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New York, New York...so good I spent my salary twice. A trip report !

New York, New York...so good I spent my salary twice. A trip report !

Old Aug 30th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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New York, New York...so good I spent my salary twice. A trip report !

So, as I sit here exhausted back in Chez Mac dreaming longingly of the big apple, I thought I'd put my meagre thoughts down in words.

Partly as a thank you to those on here who gave me New York advice before I left, partly as a rough guide for those of similar ilk (family with teens..aaaagh) thinking of undertaking a week in New York, and partly as a form of diary in case my ever growing senility kicks in quickly and I need a point of reference to remind me what the hell this green foam Statue of Liberty hat is doing in my living room.

Here goes then...bear with me...7 days in NYC with The Mac, Mrs Mac, Mac junior (aged 17) and Macette (aged 15).

Day 1....To poorly paraphrase the great Bono..'it was a hot and sticky August day, when we touched the ground at JFK'.
To be more exact, via a big shiny American Airlines jet out of Heathrow.
AA weren't my first choice, as I read baaaaad things about them, but the flight wasn't the worst I've ever been on....the cabin crew were interestingly octogenarian and managed to keep the kids occupied for an hour or 2 as they took bets on which stewardess was the oldest.

The crew managed to warm up somewhere over Rhode Island...I reckon it was my stunned silence when asked for 6 dollars for a red wine that did it.
I was still too shocked to complain about the fact that my in-flight entertainment didn't work and I couldn't watch the whole 1st series of Friends on the way.

However, the lasagne was good, the captain was called Chuck (my kids liked this) and we arrived at JFK on time at 14.30.

The Macs disembarked and prepared to face the seemingly well documented nightmares of immigration at JFK.
But !!!! Our first very pleasant surprise ! Through immigration in 15 minutes, handled very politely and professionaly, and our bags waiting on the other side.

Mac Junior and Macette were seriously disappointed...they wanted shouted at and to see my good self be hauled away for an inspection involving rubber gloves.
Still mumping and groaning, we dragged them into our first yellow cab and within 45 minutes we were at our hotel....45 bucks flat rate fare (plus tolls and tips)...very open and easy.

Now..the hotel. I like funky. I'm a funky person, and more specifically I'm a funky hotel person.
The kids might see me as a balding 44 year old walking embarrassment, but I know I'm cool.
I'd therefore picked the equally cool Empire Hotel at the corner of the Lincoln Center at W 63rd St to stay at.

The hotel is indeed the epitome of cool...nice decor, big rooms (if you go for anything above standard), a roof top bar with exceedingly large gentlemen guarding the public entrance to it, and a shower that takes 20 minutes to figure out how it works.

When you have a shower that you need an instruction manual for, you know you've hit funky, if aaaaagh frustrating.

Never mind. suitably refreshed, the Macs went for a walk down 9th Avenue in search of grub and action.
Well, grub. The kids would have liked action but they were with their parents, so no way Pedro.

300 metres down 9th exhaustion set in and we stumbled into Brasserie 92 (somewhere near 51st St) for Mojitos (and coca-cola).
3 sips later we'd asked for menus and 1 hour later we were sitting at the table patting our stoumachs in a satisfied Garfield-type manner and dreaming about bed.

A taxi back to the and the Macs first day came to an end.
Exciting and exhausting....we were ready for more ! (but are you ?)

To be continued...
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 11:29 AM
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Oh my, I just fastened my seatbelt, because this is ganna be a grande ride!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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loving it. keep going!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Day 2...

Wow. The Mac's body has forgot ot adjust to Eastern time and I'm awake (and hungry) at 02.00.
No problems, because the rest of NYC is also awake and driving large trucks and cabs past my bedroom window.
The earplugs are inserted into the appropriate orifices and I'm back into a deep slumber...only to jump up wide awake at 05.45 thinking, 'man, this New York...I wanna see it !!'.

Fortunately, Mrs Mac is also wide awake...it's amazing what a well aimed elbow to the ribs can do, so we decide to leave our teenagers to do waht teenagers do best (no, not that...I meant sleep) in the room 2 doors down.

One of the reasons I picked the hotel is because it's only a block from central park, so it being a beautiful fresh morning we decided we would have a 06.00 stroll to get rid off the cobwesb and mojitos.

Now...for anybody reading this who has never been to NYC before, listen carefully.
Get up early, and walk in Central park at the weekend. Do it.
As soon as you take 2 steps inside, you realise that you are going to LOVE New York with all your heart and soul, and that you want to have her babies.

Well, I did. It was love and lust at first sight.

At 06.15, the park has serious people watching potential. Walkers, joggers, dogs, pushchairs, and disconcertingly fast cyclists who seem to aim for tourists.

If I could marry a park, this would be the one I'd choose....we spent a hour just sitting and talking, and I could not wait for the day to begin in earnest.

Love was interrupted by the need to wake up the teenhorrors, but they were excited so the grup-o-meter was at a low level.

Breakfast was an interesting point and answer session at the diner across the road, and we were ready !

For what ? I hear you ask.

Well, the morning of day 2 was going to hit the high spots....the Top of the Rock to be exact.
Much investigating had led to the assumption that the TotR was abetter bet that the Empire state, so we bought tickets advance, took the subway and fund the entrance at the Rockerfeller Center.

I've no idea what the ES is like because we didn't go up, but the TotR was superb.
No lines, helpful staff, loads of room at the top and views on this clear and sunny day to die for (including of course the Empire State in all it's majesty).
We spent an invigorating 60 minutes up there and all agreed it was a fabulous introduction to the city.

(warning : You're going to get the full gammut of superlatives in this report)

On leaving the building we decided to book dinner at the Rock Cafe for later that night, as we had sunset tickets to back up the TotR in the evening.

One coffee later and we were ready for 5th Avenue. MacEtte wanted to hit the NBA shop, so we did the first of our shopping in there. Little did I know there was muuuuuuuuch more shopping to come.

One of the niave mistakes a midtown (almost) virgin makes is that everything looks so close on the map....yeah, that would be me.

Having persuaded the kids that everything was only 5 minutes (haha) apart we headed off for ..

-Grand Central station (wonderful inside...go to the food court level downstairs as well).
- Bryant Park (a lovely, lovely oasis in the city)
- and finally, Macy's.....although we were hitting the wall by that time and frankly we were too tired to shop.

After coffee, the Mac Junior-ettes decided they wanted to go to Ground Zero.
Personally, I just couldn't stand the thought of spending time in the suana that is a NYC subway platform, wo we studied our Time Out bus guide and decided that the M6 would take us from Macy's via lower Broadway right to Ground Zero.
So we got on.

2nd must do for NYC tourists...take the bus !!!
They're not busy, they have air-co, you're constantly seeing fascinating things, and if you have a metro card they're easy to use.
We found ourselves taking buses quite often during the week when time allowed...don't be scared !

Anyway, Ground Zero is of course what you expect. A large building site surrounded by hawkers and gawkers.
I didn't want to go there...it's not a tourist attraction and it must hurt so many New Yorkers to see tourists taking photo's of the area where their loved ones died.
Much more moving is St Pauls Church. Firefighters and rescue workers used it as a base in the tragic days after 9/11 and there are small memorials and exhibitions inside.

It's extremely heartwrenching but I would advise people to visit there to get an uplifting example of what the human spirit can achieve and rescue from utter tragedy.
We were all moved to tears by it.

And onwards...we took the M6
back to the hotel, and de-sweatified ourselves for dinner.
The restauarnt wasn't as quite as 'posh' as we'd imagined and even though it's an obvious tourist attraction the food is good, the service professional and the vibe is quite electric.

As is the view from the TotR at 23.00...breathtaking.
If you have a choice, take this over the Empire State. The photos and memories will be priceless.

And so ended an exhilirating and rewarding day 2.

To bed, and to be continued...





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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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"The kids might see me as a balding 44 year old walking embarrassment, but I know I'm cool."

Anyone who quotes "the great Bono" is cool in my book, Mac.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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Thank you to the repliers...I appreciate the fcact that I'm not giving myself cramp in my fingers for no good reason..thanks...

Anyway, I realise that this is becoming novelish, so I'll try and keep it short(er)...

Day 3 (Sunday, I should have said)..

As Frankie (Hollyood, goes to. Not the Rat pack) sang...'Relax, don't do it' (ha, that just grossed out the kids).

So we did.

A lazy Sunday morning was planned with views and photos, and there's little place better for it so I'd read than Brooklyn Heights.

And boy, they weren't wrong.

A 25 minute A train from 59th Street to Brooklyn High Street and you step out into a part of town that you think must only exist in the movies.

Beautiful Victorian brownstones on tree lined streets, comfortable cafes' and a promenade with magnificent views of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan.

It was invigorating and relaxing at the same time, and is a perfect antidote from the tourist craziness of midtown.

Tip 3 for NYC virgins....DO NOT miss a trip to this area. Just stroll, sit and breath it in.
Trust me, you won't regret it or I'll give you your money back...I promise.

From there it's easy to stroll back across the Brooklyn Bridge with all the views of the city.
Wonderful.
Just stay out of the bike lanes, man they're killers these cyclists

One refreshing Starbucks later (I know, I try to avoid them as well, but yo just can't), it's a logical progression to walk into Chinatown and all the madness that goes on around Mulberry and Canal.
There's a great little park at the south end of Mulberry Street where Chinese families come to meet, play music, do tai-chi and all manner of strange and fascinating things...we sat there for ages taking it in.

Less fascinating I'm afraid is Little Italy. One long street of tourist orientated restaurants....it's fine for a sightseeing stroll, but it couldn't be more false if it was made of plastic and was endorsed by Mickey Mouse.

Mac Junior was exceedingly disappointed that there were no drive by shootings or people sleeping with fishes, but we bought him a 'fugettaboutit' t-shirt and a Scarface DVD to make up for it.

So lunch, and then the serious business of shopping in Soho.

As my daughter would say...'I mean, OH MY GAWD'.

Chaos reigns on a Sunday afternoon, and sensory shopping overload kicked in after about 90 minutes of dragging around after the female Macs and carrying bags.

Anyway, it was different, fun and for a European there are so many bargains to be had....so vereybody came out of it happy.

Back to the hotel, and ready for dinner.

Tonight, we headed to the Upper Westside, and restaurant which came recommended but ultimately was our only real disappointment of the trip....Ouest on Broadway.

We'd booked through Open Table, and wanted a 20.00 sitting. they couldn't do that so we chose 20.30.

However, wehn we got to the restauarnt it was only a quarter full...no problem at all, and we were nicely greeted and the food looked good...good, I'm starving !

We went straight inot the entrees (save some space for dessert), and when it came the food was ample and delicious...so far so good, but it went rapidly downhill from there.

The entree was finished around 21.30, and we noticed there were only a few tables still occupied.
From there on in, it was obvious the staff wanted the tables cleared, and us out.

Dessert was ordered and arrived in seconds. The staff cleared all the tables around us and stood within earshot discussing their Saturday night and their (rather carnal) plans for the Sunday after the Macs were dispatched to the street.

As soon as I put my spoon down the waitress arrived with the check.

Did I ask for that ? Did I he...ck.

The waitress must have taken in my ever growing angry scowl and asked 'oh sorry...did you want something else ?'

Well yes...it's the coffee, stupid.

One espresso later and the check magically appeared again without my bidding...however at this point Mrs Mac was torn between dragging me out of the door or letting ny well known Scottish patience explode on front of, and all over, this grinning imbecile masquerading as a waitress.

Discretion won out, but I got my revenge by tipping meagerly (my Scottish blood liked that), and by stopping at the point where she and her server mates were grinning goodbye to us, to give her my opinion of her in front her buddies.

God, that made me feel better.

So Tip 4...Ouest. Avoid. they treat tourists like dirt.

And again, to bed, mumping and moaning this time.
Still a fantastic day though, I'm not a man to be dispirited by saving money on tips.

Top be contunued... !





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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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enjoying your report and eagerly awaiting the rest!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 12:54 PM
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Where are ? Oh yeah...day 4 (Monday).

A day I was looking forward to, but more of that later.

We'd very quickly realised that walking NYC gives you buns of steel and calf muscles more knotted than a sailors rope, so we decided to stay a bit closer to home today...we'd planned a walk in Central Park abd a few hours in the Museum of Natural History.

So a big hi to Gianni in our breakfast cafe, a cream cheese bagel and 15 minutes later we're strolling in the park...perfect.
We spent a delightful hour crashing a rowboat into unsusoecting victims on the lake, and many many photos were taken.

From there to the museum.

In a sub-conscous fit of guilt that I suspect was connected to the night beofre we queued and paid the 'suggested' price...no problem until you go downstairs for (stale) sandwiches and sode and find out that you're paying another 50 bucks. Ouch...lesson learned.

Anyway, the museum is great but more suited to pre-teens rather than adolescents who have been brought up in the internet' everything at your fingertips' generation....they were bored after about 90 minutes and we took a cab back to the hotel.

And here's the good bit, to fob me off for melting the credit card Mrs Mac was allowing me to drag the family all the way to Shea Stadium to watch the Mets take on the Astros that night.
I'd never been to a ball game, but as an avid follower of football (I refuse to say soccer....oh,doh !) I was intrigued.

We left a bit early and took the 7 all the way to Flushing main Street (past the US open venue), and had a pretty good and very cheap chinese meal. So far so good.

And on to Shea.

Well, it was great. We had tickets and got in straight away, only to be guided to the wrong seats....a mistake we only realised when the proper occupants turned up just before 1st pitch.
However, everything was amicably sorted out and we settled down to enjoy a few beers (Mrs Mac and me), a really great family atmosphere (so different from soocer), and a 9-1 Mets win that to 2 Carlos Delgado home runs....I was on my feet at the 2nd.

It helped that I had a Aussie guy sitting next to me who worked in Queens and who had adopted baseball and the Mets a couple of years ago.
We had a couple of beers as foreigners together and he explained some of the intricaties of the game to me.

I loved it, and already I'm keeping up with the Mets results on the web from here at home...they won in Florida last night, so good luck to them and their friendly fans.

Let's go Mets !

Good memories...and to day 5...




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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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Really, really enjoying your report, especially your willingness to embrace the subway and bus system and all things New York. And take in a Mets game! Keep the superlatives coming . . .
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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Thanks Ellen, I appreciate it..

Day 6 (Tuesday)

I should point out that the weather all last week was wonderful, if a little muggy at the weekend.
Tuesday was bright and fresh, and we decided to take in breakfast and spend the morning in Greenwich Village.

So, a subway ride to Washington Square and we were soon sitting in a great little cafe on the corner of Bleeker and Grove enjoying a delicious breakfast....you know, the kind of breakfast involving fruit and french toast and toasted croissants, which you linger over.
So we did.

Satisfied, we took a couple of hours to stroll around the delightful and eclectic streets of the village.

What a great atmosphere there is there ! You'd hardly guess you were in Manhattan, and we had realised by this time that New York is jusn't a series of different boroughs, it's a series of different 'villages' within these boroughs....we dipped our toes into thse different experiences as much as we could, and we're so glad we did.

The appetite sated by the delicious fare on offer there, lunch was a hot dog down at Battery Park as we planned to take the Staten Ferry in the afternoon.
It was rather busy heading across to Staten Island, but it's relaxing and cooling and you have those great views !

We spent a couple of hours walking the promenade near the ferry terminal on Staten Island (St Georges ? )and finished off with a coffee and long chat with an incredibly friendly waitress in a nice Italian cafe near the terminal.

Oh yeah...almost forgot ! The Staten Island Yankees were playing a ball game on the Tuesday afternoon when we were there...I was desperate to go in, but we just didn't have time, but it looks like a wonderful ball park to just sit, enjoy the game and take in the views.
Next time, I'll be more careful to check out the schedule and fit a game in.

Back in Manhattan we walked up through Broad and Wall Streets, and took the subway back to the hotel.

We'd decided that for dinner that night we'd head back across to Brooklyn to stroll the waterfront at Dumbo (between the bridges) anad take in the night views....another fantastic decision (pats himself on the back) !

The Macs fancied Mexican and we chose a little bar/cafe in the cobbled streets of Dumbo called 'Hecho en Dumbo'.....it was very, very good....the food was great, the maragritas were a killer and the service couldn't have been friendlier.
One of our main courses was a bit delayed, and the waiter gave us a free round of margarita's to compensate. He didn't have to by any means, but that's what you call service and that's why he's getting a great review here on Fodors...

After dinner we took a stroll down to the waterfront park between the bridges and joined the other lucky one's (about 30 people) who'd been clever enough to make the same decision.
The views are simply magnificent, and you can fill your camera with hundreds of photos of the Brooklyn Bridge lit up with downtown in the background....it's the postcard shot, and all you have to do to get it for yourself is take the A or C to Brooklyn High Street and walk down the hill.

So tourist virgin tip number...ehh...whatever...Dumbo at night. Take your camera.

After we'd had out fill we strolled along to the Brooklyn ice cream factory for a cone the size of a water buffalo...it's busier there at the pier as buses turn up, but hey, we were smug knowing we'd done the right thing.

Ahhh...another wonderful day. Back to bed for midnight, and looking forward to tomorrow..




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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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MacSporran:

Agree about American Airlines - will you post how your return trip was and how the jet lag affected your return trip home.

Walking back over the Brooklyn Bridge can't be beat and it's free.

It is always interesting to hear how people enjoyed NYC. Sounds like you had good weather.

Looking forward to more.

Sandy

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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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I am enjoying your report so much!! Keep it coming!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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terrific report - keep going! I love that you took the time to sit, relax and take in the sights, sounds and people of NY rather than just rushing from one tourist site to another.

Oh, and taking your teenagers to NYC is the definition of cool!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 03:02 PM
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That was a nice trip report. I found at least a few useful tips for my next trip to nyc, which will probably be over Thanksgiving break. Planning to print this out for future reference. Greg
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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Fantastic trip report. It is so apparent that you "get" NYC - which unfortunately some tourists don;t.

You're right that in summer buses are great versus subways (which also have AC but the stations are little hellholes with all the hot air from the trains) - but buses aren't practical for locals commuting to work - they just take too long.

Surprised at Oeust - we have been there several times and it was fine. Perhaps someone in charge wasn't there that night - since 8:30 isn't at all late for dinner in NYC.

As for distances - things are closer together when it;s not 90 and humid.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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This is great.

Last year we went to NY & Philadelphia at this time.

By accident we went to Broadway on Broadway.

Decided to go back again this year for more of the same and add Boston onto the end.

Great report!!!
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 11:32 PM
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Keep it coming! Great reporting and I'm taking notes for my next trip in October.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 06:29 AM
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you got me nervous when you said you were going to shorten up your report! Normally I zone out when I read trip reports where people write about every minute of their trip, but your style is so entertaining and your insights great, that I'm enjoying every line. Agree with nytraveler on how you "get" New York.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 08:30 AM
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Thanks to all for the positive comments....I feel refreshed after my 16 hour recovery sleep so I can now continue (are these groans I hear ?)

-NYTraveler...re Ouest. Yes, Mrs Mac and myself discussed this. I guess we hit a night where there was no real management in the restaurant. Just bad luck I guess, we had no problems with the food, which was excellent.

So Day 6 (Wednesday)...

Wednesday was to be show day.

4 differing opinions on which show to see doesn't make it easy, so we all agreed to disagree and see which discounted tickets were available on the day.
A quick subway ride took us downtown and to the TKTS booth at the South St Seaport.
I'd read that the TKTS booth at Times Square doeasn't sell evening tickets until 15.00 and has horrendous queues...the booth at South St opens at 11.00, so I would advise anybody looking for tickets to go there instead.

Saying that, there was a queue at 10.45, but once the doors opened it moved quickly.

Todays NYC virgin tip....decide exactly what you want before you go in. There's a board outside listing tickets available.
DO NOT (as I saw several people do) go up to the people serving and ask 'what do you have available'?...they won't tell you, and you get sent back to the end of the queue to go outside and look for yourself.

But the Macs were prepared, oh yes. Which one of the family won out in their choice I hear you ask ? Well, it was MacEtte, and that's why we ended up with 4 tickets for 'Legally Blonde - the musical' 10 minutes later.
Just don't anybody, please.

The compensation was that we got 4 tickets for 60 bucks each..normal price 120 $. TKTS is good, if you want to take the risk on what's available on the day.

Wednesday was hot and sweaty, a bit like the 4 of us at midday, and we still had some planned shopping to do in midtown. We also wanted to see the UN building (Mrs Mac works for a UN affiliated organisation and she wanted to touch the mother ship)...so we thought we'd take a water taxi to E 34Th.

Unfortunately the schedule doesn't run outside peak hours, but a wonderful security guard at Pier 11 advised us to take the M15 bus uptown and even walked a few blocks with us to show us where the bus stop was....this was just another example of the friendliness we encountered at each and every turn in NYC...how come you New Yorkers have this gruff reputation ? You're as cuddly as pussycats..

The M15 turned out to be an air-conditioned Godsend, and also took us up through the lower East side, an area which we had been determined to get to (we wanted to see the tenement museum) but one which we sadly didn't have time to explore...next time, for sure.

So, a few pictures of the better half outside the UN building later and we're ready for the insanity of midtown.

Oh yeah....virgin photo tip. Opposite the Un building there's set of stairs which leads up to Tudor Park and a bridge over 42nd street. From there you have a wonderful view of the Chrysler building and a photograph which shows the canyon-like effect of the midtown skyscrapers.
we stumbled upon it and it's one of my favourite photos of the city.

Anyway, I won't bore with my shopping stories, except to say that MacEtte wanted to visit Abercombie & Fitch.
This was kinda bizarre. There's a queue of teenage girls outside waiting with the kind of giggling expectation which effects teenage girls the world over.

Why, you ask ? Well, it's because A&F have an extremely clever marketing department who have turned their 5th Avenue store into a teenage nightclub complete with dancing (and half naked) male serving staff.
It's clever, I'll give them that. And when I eventually dragged both female members of my family out (mrs Mac wanted to stay for some reason), we were 200 bucks down and the proud owner of some A&F merchandise.

Now I know why you see teenage girls all over the city wearing A&f gear.
Kudos to their marketing guys and gals.

So, show time. For pre-dinner munchies we'd booked a table at Joe Allen's on Restaurant Row. It came highly recommended, and very good it was.
Excellent food, great service, nice atmosphere and I also commend it to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury.

I'd love to say that "legally Blonde' was a classic of it's genre, but......well, actually, it wasn't bad.
In a kind of blonde, pink, teeny, bubblegum way it was a lot of fun. The whole family enjoyed themselves, the theatre was packed and people were out have a good time...what more can you ask for ?

22.30 and we spilled out to the adrenaline rush that is Times Square at night.
It's packed, it's manic, it's tourist central, and it's utterly, utterly fabulous.

I wouldn't want to live there, but it's treat to at least 2 of your senses to walk around there post-show....the buzz is palpable and is completely invigorating.

Just walk along to 9th Avenue to pick up a cab....oh, my feet.

Again, to be continued...(I'l almost done)..



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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 09:05 AM
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Day 7, and our last full day (thank God cries the Fodor's board and my wallet).

We had a shopping free day planned today, and started it off by taking the subway to Madison Square Park in the Flatiron district.

Well, almost there. We took the subway to 23rd Street, but as there something like 4 subway stops marked as 23rd Street we ended up on the wrong line...poor mistake and I chided myself for it all day

General subway comment : The subway is great, and safe. But the signage both inside and outside the stations is poor in comparison with London or even Paris...the stations themselves are also in poorer shape and more claustrophobic than London.
It's not a complaint, as we had no problems, just a general observation as a first timer.

And so to Madison Square Park, and the wonderful Flatiron building.
What a superb piece of architecture and I'd advise those in NYC for the first time to go there, pull up a chair in the traffic island opposite (you'll see what i mean when you get there)and just stare at the building.
It's lovely, as the area around it.

from there we strolled down to Union Square, which was unfortunately mostly under reconstruction ...the noise made us quickly tired and we hailed down a cab for our daily dose of 'let's get out of the heat'.

Out of the heat ? Nothing better than getting on the water.
the day before in our family pow-wow the choice had been debated....Circle Line. A 2 hour leisurely trip around the island, or 'The Beast' ??

Come on man, it wasn't even a choice..

well, The Beast was great.

A 30 minute 'speedboat' ride from Pier 83 down to the Statue of Liberty with rock and roll music and commentary from 2 guys called 'Crazy Dog' and 'Mad Horse'. Or something like that.
The one called Horse (or Dog) gets to spend 30 minutes soaking every kid on the boat with a hose, water gun, and water balloons.
The kids love it, and the parents love seeing the kids getting picked on.
Great fun, and very refreshing on a hot day.

From there we took the M50 bus across town and popped into FAO Schwarz and the Trump Building.

Say what you like about Donald, but at least he's got...ehhhm...taste.

Dindinns that night had been fought over. The family wanted a special occassion for our last night, so we eventually settled on The Boathouse in Central Park.

To me, it screamed 'TOURIST TRAP', but hey, you never know...let's give it a go.

On arrival, it felt like my fears were confirmed. The place was busy and the initial perception was that this was a restaurant that was more concerned with turning over tables than offering quality.

As it turned out, I wasn't wrong, but I wasn't completely correct either.
The meal was good, but fell short of the Mac yardstaff of being value for money...the service was hurried, but not to the point of being rushed.
It was also a bit hit or miss, and not really up to the professionalism that I'd hope for in such a high profile (and high dollar) restaurant.
Overall, I'd give it a 6/10. Personally, I wouldn't go back, but I wouldn't dissuade others from making their own mind up.

And back to the hotel for our last night in a bed the size of Iceland.

The last half day is coming up...







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