Could we fit more in 1 day?? I don't think so!

Trip Start Nov 06, 2009
Trip End Nov 30, 2009

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Where I stayed
pan american, queens

Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Didn't sleep well last night, but it wasn't the traffic going by outside, it was all the noise of the hotel – inconsiderate people slamming their doors late at night and sounds of humming coming from somewhere and water dripping/running.
A quick MacDonald's breakfast before getting our 7 day Metro (subway) pass for $27 each and then a train into Times Square, which even in daylight is impressive with all the neon lights and masses of people swarming along the sidewalks and police officers on every corner. We headed up into the heart of Times Square to find out about getting cheap Broadway tickets and once we found where to queue at 2pm, we started walking downtown towards the Tick Tock Diner for lunch (where we had visited 2 times last trip, once at 3am in the morning!).
After lunch Fred went back to Times Square by himself to queue for tickets, while the kids and I looked all over K-Mart for these little souvenir bears that the kids got last time and wanted to replace – of course we traipsed all over 3 stories of this department store and couldn't find them! Gave up in the end, and the kids and I navigated the subway up to Times Square to meet Fred, who was stuck in a long line for tickets and chatting to an Irish couple and even a Broadway producer! Once we had our 50% off tickets to 'Shrek the Musical' (Fred & I really wanted to see
'The Lion King' but they NEVER to discounted tickets a sales lady told us) that still cost us $66 each, but were good seats 13 rows from front & in the centre. We were approached by a young guy at Times Square asking if we wanted to be part of the live audience for 'The Early Show' on CBS, so of course we jumped at the chance, but we have to be at the studios at 7am tomorrow! Worth it for the experience, I'm sure!
Then we hopped on another subway to check out Grand Central Station, which was very impressive, once we finally navigated the maze of subway corridors to find it! Next we decided to go up the Empire State building, so onto another two trains to get back to the right station. By this time it was dusk and after going through ESB security and being herded though lines like sheep (baaaa...) to the elevators (a short wait really considering what I'd heard about the queues in ESB) we went up to the observation decks. The decks outside were PACKED with people and it was freezing cold – Kate let us know about this in no uncertain terms... Beautiful views of Manhattan and beyond up there, especially with all the lights coming on and an amazing sunset. Fred was giving Kate (who was whinging her heart out about being cold with sore feet
by this time) a piggy-back ride when a security guard told him he couldn't do that as it was 'dangerous' and that 'she may fall off the ledge' – hello Mr Security Guard – the fence is over 8 feet tall and curved over, how the HECK is she going to fall off?? Fred couldn't even throw her over if his life depended on it! Rolling his eyes, Fred took the kids inside to find a seat so they could rest in the warmth, but there was no where to sit! The kids were told by a security guard that they weren't allowed to sit on the floor (“because then other people might want to too” I think he told Fred) and all the ledges on the low windows had spikes on them so you couldn't sit there either! So we were only up at the observatory for about 30 minutes, what a waste of US$70 – Rockefeller Centre is
MUCH better, lots of comfortable seats inside with unobstructed views
and a lot more space so you don't feel crammed in like sardines –
and Security guards who aren't as anal. Back on the elevator to go
down, we had to get out on the 83rd floor to swap lifts
and we were forced to go around in a circle RIGHT through a huge gift
shop – the elevator we needed to get down was about 2 feet away
from the one from the observatory, but you were NOT allowed to
by-pass the gift shop. We did buy the obligatory photo taken of us
as we entered the ESB, but I would NEVER go back there again or
recommend it to anyone – go to Rockefeller is my advice.
After fuming our way back to the
subway, we went back to the Broadway area to find somewhere to eat
before the show. We found 'The Stardust Diner' with singing
waitresses and waiters and of course we couldn't resist. They were
really entertaining, especially when two waiters started singing 'New
York, New York'! The food was decidedly average and totally
over-priced, but it was more for the experience than the food.
'Shrek The musical' was just awesome, I
have never seen any production so fabulous! Everything from the
amazing sets that moved around the stage, to the beautiful song and
dance numbers, to the witticisms of Donkey.
Didn't get back to our hotel till
10.30pm, and we'll have to get up at 5.45 in the morning to get to
the studio by 7am!
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toni on

The views from the empire state building are amazing, but sounds like very high security, and a bit of a rip off .....Glad you enjoyed Shrek, sounds awesome...i love live productions!!!
At least you got to be on TV those famous kiwis!!!

Mike Green on

Hi All,
guess you wont be returning to the Empire State Building any time soon. Looks if though the kids are now night owls, going to live shows etc in New York City. How are you ever going to get them to go to bed when you return to NZ? I thought you had done it all last time in NY, but you seem to be having a ball all over again. Keep up the great blogs. All the best for rest of the trip. - M.G. -

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