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Trip Report Mini NYC Trip Report, including Il Volo, Megabus and Humidity!

My friend and I had tickets to see Il Volo on Tuesday this week at the Beacon Theater, and decided to travel to NYC via Megabus. I am now definitely a fan! I was a little bit apprehensive, because there have been at least three situations lately where a Megabus had some problems and one unfortunate fatality, but decided that the odds were in our favor since there have to be hundreds of these buses out on the road every day.

We ordered our $10 round trip tickets online about three months ago and left from State College, Pennsylvania at 2:45 a.m. I was rather surprised how many other people were waiting to board, plus the bus was already fairly full from the Pittsburgh pick up. It's the first time I've been on Megabus and I was very impressed! It was clean, had power outlets at every seat and the drivers were courteous and helpful. A lot of the riders were middle-aged, like me, with the rest looking like they were in their 20's. The ride back home yesterday was the same, so I will use this service again.

While in New York, we visited the World Trade Center Memorial Fountain, which I saw before when I was in the city in December. The memorial, of course, is touching and thought-provoking. I hoped that the museum might be open, but it looks as if that won't be happening for quite awhile.

We had lunch at Pergola's near Times Square, and thought it was a great choice for an inexpensive lunch. The variety, including the Mongolian Grill, was impressive. We walked through Times Square in the 70% humidity and had the dubious honor of being fairly close to the Naked Cowboy. My friend had never heard of him before, and exclaimed that she couldn't believe the authorities allowed someone in their "tightie whities" to wander around like that! At least he's in decent shape! ;)

We got a cab to the Hotel Beacon on the Upper West Side (love this neighborhood!), where we checked into our room on the 20th floor - we could see the neat roof gardens on the various buildings in the area, as well as look out at The Ansonia building (of "Single White Female" fame) across the street. I've stayed at the Beacon several times in the past and continue to be impressed with the cleanliness and service.

After a much-need shower (did I mention the 70% humidity?), we went to dinner at Gina La Fornarina's about three blocks from the hotel, where I had Penne Puttanesca and my friend had Fettuccine Alfredo Bolognese - they were both very good! The restaurant has a nice atmosphere and friendly, helpful staff, with my only complaint being that the tables are a bit close.

Il Volo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw3c5d3aBSE) is a group of three teenagers from Italy with fantastic voices, and the show was great! There was so much energy in the theater, from both the performers and the audience. After the show it was a novel experience to leave a theater and walk next door to our hotel!

As much as we might have enjoyed going out for a drink, our 2:45 a.m. bus departure time was catching up with us, so we ended up going to bed by 11 p.m. We were up early Wednesday morning, though, and walked to Zabar's for a quick breakfast, then had a leisurely stroll around the neighborhoods in the area. If I ever had the opportunity to move to the city, this is where I'd want to live. After I won a large lottery, of course!

Our bus was leaving at 12:45 p.m., so we checked out of the hotel and rode the subway to 34th Street - thank goodness the subway cars were air conditioned, because the platforms had to be around 90 degrees! We went to Macy's and left our backpacks at the luggage check room and walked around the area, dodging frequent, brief showers, before having a quick lunch in the Cochina Cafe in the store and then getting a cab to the Jacob Javits Convention Center, with the bus stop located across the street. The area where each bus loads based on its destination were clearly marked, and the staff was very helpful - at one point a young man came to our line and asked an elderly couple if they wanted to be boarded first and then carrying their luggage to the bus. We were on the bus and out of the city by 12:50, with on-time arrival in State College.

It was a fun two days even with the humidity (and some of the discomfort may be because we are, as already mentioned, middle-aged females....), although based on the news, is highly unusual for early September in New York. Loved the show, the hotel was great, and the people watching is always the best!

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