Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tim Holtz Cruise 2010 - New York City

I've posted quite a few pictures here as I am 60 years old and this was my First time ever to New York City! And what a city it is!

I flew in 3 days before the cruise to get a chance to at least get a feel for New York and hopefully come back some day to see things in more depth. I had 10 pages of places I wanted to go & see, just in Manhattan. And Amazingly, on Foot and one subway trip, I managed to see at least 85% of that list. LOTS of walking. Not much going Into places, just seeing them an an overview.

A couple of things I learned early on........don't fly into LaGuardia, especially late at night. ;-) My flight from Midway was delayed over 4 hours due to weather in New York. We finally got On the plane, only to sit for over an hour more on the tarmac before taking off. Once we Got to LaGuardia......we again sat on the tarmac for over an hour as they did not have a gate for us to come in to. 6 1/2 hours delay getting in. It was after midnight by the time I got to the hotel. I decided to stay at the Clarion near LaGuardia the first night as I didn't want to pay $400+ a night for the Hampton where I would move to the next day. Not a good decision on where to stay. Although oddly, the Hampton in Manhattan wasn't much better.

Getting a shuttle to the hotel is possible, but you need to jump through Hoops to be able to find the shuttle. All the while, cars honking, people yelling at each other. There was no gentle entry into New York! LOL

Once at the hotel, there was No food, No room service, Noone to help me with my bags. A very Small elevator & me struggling to get things maybe a block away down a long narrow hallway to my tiny dingy room. Not my best day ever. But the next day..........things started turning Much Better! Amazingly so actually!

The hotel called me a cab in the morning to take me to the Hampton where I would meet Bev and Sally & spend the next 2 nights. The car that picked me up looked more like a pimpmobile than a cab. LOL A large black car with darkened windows. I didn't know it Was a cab until the driver came over looking for me. I never did get a Yellow cab. As a matter of fact, I met one of the Nicest people in my cab driver. Julio. He was a veritable Travel Guide on our way into Manhattan. I learned so Much from him about how to navigate the city. A Very Nice Man. Before he left, I asked him if he would be willing to pick me up at the Hilton near the Newark airport where I stayed with Bev (Bev flew into & out of Newwark), and get me to LaGuardia when I returned. He said Yes, he would. I asked if he promised. And he said yes. SO, I called him Before I left on the cruise, gave him the hotel information & hoped for the best without worrying about how to get from Newark airport to LaGuardia that Sunday. Long story here, but not Only was Julio prepared to pick me up, when I called him the Saturday I returned, He answered "Hello Ms. Margaret, how was your trip?". He planned on getting to my hotel by 7:45 just to be Sure I got to the airport on time. :-) His fee was More than reasonable considering what I had been quoted for the shuttle ($145) and other cabs started at $90. He charge me $80 plus I said, yes, lets go over the bridge & I paid the $8 fees.

We got to LaGuardia quite early. No traffic on Sunday. For NO Charge, Julio took me on a cab tour of Queens, showing me Chez Statium (Citibank Stadium now), the tennis stadium where they play the US Open, all around the park there, and at each place we stopped, got out & Julio took pictures of me in front of the attractions. He was a High point of my visit to New York. Below are some of those pictures and a picture of Julio and his cab. :-)

Oops, this first picture is actually about the best I got of the Statue of Liberty on the morning of our return. I'm not Even going to try to put it in the right order. Too many pix to follow to move it around!


Actually, once that first Long, Long day and night was over, I have to say, I met so Many Very Nice Friendly people all over New York. I commented on that when going through security at LaGuardia to head home. Even the Security people were Smiling and Friendly! I've Never seen That at an airport. One security man said, we watch too much TV! LOL I found New York Busy, Bustling, Amazing, Friendly and I would LOVE to go back.
Lots of the following are just my Touristy pictures. Here is Times Square.

Tuesday Bev, Sally & I walked all Over the place, in the Pouring down Rain! It wasn't cold however......probably 74 degrees. It was wet but not uncomfortable. Our hotel was on W 139th, in the Garment District (with Wonderful shops! Trims and Buttons and Beads and Fabrics!) I managed to pick up a Few things along the way. :-) We decided to locate Carnegie Deli as recommended by a young woman I sat next to on the plane. A Great Choice!!! We walked from our hotel to 5th Avenue which splits the city into East & West, up 5th past Times Square & over one block where we found the Deli.

We were Drowned Rats, but didn't stop our Enjoyment of some of the BEST food I've ever had! I Dream of that Pastrami Sandwich! And you can see why below! And New York Cheesecake! I've never Had Cheesecake like that!!! If for no Other reason, I need to go back to have another sandwich and piece of cheesecake here. Then to to Katz Deli & compare. People say Katz Deli is better. But it would be Hard to beat this lunch!!! Including our Very Fun Waitress. Picture below.

Meanwhile, back on the streets. We head towards Central Park, seeing all we could see along the way! I thought 5th Avenue and Park Avenue would be more......glitzy or something. In a way, it seemed like San Francisco but 10 times Bigger. And of course the wonderful brick buildings which we don't have in San Francisco much, if at all. I love Reflection pictures as you will see from some I've posted. Like the Beautiful old embellished church reflecting in the solid glass of the building next door. Reminds me of the Trinity Church in Boston & the newer high rise that dwarfs it. I don't think I like that.........but the juxtaposition is Interesting and the reflections are amazing.

The picture below I took in a discount store we went into. I had just done an ATC swap on "Graffiti". It was My topic, but I didn't do it justice. The other 8 in my group did Wonderful ATC's. But this wall reminded me of what I Wanted to do. I got Yelled at by a store employee going down the escalator as I was going up, taking the picture. Right after that, I tried on a sweater & thought a dressing room was empty........everyone had their numbers hanging on the door. Well Apparently it was Not as I pushed on it & someone Slammed it back at me, throwing me against the wall across the hallway. A polite, it's occupied might have sufficed. Honestly, this was more of what I Expected to find in New York (sorry those of you from New York........I DO watch too much tv! LOL). In fact........this was the ONLY place I had Anything other than welcoming friendliness. :-) Anyway, I had to post the picture as I Do like the art work. Maybe I'll later be arrested if that employee happens upon my blog. LOL

Just a Fun Sign.
We made it to Central Park. Bev & I took pictures of all the signs, maps, etc. around the city for our trip journals. After leaving Central Park (we didn't get too far in....basically to the zoo), we came back to Tiffany's. Dripping wet, we went on in & looked around. Oddly not stuffy or nasty. Everyone in the store, employees and people alike were quite friendly. Was I Amazed at this. Apparently. LOL

Now This sign answered a question I had! Although the streets were a Sea of Yellow Cabs............there was hardly Any Honking. Again, TV. ;-) These signs I guess are taken seriously. Now, "$1,000 penalty for hitting pedestrians" should be the next sign! LOL I don't know how people Survive without getting hit at least Once. Most of the cases, it was the Pedestrians, ignoring the walk signs that caused problems. And I have to hand it to the cab drivers in the is an Art unto itself, how to maneover the streets & the people!
Tuesday night, we had walked Miles & Miles & Miles, we just retreated to the hotel & relaxed. Our room was about large enough for 2 double beds exactly, a small desk with a chair that had to be pushed down as far as it would go to go under the desk to get past it, and a narrow dresser with a small tv. There might have been 1 foot of space between the furniture & the beds and about the same amount between the beds and the window. Small, Small room. Again, no one to help with bags, a tiny narrow hallway into a tiny elevator. New York City is Not a place to take a lot of baggage. Unfortunately, I can't seem to stop overpacking! :-(
Around 7:30 we walked up one block and got sandwiches at another take out deli which were delicious. Not the pastrame we had at Carnegie, but still good. We settled in, watched..................TV. LOL
Day 2, we met Sally & headed towards Macy's and the Empire State Building. I was surprised that the Empire State Building is in fact, not the most impressive building in New York City. It was kind of hard to actually even get a picture of it, nestled in amongst all of the other tall buildings. The best view I had of it was later in they day from the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge. Macy's was pretty Amazing! We did shop for a bit. I bought 2 of which I ended up wearing for Much of the cruise. I didn't have to pack much at all. I wore what I bought rather than what I packed! LOL Someday I'll learn.............maybe. I was Fascinated by the original old wooden elevators in Macy's. Picture of course below.

And This picture is for Dave. A joke we had before I left. He lived in New Jersey for a bit, long before we met. And had spent time in New York. This will loose a Lot in the translation, but I kept asking him while looking at a map of Manhattan, where the Eiffel Tower was. He answered me back quickly, "That would be in Paris". LOL I swear, I could Not stop calling it the Eiffel Tower. After all, they both start with an "E"! LOL I couldn't Resist a picture of the Eiffel Tower in an art store in Manhattan!!! ;-)
Here is Sally at the table outside of Macy's where we had lunch that day. We got Nathans hotdogs which are so Touted..........and they were basically, not good. I did forget, here at Nathans I got treated in that TV style.......the woman behind the counter was Nasty, basically yelling at you if you didn't order Instantly....wanted maybe to ask for mustard (which they didn't seem to have). Basically it was a long skinny hot dog naked on a bun. They did have saurkraut, but since I don't like that, mine was basically naked. And kind of rubbery and tasteless. The one thing I Did get from there, once she basically Threw the tray with my dog on it at me................I walked the tray up the street to our table, ate the icky dog and took the tray with me! If there is anything I would Definately take on a cruise would be that Tray! I used that All the Time as a little desk on my bed. There isn't a Lot of room in the cabins. Sitting on the bed is often where you are. Sorry Nathan's. I think keeping your tray is payback for your rude employees and icky hot dogs. (Sorry again New York friends.....just my one time experience there)

After lunch we headed to Grand Central Station (Terminal) to take the subway to the financial district and Ground Zero. Grand Central Station is absolutely Beautiful. How many Times I've seen it in movies (or TV LOL). It was Amazing to be standing there in it. :-) AND.........there was a Magnolia Bakery where we got Cupcakes! We went past the original bakery the day before, but had just had that Deli lunch & cheesecake, so we couldn't even Think of a cupcake. I was Thrilled to be able to have one here!
The Subway was pretty much like I expected it to be I think. Kind of an underground, bit scary place. But what FUN to be on the Subway! When I take BART here in Oakland/SF though, people smile, chat. This was Serious Business, taking the subway. If eye contact was made, I Could get someone to smile. ;-) But people pretty much kept to themselves. Of course we were playing in their city, and they were going to & from work!!! We took the Express which was a Great thought gleened on our it really was serious working people. And Wall to Wall people at 5:30 at night!

Below is Wall Street and the Trinity Church tucked at one end. I didn't take many pictures of Ground Zero as it is basically a construction site. We did not take the time to go into the memorial as 2 days just isn't enough time to cover even Manhattan! I thought I would cry there. But it was more a quiet observance and wonder at how the people in New York got through all of that. 2 sales ladies in Macy's and I were talking earlier in the day. I told them how Different people were in NY than I expected. They both said things Really Changed after 911. People became more tolerant and accepting of each other, including tourists I think. The whole world came together then in caring about New York and the people who live there. Maybe a more caring society was created out of a devastating event.

Sally took the subway back before Bev and I, and we then decided to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge, across & back. What a Beautiful Bridge that is! And the views from out there are some of the Best in the City! I also finally saw the Statue of Liberty from Afar. I hoped we would see it when leaving on the ship, but a Big storm was coming in that day & although we could kind of see her, it was quite foggy & drizzly. When we returned however, they backed the ship in & it was a clear day, so I did get to see her a bit better. Next time I do want to go out to Ellis Island & climb the steps of the Statue of Liberty.

After 2 Filled days of exploring New York City, we fall asleep fairly early in anticipation of boarding our ship, Explorer of the Seas at Port Liberty New Jersey the next day. :-)


Carol said...

What a wonderful andventure, can't wait to hear the rest of the story...

Annie said...

Wow, wish I had been there. What an amazing few days.

Nancy Wethington said...

Margaret these are fabulous pictures. And really enjoying your commentary on your NYC trip!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I can't believe how much you saw of NY! And your assessments are pretty accurate too. We really are very nice and friendly people, but when you encounter us on the streets we're usually in a hurry so maybe not on our very best behavior.
Sorry you had a bad experience at LaGuardia. I really prefer it to JFK. Now that airport, IMO, is a nightmare!
As for Nathans, well, once it became a chain something was lost. The franks and fries at the original in Coney Island couldn't be beat!
Can't wait for your next installment.

Stephanie Rodgers said...

I can't believe how much you saw of NYC! I've been in NJ for most of my life, and I haven't seen HALF of that! lol I'm enjoying reading about your adventures tho, and love your photos. Can't wait for more!