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gardkarlsen New York - A travel report by Gard
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New York,  United States - flag United States -  New York
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gardkarlsen's travel reports

Walking in New York City

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This trip report will focus on the trip that my wife Nikki and I took to NYC in the period from July 5th - 11th 2004. I hope that this trip report can be of some use to other first time visitors to New York City. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments. If you want to see my pictures from NYC please check out my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com.


The amazing Brooklyn Bridge
The amazing Brooklyn Bridge
We have been talking about visiting NYC for many years now and we finally got a chance to see it when we took a family trip to the USA. We decided to first go to my sister in Ohio and spend a few days there. After this we would go to NYC and then go home to Norway from there. Like most others we felt that we knew the city a bit even if we hadn't been there before. After all, the city is portrayed in so many movies and TV series, it sort of feels like you are going back to a place you have been to before. When I was young I remember seeing TV shows about how kids grew up in NYC and it felt very distant from my own upbringing. I also remember seeing movies like The Warriors and of course I wondered if this gave a true impression of the city. Well, as I have gotten older I have of course come to learn and understand that there are a lot more to NYC than the negative things the press often focus on.

Favourite spots:
Inside the Guggenheim
Inside the Guggenheim
We check out places like Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Guggenheim museum, Central Park, Times Square, ground zero, Staten Island ferry, American museum of natural history etc

What's really great:
Empire State building
Empire State building
I was very impressed with both Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State building. Both are anging beauties...but still it is amazing to see these structures still standing tall even after so many years in use.

Accommodations:
Hotel Thirty Thirty
Hotel Thirty Thirty
We stayed at Hotel Thirty Thirty in New York City 6 nights in July 2004. When we first started searching for a hotel in New York we were of course overwhelmed by the number of hotels we could choose from. Our goal was to find a clean, decent hotel located centrally in Manhattan and we wanted to room to be as cheap as possible and we wanted a private bath and a TV. After searching for quite a bit and looking into the option of using priceline.com we ended up on Hotel Thirty Thirty. We booked it through a travel agency here in Norway and we had to pay about 6400 Norwegian Kroner for the 6 nights (with today’s exchange rate that is about 150 dollars pr night including all taxes). I also used tripadvisor.com which is an excellent site where you can get feedback about most hotels in the US and around the world.

We arrived in New York City at Penn Station and we took a cab to the hotel. The hotel is located on 30 East 30th street near Park Avenue (only a few minutes walk from Empire State Building). The taxi only took 5 minutes to get there and we paid about 5 dollars. The lobby of the hotel was nice and quiet and the check in was extremely fast. I just had to sign a paper and they swiped my credit card and then we got a non-smoking room on the 11th floor (1141 to be precise). Our room was quite small but nice. As you can see from the pictures there room was pretty naked. There were a carpet on the floor and the walls were covered with a light wall paper.Apart from the king-size bed we had a chair, a TV that was mounted on the wall in corner of the room, a couple of draws and a wardrobe with about 5 hangers. The TV had lots and lots of channels to offer but I felt like it was like the Bruce Springsteen song “Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on” :-) One strange thing about the room was that the sink was in the bedroom itself and not in the bathroom. I’m not sure why it has been done like this but we got used to it :-) There was also a telephone and an alarm clock on the night tables next to the bed.

The bathroom was also quite tiny but big enough to room the toilet and a shower. The bathroom was covered with tiles on both the floor and the wall. The shower was a step in type with a glass door. In the shower we found little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and in the room itself we found little bars of soap and moisturizing cream. Our window faced towards 29th Street and the view from our room was not great to say the least. We looked right out on a typical New York landmark I guess…a water tank :-) But at least we were high up so we didn’t have any problem with noise from the traffic on Park Avenue at night.

Location
In our opinion the hotel has a pretty good location. It only takes a few seconds to get to places where you can have breakfast. We ended up having breakfast on Suzi’s kitchen quite a lot but there were also a Starbuck’s coffee right around the corner and a Pax place near by. There is also a restaurant connected to the hotel (Zana’s) but I can’t really comment on it because we never ate there. The hotel was also pretty good located when it comes to getting around. It only took us 2-3 minutes to walk to the 28th Street/Park Avenue subway station…and once you are on the subway you can reach most places in New York. We like to walk and on our first afternoon we walked to Empire State Building and after that up to Times Square.

Apart from this there is not that much more to say about the hotel. They have a laundry service, there are an internet option in the lobby (we didn’t try it out but we used The Log-on Café across the street from the hotel), and you can borrow an iron in the lobby if you need one.

Conclusion
I see that there are many different opinions about this hotel on places like Tripadvisor.com. We felt that we got what we expected and I think that the information on the hotel’s website www.thirtythirty-nyc.com is pretty accurate. We got a small, clean room in a hotel that didn’t have much more to offer than a pretty good location. But when we are on a big city holiday we are not really looking for a hotel with lots of amenities. After all most of the day and evening is spent sight-seeing anyway. I would not mind staying there again if we go to New York City in the future and I would not hestitate to recommend this hotel to other people.

Restaurants:
Gnocchi at Il Bagatto
Gnocchi at Il Bagatto
In the States and in NYC you can get what we know as junk food on every street corner. We don't really eat that often at places like McDonalds and Burger King here at home and we don't even have stuff like KFC and Wendy's. So I think that it is great to pig out on junk food when I'm travelling. We do try to not get too carried away and we order small portions (even if a small portion in the US is a large Norwegian portion :-). There seems to be more awareness about the junk food problem now because it is possible to get low carb meals in most places now and it seems like there is also a focus on salads to replace burgers and French fries.

We tried a couple of restaurants while we were there. On my birthday we went to Il Bagatto on 192 East 2nd in East Village. When we first got there we were not sure if we had found the right place. It was a pretty dark place with lots of little lights strapped to the ceilings of the rooms. It was so dark that I had to use the candle on the table to read the menu :-) We went for both an appetizers and a main course by the way and it was a bit much because we got really full. I had a gnocchi starter with gorgonzola sauce and that was dish full of taste and it was great while Nikki had a bruschetta that was OK. The main course was veal with shavings of parmesan and spinach for me while Nikki went for the sea food tomato based penne. Both these main courses were OK but it is nothing that I will remember for a long time. The tiramisu that we shared for dessert was pretty good. I think we had to pay about 120$ and that included tipping and a bottle of wine.

We also wanted to try out a steak house and we went to a place called Strip house located on 13 E. 12th St. in Greenwich Village. When we first walked in there they didn't think that they had any tables available but they managed to squeeze us in. This place was more classy then we thought it would be but we decided to try it anyway. Before the meal we got some great fresh bread on the table and we even got a small cocktail. I had a sirloin which was OK while Nikki had a lamb rack which was sooo tender and good. You can order different side dishes to go with the main meals but they cost extra of course. For dessert we had two cups of cappuccino (they tasted great) together with a piece of chocolate cake which was a little piece of art. Well, I'm not sure I can say little because we got a HUGE piece that we were going to share and we only managed to eat half of it. It was a pretty good meal and it cost us 170$. But you know you are in a classy place when a bottle of water cost 10$ :-)

Other recommendations:
Statue of liberty
Statue of liberty
The trip begins
We started our trip on Friday the 25th of June. After the short KLM flight from Stavanger to Amsterdam we had a few hours before our next flight to Newark. Due to this my brother Jone and I decided to go into Amsterdam to look around. Maybe it was not the best idea because my trusted Canon Powershot S30 was stolen without me even noticing it when we walked through the crowds at the flower market

We flew Continental from Amsterdam to Newark Liberty Airport and from there we went to my sister in Ohio. On July 5th Nikki and I moved on to New York City.

Arriving in New York City
On July 5th we checked in at Columbus airport and got ready to take the flight from Columbus to Newark. Due to safety rules you have to leave your luggage unlocked now in case they need to inspect it.

The flight to Newark only took 1 ½ hours and soon we had all our luggage with us and ready to go into the city. It seems like there are various ways to get to the city. We went for the cheaper alternative and took the Airlink. This is a service from Amtrak and I think the ticket costs about 11$ per person for a one way ticket. To catch the train to NYC we took the airtrain at Newark Airport.. We had already picked up train tickets from a machine in one of the terminals but I don't think we would have known about this unless we had read about this in the guidebook. The tickets we bought were to Penn Station - the only problem is that there is one Penn Station in Newark and one Penn Station in New York. We managed to get tickets to the wrong Penn Station of course but it was not a big problem.

I guess the air con on the train was out of order because it felt like we were in a sauna. And the train isn't really made for travellers with big suitcases so we had to stand with our bags on the trip to Penn Station. The trip doesn't take that long. All of sudden we were standing on the street outside Penn Station and Madison Square Garden and the first impression was I guess just like we had expected it to be: lots of yellow cabs, skyscrapers, big billboards etc. We got in the taxi line and we got a cab pretty fast. The ride over to Hotel Thirty Thirty only took five minutes and cost us about 5 dollars including tip

Getting around in the city - Subway
After we had unpacked some of our stuff we were ready to start taking a look at the city. The first thing we did was to go down to the subway station on 28th street and Park Avenue to buy a subway pass. For 21$ we got a one week unlimited travel pass (MetroCard) that we used quite a lot during our stay in the city. In fact, Manhattan was not as big as we thought it would be. So during our stay there we walked a lot and used the subway over longer distances. The subway was quite easy to use, we have previous training from cities like Paris and London :-). The only problem was that some trains are local trains and some are express trains and the last category doesn't stop at all the stations. But once we figured that out we didn't have any problems. The trains have air-con by the way but they stations can be pretty hot.

The subway is only a part of the transportation network covered by Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). You will find a pretty good subway map on their homepage. If you don't buy a MetroCard I think that the fare is about 2 $.

The subway felt like a pretty safe transportation method even late in the evening.. From time to time we met people who were trying to make a living by performing (dancing, singing, playing an instrument) in the subway system. We saw all kinds of people on the subway....a homeless guy that were stinking so bad that no one wanted to sit around the guy, the young generation, people in suites going back from work etc. Some of the subway stations are quite small.

With many of the streets of Manhattan being logically numbered and split into west side and east side, it was also quite easy to walk around in NYC. We did use the map in our guidebook because it also had indication on where the subway stations could be found. And I guess that if you do get totally lost, just get in a yellow cab :-) NYC may consider having larger subway signs, like the big UNDERGROUND signs in London. And maybe also have electronically updated schedules on the platform – as a new comer to the city it's reassuring to know when the next train will be arriving.

Sightseeing in New York City

Empire State building - the aging beauty
One of the things that we wanted to do in NYC was to go to the top of the Empire State Building. We went up there on the first day and we found it by accident. We walked around just checking out the neighbourhood around the hotel and we went into a Walgreen's to buy some water. Well, I stuck my head out one of the side entrances to the store and I found myself in the lobby of Empire State Building. I think it is amazing to think about the fact that this building was built over 70 years ago! Once I had seen the lobby we decided to go to the observatory deck on the 86th floor. We had to wait a few minutes to get tickets. If you buy the tickets separately they cost 12$ for adults. We went for the New York CityPass. If you buy the combo of the observatory deck and New York Skyride I think that it will cost you about 22$.

We followed the queue and had a bit of a wait to get into the elevators and on the 80th floor. On the 80th floor you change elevators to get to the 86th floor. I was just thrilled to see the views that were starting to appear from the windows on the 80th floor. As mentioned the building seems to have been well kept at least seen from outside and in the lobby. On the 80th floor it is possible to see that this is an aging beauty. Finally we were at the top of the building and could get out on the observatory deck. There were quite a few people up there so it was not always easy to get to see the view. But the view was great even if it was a bit hazy that afternoon. From the various sides we had view to lower Manhattan, the rivers surrounding the island, the bridges, other famous buildings like the Chrysler building, Central Park etc. It was a great experience indeed :-)

After we had been on the top for a while we made our way down to ground level to take the New York Skyride since this was apart of the New York CityPass that we bought. The Skyride is simulated flight around New York City and the whole thing was narrated by Kevin Bacon. I don't really think that it was worth the money and if you have been to larger amusement parks I'm sure that you have tried out better simulators. Well, you can get more details and info on the Skyride homepage.

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum - all hands on deck for a Top Gun feeling
One morning we took the subway to Times Square and from there we just walked down towards Hudson River and we soon found the old aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. We got the tickets to enter the museum (by using the New York CityPass) and we also got boarding passes to the Concord which has been docked up at the museum (it is on a barge). The museum itself is made up of the Intrepid, the submarine USS Growler and the Concord.

We started on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier where we found lots and lots of planes including F-14 Tomcat, Harrier and the amazing Blackbird. Most of the planes and helicopters can be found on the flight deck but some are also displayed in the hangar inside the ship. In the hangar there are also displays about space, the technology behind an aircraft carrier, some simulators and some hands on exhibits. It is also possible to check out the bridge of the Intrepid (although Nikki was pretty peeved when she was told to keep her hands off all the buttons :-) and the mess deck - conveniently turned into a McDonald's restaurant.

We also lined up for a bit to get inside the Concord. The Concord is located on a barge and they let on board small groups at the time. We came in a door in the back and walked through the plane and out the front door. The seats in the plane were protected from curious visitors with plexi glass which runs all the length of the plane from where we entered to where we went out. One of the engines were also taken out of the plane and displayed under the aircraft itself. Walking though the plane was not really a big happening for me. On the other hand it would have been an amazing experience to have been on a Concord when they where operative and in the air.

The last thing we visited was the USS Growler. After waiting for 20-30 minutes we got to see the inside of what they claim is the only intact strategic nuclear missile sub open people in the world. We were taken through the sub by a guide that told us a little bit about the different rooms. It is always fascinating to walk through submarines and see how much stuff they can squeeze into them. It must have been pretty challenging to serve onboard a tiny ship like this for weeks and weeks at sea.

The museum was fun at least if you are into history, planes etc. Check out their website on intrepidmuseum.org. It is pretty good and has lots of information. The general admission to the museum is 14.5 $ but once again we used the New York CityPass that we bought at the Empire State building.

Times Square
We walked over to this famous intersection already the first night. It doesn't take much to understand when you are there: large billboards where lights are flashing, people every where etc. The place is also on TV and movies quite a lot and every year they show pictures from the New Year celebration here. Well, all of a sudden it was Nikki and me that were there and it was mesmerizing to see all the flashing adds blinking everywhere. One landmark that I hadn't heard about before is the Naked Cowboy (check out nakedcowboy.com). This guy is dressed up in his underwear (so he is not as naked as it may sound *grin*), cowboy hat and cowboy boots....and his guitar of course. He plays and poses for/with people and people tip him by sticking dollar bills in his boots. One lady that took us on a tour in the Times Square area said that he can make about 1000 dollars a day on this...and she added Only in New York...and only on Times Square. From what I could hear he should spend some money on guitar lessons *grin*

We went for one free walking tour arranged by the Times Square Alliance. The tour lasted about 2 hours and the lady that took us around also did other tours that she informed us about during the walk. In this walk we were taken around in the Times Square area and we got information on how the theatre district has developed to what it is today, how Longacre Square has turned into Times Square, how the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin fits into the Times Square area etc. It was a pretty good tour but maybe a bit long (it lasted a bit more than 2 hours).

Guggenheim - let me see those hands
We took the subway to 86th street if I'm not mistaken and we just walked over towards Central Park and Fifth Avenue. Soon the characteristic white rings appeared in front of us and it is such a cool building. Of course there were some construction work going on (as usual in big cities) but that didn't destroy the experience. The museum was a lot smaller than I had imagined it to be and it contained a lot more pictures than expected. Maybe it was because there was a special exhibition called Speaking with hands. We only spent about an hour in the museum. According to their web site the admission is about 15$ but we used the New York CityPass to get in. We were not allowed to take pictures above the first floor

Central Park - A break from reality
I once heard that there is more park area per person in New York City compared to e.g. Paris. It is hard to believe when you walk around the skyscrapers of Manhattan but easy to understand when you come to Central Park. We just took a walk in Central Park on our way from the Guggenheim museum to the Natural historic museum. We walked through the park at about noon and there were lots of people in and around the park. People were biking, jogging, using roller skates or just relaxing. We met dog-walkers, people playing softball etc. I'm sure that it would have been one of my favourite places if I had been living in New York. Central Park was lovely and it was such a contrast to be in the calm Great lawn compared to in the streets outside the park.

We also stopped by some other parks on our walks around NYC. Union Square Park, Washington Park, Columbus Park etc. In all the places the kids were playing and people were relaxing in the sun or cooling down in the fountains. If I'm not mistaken, Columbus Park sits on the place where Leonard DiCaprio fights in Gangs of New York. According to the guidebook this park used to be the home of the Five Points slum in the early 1800s. It is hard to imagine that it was once like that when we walked past the park and saw kids playing.

American museum of Natural history - past meets future
We walked through Central Park and got to the American museum of Natural history. The building façade is huge and impressive and it is easy to see that this is a building with tradition and history. The lobby is also impressive with two big dinosaur skeletons right in the middle. We already had tickets for the museum through the New York CityPass but we had to pay extra to get into the Hayden Planetarium. I think that we had to pay 12$ per person for that.

We started out optimistic strolling slowly through the section of Asian mammals and hall of Asian people. I think we soon realized that this museum was HUGE :-). So we had to increase the pace a little bit if we were to cover it all in a day. You need to plan your visit if you go there because it is more or less impossible to cover everything in a short period of time. I think you could spend a full day in the museum just looking at minerals for instant. The Rose Center for Earth and Space was nice and it was interesting the way the scales of the universe was explained, the planetarium was also nice but the show was so short., not sure it was worth the extra 12 dollars we paid for it. But I think it was great that they had students in Rose Center that had some hands on experiments where they tried to explain different stuff to kids (and adults for that matter :-). The blue whale in the hall of ocean life was also an amazing sight. It is incredible to think that there are animals that big on our planet. The dinosaur section is of course also an interesting section :-). It is always great fun to look at the big eyes of children when they see the teeth on a skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

I think that our conclusion is that this is one of the best and extensive museums that we have been to. The problem is that it gets a bit much and you are in danger of exhausting yourself if you try to cover everything.

Brooklyn Bridge - walk all over it
This was also on the top of my list of to do things when we came to New York. Yes, I know it is kinda sad to go around half the world only to be fascinated by walking across a bridge :-) But hey, I'm an engineer and I get impressed by huge buildings and structures. I'm just amazed that it was possible to build something like this back then. The bridge was opened as early as 1883!

It wasn't hard to find the way to the bridge by the way. We took the subway to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall and from there it was easy to find the access to the pathway. The bridge seems to be popular both amongst the tourist and the locals. Lots of people were biking, jogging and walking over the bridge. I kept staring up on the towers and Nikki had to keep reminding me to keep out of the bike lane :-). We only walked half way over and that gave us a great view of East River, buildings on lower Manhattan etc.

After we had walked on the bridge we walked back and over to the South Street Seaport area. This area has been turned in to quite a nice place and apart from the incredible stench of fish *grin* the area also offers a nice combinations of museums, shopping, restaurants etc. We stopped at Pier 17 to take a look at the bridge from there and we also stopped at Häagen-Dazs to grab some ice cream :-)

Staten Island ferry - the free ride
We decided to check out the Staten Island ferry one morning since we heard it was free and that it offers a pretty good view of Manhattan. We took one morning and we took the subway to Bowling Green and we walked the rest of the way. The ferry service operates between Manhattan and Staten Island. The ferry terminal on the Manhattan side was a bit of a mess as they are expending it or maybe building a new. Well, it felt like we were waiting at a construction site before we could get on the boat. We grab a seat on the left side...excuse me....the port side of course :-) This didn't give us that much of a view so when we came over to Staten Island we switched sides. Well, first everyone had to get of and then we could board again. Anyway, this time we were facing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the view was great. I think the trip took about 30 minutes each way.

Grey Line tours - a bus tour with linguistic problems
We normally make this one of our first activities so that we can get to know the city a little bit. But this time we took the tour after we had stayed in the city a few days. We went for the downtown loop with a company called Gray Line tours. The tickets cost us 37$ per person and you can hop on and of as the bus goes around the downtown area. We got a seat on the top floor of the double decker bus after a few minutes and we were ready to get some in depth information about New York. But we were a bit disappointed. The first guide that we had didn't speak English that well and we had trouble understanding what she said. On other buses it was hard to hear the guide at all. I was hoping to get something back for the 37$ but the guides did not give us that much information that we hadn't already read in our guidebook. Well, the bus tour that we took went to places like Greenwich Village, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, past Wall Street and the Financial District, Battery Park, South Street Seaport, Times Square etc. If you are going to take it, take it when you first come to NYC. Make sure to get on a bus that has seats on the top floor so that you can enjoy the view while you travel....remember to put some sunscreen on so that you don't get fried in the sun....and hold on to your hats....the branches along the route can get pretty close :-)

UN building - peace in our time?
After a mandatory security check we got into the lobby of the UN building and we bought a guided tour for 10$ each. Our guide took us through the different rooms: the Security Council, the general assembly hall etc. Our guide was knowledgeable and she told us a lot about the work of the UN and their operation around the world. We also got lots of general information: did you e.g. know that the interior in the Security Council is a gift from Norway? One of the strongest impressions comes from seeing artefacts taken from Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Due to the nuclear blast over these cities there were examples of cups and glasses that were melted due to the extreme heat. Let us hope that something like that doesn't happen again.

We did get to take a look at the general assembly hall but we didn't get to take any pictures. This was due to the shooting of a new film by the name of The Interpreter which stars Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. We were hoping to see some of the stars of course but we never ran into them :-)

Wall Street and Ground Zero
The downtown is is not that big because all of a sudden we saw the bronze statue of a bull (which is supposed to symbolize Wall Street) near the old Custom house. We did of course walk down Wall Street and took a look at the New York Stock Exchange but it wasn't easy to get a closer look. The place looked pretty fortified with cops in full combat equipment. We also walked over to the so-called Ground Zero where the Word Trade Center used to be. Right now it is just a gaping hole in the ground so there is not really much to see there.There were some posters on the fence around the area which gave information about the WTC complex.

Buildings of New York
There are of course many great buildings around New York that you see a lot on film and TV and I just want to mention a couple of them. The first is Grand Central Station. It is squeezed in between skyscrapers but when you get inside it you can see how beautiful it really is. According to some information inside the building it was refurbished in the end of the 90's and they did a great job. It looks brand new but you can see that this is made with class in the old days. When you enter from 42nd Street you get into a large room which doesn't really serve as much apart from being a passing through room. The main concourse has a high vaulted ceiling with beautiful decorations. Beneath this hall we found the food court and access to the different tracks. It is really amazing how much money they put into decorations of buildings in the old days.

We also walked by New York Public Library. We only stopped to look at the façade of the building and it is impressive. Another building with a striking uniqueness is of course the Flatiron building on Fifth Avenue. This building was the tallest in the world when it was completed in 1902 and even if it is old it stands out due to the strange shape and due to the amazing decorations on the building. On our walks around NYC we also stopped by Rockefeller Plaza. I guess this is most famous for the Christmas tree and the ice skating rink in the winter time. In the summer time there is a outside restaurant where the ice rink is normally located at the place is used as a venue for concerts and stuff.

A walk in the Village
We didn't spend that much time in SoHo and Greenwich Village. We did take a little walk in the Sheridan Square area and it was strange to come out of the subway here because it is quite different from the financial district. The buildings were lower and it looked like it was primarily an area were people were living.....I guess we understood that when we walked past a place were a couple had a loud argument about their relationship :-) We walked through Gay Street by the way.

We came across Saint Patrick's cathedral one day. It looks out of place located on Fifth Avenue next to skyscrapers and shops. It sure does stand out when you walk past it because it is huge. It is supposed to be the largest Catholic church in the USA and we took a closer look inside..It was possible for tourists to walk around in more or less the entire church and it was a nice looking church. Our problem is that we have been to some pretty magnificent churches during our travels....like the Duomo in Milan and it is of course hard to surpass place like that. But Saint Patrick's is nice and it has some very impressive bronze doors and a huge organ.

We had breakfast a various places around the hotel. We went to a place called Pax a few times. They served different sandwiches, eggs, salads etc and was a pretty good place. We also went to a place called Suzi's kitchen a few times. They had lots of different stuff on the menu and we had to try the bagel of course. The bagel was good but I got so much cream cheese on it and it was just amazing. But most places we had to pay 10-15$ for a small breakfast for both of us.

Shopping - get out your credit card
I'm not that big on shopping but there are certain things that I like to look at :-) Sports stores can be fun and we found one great shop that I have to mention: Paragorn Sports located near Union Park (on Broadway). We went in there the first day and we also went in a few days later. They had several floors of all kinds of stuff ranging from squash rackets, bikes, all kinds of running/training/hiking shoes, rollerblades etc. This is one of the best sports stores that I have been to for several years so it was fun :-) We also took a look at places like Macy's and Bloomingdale's but I was not thrilled. Macy's might be the largest department store in the world but is it the best?. Fifth Avenue had a lot of high end and price stores and I only did some window shopping.

Head on home
Going back home is always a shared emotion: on the one hand we were sad to leave and on the other hand we were looking forward to getting back home. We stored our luggage at the hotel until it was time to leave. Once again we took a taxi over to Pennsylvania Station and from there we took the train out to Newark Liberty Airport.

Conclusion
I guess I can start with the bottom line: we had a great time in New York City! It was great to finally experience the city that pops up in so many movies, TV shows, pictures etc. We felt pretty safe during our walks around town....and let me tell you that we walked a lot :-) Even at night it wasn't a problem taking the subway. I guess a contributing factor to this feeling is that you run into cops more or less where ever you go. According to one of the guides on the bus tours there are 40.000 cops in New York! I thought it was great just to walk around looking at people. Lots of people were walking around with MP3 players in an attempt to shut out the noise of all the traffic. We saw people in suits using rollerblades to get from and to work....I guess it beats sitting in a traffic jam. We saw posh girls one moment and then a homeless person with a big trolley the next.

Foreigners who come to Norway often complain about how expensive stuff is here. Well, I think my standard comment from now on will be: go to New York and see if that is any cheaper :-) Yes, NYC is pricy. The hotel will cost you a pretty penny and eating out will cost you.

So will we go back to New York City? Yes, if we get a chance I think that we would go there again because there are still lots to see and do. There are a few things that were on our list that we weren't able to squeeze in. I would have liked to take a tour with Big Apple Greeter because I think that the concept is great. We enjoy our food and I think that it would have been great to take a food tasting tour. And I guess if we go there again we will try to catch a Broadway show, a baseball game etc. I think that the list could go on forever. One thing I do regret is not finding a place where I could have a proper New York cheesecake. Well, I do make a pretty excellent cheesecake myself (honestly) but it would have been great to taste New York's best cheesecake :-)

I hope that this trip report will be of some use to other people that are going to New York City for the first time. Please get in touch with me if you have any questions and I'll do my very best to answer :-)

Published on Monday August 16th, 2004


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Sat, Apr 15 2006 - 03:58 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Very good, but I think this is the last one I read today. Som goes fast reading your reports.

Fri, Nov 12 2004 - 11:42 PM rating by magsalex

Lots of info!

Fri, Aug 20 2004 - 09:04 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

what a wonderful report you have written and u deserve the real appreciation ..
i will recomend every one to go through it once..
thankz
ravi

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