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Trip Report First-time to NYC Trip Report as promised!

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First off, a big thank you to everyone for the help and advice, it was so appreciated! I have fallen deeply, madly in love with New York City!

Friday: We arrived in the evening by Acela Train having first spent a few days in Boston. The train travel was comfortable, quick and easy. Caught a cab to our hotel as we didn’t want to deal with luggage. Checked into The Iroquois, on 44th, between 5th and 6th Ave. Lovely place, great experience there! Went out for a walk about the area, then to dinner at the recommended E&E Grillhouse (very good food and service), then to see Book of Mormon. Of course we had to check out all the lights in Times Square and view the ball we see on TV every year. I’m glad I saw the Square but it was my least favorite part of NYC, so crowded, overpriced and commercialized.

Saturday, first full day in the city: Bought our week long subway/bus unlimited metrocards (what a great deal for $30.00 each), then took the subway to the 911 Site. We viewed the moving Tribute Center while awaiting our tour departure. I have to say I went through the kleenex, so sad and moving. Our tour guide lived across the street from the twin towers and worked across the river in New Jersey. She saw it all happen and gave us all her personal story of sadness, anger and resilience of the human spirit. It was very inspirational. I could write an entire report on this visit but suffice it to say, we highly recommend everyone do this. Love the new Freedom Tower! We left there and walked through Battery Park and along the waterfront where I got my first long-distance view of the Statue of Liberty! Next we took the subway to Central Park. The weather was beautiful and sunny and all the flowers and trees were blooming! What a gem this is; we just loved it! We followed advice here and ate a light lunch at The Boathouse, the food was delicious and the view was to die for!! After many hours enjoying the park, we had a break at our hotel and freshened up for dinner. Our son wanted to eat in the meatpacking district. Before we chose a place, we walked up to The Highline and enjoyed the sun setting over the Hudson River. So beautiful! We sat outside at Dos Caminos and had wonderful margaritas and tapas and just enjoyed the evening and people watching. Perfect first day in the city!

Sunday, Went to Ess-A-Bagel for a goodbye breakfast with our son who had to continue on a business trip. Really enjoyed the atmosphere and people – the bagels were good but I was surprised how CHEWY they were, could only finish half of mine! Took the subway and followed directions found here to Heather Park and The Cloisters. The walk up was not very strenuous with a paved path, beautiful scenery and weather. Loved this place, highly recommended if you like The Renaissance. Such beautiful architecture, views and ART!! Spent quite a while here. Took the subway back and grabbed dinner at John’s Pizza (it was OK, but nothing special in our opinion). Night was falling so we went for a walk; saw Grand Central Station, outside of Public Library (the lions), stared in amazement at all the gorgeous buildings and architecture around us and fell completely in love with Bryant Park – esp. the outdoor Reading Room, love it!!

Monday: Took the subway to the northern end of The Highline and walked the whole length. Gorgeous views, greenery, people, weather! This was a great suggestion I got on here, thank you! What a wonderful park. Ended at the southern exit and took the subway to South Seaport and caught the Zephyr to see the Statue of Liberty as close as possible. I was caught by surprise by the tears in my eyes when I got to see her up close, she is so beautiful! I kept thinking of all our ancestors who first saw her when they came to this country full of hopes and dreams. Very moving experience! Got off the subway and toured the Public Library - inside this time! Nice gift shop too. Went to the hotel to change and give the feet a break. We had reservations at Blossom Café (thank you, thank you for recommending this place) in Greenwich Village. Wow, this was my favorite meal of the whole trip, it was soooooo good! My husband really enjoyed his dinner also and he’s not a vegetarian as I am. More walking around at night enjoying the sights.

Tuesday: Met our guide for the Real New York tour. This was supposedly a 6.5 hour tour, we went for 8 hours! Went all over the city, walking and by subway, and got a great overview of so many areas. Stopped and had great pizza in Greenwich Village but I forgot to list the name. It was very good thin crust pizza. This is a wonderful tour for the stories, history and a great general overview of many areas of the city but it does make for a long and tiring day, be prepared! The tour ended up in the Financial District so we stayed around there and did more walking and photos on our own. So much great history! To think we could stand in the exact place where George Washington was sworn in as President, so cool! By this time, I must admit to being worn out so went back to the hotel, ate snacks, drank some wine and passed out early!

Wednesday: We knew rain was forecast so we grabbed the subway to The MET. I was surprised by the rainbow of umbrellas everywhere! Being from Oregon, we just wear a good raincoat with hood, Oregonians don’t really use umbrellas. Not so in NYC! I wish I’d have gotten more photos, they actually made for cool, scenic art. Got to the MET at opening time and they kicked us out at 5:30 when it closed. I STILL didn’t make it to all the rooms! I had thought all the really great museums were in Europe, not true! This is one to make all Americans very proud! I would be a member and go all the time if I lived near here, a wow! We walked through Central Park to the subway and went straight to the Theater District to see Jersey Boys which started at 7:00. Loved this musical, awesome! Afterwards we were very hungry so we ate at Café Un Due Twa as it was near our hotel. Really enjoyed the service, crepes and wine here! A lucky find.

Thursday: Hubby wanted to have breakfast at The Pershing Square Café near Grand Central Terminal. The line moved pretty quickly and we had a wonderful hot breakfast. Grabbed the subway to The Frick Collection. Wow, another great place. Loved the beauty of the mansion, the art was just incredible and “in situ”. Being a smaller venue, it was nice to feel you could spend more time with each piece of artwork and not be rushed. We went to the northern-most part of Central Park and headed south to the subway and Rockefeller Center where we had a 5:00 art and architecture tour scheduled. Loved the tour, the center and the art, wonderful! After the tour, we were able to skip the line and go right up to the Top of the Rock. Amazing views from there, loved it! Three different levels with open air at the very top for the best photos! We watched the sun setting, spent quite a while up here, then more walking around before calling it a night.

Friday: Hubby wanted to do a little genealogy research in the Public Library so this was my chance for some shopping. I had to buy some gifts to take back home. Of course I had to visit the world’s largest and first Macy’s store and check out Lord and Taylor (I had never been there). Most of my gifts ended up coming from The MET Museum Store; nice quality gifts. A bit pricey but at least you are supporting this wonderful museum! After the shopping, I got some time to enjoy Bryant Park one last time and just wallow in the whole NYC experience with a cup of coffee, good book and lots of people watching. For our last night, we had tix to the NYC Ballet. It was a contemporary three part ballet and at Lincoln Center of course. Wow! So, so loved it! Even the hubby admitted he enjoyed it (I had to do a little arm twisting to convince him to go). I needn’t have worried about the dress code, most people were just business casual, a few really dressy, and even a few jeans! Afterwards we bought some expensive but delicious gelato and walked all the way back to our hotel just taking it all in.

A few notes: I felt completely safe the entire time of our visit. I have never seen so many police in one city before, they were on every block I think. People were very friendly and helpful, even in the subway station when we were pouring over the map. The subways were a bit tricky until we figured out the difference between the express and local trains, then it was much easier. I still can’t get over all the varied and beautiful buildings everywhere from all time periods and styles, amazing! Wish we’d had even more time, will definitely be returning when I can! Thanks again everyone for the help planning! Happy Travels!!

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