idea – l wasn’t even aware that it existed until l came face to face with the giant creature!!It was in this area where the tragedy of the Twin Towers crash took place and we did stop by ground zero and pay our respects. There is not really much to see as the City has begun to rebuilt and clear the area, but there are memorial placards and what l thought most poignant was a cross made out of rough girders. Grand Central StationWe happened just to find this by chance! It is a beautiful building and inside the lobby is fantastic, and it will bring back memories of films and videos shot in here. It is also a central point for those traveling in and out of Manhattan. Michael Jordan’s steak house is to be found inside although from all accounts whilst being of top quality you need a second mortgage to eat here! Take a look at the ceiling whilst inside, it depicts various zodiac signs and looks amazing.Chinatown and Little ItalyThis has to be my favourite area within Manhattan – the hustle and bustle and thronged streets. The sights, sounds and smells assault every sense you have. Also there are bargains to be had here and if you can barter then its perfect for you! I got my obligatory I (HEART) NEW YORK t-shirt here for $4 – ok it will probably shrink to the size of a dolls t-shirt in the first wash but hey $4!! There are dim sum and noodle bars every where, then simply drop by to Little Italy and grab an ice cream for dessert!The street decorations were still up for the Chinese New Year so the area had a real festive feel and some of the photos l took have come out a treat – a little Asia within the heart of New York!5th Avenue and the NYC shopping experienceWhether you can afford it or not, no trip to New York could ever be complete without dropping into Bloomingdales, Macys and a wander down 5th Avenue to see how the other half spend their cash!!I simply had to get to Tiffany’s and my one big regret since l got back from the trip is that l did not back the necklace l dithered over in Tiffany’s – if l had bought in New York, what with the dollar to pound rate and the price difference l would have saved a whopping £60. Sorry l need to take time out to cry!!Any how tips for those shopping – remember the sales tax that is to be added on to your purchases it works out at 8.25% on top of the price marked on your goods so be warned! Something on a happier note though – if you visit the visitors centre in both Bloomies and Macys you can acquire what is know as a visitors card, entitling you to 11% discount within the stores and in Bloomingdales if you spend over $50 in store you can get a free give – a choice of a Bloomingdales bag, key ring or photo album – and they are actually very good quality!The Statute of Liberty and Ellis IslandAgain head for Battery Park and Clinton Castle (in UK terms a very poor attempt at a castle!) to catch the Circle Line Ferry to Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Centre. The round trip costs $11 for adults and is a fantastic experience. At present Liberty herself is closed to visitors but you can wander around her get some good photo opportunities of both Liberty and the Manhattan sky line. Also what surprised me was the gift shop on Liberty Island – most are usually over priced but l found it very reasonable.The ferry then takes those who want to on to Ellis Island Immigration Museum – where you can see how those who came to the States were treated and even look for you long lost relatives! Another tip here – do not eat in the restaurant here it is vile!Again back to the ferry and you hit the shores of Manhattan once again.The Empire State BuildingOnce again the tallest building in New York but be prepared to queue guys! We visited at 7pm at night thinking the queues would be shorter – no such luck!! First you got to walk what seems like miles for your tickets which cost $11 – although if you do the sky tour add an extra $9 to this price – we just took the basic observation platform ticket. Then you walk all the way back and queue yet again to go through security and get your ticket punched, then guess what you queue again for the elevators! Take the lifts to the 80th floor where you get in a further queue to get the lift up the last 6 floors! In this queue though get your photo taken where downstairs after your visit you can purchase a log of your time at the Empire! Con – l had a camera of my own thanks l can do all the snapping l desired!! So up the last 6 floors and praise the lord finally the observation deck!! First you wander through the gift shop and out on to the deck. The view of New York at night is spectacular – the city just glows – you can see the Crystlar building penetrating the night time sky and looking elegant compared to the surrounding buildings. You can pick out Times Square and Brooklyn Bridge too. It is worth the queuing and the entrance price just for the views over Manhattan at night. My camera though was not strong enough to get any decent pictures of NYC by night, which is slightly disappointing.We also walked through Central Park, on our way to the Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaur skeleton. We had a wander around Times Square which simply has to be seen to be believed – and the Toys R Us shop is amazing – a Ferris wheel in the shop – how cool!! We caught a limo ride back to JFK which was so decadent even though it was white!! We also made use of a free programme entitled Big Apple Greeter – which l would recommend to one and all – www.bigapplegreeter.com. A native New Yorker gives up a few hours of his time to show you about the city. We had a guy Kevin, and he gave us such a wonderful tour of his city and the history. I can not recommend this enough, it’s a great way to get to know New York and you also get given a free metro pass for the day – which saves you at least $10.Unusually for me l have not mentioned food much in this city review! But rest assured we ate and we ate well!! Without going into too much detail, New York has everything under the sun you would want to tickle your taste buds, for every price and pocket. We had fabulous Mexican food which did a killer margarita, found an amazing cheap bring your own Thai place and a wonderful mouthwateringly garlicky Italian. What l did not though is that Americans in general are not big boozers, in that in TGI Fridays for lunch one day l ordered a beer with my meal (and l got carded – for someone who is almost thirty l could have kissed the girl!) and l got looked at very strangely – l mean it was one beer and l was on holiday for goodness sake!So this was my trip to New York, l though when l started writing this review that we did not do nearly enough, but looking back we really did pack a lot into our short time in the city. It really does not ever sleep, for insomniacs out there it is the place to be. The infomercials on the television enthralled me, but what l loved the most and you will laugh but it was the drug stores – they are amazing – l could have spend days trawling the shelves with all the products on offer!! We had an amazing time and l would recommend the city to everyone – the kids will have a ball and everywhere is catered well for families, it’s a great place for young lovers and couples and if you’re single well it’s the city for you.
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