Whirlwind Weekend in NYC Trip Report

May 10th, 2007, 08:26 AM
  #1  
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Whirlwind Weekend in NYC Trip Report

Trip Report NYC May 4-6 2007

Friday May 4th

I finished work and headed up to Alex’s to leave my car at his work. We then drove up to the Baltimore Travel plaza to catch out bus – Apex Bus Lines, basically one of the Chinatown busses. We’d booked tickets online (www.apexbus.com) for 7.45pm, $35 return pp. We arrived early and while waiting discovered that at 7.10pm, the 6.45pm bus still had not arrived. At that point Alex decided he’d rather drive so we went back to the car and drove up. This turned out to be a good idea as I had hurt my tailbone a few days before and sitting was very uncomfortable. With him driving we were able to stop so that I could stretch and change position. We were also able to stop and get a bag of frozen corn for me to sit on, which helped a lot.

The drive was fairly uneventful. Although we didn’t know to take I295 from Delaware so we stayed on I95 all the way – which turned out to be a mistake as I95 was one lane through most of Delaware. We arrived at the hotel at about 11.30pm. We stayed at the Howard Johnston Express North Bergen, NJ. It is very much a motel, but since all we needed it for was a room to sleep in, it served its purpose. There was a free breakfast which was ok – cereal, bagels, muffins etc. Parking was free which was helpful since we decided to drive. It was really easy to find the hotel which was handy too.

After checking in we pretty much went straight to bed. We had an early morning the next day!

Saturday May 5th

We set the alarm for 6am. We snoozed for 15 mins, then got up. We took advantage of the free breakfast and then drove to Journal Square PATH station. We found parking there for $6/day on weekends which was a really good price. We then took the PATH train into the World Trade Center station. When the train comes into the station it is all open to the construction, this was a quite a surprise to me and really made me think about what it was like to have been on the trains, or to have been there that day. We went up to street level and planned our walk to Battery Park to get the ferry. We stopped at a coffee shop in Liberty Plaza (I think) and had coffee and shared a muffin. We then walked down Greenwich Street to Battery Park.

We arrived at the park at around 8.20am and went straight to Castle Clinton. FYI – you need to have the print out of the confirmation of tickets bought online in order to not have to stand in the line, if you do not have the print out you join the line for people getting tickets and go to the Will Call window. At 8am, when the first ferry was at 9.30am) the line was about an hour long and the ticket office only opens an hour before the ferry leaves. After a little confusion I presented my printout to the Circle Line employee and was presented with my tickets. We then joined the security line. They only open the security center 30 – 40 mins before the departure of the first ferry. Once the line was moving it only took about 20 mins for us to clear security. The ferry departed at 9.30am, exactly on time.

We had a really smooth ride and the temperatures were great. The views of the Statue of Liberty, that early in the morning, were great, except that the angle wasn’t that good for taking good pics of SOL with NYC in the background. We got quite a few good ones though, which you can see in my online album which I’ll link to at the end of this.

We arrived at Ellis Island at 10.10am as per the schedule. Our ferry was the second to arrive as the first ferry from Liberty State Park, NJ had already arrived. The ferries from the two different sides have different docking stations – this is important when you’re leaving the island. The first guided ranger tour had already departed when we arrived so we explored some of the museum until the next tour, which was at 11.00am. We were lucky to only have a group of 5, so it was a very personal tour. We started with the History of Ellis Island section and then made our way through some of the major exhibits, and down to the Grand Hall (also known as the Registry Room). The building is beautiful and the displays are very interesting. I really enjoyed the guided tour. We had a coffee and cinnamon roll outside on the patio before catching the ferry back to NYC.

The long line under the trees is for the NYC ferry. If the ferry isn’t there yet, you can join the line up to the patio and still make it on the ferry, but they will not go back once the gangplank is up. We watched 5 people get told to wait for the next one. They run about every 20 mins. Our ferry ride back was much choppier and not nearly as smooth. The wind had picked up and there were a lot more boats causing wakes than first thing. I would highly recommend anyone who gets seasick to take the first ferry when at all possible.

Also when we got back to the dock we could not believe the line for security. It stretched all through Battery Park til almost Broadway! I didn’t really see how long the line for the tickets was. I am so grateful to all the people that suggested buying tickets online and making sure to get there early for the first ferry.

The other thing that surprised me was how many locals there are riding their bikes in Battery Park and getting annoyed at all the tourist standing in line. My guess is that this is not something that only happened this weekend so why would people choose to take that route and then get annoyed that they can’t easily ride through the lines of tourist?

To be continued when I get a chance to write it.

Photos: http://sprongb.phanfare.com/album/27...ageID=16574788
Binkieloo is offline  
May 10th, 2007, 09:08 AM
  #2  
maj
 
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Enjoying your trip report and pictures. Especially liked the detail about the Ellis Island experience (have saved it) since we haven't made it there yet (mainly because of the long lines). Looking forward to your next installment.
maj is offline  
May 10th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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GoTravel
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Enjoying your report!
 
May 10th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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For those prone to seasickness - I don;t think the difference in water is due to time/other boats. It's due to the fact thatn NY Harbor is tidal (since yo'reu right off the North Atlantic) - the tides can be VERY strong at times - and the water can be rough.

Anyone taking any of the boat rides should take whatever they do for seasickness - since thre's no knowing how the water will be until you get there.
nytraveler is offline  
May 10th, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Enjoyed your report and pics. I enjoyed all of your cityscape pictures. It's rather amazing when you see all of those skyscrapers. The flowers were lovely. We were in NYC in the Fall (1st trip), and Central Park was not nearly so busy. We will be visiting again last week of May.
claire_bluesky is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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Part 2:

Still Saturday May 5th.

Once getting back from the ferry we walked through Battery Park, past the globe statue from the WTC site and up Broadway. We didn’t even stop for a photo with the bull since it was completely swamped with other tourists. We walked up Broadway towards the WTC site, but got sidetracked looking for Alphanoose to eat at. Unfortunately it was closed, this being a Saturday. I needed a bathroom break and decided that Century 21 would be a good place to try. What a pain! It’s not easy to find the restrooms in there if you come in the wrong door. Eventually I found them, by which time Alex had phoned a friend who works in NYC to get a recommendation for lunch. He suggested Cabana at the South Street Seaport, so walked along Fulton Street to Pier 17. It was a nice walk and I wasn’t too sore yet. Upon getting to the South Street Seaport it was rather crowded but we went up to the third floor to Cabana. The restaurant serves really good Cuban food. The third floor location overlooking the seaport is really nice, and we might have waited for a balcony table, had it not been a 40 min wait. We had some good food and a few drinks to keep us going for the rest of the afternoon. The plan had then been to walk through the Lower East Side, but I was starting to hurt and we decided to take the NYC water taxi over to Brooklyn and then walk the Brooklyn Bridge. I knew that was something I really wanted to do.

When we arrived on the Brooklyn side (DUMBO) we were met with a line. We’d heard about the good ice-cream at the Brooklyn Ice-Cream Factory so we joined the line. The wait was about 20 mins, but it was worth it. It was the perfect afternoon for ice-cream. I had a double scoop, chocolate chocolate-chunk and coffee, he had a single scoop of vanilla chocolate-chunk. We then took our ice-creams and proceeded up the hill to the pedestrian entrance to the bridge. Right as we got there a bridal party arrived for wedding photos. I can imagine the bridge gives some fantastic backdrops for wedding photos.

We proceeded to walk across the bridge towards Manhattan. The views are spectacular. The timing though was not that great, it was about 4.30pm and the sun was directly above Downtown where a lot of the interesting buildings were. We had planned to do it at sunset, and that would have made for some very interesting photos, but I could not have spent more time walking around. I got some interesting photos of the bridge, and there happened to be some clouds rolling in so I got a few of Downtown when the clouds went over the sun. When we finished the bridge walk I was in a fair amount of pain. Alex was actually wanting to tell me to cut the day short and go home, but I just couldn’t do that. Some ibuprofen later and I was feeling a bit better.

We walked to the subway station and went uptown to Times Square. We got off at the 42st/Port Authority Stop and walked down what seemed like Theatre Row to the Marriot Marquis and The View restaurant. I have a small obsession with revolving restaurants. The one in Durban South Africa claims to be one of only 15 in the world and I have now eaten at 5, I’m hoping to go to them all. This one is certainly not one of the best, but it was a very nice experience. We chose to go to the lounge which is more casual and a great place for a sunset cocktail, which is exactly what we had. They offer a buffet dinner for $30pp and a dessert buffet for $16pp. There is a one drink minimum before 9pm, or a $7 cover charge after 9pm. The drinks are not cheap. Sparkling wine and Beer are $9 each, and cocktails are $15 each. We had just had the ice-cream and so were not interested in the dessert, but we did have a very expensive cocktail. The view was partially very cool, but a lot of it is of the sides of buildings that are taller. After our drinks and the one hour 10 minute revolution we headed back to the subway and back to the hotel in New Jersey. We got to see Times square at night since we had sunset in the revolving restaurant. It was good to experience, but I am glad we went back to the hotel when we did.

More to follow when I get the chance to write it....

Photo link again: http://sprongb.phanfare.com - click on New York trip link. I'm having trouble accessing phanfare today.
Binkieloo is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Still enjoying your report. We'll be in NYC in less than two weeks and plan to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time.
claire_bluesky is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:08 AM
  #8  
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I just realized that for a whirlwind trip I sure do have a lot to say LOL.

I like sharing the details because that's what makes reading other's posts so interesting.

I am having issues writing up the rest of the report, but I hope to post the rest by the end of this weekend - here's hoping.

PS I hate Vista.
Binkieloo is offline  

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