A June 2007 trip
to New York by onesundaymorning
Quote: Two days in Central Park and the Statue of Liberty
Hotel | "Broadway Hotel n Hostel"
The Broadway Hostel n' Hotel. Wow, what to say? I picked this hostel over a nice one that I stayed at only a few blocks away because it was rated one of the top 10 hostels in the world. After staying there, I have to question if the reviewers went to the same hostel as I did. For $30 a person I got a room with two bunk beds for the night. The lobby was dark and dank, but the people at the front desk seemed genuinely nice. I should have suspected something was wrong when I realized that they didn’t have a cash register, but instead all of the money was kept in an envelope.The hallways to the rooms were tiny and the walls were warped. All I could think while walking down it was that I was happy that I wasn’t in a wheelchair, because I wouldn’t have gotten far. The rooms were bad. First they were tiny and painted white, not red and spacious like the pictures showed. I couldn’t imagine four people staying there. The floor also had holes torn into it with pieces of jagged linoleum sticking up (one that I tripped over and gave myself a nasty bruise). The wholes weren’t confined to just one area either. They were all over with the biggest in the middle of the room. The room also had an a/c, but it barely worked. The only plus side to the room was that there was a sink randomly in the sitting in the corner.
The bathrooms, god, I don’t even want to describe them. First the toilets had some strange things floating in them. The floor was nasty, and the tub/shower—I couldn’t be paid enough to shower there. The shower was covered in dirt and it looked like the paint was peeling around the tub. I think it was a while since it was cleaned. Unlike other hostels which have a large public bathroom this one had two private bathrooms. A nice idea at first, but I soon realized that they were always full. Even at 2am.At the end of the hallway were a small room with two computers, (to access the Internet you swipe your credit card for access), a vending machine, and lockers (which are usually located in the rooms).Upon check-out we were more than happy to leave; however, we weren’t the only one with complaints. There were two British boys talking to the person at the desk about problems with the beds, walls, and a whole in the ceiling which was leaking onto them during the nigh. I didn’t catch the whole conversation, but as they walked away one yelled, "let’s return to our dream!" Apparently it wasn’t resolved to their satisfaction.In short I wasn’t expecting the Plaza by any means, but this was far below any hostels standards that I’ve ever been to.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 3, 2007
Broadway Hotel & Hostel
230 West 101 Street
New York, New York 10025
There is a trick to getting service at Serendipity 3; don’t wait outside. The inside waiting is small so most people wait outside. The host tells everyone that there is an hour wait time, but she never goes outside to call people in. If you stay inside you can cut that hour down to about 10-20 minutes.Although the name may seem odd (it pays homage to the three people who started the restaurant also known as the Serendipity 3) this isn’t your average popsicle stand. Located in a basement on East Fifty-Eighth Street everyone from Bill Clinton to Andy Warhol has eaten here.Serendipity is a hodge podge of items. The inside looked appropriate for the Mad Hatter to have his tea party there. Stain glass lamps hung from the ceiling and white marble taps were crammed into the building. Shelves near the register are packed with interesting knickknacks such as cookie monster cookie jars, action figure dolls, and books of all kinds.
It isn’t just the interior that people come for but the food. After being seated the host will hand you a menu over a 1-½ foot high. Most people come for the ice cream, which are more than enough to feed two people. Their drug store sundaes are three huge scoops. I split the Forbidden Broadway Sundae with my grandmother, and we both agreeded that it was one of the best sundaes we had ever had. It consisted of chocolate Blackout cake, which was still warm, next to vinella ice cream and topped with hot fudge. The only complaint was the whipped cream. It was very sour. Almost like it went bad. We weren’t the only table taking it off. The sundae cost $13.50. We also decided to split an entrée, The Alamo. I had some reservations about this black beam burger, but it was a wonderful pleasant surprise. The burger tasted unlike anything that I had before. It was almost like a cross between a hamburger and refried beans. I also highly recommend adding the picante salsa and the sour cream. The Alamo was only $10.Serendipity 3 offers a wide variety of food besides the ice cream that is famous for, such as Lemon Chicken, Cheddarburger, and Chicken Nachos. Regardless of what you get you’re guaranteed a delicious twist on old favorite.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 12, 2007
225 East 60th Street
New York, New York 10022
Attraction | "Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island"
The idea of the Statute of Liberty conjures up many different ideas of what it is, but almost everyone’s first though when they see it is "wow, it’s small." The Statue is 152 feet tall and weights 225 tons. France gave the statue to the US in 1865 as a sign of friendship and close historical ties between the two countries (France helped the US win their independence from Britain during the Revolutionary War). The ferry for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island leaves every 15 minutes from Battery Park starting at 8:30am. Tickets ate $12 more if you want an audio tour. If you want to go into the Statute then order the monument time passes online. They sell out quickly, and when you get to the Statue the lines are LONG to get inside, even with the pass. Get to the park early, because you need to pass through security. The ride to the Statue of Liberty takes about 15 minutes.
There isn’t much to do on Liberty Island. There is a gift shop and usually a park ranger giving talks about the history of the Statue. When getting back onto the ferry to the Ellis Island is careful of which ferry you board; one heads to Ellis Island and then back to New York and the other goes to New Jersey. Ellis Island was my favorite of the two destinations. The space in the complex is devoted to the history of the island and the immigrants who passed though it. Tourist can learn about the whole process that the immigrants went thought once they arrived in New York through photographs, documents, and even quotes from the people who were there. Other exhibits such as "Treasures from Home" show off items that immigrants brought with them from home, and "Ellis Island Chronicles" tells the history of the island itself. How it started as fishing to how it grew in size from 3 acres to 27 acres. There is also a show for an extra $6. The show Island of Hope/Island of Tears is decent. It lasts 25 minutes and tells the story of a few immigrants and their journey to Ellis Island. It was decent but reminded me more of a bad High School play then a professional production.
There is even the American Family Immigration History Center, where for $5 you can research your family. All you need to know is the name of the person who came through island and you can find a wealth of info. My search lead me to a manifest of two people who could possibly be my great-great grandfather, but what I didn’t know is that they both came over with family members that I never knew about.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 3, 2007
Statue of Liberty
New York, New York 10004
Attraction | "Ground Zero"
World Trade Center Site
Vesey Street, West Side Highway, Liberty And Church Streets
It’s not a large zoo, but somehow they have managed to create a beautiful environment and pack quit a few animals into Manhattan. Admission is $6 for adults and $1 for children. The entrance costs covers the zoo as well as the separate children’s zoo. In the middle of the zoo is the sea lion tank, where very social sea lions swim near the glass sides of the tank and even pop up to the top and swim around to the delight of everyone. Past the seal lions is the cold climate animals, penguins, polar bears, and puffins. The penguin habitat is a breath of fresh air on hot city days. While there I found that several of penguins were awaiting the hatching of their eggs and the guide in the habitat was more than happy to answer any questions on when the babies were expected to be born as well as any other penguin related question. This building was build so that there are huge glass windows that allow for viewing of the penguins on land as well as under the water, and the penguins seem to love to swim right next to the glass. In the same building, across from the penguins is where the puffins are and a few ducks. The ducks are extremely friendly and would follow me from one side of the tank to the other. Outside of the penguins habitat is where the polar bears are. There are several great viewing places in various areas around the cage to get up close with the bears.
On the other side of the zoo was my grandmother’s favorite attraction: the rainforest. This is a walk in exhibit that recreates the rainforest and actually puts you in the exhibit with the birds flying around you. One the second floor there is a separate room with glass cages to view small monkeys and snakes. Although very interesting this room is very humid, smells, and feels like there is very poor ventilation making me want to move though there very quickly.Besides the animals the park is a sight to see in itself. Beautifully manicured and well taken care of I would say it is not only of the best zoos I’ve been to, but also one of the most aesthetically pleasing. Throughout the zoo are various poems that go from one exhibit to the other. Most are about the animals that are housed in the area, but others just speak to the beauty of nature. I had reservations about visiting another city zoo, especially after my experience at the LA zoo, which offered poor viewing of the animals, less than stellar looking grounds, and graffiti everywhere; the Central Park zoo was its opposite in every way.Although they don’t offer crowd favorites such as elephants, giraffes, and other large animals I do have to compliment them on not trying to force these favorites into a small space.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 12, 2007
Central Park Zoo
830 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10021
59th To 110th Streets Between Fifth Avenue And Central Park West
New York 10023
When I told my grandmother that I had to take her into Toys R Us she though I was nuts, but just stepping into the store converted her. This is a Toys R Us unlike anything before, a child’s paradise. The store can only be described as a cross between Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, Disneyland, and Santa’s Work Shop.
Once inside the doors employees will ask if you want a commemorative picture taken, but they are almost invisible amongst the colors, sounds, and the ferris wheel that is staring at you. This store houses a three-story ferris wheel that is decorated each car with a different theme such as My Little Ponies, Toy Story characters, and Scooby Doo.The Lego section of the store makes larger than life replicas of dinosaurs, Captain Jack Sparrow, and my personal favorite King Kong climbing the empire state building. In the action figure section Superman is holding back a truck that has crashed though the ceiling and thereby saving all of the shoppers below. There is even a GI Joe or two parachuting from the ceiling as well. Barbie fans won't be disappointed either. There is a two-story, walk-in Barbie dollhouse where everything and anything Barbie can be had.
I also found toys here that aren’t anywhere else such as dolls with the NYC logo on them, but the best was the Mr. Potato head, where for $18 his box can be stuffed with all accessories you can fit into it. The attachments aren’t the usual sort either. They range from Star Wars paraphernalia to Statue of Liberty Hats.
However, the best section is where all of the candy is. The area is decorated with life-sized Candy land characters and oversized gumdrops. There is an area where you can mix and match your own colorful bag of M&M’s. Upon leaving the store my grandmother was converted to a believer and keep on remarking about how there were more people in there taking pictures than actually shopping.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 3, 2007
Toys 'R Us
24-30 Union Square
New York, New York 10003
Los Angeles, California