I had not been to New York since I was ten years old, and even then it thrilled me just to see the skyline. My husband was born in Manhattan and had never been there, so we definitely had a positive and excited outlook before the trip. We wanted to see New York!
I thought I would be clever and frugal and figure out a way to take the trains/subways from Newark airport to mid-town Manhattan. It started off all nice and cozy. I had even researched on the net how to use token machines! BUT, I hadn't counted on getting luggage (enough for two people for four days) through turnstiles...Plus we got off at one wrong stop and that was no big deal except that we had to lug all that luggage back down the stairs and through a labyrinth of obstacles and people. YUK!
Once we got there, we were relieved! We walked everywhere for the rest of the trip. We went to the NYC public library (if you smoke occasionally, the Bryant Park Pub is the ONLY place we saw where you could sit and have a beer and a cigarette), St. Patrick's Cathedral (A very dreary mass-- if you are Catholic, I recommend skipping it!), took a Circle Line Cruise, which was great (totally recommend the 45 minute tour as a way to get a feeling of NYC and the Statue of Liberty. We nixed the Empire State Building and if you want to see it, try getting your tickets over the Internet in advance. The lines were loooooooong.
Other highlights included taking the subway to Greenwich Village and the NYU area where we visited Washington Park, saw a free speech rally, and drank Vanilla bean frappacinos. Originally we thought we would visit museums, but since the MOMA was being renovated and since we just wanted to see NY, we opted for walking around.
Times Square (day and night) swarms with life. There is so much to take in it's almost like white noise for the brain somehow, comforting in the post-modern way that malls are (at least for me). We actually ran into P. Diddy as he was carrying the Olympic torch to be lit there one night. That was oddly exciting for me being an E channel groupie and secretly intrigued by the disgusting glamour of it all. Two cynical teenagers scoffed at me for saying, "Look, it's P.Diddy!" Since I teach high schoolers, I was amused.
In our travel journal we wrote the following as tips for our next trip:
Fly into Laguardia or JFK (not Newark!)
Buy any liquor or nicotine at home (very expensive in the city)
Buy a week Metropass for seven bucks (dealing with purchasing tokens is a pain)
Bring tons of underwear, socks.
Check out the half-price ticket booth
Mini-backpack and water bottles a good idea (water is like a buck-fifty everywhere)
Next trip, I want to shop at Macy's, have a drink at the Algonquin in honor of Dorothy Parker and go to Chinatown.
A lot to do and a lot to love about NY!
All in all, it was simply a great and exhausting vacation.