It was an amazing trip. Rachel and I have both came to the conclusions that the stigmas regarding New York from the “old days” are still around, at least where we live. We felt safe at all times, and only saw a handful of homeless. I saw many people out trying to help the homeless. They seem to have people on every block asking for donations.
The first day we arrived late in the day due to plane delays, so we just walked around a little bit and ate dinner. Our hotel, the Marriott Marquis is located right in the heart of Times Square. We could see a sliver of the new years ball from our hotel room.
Enjoy the slideshow containing all of our pictures from the trip!
Day 2: While Rachel was at her conference, I walked down to Washington Square Park. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I ran into one major obstacle however, the park is basically closed due to renovations happening to the fountain. I did get a up close & personal view of the arch though. I was amazed at the difference in pace that Greenwich Village has compared to Midtown and the rest of Manhattan. I could really see myself living there or in Chelsea. Affording it is another can of worms though.
I then rode the subway for the first time ever. At first I was scared as hell, I sat on a bench and watched people take several trains before I boarded the train I would ride. It was just like riding a train, but underground. Who would have thought? We then rode the subway many times, but Manhattan is a much easier town to walk in than Chicago, I didn’t get worn out walking the 45 minutes from our hotel to Washington Square Park.
When Rachel got out of her conference, we headed down to the Financial district, the WTC site and Battery Park. We then took the Staten Island Ferry to get some nice & free views of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty.
I was still so excited about Greenwich Village, that I almost demanded Rachel see it for her own eyes, so we came back, and she loves it as much as I do.
We also went to Grand Central Terminal. It was amazing to see all of the commuters going from place to place. I took a great panoramic shot there.
Later that night, we went to a place called VYNL located in Hell’s Kitchen to meet up with an old friend of Rachel’s who lives in the NYC area. We had dinner along with a great time. It was a pleasure meeting you Jorlee!
Day 3: I decided to walk over to Rockefeller center and try to get myself on the Today show. I mentioned this to several people, who all said they didn’t see me – but I know better. I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of people who were there for the outdoor filming. While there I tried to get us tickets to the NBC studios tour, but alas they were sold out until the day we left. I then went back to the hotel for the sheer quiet of our room.
Once Rachel returned, we then went back to Rockefeller center and I showed her some things I found intriguing. We then went over to St. Patricks Cathedral. Rachel just had to see it. It’s interesting how when on trips, the little catholic girl in her comes out. They were having mass at the time, but it seemed to be just business as usual for them. I must say it is a very beautiful place, along with the many other churches in Manhattan. While we didn’t go, in Trinity church is the oldest church I believe in Manhattan and has many notable people buried there.
We then went to a place I refuse to go ever again, The Empire State Building. We went there, obviously to go up to the observation deck. What neither of us realized was that it would be like standing in line at an amusement park for a new ride. The wait was around 3 hours. Just like an amusement park, it was queue line after queue line, but what complicated it was once we got to the elevators – it didn’t take us there! It took us 6 floors away. We then had the same line, after line. There was only 1 way to avoid this nightmare – spend $40 a person to get upgraded tickets. Since the line was long and miserable, they opened up the stairs which we took. It was only 6 floors, but the smallest stairway I think I’ve been in, ever. The views were stunning, but not worth the pain I had to go through. I only went through this hell on earth because it was so important to Rachel. One thing that needs to be done is install seating in the observation level. My knees were in serious pain when we got to the observation level, so I sat down next to a wall, and I wasn’t the only one mind you. A security guard swiftly told me that I would have to stand up and that there was no sitting anywhere on this level allowed! WTF? Once that experience was over, we had to wait in line again to get down. The only thing that blew me away were the floors. I’d like to know how they were done.
After that nightmare, we had to go somewhere close to have a meal and something cool to drink. Just a block away was a nice little place called Jack Demsey’s Pub. Never before has a beer been so refreshing!
We headed back to the hotel to rest for a few hours, our feet hurt.
We then went to MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art), the home of one piece of my favorite artist Van Gogh. Starry Night wasn’t there as it’s currently on loan but there were many pieces by many artists such as Monet, Henry Mattise and Picasso. It was a very enjoyable and relaxing experience. I purchased a poster of Van Gogh’s “Olive Trees” but it got slightly damaged on our return flight.
Before going to sleep, we decided to watch the Dave Letterman show, which would shape the next day’s events.
Day 4: Our last day to explore and take in what Manhattan had to offer.
After a joke about Grant’s tomb on the Dave Letterman show, it made me want to visit it. I figured it would just be something small. As it turns out, it’s the largest tomb in the country. It’s an amazing place any history or civil war buff should definitly visit if you’re in Manhattan. It’s on the Upper East Side, located near Columbia University.
We then took a relaxing stroll through Central Park. I knew it was large, but it’s almost like the Grand Canyon where pictures and video just don’t do it justice. What really blew me away was seeing a 15 acre meadow absolutely filled with people.
And that’s pretty much it regarding the trip. I’ll never forget what I experienced, and I hope to get a chance to visit NYC again. I think I like it better than Chicago.