26 June 2011

I Love New York - Day 1

Recently, I had the opportunity to take a vacation in New York. The occasion was my High School Reunion. I planned a few extra days so that I could spend time in New York City. It turned out to be on of the best vacations of my life. Almost nothing happened in the way that I had originally planned, but it was still awesome.

Over the years, I have had lots of friends living in or near New York City so I have rarely needed to stay at a hotel, but this trip I did. I browsed many websites trying to decide on the right balance of cost, location & amenities. New York is famously expensive when it comes to hotel rooms. I finally settled on Park 79 Hotel. I booked a double bed with shared bath.

I made tentative plans with several people to meet up. I bought a ticket for a matinee on Wednesday. I checked out the exhibits at various museums, thought about which favorite restaurants I wanted to visit again. I had a nice little itinerary in my head.

Best laid plans, right?

I arrived at the hotel at 8am (after as much dawdling as I could manage knowing that check in was at 3pm). They checked my luggage and asked me to come back around 1pm.
So I set off in search of breakfast. I found a great little bagel shop and sat down with my coffee and bagel with a shmear. I decided, since it was Wednesday, I would take the subway up to the Bronx and visit the Van Cortland House which is free on Wednesdays. I thought it would be fun to do something I had never done before and that it would use up some time. If you are ever in NYC on a Wednesday, I recommend visiting Van Cortland House. I'm not sure it's worth the price of admission on other days though.

For those that don't know about Van Cortland House, it's been preserved by the Colonial Dames as a historic site from the Revolutionary War. You can learn more here: http://www.vancortlandthouse.org/index-2.html

New York was having a massive heatwave and I was definitely feeling the heat as I headed back downtown. I got off the subway with the intention of visiting Grant's Tomb but it was closed so I opted for a bus ride back to the hotel. Did I mention that I had purchased the unlimited ride MetroCard? That was one of the best decisions I had made. While riding back downtown, I got a text from a friend who I'd been wanting to see but he was only available that day. I texted him back and told him I had matinee tickets, but maybe we could work something out.

A foodie co-worker had told me about the Shake Shack and there was one near my hotel so I went there for lunch. There weren't any tables so I took my lunch to the park and sat there eating and people-watching. While I was eating, the theatre texted me that the performance had cancelled so I quickly made plans with my friend. Now I really needed to shower & change!

I went back to the hotel and my room wasn't ready, but they did have another slightly smaller room that they offered me for $50 less per night. I took it! The price difference online had only been $10!

The room was small, but adequate. I couldn't wait to find the shared bath and take a shower after traveling all night. I was less than thrilled to find a palmetto-type bug sharing the bathroom with me. Yikes. But housekeeping took care of it and I was off downtown.

My friend and I had not seen each other in 30 years! But it was like yesterday. He lives in a great Greenwich Village neighborhood. We played with his new puppy and caught up with our lives and then went shopping for his planned tapas dinner for that night. After our visit, I headed back uptown to a tweetup I had planned.

Meeting Twitter friends for the first time is always fun but a little bit strange. We were both in front of the theatre on our phones and looking at each other to see if we were the ones we were there to meet. We had planned to meet for real the next day to stand on line for Book Of Mormon tickets but decided to meet briefly first to scope things out and make our plan. We picked a place to meet the next day and then I was off to meet another friend for dinner.

The heat was getting to me and I nearly passed out in Grand Central Terminal. After a couple of cold beverages, I was feeling better. Though I got a bit disoriented after exiting the subway at 86th. I finally made it to my friend's apartment and we went to dinner at Paola's at 92nd & Madison. I highly recommend it!

After planning our trip upstate for Friday morning, I grabbed a crosstown bus back to my hotel.

So far, my trip was going very well!

No comments: