Hello from the Big Apple!

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
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Trip End Sep 01, 2007


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Flag of United States  , New York
Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hi from NYC - it is a marvellous city, very friendly, clean,and safe so far! The Rolling Stones concert was last night, and Mick,Ron, Charlie and Keith can still rock for a sold 2 hours nonstop! mick paced the stage, you know the drill, like he was,well, 40years younger! Except for 2 wannabe divas and a Peter Pan in front of me, (who else, so I moved seats), who wouldn't sit down through the whole concert and were more interested in posing for each other and the crowd and looking beautiful, and smoked when it was clearly non smoking, the crowd was well behaved and spanned many ages. It was my birthday, one I will clearly remember when someone says, 'where were you when you turned XX?'
Barb and I are busy - trying to pack in all the sights of NYC in 6 days. Have a metro card for 6 days and a Greyline hop on hop off bus pass for2 days and have put on many shoe leather miles on in between. Tonight it's Mamma Mia, the musical - tomorrow, our last day, it's Staten Island Ferry, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty. This aft. I picked up my RUssian Visa so I am set to go there, probably Oct. 9 from Tallinn, Estonia. A Russian friend of a friend had us over for tea in her beautiful Manhattan apartment on Tues. (a block from Central Park) and she said I 'must got to Moscow' as well, so I guess if I'm in the neighbourhood... The Kremlin is to be worth a visit for sure. Our NYC hotel is a one star, but literally 2 blocks from Central Park, which is just as beautiful as all the reports.
Well, bye for now, - will report in from Frankfurt - arrive there Oct. 1 at 6:30 a.m.

and here is Barb's version:  lots more great memories!
NEW YORK - BARB & LINDA -  SEPTEMBER 24 - SEPTEMBER 30/06
 
ARRIVED LATE SUNDAY NIGHT, SEPTEMBER 24, PICKED UP BAGGAGE (WONDERFUL AIRPORT - SO WELL ORGANIZED - GOT OFF PLANE AND WENT DIRECTLY INTO OUR OWN PRIVATE ROOM WITH ONE LUGGAGE CAROUSEL - COULDN'T BE EASIER).  CAUGHT A SHARED SHUTTLE TO MANHATTAN - TOOK AWHILE TO GET THERE - VAN FULL OF PEOPLE ALL BEING DROPPED AT DIFFERENT HOTELS - COST - $17.00 U.S.  CAB DRIVERS & ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE WAITING AT THE DOOR TO RIP YOU OFF.  BEWARE AND KNOW YOUR PRICES BEFORE YOU GET INTO A VEHICLE.  A CAB COSTS ABOUT $45 - $50 TO MANHATTAN I THINK.
 
LEFT EARLY EARLY EARLY SATURDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 30 - HAD TO BE AT JFK AT 6:00 A.M.  AFTER MUCH THOUGHT, I ASKED THE HOTEL TO ORDER CAR SERVICE - COST ME $60 (PLUS TIP) TO BE DROPPED AT TERMINAL 7 FOR MY FLIGHT.  LOVELY LINCOLN TOWN CAR WITH LEATHER SEATS - WELL WORTH IT ! 
 
FYI - YELLOW CABS IN NEW YORK DO NOT HAVE A PHONE NUMBER - TO GET ONE, YOU HAVE TO FLAG ONE DOWN IN THE STREET - DID NOT FEEL LIKE DOING THAT AT 5:00 AM IN THE DARK.  I FIGURE IT ALL BALANCED OUT - WITH THE CHEAP SHUTTLE SERVICE ARRIVING ...
 
OUR HOTEL:  PARK SAVOY - FABULOUS LOCATION, ONE BLOCK FROM CENTRAL PARK (SOUTH).  MIDTOWN.  VERY BASIC NO FRILLS HOTEL.  KIND OF BUILT SIDEWAYS ON THE STREET SO NO LOBBY/ENTRANCE REALLY.  ADVERTISED FREE CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST - CROISSANTS & BAGELS & MUFFINS ONLY OF COURSE AND COFFEE.  THEY DIDN'T WANT YOU TO GO BACK FOR EXTRA COFFEE BUT DIDN'T ACTUALLY STOP YOU.  ROOM WITH TWIN BEDS AND BATHROOM.  MAID SERVICE, CLEAN.  TO USE THE HOTEL PHONE, YOU HAD TO PURCHASE A $5.00 CARD AND THEN USE UP THE TIME ON THAT.  NO HAIR DRYERS, KLEENEX OR ANY EXTRAS.  WE STOPPED IN AT QUITE A FEW HOTELS IN CASE WE COULD DO BETTER BUT DECIDED IN THE END TO STAY THERE - COULD NOT BEAT THE PRICE.  ALL HOTELS WERE AT LEAST $100 + MORE PER NIGHT.  NICER BUT MUCH COSTLIER.  OURS WAS $155 PER NIGHT INCLUDING ALL TAXES.  WE STAYED IN ROOM 302 - HAD A WINDOW (NO SUCH THING AS A VIEW THERE - IT LOOKED OUT ONTO A BACK AREA - NO BACK LANES IN MANHATTAN - PRETTY YUCKY - SO WE JUST DIDN'T LOOK OUT.  TO SEE SKY, YOU HAD TO TIP THE BLINDS AND LOOK STRAIGHT UP - TO SEE IF IT WAS SUNNY OR NOT.  MANHATTAN IS FULL OF HIGHRISES - YOU DO NOT SEE SKY UNLESS YOU LOOK UP.  THERE WAS A WINDOW IN THE BATHROOM THAT OPENED ONTO SOME KIND OF HUGE ROUND PIPE THAT CAME UP FROM WHO KNOWS WHERE.  AS I SAY, NOT PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE - DEPENDS WHAT YOU WANT AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO PAY ...  NOTE:  ROOM 301 WAS BEING COMPLETED REDONE SO THAT MIGHT BE WORTH LOOKING INTO.  OUR ROOM WAS ABSOLUTELY DEAD QUIET - NEVER HEARD A SOUND EVER.  A BIG BONUS I MUST SAY.
 
DAY ONE [MONDAY]:
 
WALKED THROUGH CENTRAL PARK, STRAWBERRY FIELDS, SAW THE DAKOTA AND CONTINUED UP THROUGH THE PARK, THE LAKE, THE FIELDS, THE PLAYGROUND, THE GREAT LAWN, THE RESERVOIR, ETC. ETC.  TOOK THE 96TH STREET EXIT AND CONTINUED TO WALK THROUGH THE UPPER EAST SIDE - FIFTH AVENUE, MADISON AVENUE, PARK AVENUE, LEXINGTON - WALKED ALL THE WAY DOWN THROUGH THOSE STREETS.  STOPPED AT THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY AS LINDA HAD TO ORDER HER RUSSIAN VISA. 
 
DID MORE WALKING.  WALKED THROUGH BLOOMINGDALE'S WHILE LINDA WAS GETTING HER FACE DONE.  WENT BY TIFFANY'S, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE, DIAMOND DISTRICT, ETC. ETC.  SAW THE BARBIZON - DISAPPOINTING - COULD ONLY SEE THE TOP AS THEY ARE RENOVATING AND IT WAS MOST COVERED UP.  WALKED ALONG MUSEUM MILE.
 
CARRIED ON WALKING ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE ALGONQUIN HOTEL ON 44TH STREET.  HAD A GLASS OF WINE IN THIS LOVELY OLD HOTEL - OLDEST OPERATING HOTEL IN NEW YORK - HOME OF THE FAMOUS ROUND TABLE - WHERE JOURNALISTS IN THE 20'S SAT AND DISCUSSED IMPORTANT MATTERS.  OLDEST BARTENDER IN NEW YORK - 90 + - SHOOK HIS HAND.  GREAT ATMOSPHERE.  WOULD BE FUN TO STAY HERE I THINK.  WALKED BACK TO OUR HOTEL - FOUND A DELI ON THE CORNER AND PICKED UP FOOD.  ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED.  DIDN'T TAKE ANY BUSES OR SUBWAY TODAY - WALKED MANY MANY MILES.
 
DAY TWO [TUESDAY]  
SAW COLUMBUS CIRCLE CLOSE TO OUR HOTEL - WALKED ALL ALONG BROADWAY TO SEE THEATRE DISTRICT.  WALKED THROUGH THE CARNEGIE DELI & STAGE DELI - BOTH FAMOUS DELIS - ALONG WITH MANY OTHER DELIS ALL OVER THE PLACE.  GREAT FOOD EVERYWHERE IN THE DELIS.
 
WENT TO LINDA'S RUSSIAN FRIEND'S APARTMENT IN MANHATTAN FOR TEA - SO WE GOT TO SEE A MANHATTAN APARTMENT.  IT WAS LOVELY - BIG COURTYARD AND LOVELY VIEW FROM HER PLACE - 14TH FLOOR.
 
BOUGHT AN 'ALL LOOPS TOUR' TOUR BUS TICKET FOR $49.  WENT ON THE NIGHT TOUR.  LIGHTS WERE GORGEOUS - PARTICULARLY THROUGH TIMES SQUARE AND WE SAW A FEW THINGS BUT THE GUIDE HAD SUCH A STRONG ACCENT THAT WE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND HIM.  WENT THROUGH BROOKLYN WHICH WE WOULDN'T HAVE SEEN OTHERWISE. 
 
 
DAY THREE [WEDNESDAY]  
ROLLING STONES DAY !!  DID DAY TOUR ON HOP ON, HOP OFF BUS.   CAUGHT IT AT CENTRAL PARK.  MUCH BETTER GUIDE - LEARNED LOTS OF THINGS.  WENT THROUGH SOHO, GREENWICH VILLAGE, BY EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, CHINATOWN, SAW MACY'S, GARMENT DISTRICT, FLATIRON BUILDING, BROADWAY, THEATRE DISTRICT, BROOKLYN BRIDGE, WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE, BATTERY PARK, WALL STREET, ETC.  GOT OFF AT SOUTH STREET SEAPORT - WALKED AROUND BATTERY PARK A BIT AND HAD LUNCH ON THE WATER. BOUGHT MY CHARM FROM HERE.  TRIED TO GET CHEAP TICKETS FOR MAMMA MIA BUT NO LUCK.  HAVE TO DO IT TOMORROW.
 
WALKED PART WAY OVER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE - VERY INTERESTING TO SEE.
 
CAUGHT THE SUBWAY BACK, CLEANED UP AND HEADED DOWN TO PORT AUTHORITY TO CATCH THE BUS @ 5:00 PM TO GO TO NEW JERSEY FOR THE CONCERT.  WELL ORGANIZED, LOTS OF BUSES - THEY TOOK US STRAIGHT TO THE GIANTS STADIUM.  WE WERE PLENTY EARLY BUT WEREN'T SURE HOW LONG IT TOOK TO GET THERE, ETC.  MET SOME NICE PEOPLE AT THE CONCERT ALTHOUGH THREE PEOPLE STOOD UP THROUGH THE ENTIRE CONCERT - NEVER SAT DOWN ONCE - RIGHT IN FRONT OF LINDA.  FORTUNATELY THERE WAS AN EMPTY SEAT RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  SHE MOVED UP TO IT SO SHE COULD SEE.  THEY GIVE AN AMAZING CONCERT FOR SUCH OLD GUYS !  HAD TO WAIT A VERY LONG TIME FOR BUSES TO GET US BACK TO THE PORT AUTHORITY AND THEN WE TOOK A CAB BACK TO OUR HOTEL AS IT WAS 1:00 AM AND I WASN'T IN THE MOOD FOR A SUBWAY RIDE AT THAT TIME.  NOT TO MENTION WE WERE - YET AGAIN - TIRED ...  GOT BACK TO OUR HOTEL AND DECIDED WE WERE HUNGRY SO WE WALKED OVER TO OUR FAVORITE DELI AND GOT SOME FRUIT SALAD.  FINALLY WENT TO SLEEP AROUND 3:00 A.M.
 
DAY FOUR [THURSDAY]  
THIS IS MAMMA MIA NIGHT !  LINDA HAD TO GO GET HER RUSSIAN PASSPORT AND I WANTED TO TAKE A LONG WALK IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION SO WE ARRANGED TO MEET AT MACY'S @ 2:00 PM.  I WALKED THROUGH AREA CLOSE TO OUR HOTEL - FAO SCHARTZ - AMAZING, CARNEGIE HALL, TRUMP TOWER - BEAUTIFUL INSIDE - LOTS OF MARBLE EVERYWHERE, GRACEFUL FOUNTAIN, ETC., "21", BERGDORF GOODMAN, RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL.  CARRIED ON TO NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, BRYANT PARK RIGHT NEXT TO IT.  LOVELY GREEN AREA IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY.  LORD & TAYLOR, MADISON SQUARE GARDENS, PENN STATION, GRAND CENTRAL STATION, WALDORF ASTORIA, BARNES & NOBLE, ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL.  LOVED GRAND CENTRAL STATION - HUGE, INTERESTING, CLEAN, FUN.  COULD NOT FIND LINDA SO CALLED THE HOTEL (PLAN B!).  SHE HAD LEFT A MESSAGE THAT SHE WOULD MEET ME AT THE HOTEL AT 5:30 PM.  GOT ON THE SUBWAY (MY FAVOURITE LINE - "Q" WHICH I HAD FINALLY FIGURED OUT AND WENT DOWN TO CANAL STREET BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT LOOKED SO INTERESTING.  I LOVE OUTDOOR MARKETS !!  IT WAS INTERESTING !!  DID MY SOUVENIR SHOPPING FOR EVERYONE HERE.  ALSO BOUGHT AN AUTHENTIC CARTIER WATCH FOR $20 - SUCH A GOOD DEAL ...  PASHMINAS EVERYWHERE.  WENT OVER TO EMPIRE STATE BUILDING AND WALKED THROUGH MACY'S JUST TO GET AN IDEA OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE.
 
HAD A BITE TO EAT AT TGI FRIDAYS - CLOSE TO THEATRE BEFORE GOING TO MAMMA MIA.  THOROUGHLY ENJOYED SEEING A PLAY ON BROADWAY!  LIVIN' THE HIGH LIFE!  OUR SEATS WERE GOOD AND THE PLAY WAS EXCELLENT.  GOT SOMEONE TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THE TWO OF US AFTER THE PLAY ALTHOUGH I GUESS WE WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO ...  WALKED HOME & CRASHED.
 
DAY FIVE [FRIDAY]  
TOOK THE SUBWAY DOWN TO BATTERY PARK, CAUGHT THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY (FREE).  PASSED THE STATUE OF LIBERTY AND ELLIS ISLAND.  WONDERFUL VIEW OF THE MANHATTAN SKYLINE.  NOTE:  YOU MUST GET OFF THE FERRY AND GET BACK ON ANOTHER ONE TO GET BACK TO MANHATTAN.  IF WE HAD MORE TIME, THERE ARE SPECIFIC FERRIES THAT STOP AT LIBERTY ISLAND AND ELLIS ISLAND AND YOU CAN GET OFF AND WALK AROUND.
 
TRIED TO GET TO ROCKEFELLER CENTRE BUT DIDN'T QUITE MAKE IT.  I HAD TO GO TO FIFTH AVENUE TO RETURN A T-SHIRT - LINDA DID A QUICK STOP AT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.
 
HEADED DOWN TO GROUND ZERO AND WALKED AROUND. VERY SAD BUT LOOKS WELL CLEANED UP AND THEY ARE REBUILDING. 
 
TOOK THE SUBWAY UP TO THE UPPER EAST SIDE TO GO INTO THE GUGGENHEIM.  VERY INTERESTING - MOSTLY MODERN ART WHICH ISN'T MY THING BUT ...  SOME INTERESTING MODELS, ETC.  DID NOT GET TO THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.  SHOULD HAVE BUT JUST COULDN'T QUITE GET THERE.  KEPT RUNNING OUT OF TIME.  TOOK THE SUBWAY BACK TO OUR HOTEL AND WERE HOPING TO HAVE AN EARLY NIGHT AS I HAD TO GET UP AT 4:00 A.M. TO LEAVE.   YIKES !!  PICKED UP SALAD, ETC. AT OUR DELI AND TOOK BACK TO OUR HOTEL ROOM.
 
 
NOTES:
 
WE OFTEN JUST PICKED UP FOOD FROM OUR DELI AND ATE IN OUR ROOM AS WE WEREN'T EVER HUNGRY AND TOO TIRED AT THE END OF THE DAY TO LOOK FOR A PLACE TO EAT.  IT WAS OPEN 24/7 SO WAS VERY HANDY.  WE ATE OUT A FEW TIMES AND USUALLY BOUGHT FRUIT AT THE DELI FOR THE MORNING TO GO WITH OUR COFFEE BEFORE WE HEADED OUT.
 
WE BOUGHT A 7 DAY METRO PASS - SUBWAY/BUSES.  EXCELLENT INVESTMENT & MADE LIFE VERY SIMPLE.  CONFUSING SUBWAY SYSTEM.  MUST KNOW IF YOU ARE GOING 'UPTOWN' OR 'DOWNTOWN'.  WE ENDED UP IN QUEENS ONE DAY AS WE WERE GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION.  GOT SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR WITH THE 'Q' LINE - AND COULD FIND MOST THINGS FROM THAT LINE.  WITHIN A FEW BLOCKS AT LEAST.  HAD TO STOP ALL THE TIME TO ORIENATE MYSELF TO FIGURE OUT DIRECTIONS - EAST/WEST AND UP/DOWN.  SUBWAY SYSTEM IS MOST IMPRESSIVE.  I WOULD HAVE TO SPEND SOME TIME FIGURING IT OUT AS IT WAS NOT AS SIMPLE AS SOME BIG CITIES - LONDON OR PARIS FOR EXAMPLE.  BUT IT OBVIOUSLY WORKS FOR THEM AS IT IS VERY BUSY AND QUICK TOO.
 
FYI --  Subway Entrances: Subway entrances in New York are usually found on street corners, marked with a staircase descending to the station. The stop will have a large green ball outside (indicating a booth inside where you can buy tokens or MetroCards) or red ball (no token booth inside; you must have fare available to enter).

FYI -- Uptown/Downtown:
Directions will usually be to take either an uptown or downtown train; there are also several crosstown shuttles. Many subway entrances specify Uptown Only or Downtown Only, meaning trains on the platform accessed by that specific entrance will be going in only one direction. A platform with trains running in the opposite direction will most likely be across the street behind you - an entrance across the street to your left or right will most likely have trains running in the same direction. Generally, subway stops for uptown are on the east side of the street, downtown on the west. Streets ascend in number as they run north. For example: If you're at 14th Street and your destination is 50th Street, you'll be going uptown (to get to midtown).
 
NOT SURE WE GOT OUR MONEY'S WORTH OUT OF OUR 'HOP ON, HOP OFF' BUS PASS.  THE TRAFFIC IS SO BAD THAT YOU SIT ON THE BUS FOR AGES TRYING TO GET TO AND FROM PLACES.  INTERESTING FOR AWHILE BUT THERE ARE PLACES TO GO AND PEOPLE TO SEE SO THERE ISN'T TIME TO JUST SIT IN TRAFFIC.   THE TOUR GUIDES KNEW THEIR STUFF THOUGH SO FOR AN OVERVIEW OF MANY THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT SEE IT PROBABLY WORKS.
 
DOZENS AND DOZENS OF YELLOW CABS ALL OVER THE STREETS.  JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES.  PRETTY AMAZING REALLY.  TRAFFIC WAS CRAZY.  CARS EVERYWHERE AND THEY HONK CONTINUALLY.  ALL STREETS ARE ONE WAY SO PEDESTRIANS ARE ALWAYS HALFWAY INTO THE STREET AND CROSSING BEFORE ANY OF THE LIGHTS CHANGE.  TOURISTS STAND OUT IN THE CROWD AT FIRST BECAUSE WE WAIT DUTIFULLY AT THE LIGHTS AND EVERYONE ELSE IS LONG GONE.  I HAVE ALSO NEVER SEEN SO MANY CELL PHONES.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE STREET IS CONSTANTLY TALKING ON THEIR CELL PHONES.
 
LOTS MORE THAT WE WANTED TO SEE OR SEE MORE OFF OR FOR LONGER BUT THE TIME WENT QUICKLY.  I DON'T THINK WE COULD HAVE DONE MUCH MORE IN THE TIME THAT WE HAD.  WE WALKED AND WALKED AND RODE THAT SUBWAY TO AND FROM ALL KINDS OF PLACES.
 
BECAUSE MANHATTAN IS SUCH A SMALL ISLAND, THE NUMBERED AVENUES START ON THE EAST SIDE AT THE EAST RIVER/HARLEM RIVER [QUEENS AND THE BRONX ARE ACROSS THAT WATER] AT FIRST AVENUE AND WORK THEIR WAY TO THE WEST. 
 
FIFTH AVENUE IS THE DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST AVENUES. 
HUDSON RIVER IS ON THE WEST SIDE - HEADING TOWARDS NEW JERSEY.
 
ALL THE STREETS ARE NUMBERED ONLY ABOVE HOUSTON (PRONOUNCED HOW-STON) STREET.  BELOW THAT, THE STREETS HAVE NAMES.  NUMBERS GO UP AS YOU MOVE NORTH 'UPTOWN'.
 
PARK AVENUE IS 4TH AVENUE BELOW 14TH STREET.  
 
BROADWAY DOES NOT RUN NORTH AND SOUTH - IT ANGLES ACROSS THE STREETS & AVENUES.
 
NEW YORK CITY IS MADE UP OF FIVE BOROUGHS - MANHATTAN, QUEENS, BROOKLYN, BRONX, STATEN ISLAND.  THERE ARE THREE MAIN AIRPORTS, JFK, LA GUARDIA - CLOSER TO MANHATTAN AND NEWARK.  I FLEW INTO JFK.
 
LINDA IS OFF ON HER WORLD TOUR NOW AND I HAD TO GO BACK TO WORK ... HMMMM ...  SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE ...
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