Monday, September 2, 2013

Day 1 in NYC

I flew to New York City on Wed morning.  It was rather grey and foggy on the ground in Toronto but nothing but blue skies and sunshine once we hit cruising altitude.

Took NY Airporter bus to midtown Manhattan which dropped me off at the Port Authority bus terminal just before noon for a mere $13.50 (as compared to $40 to $60 for a cab!).
Glad I booked a hotel room so I wouldn't end up like this lady!

Since I was travelling with just a small carry-on suitcase, I had no trouble walking the eight blocks to my hotel except for the fact that it started to rain lightly on the way and it took me a bit of time to dig my umbrella out from the bottom of my suitcase while standing in a doorway.  Even though check-in time wasn't until 3 pm, the hotel had a room ready for me and I spent some time unpacking and gluing things in my trip journal while listening to the rain and thunder outside.  I didn't have much of a view, just a view of a brick wall across the way and enough of a break between buildings to see a patch of sky!

My room in the Amsterdam Court Hotel was quite small but very clean and private, and certainly all I needed for the 3 nights I was in town, since I was mostly just there to sleep and shower.  The only downside was the fact that there was no desk, which meant I had to sit on the one chair or on the bed to write in my journal, if I didn't want to sit downstairs in one of the hotel lounges.

Location-wise, it couldn't have been more convenient - it was two blocks from Times Square, one block from the hotel where my friends were staying (which was fully booked, which I why I had to stay somewhere else) and literally across the street from the theatre we were planning to attend the next night.

I was scheduled to meet up with my friends at 2:30 at their hotel, so I headed out about an hour later, once I thought the rain had stopped and had a quick tour around Times Square and a quick bite to eat at McDonald's. Not very adventurous, I know, but I was more focused on staying nearby so I would be on time to meet them, as I was getting messages on Facebook that their bus from Maryland was running late.  In the end, they arrived on time and we met in the reception area of their hotel as planned.  They dropped off their luggage and we set out on our adventures.
Slightly soggy Times Square
It was me, my friend Debbie from Australia, her sister Jen and her partner, Melissa.  (Mel is originally from the U.S. and they had been in Maryland to get married, as same sex marriages are legal there but not yet in Oz.)  Someone mentioned they wanted to see Grand Central Terminal. I knew where it was, since my airport bus had stopped there on the way, so off we went on foot to find it.  The ladies stopped for a hotdog ("street meat") along the way, since they hadn't had lunch:

We passed by Bryant Park

and the New York Public Library (the big marble building with the stone lions out front):

before reaching the Terminal itself.  It's a beautiful building inside, in spite of the swarms of people. It was hard to take photos without having a total stranger or two in the frame! (click on photo for a larger view)

We then walked to Macy's, where Debbie did a little shopping for gifts to take home.

After that, we walked back to their hotel and had some snacks and champagne in Jen and Mel's room to celebrate our first day in the Big Apple.

Their view was just a little bit more interesting than mine, including a typical NYC rooftop water tower.

We had dinner at Ruby Tuesday's (with New York cheesecake for dessert, of course!) and took in some of the unusual sights around Times Square.
Jen, Mel, me and Debbie

By the time I got back to my hotel room, it was after 10 p.m. and I was pooped. I had walked more than 21,000 steps that day, my all-time highest number since I started wearing a Fitbit to track my steps in January 2012!

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