A July 2005 trip
to New York by gatorgirl1977
Quote: A quick overview of my first trip to New York City, and my attempt to go everywhere and see everything.
One of my favorite experiences was visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. These are not to be missed. I had originally thought we would only view these sites from a boat tour, but changed my mind and actually went to Liberty and Ellis Island. The feeling of being on the islands and viewing the exhibits was truly one of the highlights of my trip. I particularly enjoyed the exhibit on Ellis Island that showed some of the faces of people who had come to Ellis Island. When you walked away, the faces turned into an American flag. Also, if you intend to go on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, make sure to buy your tickets in advance as they only allow a certain number of people per day to do this.
While we were in New York, we also took a 2 hour Circle Line Boat Tour around the end of the island. It was a really neat experience. We got to go under the Brooklyn Bridge and had the opportunity to take some great photos of the bridge and the skyline of New York. It was also a good way to cool down after a hot afternoon of pounding the pavement. This tour was included in our CityPass book and was well worth the time we spent on it. The Circle Line company also has other tours available. Their website is http://www.circleline.com .
The most moving experience was Ground Zero. We rode the subway and got off right at the site. There are not words to describe the amount of emotions that you feel when you look at the debris and see desks, filing cabinets, etc. There is a detailed time line and other information about that day.
We also picked up the week long subway pass. This saved us a ton of money on cab fare. You can buy the subway cards out of a vending machine at most subway stations. One word of caution, be wary of people who attempt to sell you "discounted" subway cards. We had about 5 people attempt to sell them to us while we purchased our cards. The cards can also be used for the city buses and cost around - for the week.
Another thing we did was pick out a city tour. This helped us to get to experience all the different parts of Manhattan and see things we probably would have missed if we hadn't chosen to do the tour. Our tour was focused on New York sites in movies and TV shows. We saw the Friends' apartment building, the Ghost Busters' station house, and we even got to go into the "bookstore" from You've Got Mail. It was really neat, and a fun way to see the city.
That being said, the best way to get across New York is by using the subway system. Being from a town that doesn't have subways, it was not hard to navigate this one. It is definintely the fastest way to go from one end of the island to the other. We covered the island in 15 minutes during rush hour one afternoon. If we had taken a cab it would have taken us over an hour. Because the subway was so fast, we were able to make it to our Broadway show on time. I also found it to be very clean and well maintained. We took the subway during the day, but we hailed cabs at night for safety reasons and such.
There is absolutely no way I would attempt to drive in New York City, but with the public transit and cabs you can easily get around the island with no problems.
The rooms were clean and a reasonable size. The only difficulties we found were that the elevator was slow and that the electrical system couldn't sustain more than one blow dryer and the air-conditioner at the same time. We tended to blow fuses when we were getting ready for dinner or going to the theater.
Overall, we found the hotel to be convenient and the staff was more than polite. They were willing to help us with all our needs. If I was going back to New York, I would happily stay here again.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 5, 2006
319 West 48th Street
New York, New York 10036
I arrived at the diner around 8:00am for breakfast, totally expecting just a standard diner. What I found instead was a 1950s themed diner complete with poodle skirts. The diner is furnished with old posters of 1950s beauty contestants for contests like Miss Subway. The seating is cushy red booths with silver subway poles sprinkled throughout the restaurant.
In addition to the costumes and interior design, all of the waitstaff took turns singing and performing throughout breakfast. Upon talking to our server, he reported that as an added bonus to his job the owner helped pay for singing and dancing lessons. Most of the staff is trying to make it big on the Great White Way and the owner supports their dreams while utilizing their undiscovered talent.
The atmosphere was full on fun with singers dancing between booths and crooning songs like Runaround Sue. Every so often the singers would pass a tip basket and you could donate to their singing/dancing fund.
In addition to the show, the food was good and reasonably priced. I had scrambled eggs and bacon which cost about $6. Another added benefit was there wasn't a wait and the server was quite attentive. I think both children and adults would really get a kick out of this place. All in all it was a great little place to happen upon by chance and a really unique way to spend breakfast.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2006
Ellen's Stardust Diner
New York, New York 10019
I definitely didn't allow enough time to view this museum. I devoted about 2 hours to it and probably could have used 2 days.
I started in the Egyptian artifacts collection. It was really very interesting and extensive. We saw numerous jewels and pottery from Egypt, along with carvings, etc. There was over 5 rooms dedicated to Egypt including a reproduction of one of the temples.
One of my favorite sections I viewed was the Impressionist galleries. There were numerous works by Degas, Monet, Manet, etc. The collection included not only prominent paintings but also numerous sculptures.
Overall, the only regret I have about the visit was that I didn't have enough time to truly see everything, or even half of everything. I can't wait to go back to New York to view more of this wonderful museum.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 5, 2006
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10028
Attraction | "Wicked"
The acting and singing were fantastic. The play was both funny and insightful. Its messages about diversity and friendship were really well presented. It was interesting to see how they incorporated each of the main characters into the script. This play is suitable for both adults and children.
When I saw the play it featured Ben Vereen and Rue McClanahan. The actress who played the part of the Wicked Witch was absolutely phenomenal. She had a terrific voice. The costuming and sets were really cool as well.
I would definitely recommend going to see this play. I also would suggest getting your tickets early. We booked our tickets about 2 months in advance in order to make sure we had the opportunity to see this. Tickets are available at http://www.broadway.com, and retailed for about $100 each for the orchestra section before taxes. You can also pick up discounted tickets at the booth in Time Square on the day of the show, but we didn't want to risk not having tickets to this show. We were seated towards the back of the orchestra section, but it was well worth the price of the seats. If you are looking for a large Broadway musical you should definitely consider Wicked.
222 West 52nd Street
Manhattan, New York 10019
Attraction | "The Museum of Modern Art"
When I entered the MOMA, I was really excited when the first thing I noticed was Monet's Waterlilies. I had never realized the size of this work of art. Since I love all things Monet, this was really neat for me. I also enjoyed seeing some of Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup Cans and also one of his famous Marilyn Monroe paintings.
There was also a really interesting photography exhibit of Mount St. Helens and its aftermath. It showed pictures with time stamps of areas just prior to and following the eruption.
The highlight of this museum for me was seeing Starry Night by Van Gogh. I loved looking at the brush strokes of this very famous painting. The museum also had works by Pollack, Cezanne, etc. The collection was interesting and fairly diverse.
The museum gift shop was also really well stocked with all kinds of cool merchandise. I picked up some children's books featuring artwork by famous artists. These books were really unique and interesting. I had never seen books similar to these before.
The only down side to this museum was the staff. I understand that there are millions of dollars of art in this place, but the security guards were definitely on the rude side. While there we had one speak to us about standing too close to the glass barriers; however, not 5 minutes later he was not only standing there, but leaning on the barrier. I also witnessed them taking to numerous other people while we were there.
Overall, I would gladly go back to this museum to see the artwork, but the staff at the Met was far nicer.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 5, 2006
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 West 53rd Street
New York, New York 10019
Attraction | "Zerve Manhattan TV and Movie Tour"
We all met and boarded a bus and began our tour. Our tour guide was spunky and fun. She told us about numerous sights in the movies and then played the clips of the locations as we passed them. We stopped and grabbed photos outside the Ghostbusters' Station House, the Friends' apartment building, and many other sites. My sister and I even got to stand on the front stoop of the Cosby house and pretend we were Huxtables. We were also taken to the site used for Meg Ryan's bookstore in You've Got Mail. It's actually a cheese and antique store.
Not only was the tour loads of fun, but it also allowed me to see parts of the city that I might not have gotten to otherwise. We went through all Chelsea, Midtown, the Meat Packing district, etc. It was a great way to see parts of the city we would have otherwise missed. Towards the end of our tour, we were given a huge black and white cookie and told the meaning behind the cookies distinctive look—they were delicious. The entire tour was tons of fun and really let us see some of New York that we wouldn't have otherwise experienced.
New York TV and Movie Sites Tour
51st And Broadway
New York, New York
I was pleasantly surprised that when I purchased my CitiPass booklet and there was a ticket for a 2 hour tour around the end of Manhattan. This tour can also be purchased from Circle Line for approximately $25 at http://www.circleline42.com. The Circle Line company also offers a 3 hour tour and a 75 minute tour.
I chose to use the tour that was included with my CitiPass, and set off to enjoy my adventure. When we arrived at the pier I was struck by a view of the Intrepid Museum which is docked next to the Circle Line Boats. The Intrepid is an aircraft carrier, and you could see numerous types of aircraft on its deck. It looked really interesting, but I did not have time to check it out.
Our cruise departed and we headed out past the Financial District of Manhattan. We sailed past Chelsea Piers, and took a quick run near the Statue of Liberty. Please note that this cruise does not take you to the Island, Circle Line offers an additional cruise that does that. We continued on under the Brooklyn Bridge.
The boat was a great break from the July heat in the city, and the captain told us tons of great information about the city and the sites that we observed. He even taught us a way to remember the order of the 3 bridges we sailed beneath. He used the acronym BMW—Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Washington.
The neatest thing about the cruise was the incredible photos we got of the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York Skyline. They are some of my favorites from the trip.
I really enjoyed our Circle Line Semi Circle Cruise. I felt that it was just enough time on the boat so that you didn't get bored with the tour and you still got to see some really neat sites.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2006
Pier 83 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10023