Boston and New York Trip Report

Old Aug 15th, 2014, 02:02 PM
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Boston and New York Trip Report

Here is a trip report that covers 8 nights (4 in Boston and 4 in NYC).
Trip began on August 4 and ended on August 12th, 2014.
Who went: 3 adults and one 14-year old boy.

We left Houston on the new United plane which promoted it MIGHT have Wi-fi. It didn't. The seats were nice though but there is a design flaw in the seat pocket in front of you as it is not deep enough to fit a credit card much less books, newspapers, etc. And can I just offer United and other airlines a big TIP? Have passengers show you their carry-on at check-in so it can be approved before the rest of us have to watch as passengers struggle with oversized and inappropriate luggage.... Rant over.

BOSTON
We used airbnb (awesome) so we saved $300 per night by being able to share a two bedroom condo (in a Victorian home), have access to a kitchen, washer and dryer, etc. Ours was located in Brookline and was just 3 minute walk in a beautiful neighborhood to the T-line. Boston hotels were on average 300.00 per night. Wow.

The Go Boston Card - I wrestled with this and ended up buying the 3-day passes. As it turned out we would have been better off buying things individually. As it happens, you do underestimate the time you spend doing other things like eating and do assume that others want to do the same thing you do. So I wouldn't buy unless you have rabid fans of a lot of the things on the list and you can split up as not all guests have same interests (we learned) We used for USS Constitution (okay, but only go if you have enthusiastic fans of WWII and 1800's ship) tour and Duck tour. We walked everywhere anyway so the trolly was never of any interest and I had free tickets to Aquarium anyway so that didn't go towards the cost. No one was interested in the Swan boats either. The tours for the Independence Trail was never really convenient so we walked alone instead. Lesson learned: No card.

FOOD:
*Best Ice cream was at the entrance to Boston Public Garden. $5.00
*Best deal and taste for lobster roll, chowder and drink was at the "Boston Chowda" in the Food court of Prudential. $16.99
*"Barcelona" restaurant in Brookline was awesome first meal. Great sangria and seafood paella. Nice neighborhood feel.
*Best "street food" at Quincy market was the Thai restaurant (the best pad thai I have ever tasted). $10 + best salad at 5.00 from stand next door (can't remember name). So don't be afraid to eat at the Quincy market.
*Ate at the "Black Rose" pub just up street from wharf. Same price as Boston Chowda but didn't include drink and the bread wasn't nearly as good as above.
*Walked to what USED to be our favorite eating places, "The Barking Crab". Not too impressed this time. Lobsters seemed tired (yes, dead too) and not that tasty. $45.00 for a 2 lb. grilled lobster.
*Had dinner after day of shopping on Newbury (and Gloucester) street at "CafeTeria". Nice outdoor patio and popular. Expensive for a corn and shrimp salad at 18.00.
*Ate at "Mike's" for cannoli which was good but next time would share since it is so rich. We ate in the nearby Revere square as there was no seating left inside.

TRANSPORT:
For Duck Tour we arrived at 10:30 and the next avail was at 12:30 so plan accordingly.
Taxi from airport to Brookline was $47.50 including 28.00 for taxi plus taxes, tolls, etc.
Our Green Line T stop was Washington Sq. Took 1 hr from Square to Aquarium; 20-30 min from Square to Copley.
Taxi from Brookline to Back Bay station (make sure you have driver take you to Back Bay station SOUTH) was about 20.00+ 6 for luggage. Otherwise you are at the old station with no food and no way to pre-board. South station has lots of eateries. You can take a quick train (5 min) if you get to the old one...like we did. We were glad we took the train to South. May I rant again? I get so annoyed when taxi drivers ask US which way to go....
I wish, wish we had a T in Houston.

NEW YORK:
Stayed in a friend's flat in West End Avenue, about a 15 min walk from Columbus Circle and entrance to Central Park South.

TRANSPORT:
Taxi from Penn Station was about $20.00. Getting out of train station was a nightmare because of people queuing up to leave on the same train (I guess). We almost had major accidents as people couldn't move beyond the escalator exit. Welcome to NYC..

First morning we took a cab directly to 911 museum ($20). By this time I didn't want to deal with figuring out how to get there by walking (a tad too far) and subway deciphering, etc. We arrived at 11:00 and got in for a 12 entry. Not bad for a Saturday.

We walked, walked, walked all over the place. Tried to get on "free" ferry but it was soooooo packed and basically unappealing. Battery Park is in need of serious renovation which it seems they are doing.

The water taxi should have been our first purchase but by the time we found it it was too late in the day to enjoy the $30.00 off/on option. Lesson Learned: Forget the free ferry and do the water taxi.

Taxi to Airport (LaGuardia) from Hell's Kitchen was about 20 min (we left 3 hrs early) because it was at 6:50 a.m. Cost was $40.00 incl. luggage. Pleasantly surprised. Airport is a hole though and not many food options.

FOOD:
If you take anything from this report please go to Sam's Falafel stand in Liberty Square, just down from museum. We initially walked into a pizzeria on the square and was instantly greeted with shouts and attitude that we walked right back out. So glad we did because Sam offers one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. Contained falafel, hummus, tahini sauce, eggplants, salad and a red spicy sauce. WOW and only $4.00!

Another food recommendation: El Centro Mexican on 9th avenue, in Hell's Kitchen. Great margaritas and great food overall. Nice atmosphere and seemed to be visited by locals. LOVED it. And very reasonable.

My husband and I loved both cities but we favored Boston just a tad more. Everyone in both cities were very nice and the vibe was great.

Final Lesson Learned: Don't take family members on vacation with you who are not fans of history or walking a lot...

Over and out.
Charli47
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 04:54 PM
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Love Boston and will be back in less than a month. I am putting Boston Chowda on our list. We love history and going back this trip to explore more and of course a baseball game. Your apartment sounded great.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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Sorry you didn't get on the Staten Island Ferry. there is a new one very 20 minutes during the day. And this isn't a "tourist" ride - is just like the subway - commuting for the tens of thousands of people who live on SI and work in the city. I think it's great considering it's free and the views that you get. But as a tourist can see where you might not mind spending much more for another boat. But hardly 10 trips a week.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 05:49 PM
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You don't waste any time, do you?
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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Sounds like an interesting trip and a learning experience. Yes, pick your travel companions for like interests,, not like dna

thanks for the report.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 01:45 PM
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Thanks for the report. I always suspected that the Boston card wasn't worth it for most visitors.

The train station is just South Station--where the trains originate. Just to avoid confusion by others reading this.

Do you mind sharing the link to your apartment? There are always questions about alternatives to hotels.

flpab, hope you have a great trip.
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