Planning: A Bite out of the Big Apple

St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

Right. So. The next trip up on the planning board is New York City for May.

I was in New York once for a brief visit during a training course in New Jersey. A few of us students took the bus into the city and walked over to see the Empire State Building. We went up and watched as the lights started to come on as dusk settled over the skyline. Walking back to Port Authority bus terminal, we could see the lights of Times Square as we crossed over 7th Ave. I stopped in the middle of the cross walk in the middle of the street to gawp and take pictures!

I spent Saturday in the city, as well, since I wasn’t flying home until Sunday. I spent the morning in the Metropolitan Museum and met up with an aquaintance for lunch, walking around the general area and into Times Square in the afternoon with him. My impressions of New York then were twofold.

Colour. There was colour everywhere! It was high summer and there were bright banners on buildings, magazine stands with lots of colours on display, people were wearing cheery clothing, yellow taxis were rivers on the streets. Then there was Times Square. Talk about an explosion of colour! Even the garbage bags were pink and blue and there was a neon sign over the police station!

Smell. There was a wide variety of smells, both good and bad as I walked along. Food drifting out of restaurants. Chemical smells from hair salons. Masses of human beings. Diesel and gasoline engines of the vehicles. Perfumes on people. New York was an assault on the senses, to be sure, and now after nearly 15 years, I’ll be back. We’ll still only scratch the surface in just a few days but it’s a start!

Already, I’ve been looking at hotel prices and wow, what a shock I’ve had!

When I was looking for hotels in Rome, I expected the hotel prices to be very expensive and they weren’t. They were no worse than London where I can always find reasonable hotels in London within my budget, generally paying between $125 and $160 Canadian per night. On the whole, we were quite happy with the Bailey’s Hotel in Rome and I’d recommend it.

New York City was an eye opener. Even cheap chains like Days Inn and that sort of thing were a good bit over $200 a night! Anything under $200 includes shared bathrooms and facilities or is in New Jersey, or by the airport or in Brooklyn or Queens. I want to stay on Manhattan and I don’t want to be way down at the tip or up on the north of the island either. It’s better to be within relative walking distance of many of the sights so I guess I’ll have to resign myself to a higher budget this time.

I’ve already got my eye on a couple of likely candidates, several being suite hotels with a small kitchen which is good for stocking up for breakfasts and evening snacks. The drawback to one of them¬† is it’s only serviced by housekeeping once a week though they’ll bring more towels or pillows if you ask. That’s probably not a big deal, really. I *do* know how to make a bed! Haven’t looked too much further into the other similar ones but I will be doing so.

Looking on Expedia, I see they will combine flight and hotel for some good discounts in some cases. I think I’ll look into that further across a few sites that do packages and see what kind of a deal I can get that way. Anyone that has any recommendations, do feel free to comment. It’s much appreciated.

Things to do: Well, my partner wants to go up the Empire State Building so we’ll do that. I like going up high places, too! I would like to take the Staten Island Ferry over and back for a good view of the skyline and *that* statue, though otherwise not that interested in actually visiting it. I have been to the Metropolitan Museum and, looking around at the other big museums, I think the Frick Collection might be just the thing. We will probably take in the theatre, too, at least one night.¬† St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also on my list.

We’ll probably take the hop-on hop-off tour around to see the main sights and it will be useful for transportation, too. The companies that do it have 48 and 72 hour passes that cover a handful of different tours you can take including a night tour. There are several routes so you could break them up over a couple of days rather than packing it all into one day.