New York City – Days Two – Four

I was blessed to have a relaxing trip this go around to the Big Apple. I got to spend a lot of time in the Flatiron District and wandered from about 30th street to 10th street and between 5th and 6th avenues for the most part.

My sister and I started off the day at Equinox at 19th and Broadway. Great place to workout and I now feel totally gipped at the Amarillo Town Club. The locker rooms are high end and large; the lockers are twice the size of mine and I just realized I’m jealous of a gym. LOL!

After hanging out and wandering around aimlessly, my brother in law took me and Christina to lunch at Blue Water Grill, right up the street from their office and one of the top 10 restaurants in the entire city. This was followed by shopping down 5th Avenue for some much needed T-shirts (New York was extremely muggy; therefore, I was a sweat magnet.) We picked up Romeo at the NY Dog Spa and Hotel, picked John up at the office and we headed home where Christina made dinner.

Wednesday morning, while Christina went to the gym, I wandered around taking pictures and enjoying the city. We then took in “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” followed by dinner at Carmines. I have to say the performance of Spiderman was AMAZING and Carmines had the best Italian food I have eaten in a very long time. I could get used to that kind of food. (In fact, my mouth is watering now just thinking about the shrimp we had as an appetizer. The shrimp were HUGE.)

Side note: If I could figure out how to do a photo slide show on this thing, I would and I will try to figure it out so I can properly insert a bunch of cool photos.

Thursday morning rolls around and I have to say, wasn’t a fan of Thursday. Christina and I barely had time for breakfast at the Hollywood Diner before Christina tossed me in a cab to get to Newark Liberty for the flight home. Literal tossing as Christina was supposed to drive me, but the car elevator at the garage was FUBAR so there was no way to get the car out and I had to take a taxi. Christina flags down this taxi and pretty much throws me and the monster suitcase, which has been lugged over a majority of the Flatiron District, into the cab. She was kind enough to provide me with a Dunkin Donut’s beverage though, which helped because the AC in the cab was for crap. (Remember the hot and muggy thing? OY!)

The driver was pissed that he had to take me to Newark and he took the longest way humanly possible to get there. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the signage for the Lincoln Tunnel and not the Holland Tunnel. In case you didn’t know… you have to travel UPTOWN to get to the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s about 39th street or so… to put this in perspective, I was close to 34th street when I took the train in to Penn Station and was staying on 17th street. He drove the OPPOSITE direction he needed to because he was pissed. Apparently NY cabbies aren’t allowed to pick up return fares from Newark so he was getting kind of screwed on the deal, but I figured I would give him a good tip and he’d be fine with it.

Now, I get to Newark with some time to spare which is good. However, now this cabbie tells me the credit card machine is broken in the cab, and of course also the receipt machine is also broken. Christina told me both of these occurrences are ILLEGAL, but what could I do but pay the freakin $71.00. I told him he would have gotten a big tip for taking me there, but with the CC machine down, he wasn’t getting all the cash on me. I got the medallion number as well as his name, but nothing I can really do about it now (other than still be pissed at him.)

All in all, the trip wasn’t nearly long enough, but it was a great trip. There were none of the 5 museums in a day or 27 touristy things to do in a week. What I did get was some real NY time and time well spent with my sister and my brother in law who were kind enough to put up with me for a few days. Can’t wait for the next trip…. 🙂
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New York City – Day One

It always amazes me why people think New Yorkers are unfriendly. I would use a lot of words to describe the Big Apple. Words like busy, bustling, thriving, poor, rich, energetic, cutting-edge, artsy, cosmopolitan, strong, imposing, multi-faceted, daunting, culinary, hot and humid topped the list for this trip to the city that never sleeps. However, I have to admit with the exception of a few moments, I slept like an old man propped up in a chair. Out cold.

I managed to make it from Newark Liberty International Airport to New York’s Penn Station to the hotel, with the monster suitcase, and didn’t end up in Harlem, Queens or the Bronx. I thought I was doing pretty good as I hadn’t navigated the subway on my own before. There are so many lines and choices… Shoulda taken the F-train instead of the C-train because I would have been closer to the hotel. Lesson learned. However, after a 30 minute wandering around the platforms and tunnels, I came up “close enough” and took a taxi the few blocks to the hotel. Smart move. As at that point, the suitcase was HEAVY and the heat and humidity had me drenched in sweat. I’m sure I was attractive. I got to the hotel…. and showered and even washed out my clothes so they wouldn’t stink up the room or the suitcase. Line dry is a great thing.

This is the room I stayed in at the “Chelsea Inn.” Trust me when I say there is nothing fancy about this room. This is one of the guest rooms where you have to share a bathroom with another room. In this case, I stayed in room 303 and had to share the loo with the occupants of 304. For the most part, this wasn’t a problem as we both cleaned up after ourselves. However, the downside is if you really have to pee, you can’t really yell at the person to hurry up as you would a family member or close friend. You have to wait it out. Waiting it out definitely isn’t enjoyable.

And speaking of the bathrooms. These have obviously been redone as this style and such wasn’t present when the brownstone was built in the 1880’s. However, let me explain an oddity. There is a window in the shower that sits above the faucet. This means the shower head actually shoots down on the faucet and getting in the shower takes a little more unique effort. However, this window has an interesting view….

This is the ventilation shaft that runs up the building and all of the bathrooms have windows that face this shaft. No worries about people looking in at you while you are showering because they are staggered. However, I distinctly heard a gentleman singing in German. It actually sounded like Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Who knows?

My first night in New York was the “surprise” for my sister’s birthday. As it was a milestone, I worked it out with my brother-in-law, John, to arrive at the apartment so when they came home I would be waiting there. John was walking Romeo and Christina, I believe, had the bird. She didn’t see me when she came in the living room and when she did. Massive freak out. Which is what I was going for. Score! (Two weeks of planning and preparation made for a good event.)

We went out to dinner at “Petite Abeille” which is right next door to the Chelsea Inn where I stayed. This is pretty close to Christina and John’s apartment. The Belgian food was amazing. I had mussels for an appetizer and then fish and chips for dinner. I have to say New York is THE place for fish and chips (outside of England…) John and Christina had a couple of Belgian beers and some amazing food. I have tried to remember exactly what they had; however, exhaustion was setting in at dinner and that didn’t go too far.

Shortly after dinner, I actually went back to the Inn and crashed to gear up for day two. This trip to New York was different from the other trips I have taken in that I can say with the exception of a Broadway show that ROCKED, I didn’t really do any of the touristy things that people do in the city. I actually spent some time wandering around between 10th and 23rd streets between 5th and 6th Avenues. There are some amazing stores and the architecture just can’t be topped. More on that to come….