An April 2005 trip
to New York by Traveling Jen
Quote: Go Go Go... New York City... certainly not the most relaxing trip, but filled with culture and entertainment for sure!
Thank goodness we didn't get a ride from a psycho cabbie until the ride to the train station! Unbelievably, all I had heard about NYC cabbies, I was prepared to come close to sudden death, several cab rides later we hadn't come across one that didn't speak English, or that hadn't almost killed us. Until the last ride, good thing... my feet would have been killing me had I been sworn off taxis that early in the trip.
The only way to get the most from NYC is to run through it, unless you have a month. I took my best friend, my mom, and my sister-in-law (who also happens to be a dear friend), for their Christmas gift. We took the Amtrak out of Providence (very relaxing alternative to flying), and spent 4 jam packed days in the city. I'm not kidding when I say jam packed. Some of the time, I think they all wanted to kill me for running them so ragged, but in the end they were thankful that they saw and did as much as we could fit into the 4 days.
After we got settled into our hotel, the Sheraton Manhattan, we hit the pavement to find somewhere to have lunch. We ended up at Connelly's Pub. It looked like the building was about to be condemned, but the food was great. Next we headed for MOMA, don't really see the big draw there. The most memorable thing about MOMA was Monet's Water Lilies (I had no idea it was so huge), definitely a must see. But if you're not into crazy weird things that people just say is art, you could probably save yourself a bit of time by checking out Water Lilies and turning around. Anyway, I'm ranting... and running out of words to finish my trip experience... so, you'll have to read my individual reviews of all the places that I visited if you want more!
When they say the city that never sleeps... they mean the city that never sleeps. Bring ear plugs if you're a light sleeper. The horns never stop beeping and the sirens never stop (sirening?). The great thing about that, if you can't sleep and want a cup of coffee at 3am, you can pretty much walk about 20 feet in any direction and get one. The hotel rooms are all a bit small around the city unless you plan on spending BIG bucks, so don't be disappointed when you get there, just expect it.
Central Park, of course, is a must do! I spent several hours in the park and only brushed the surface. Plan on Central Park on the same day as the Guggenheim Museum, it's right across the street on the West side of the park. On another day, check out the Natural History Museum with another stretch of the park, it is located across the street on the East side of the Park. Thanks God I planned my trip around what sights were near what, or I really would have seen my fellow travelers dropping like flies.
Tip: the horse drawn carriages are also on the East side of the park, usually in front of the Tavern on the Green restaurant (very nice way to give your feet a bit of a break).
For those of you who have weak bladders like myself, I suggest using the rest room whenever you get a chance to. Store owners are not very good about letting patrons use the facilities. And please, by all means, bring your sneakers or comfortable walking shoes (you don't have to look like Carrie from Sex in the City).
I will still suggest getting around with a quick cab ride. After all, I only almost got killed once, the other several cab rides were actually quit enjoyable (we even had a few friendly and talkative cabbies). If you only have a few blocks to go, save some cash and hit the pavement with your walking shoes. NYC is pedestrian friendly, you never have to wait long to cross a street.
Not coming from a big city myself, I was to intimidated to try out the buses. I couldn't get a handle on the bus routes. If you're from a city and are used to public transportation, who knows, that may be the best way for you to get around.As far as the subways ugh! I thought Boston subways were grungy (and I'm used to the Boston subways, I can get beyond a bit of filth). Don't worry about having trouble finding a cab when you reach the airport or train station, they are everywhere. I'd say there is probably 20 cabs to every vehicle on the streets of NY that isn't a cab... seriously!Have fun, be careful, and stay with your group!!
Hotel | "Sheraton Manhattan Hotel"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 14, 2007
The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel
790 7th Avenue At 51st Street
New York, New York 10019
Restaurant | "Cite"
Cite was our splurge dinner. We ate here after Mamma Mia! The atmosphere was very nice... things were a bit blurry after my first drink however, $15 will buy you one of the largest apple martinis I have ever seen (strong too).
Thankfully, they were out of the scallop dish that I ordered, so the waiter gave us a round of drinks on the house (not bad at $15 x 4). The food was delicious and the wait staff very friendly (my mother was busy getting his life story, and he patiently amused her).
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 14, 2007
Cite (Now Maloney & Porcelli)
37 East 50th Street
New York, New York
I was on a mission... I was not leaving NYC until I had tried Gray's Papaya. We walked and walked and walked everywhere looking for it. Nobody in the city of New York could give us the proper directions. Finally, we found it. The best dam hot dog and the only papaya drink I've had to date! A couple of dollars buys you an entire meal... well worth the search for it.
Thank you Billy Crystal!
New York, New York 10025
+1 212 799 0243
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 15, 2007
Ellen's Stardust Diner
New York, New York 10019
This was our first meal in NYC, great food, great prices. The building, well that's another story. It was near falling down, and was about 6 feet wide, if that. It isn't showing up on the IgoUgo list. I'm thinking that it may not exist any longer. Well if it is still standing, it's worth the money.
It has a rustic charm about it, as many places in the city... you have to walk up a flight of stairs to get into the dining area (I believe the kitchen is located on the entire first floor). The food was yum yum yummy... I had the reuben sandwich (my favourite in an Irish Pub), it was loaded with corned beef. On the side... a huge portion of fries, they were very flavorful and spicy. I also got the corn chowder, it was not the best I've had, but worthwhile. All of this and an iced tea only ran me about $15 including the tip... not bad for a full meal in the city!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 15, 2007
14 E. 47th Street
New York, New York
Attraction | "Mama Mia! (The Show)"
Mamma Mia! (The Show)
Winter Garden Theatre / 1634 Broadway
New York, New York 10019
Pier 83 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10023
Attraction | "Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)"
As I mentioned in my overview, the best part of MoMA is Monet’s Water Lilies. I was shocked at how huge it is! The other Impressionist art is worth while to check out also. I’m not so into the weird crazy looking things that people call art, a lot of the displays looked like they raided the nearest Salvation Army store. My suggestion… seeing Water Lilies is worth the trip to MOMA. If you’re anything like me, see Water Lilies and the other Impressionist’s art and get out!
Thankfully, the MoMA is laid out so that you don’t have to endure anything that you don’t want to. You can truck yourself to the floors that have what you want to see and go. It is a rather large space and takes quit a bit of time if you plan on walking through all of it.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 West 53rd Street
New York, New York 10019
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 15, 2007
1071 Fifth Ave
New York, New York 10128
Central Park was unbelievable. It was much larger than I had imagined. We spent several hours there over a couple of days… and still only scratched the surface. Strawberry fields and the literary walk were, by far, my favorite spots.The angel fountain was breathtaking. It was kind of weird seeing it in person after seeing it in so many movies and shows. It was a rainy spring day, the day we were at the fountain. It was desolate, like she was waiting for us.
You must have a map of the park on hand, or you won’t have a clue where to go next. Make sure you decide some of the points of interest in the park that you want to see before you get there, so you can plan accordingly. Unless you plan on spending your entire trip in Central Park, you won’t be able to see all of it.
59th To 110th Streets Between Fifth Avenue And Central Park West
New York 10023
The building of the Museum of Natural History was breathtaking! This place is ginormous! You need your walking shoes on for this museum, that is for sure.
The displays range from animals to rocks, a bit for everyone. If you don’t plan on spending several hours, I suggest you map out what you want to see before you leave the lobby. This is where I killed my best friend, Sue’s, feet… she didn’t let me forget it the rest of the trip. Or even to this day (ha, ha… Sue if you’re reading this, I love you).
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West
New York, New York 10024
The Circle Line cruise was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I suggest a cab ride to get there, it’s a bit off the beaten path. The cruise is about $24 dollars for an adult (I purchased the NYC City Pass which came with admission to the Circle Line - well worth it). It takes you around the entire Island of Manhattan. I especially liked this because we could just catch a glimpse of some of the neighborhoods that we didn’t venture into to.
You get some great views of the Statue of Liberty, which I found to be inviting whereas you can no longer go into the Statue. It can be a bit windy, so wear a light coat if it’s all chilly out.
The Empire State Building observatory has some breathtaking views. My only regret is that I tried to time it for just before sunset, I wanted to be on the observatory for long enough to take some great shots while still light out and some at sunset and after dark. Well, we were up there for quit a while, got the daylight shots and waited and waited… sunset never came.
Everyone was a bit tired and cold, and ready to come down. About 10 minutes after we ventured back into the building… was my sunset! Next time I’m timing it better, I’ll check the weather report and get the exact time for sunset. Yup, that’s what I’m going to do. The admission to the observatory is also included in the New York City Pass (as I said earlier… definitely worth it).
Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
New York 10118
East Bridgewater, Massachusetts