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Trip Report My son's first day in New York

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I wanted an interesting and impressive (albeit exhausting) first exposure for my son (age 15) for his first trip to New York and wanted to share what we did and our impressions. He was just back from Beijing several days ago so he was already a bit jet lagged.

We stayed at the Ramada in Long Island city after flying into La Guardia. It was a very quick cab ride which cost $13, plus a $4 tip. The hotel was $130/night which is cheaper than Manhattan in general but it is close by. The room was clean and quite adequate. We had a lower floor city view room and the view was nice; I would recommend asking for a highest possible floor to get a better view. It had free wifi which was great and it is about 6-7 blocks to the subway station at 39th street to catch the N train into the city. The surrounding neighborhood looks a bit sketchy although I think it is safe.

I decided to take him to Times Square as his first exposure to New York for the sheer in your face spectacle of it all. It was a gorgeous day and I thought it was fantastic. He actually thought it was going to be bigger and said Tiananmen square was really huge, in comparison. We walked from the Times Square subway station up Broadway and stopped at Lindy's for a slice of cheesecake which was good. We then continued up Broadway north to 60th where Central Park began. The walk was lovely. We turned right on 60th and walked to 6th ave and walked south to Rockefeller center. We stopped in to check out tickets for TOTR and NBC studios and also stopped at the Legos store and Metropolitan museum of art stores there. I could not justify paying 20-25$ for TOTR tickets so we skipped it. I had seen views before from the top of the World Trade center and Empire state building and it would not have been worth $20 to me.

Our next stop was Grand Central station at around 42nd and 5th ave. It was truly spectacular. We discovered the dining concourse at the bottom level and indulged in great pizzas ($4 per slice at Two Boots) and desserts from Magnolia bakery. I had a pistachio cupcake ($3.50 each) with the lightest buttercream frosting and a slice of lemon vanilla bundt cake (3.50 also). I thought it was very well priced and just delicious. I wanted to try one of everything! We didn't even make it to the Oyster bar or the Indian curry place. It is a must do on every NY trip from now on. We reveled in the majesty of the architecture and enjoyed the music of a cajun cellist on our way out.

We then walked south on 5th avenue and headed to Murray Hill turning left to Third ave and 33rd street to our next destination, Cask. This was one of the bars I read about in Murray hill that had craft beers and comfort food. We arrived just when it opened at 4 pm and the place was just charming and lit with candles. We indulged in their summer ale and a lager and I had a sangria as well. We weren't hungry but the food looked sooo good we ended up ordering their pot o'mussels with brown ale/blue cheese/bacon broth. It arrived in a good size pot which was a pleasant surprise and was just wonderful. I would highly recommend this place.

Next, we hopped on a bus on Madison avenue and rode up to 86th street and attacked the Metropolitan museum of art. It was 6 pm when we arrived but they were open till late (9 pm) that night. We saw the Egyptian exhibit, the American wing with period furniture which was fantastic, and then the European paintings/Impressionist art. It was all glorious but my feet had had it by then. I think we had walked well over 60 blocks by then and we had to leave anyway as the museum was closing. We did a final walk through the northeast corner of Central park which was magical as it was late twilight and fireflies were glowing. We caught a subway on 76th/Lexington and made it back to our hotel exhausted but having seen so much. From Times square to Carnegie Hall to/through the Upper East side, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central station, to Murray Hill and a fantastic drinking/dining experience and ending up with the Metropolitan museum of art and a dipping of the toes in Central Park, it was a grand day indeed.

When we return, we will do lower Manhattan with SOHO, the Village, Tribeca, Chelsea, 911 Memorial, Staten Island Ferry and maybe Chinatown/Little Italy.

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