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Trip Report Charmed First Trip to Big Apple!!

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DH and I took huge bite out of The Big Apple!! First trip to NYC and have decided to make it an annual trip. We left from Saint Louis early on Wed morning. We had printed our boarding passes before we left home. What seemed like a miracle at the airport was literally no line when we arrived at the airport and then only about 15 minute line for security!! Our flight arrived about 20 minutes early!! After a quick restroom break our luggage was already waiting for us!! A brief wait for our driver from Carmel (print a $4 coupon when you book) and we were on our way into NYC!! We assumed our room would not be ready since we were so early but again we were surprised. We stayed at The Mansfield on 44th and 5th – perfect for us!! Close to Times Square but far enough away that noise was not an issue. Was the room large? No. Was it clean? Yes. The hotel was gorgeous!! Yes there is scaffolding but The Plaza does too!!! Everyone was very nice and friendly!! The hotel has coffee/cappuccino/tea and lemon water 24/7 and warm cookies in the afternoon. Fresh fruit was also available. The room had some street noise and some kind of air conditioning unit noise – not for the individual room but not really an issue. Ear plugs were in the drawer.
We had tickets for David Letterman and had to be there by three to pick them up – had been a little worried but with the early arrival we felt confident in seeing a few sights on our way to the show. We had not yet decided on Top of The Rock or top of Empire State and decided that depending on time and how long lines were we would decide as it came up. Walked to Rockefeller Center and decided to check on the lines – NO line!! We couldn’t believe it!! Bought tickets at the kiosk and had the quick picture sitting on the beam and to the elevator we went!! I am not a fan of heights so didn’t enjoy the ride up – DH is telling me to look up and enjoy the show – didn’t happen!! The view from the top was amazing!!
I travel with a stuffed Coca Cola polar bear – Cocoa Bear ( started when I taught public school and sent it with students…) the elevator at Top of The Rock agreed to have her pic taken with him – she loved it!!
Outside Rockefeller Center we saw the Cranberry Guys in the cranberry bog – Cocoa Bear had a pic taken with them too!! Pictures of Radio City Music Hall and then on to Times Square. We didn’t have time at the airport to get our Metro Card so we hopped into a subway station at Times Square and picked them up. Had our first NYC hot dog. On the walk from Radio City Music Hall we came across the fire museum – DH is a firefighter so we stopped in and really enjoyed it – tiny museum but they do some amazing stuff with school age kids with fire education.
Waited in line for our David Letterman tickets – one of the pages agreed to have his picture taken with Cocoa Bear. After getting tickets we were told to come back in about 45 minutes. We went around the corner to Three Monkeys for a bite to eat. The food was good but the staff wasn’t very friendly and the drinks were terrible.
David Letterman show was fun – the band came out as well as a comedian to warm up the audience and Dave came out and answered a few questions. The taping was fun – then we went back to Times Square stopping at M&M World – Toys R Us and Hard Rock. Short bus ride and we were at Bloomingdales and then to Dylan’s Candy Bar. Having gotten up at 4:30 am we were in bed by 11 pm.
Day two started at Moods Fabric – my daughter is a Project Runway fan and wanted “ONLY” a Thanks Mood shirt – bought the shirt and some fabric and was given a free bag. We had booked an On Location TV and Movie tour that met at Ellen’s Stardust Diner – DH had breakfast and we enjoyed the signing before the tour started. The tour was great!! We are TV and movie fans and they took us to several locations – FRIENDS apartment, Men in Black, Ghostbusters, Hitch, Spiderman etc etc. The tour stopped at four locations where we could get off the bus for pictures. DD is a fan of Kardashian’s – made a stop at their DASH store – Cocoa Bear had his picture taken with the security guard.
I am a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and at of our stops I notice a VI woman having some difficulty making her way around some road construction. I asked if she needed some help and offered to help her to the corner. (DH is trying to figure out a way to use that to write the trip off on taxes)
Museum of Natural History for a self guided Night at the Museum was next.
We had tea at Alice’s Tea Cup on 73rd – DH is not a tea drinker and not a dainty thing but was a good sport. He did enjoy his sandwich and the scones. After a bus ride we visited the New York City library. We both especially enjoyed the children’s section. The stuffed Winnie the Pooh characters and Mary Poppins displays were adorable.
We used http://www.broadwaybox.com/ for Phantom of the Opera tickets -$27!! Very excited. We decided to dress for Phantom – a few other people were dressed up but there were all kinds of dress. We sat behind a teacher who was there with 10 speech students and two other adult chaperones. I sat next to one of the students. The adults had seen the play before but not the student next to me – she asked why the stage was such a mess – I told her it would make sense. After the show and the lights came up her face was covered with black mascara!! Not “raccoon” eyes but her face covered!! I asked if she liked it and yes she “LOVED” it. We were amazed at how they could pull off what they did!!!!
We were a little hungry after the show but tired. We stopped in the restaurant at our hotel (The M Bar) and order what was basically a pizza – it was good. When we booked our room we were sent a coupon for truffle popcorn – loved it!! Off to bed!!
Day three started at Grand Central terminal. We had to take pictures under The Clock. We took the subway to Trinity Church. We then made our way to Engine/Ladder 10. We already had tickets for the 911 Memorial. The line was longer than TTR but we knew we were spoiled. Yes I cried at the memorial. I especially liked that white roses are placed at the names on their birthday.
We were ahead of schedule again and decided to get a closer look of the Charging Bull – we drove passed it on the tour and it was crowded but we had no trouble getting a picture with it. We walked to NY Stock Exchange and Men in Black entrance before heading to Battery Park and on to Liberty Island to see the statue of Liberty. The skyline view from the ferry was breath taking!! We had thought we would do the Circle Line tour on Saturday but decided against it.
Our next stop was the Flatiron Building. We had eaten a bite before heading out to Liberty Island but stopped in where several chefs have booths set up across from the Flatiron building. I had a feta/olive pretzel while DH had a meatball sub – his meatballs are much better. Eataly was next. I bought a few goodies. The store is so big that DH decided to wait outside while I checked out but after finding the registers and making my way outside I realize I was on a different street but using my phone we met at the corner. I snapped a picture outside Kleinfield’s on our way to Tea and Sympathy. I knew this place had mix reviews but thought I would give it a shot. MISTAKE. Seinfeld had the soup Nazi. He could have just as easy had the TEA Nazi!! Rules rules rules!! DH was not up for more tea but agreed to let me enjoy some. We wanted to order a pot of tea and scone and cream and DH would nibble – OH NO. There is a minimum food order per person!! Seriously?? We left and headed to The Highline.
No plans for the evening. I would have loved another show and DH wanted to watch Cardinals play baseball. I waited in the TKTS line – it went very fast but no luck with tickets – no chance of the $27 again!! We went to Beer Authority and enjoyed the game. Staff was great. Bartender turned the game on for DH. Another bartender let me know the 50 shades cocktail was not her favorite and several people returned it. We enjoyed sliders and fries. The bar was busy on a Friday night and there was one stool available at the bar. Two young men sitting next to me offered a seat to my DH while he ate and then for most of the night – the asked if we could watch their drinks when they would go smoke.
DH is not a researcher and not a planner. My OCD kicks in and I love to plan and research. I told DH since we weren’t doing the Circle Line tour and had done everything I had planned for Saturday he could decide what to do. He had no ideas. We ventured back to SoHo and Economy Candy – several people had recommended it over Dylan and I have to say THANK YOU!! Totally different vibe but loved it!! I loaded up on candy!! $72 worth – but this was a HUGE bag of goodies!!! From there we took the subway to Brooklyn Bridge – should have gone to Economy AFTER but we took turns carrying the loot!! After dropping all of our goodies off at The Mansfield we ventured to Strauss Park to see the memorial for the couple from the Titanic. The bus ride up was very nice!! From there we walked over to the top of Central Park. It was starting to get dark so we headed back. We ate dinner at The Firehouse. I had the Mexican burger and DH had a BBQ burger – food was yummy and of course we enjoyed the atmosphere. We stopped back in at Times Square and then headed over to Roosevelt Island to take the tram. I knew I wanted to do this but we LOVED it. It was dark and even though I am scared of heights I loved it. The pictures from Roosevelt Island of the skyline were amazing!!! It is free with the MetroCard – I highly recommending visiting Roosevelt Island!!! We wanted ice cream/hot chocolate at Serendipity but decided we didn’t want to wait hour and half. We went back to Dylan’s and the hot chocolate was the best!! I ask the secret and was told they steam the milk and use chocolate shavings!! Yummy!!
We noticed movie trailers on our street!! I asked if they were filming and yes they were filming Annie!! I IMBD it and found out a new Annie is coming out in 2014 – Cameron Diaz, Jamie Fox and the young girl who was up for the Oscar – I never saw anyone but did see the trailers.
Sunday was reserved for Central Park. I told my DH I wanted to have breakfast at Tiffany’s first. He had no idea how I could do that. Earlier in the week we had found a food truck with tea/coffee and doughnuts. I had hoped for the same on 5th Ave. I had to settle for a pretzel but I HAD breakfast at Tiffany’s!! From there we walked to FAO Schwartz and just so happen to be there a few minutes before opening!! At ten the soldier marches out and announces the opening of the store and welcomes you into the store where staff is cheering as you walk inside the store – very fun!! Yes Cocoa Bear had his picture taken with the soldier on our way out after shopping. My son’s name is Macartney and he is a HUGE Beatles fan so we stopped by The Dakota for a picture of where John Lennon lived and died. I think we walked every inch of Central Park!!! After freshening up we decided to visit Grand Central terminal again. I had read there were a variety of restaurants there so we decided to have dinner at one of them. After looking around we decided on Two Boots Pizza. It was just okay. The price was reasonable but not impressed. From there we walked to Times Square to sit on the red steps and people watch. The Empire State Building was lit up pink for breast cancer.
Monday was our last day. DH wanted to sleep in while I was up and ready. I walked to Times Square and caught the end of Good Morning America – exciting. We had breakfast at The Red Flame on 44th – the food was average. Carmel was scheduled to pick us up at three in the afternoon. DH is not a museum kind of guy but agreed to take the bus up to Guggenheim and walk down Museum Mile. We stopped for pictures of the Guggenheim – got ran out when I tried to take a picture inside - they are doing work inside. At The Met we did some shopping and then back to hotel to wait for car.
We met the sweetest lady at a bus stop our first night – met strangers in the subway station who were also lost and helped each other out – met the generous young men who gave up there seat at the bar – the entire staff at The Mansfield made our stay memorable!! The only bad experience we had was at Central Park. I am terrified of rodents!! Mice, rats even gerbils etc. As DH and are ending our visit there we pass a young family. After we pass the mother says “look kids a rat”. I turn to see what she is pointing out to her kids and yes it is a RAT!! I was ready to go!! We never felt unsafe. We are ready to plan our next trip!!

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