The purpose of staying in Stamford, CT should be quite obvious, but I will state it forthwith. It was massively cheaper than staying Manhattan. Through Hotwire, we booked three nights for less than one night in Manhattan. The problem, and this one is all on me, is that we only booked for three nights, when we needed four. I figured we’d just add a fourth night, negative perspiration.
Perspiration. When you book through a third party vendor, like hotwire, it is much more difficult to add another night in your hotel. To make a long story much shorter, here were our options. 1.) Pay the walk-up rate. 2.) Roll the dice to see if hotwire can book you another night in your same hotel. 3.) Go through hotwire and just change hotels.
1.) Our rate was $60. The walk-up rate was $300. Eep!
2.) Hotwire was not able to get us back in the same hotel.
3.) We switched hotels Monday. No big whoop.
We availed ourselves of the fine public transportation system in and around New York City. It was roughly a 30 minute train ride into Midtown. We arrived at Grand Central Station. It was exactly like walking into a movie.
We walked out onto 42nd Street, and took a moment to get our bearings. This was surprisingly easy. I was surprised at how much New York felt like Chicago. It’s a big city, with a lot of people and it’s laid out on a grid. It was very easy to figure out which way was which.
Grand Central is about two blocks from the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. Where ten people witnessed a free floating full torsoe vaporous aparition. It blew books off shelves from twenty feet away and scared the socks off some poor librarian. (Not Laura)
This was a day destined to be spent afoot. We walked from 42nd and 5th to 20th Street, taking in the sites and photographing the tall buildings. For those familiar with Chicago, think about walking from 42nd to 20th streets. For those not familiar with Chicago that walk would take multiple hours. In New York it took about 30 minutes. For as big a city as New York is, geographically, it’s not that big, and one block is about 1/3 as long as a block in Chicago. It was a great day, and a nice walk.
We went to the Theodore Roosevelt Museum.Bring our Presidential homes total to three for this trip. It was a nice museum with an 18 year old tour guide. The artifacts were really cool, including the shirt, speech and glasses case that were in his breast pocket when he was shot while giving a speech in Milwaulkie. The speech and case taking the brunt of the bullet. He gave a 90 minute speech after catching the bullet before going ot the hositpal for treatment. Teddy was FIERCE!!
We then walked up 9th Avenue to 39th street to go to a flee markey in Hell’s Kitchen. one guess whose part of the trip this was.
Our plan was to walk back to the library so was could go in, as it was closed when we arrived earlier in the day. There was a considerable construction on both 40th and 41st, so we walked up to 42nd, thinking we’ll just walk down 42nd to 5th and we’ll be right there. No problem.
Would anyone like to guess what lies between 42nd and 9th and 42nd and 5th?
That’s right Times Square. We accidentally walked into Times Square. It was pure madness. Lots of tourists, lots of stores, lots of lights.
It was Picadilly Circus on crack.
Broadway, north of 42nd was blocked off to traffic for a giant flee market. I don’t know if this is normal for a Saturday or just something that happened to be going on that weekend, but it was a really crowded version of every street festival in Chicago.
We abandoned our plans to go to the library and walked north toward Central Park. We zigged to the east and walked to the Apple Store of 5th Avenue first. I wanted to see if I could get my iphone headphones replaced. That was pure folly. It was way to crowded for that type of small request. We gave up and walked across the street into Central Park.
After a directionally challenged attempt to walk from East to West across Central Park, where we walked East to sort of the middle, then South back to 52nd, we walked around to Central Park West and Spook Central.
When walking around a city you don’t know, and you have an iphone, you get to avoid being the tourists on the street corner holding a huge map out in front of you, turning it right and left trying to figure out where you are and where you are going. All you have to do is hold your phone in your hand, pull up the map feature and you’re good to go. We put in addresses, names of places, etc. and it would map out directions from where we were standing. We also used it in the following scenario.
We walked up to the Dakota and into Central Park so we could see Strawberry Fields. It was a great experience for me, both as a Beatles fan and as someone who desperately needed to sit down in the shade for 20 minutes.
While we were sitting there we caught a whif of Chinesse food in the air. And, not possessing the same olfactory abilities as Scooby Doo we could not simply follow the smell to its source. We pulled out the trusty iphone, typed Chinese Food into the search box, and were promptyly shown 5 or 6 restaurants in our vacinity. We chose one and walked there for dinner.
It was great. We never would have found this place on our own. YAY iphone!!!
According to Laura’s pre-trip internet research there was a restaurant where John and Yoko used to hang out. We walked to that address only to find out that it hand closed the previous year. Damn, the luck.
At this point our fatigue set in pretty fierce. We walked the thirty blocks South to Grand Central, for our ride back to the hotel. Our first day in New York was a lot of fun andc very tiring. It set the tone for the rest of our time in the Big Apricot.
Walking. Seeing. Eating. Fun.