A few more bites of the Big Apple

Trip Start Sep 25, 2011
Trip End May 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hostelling International Hostel
What I did
Central Park, 911 WTC site, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge
Off Broadway and Broadway
Metropolitan Opera

Flag of United States  , New York
Thursday, November 3, 2011

This is my third visit to New York City (the 2nd staying at the hostel) and do feel very comfortable here.  I arrived in 1.5 hours via Penn Rail to Trenton, New Jersey and then New Jersey rail to Penn Station, NYC.  Then I took subway(s) to exit at 103 Street on the red A line which is one short block from the Hostel!  Although this hostel is one of the largest in the world, at 650 beds, it only had a bed for me for one night and then nothing for 2 nights until Sunday as of the 47,000 marathoners running in the ING-sponsored NYC marathon held on Sunday Nov. 6, many had booked the hostel!  So I was in Chicago and NYC for their marathons.  Apparently in NYC there were so many runners who applied and didn't get in, the city is thinking of offering two days of marathon next year. I did see runners/tourists walking around on subsequent days still wearing their t-shirts from the marathon (I'm sure they were washed!) and their finisher's medals around their necks, which had their time etched on the back.  I know that as I took 'Jerry's all day tour sponsored by the hostel and a runner from Aust and his wife were staying at the hostel and on the tour so we all had a look and feel of his medal!  I overheard lots of others in the hostel talking about their run.....I didn't see the finish although it was relatively close to the hostel, as I was in Queen's.  For the two nights I needed alternate accommodation, I went through Priceline and as all accommodation in NYC seemed to be impacted by the marathoners I had to search further afield which ended up being Friday night in Brooklyn at Day's Inn and Sat. night in Queens (Long Island City) at a Marriott.   They were both in unappealing areas with the major businesses being small local stores (bodegas) and Mexican restaurants which were outnumbered by cheque cashing shops, and close to Days Inn was also an handy undertaker.....
So I chose to do r and r and lots of channel surfing and stayed in my room alot, savouring a tv, peace and quiet (relatively), my own bathroom - no roomates!  So the good Lord books hostels up once in awhile so I have to stay in a hotel!!
So my adventures my first weekend in NYC consisted of using my week long Metro Card ($29) with my rolling suitcase, up and down in subway stations and then walking on the street trying to find the hotels and then on Sunday getting back to the Hostel.  It didn't help that track repairs are done on the weekends so Saturday Long Island Railroad (LIRR) train #7 was not running from Grand Central station to Queensborough so I had to take a subway to Queensborough and then wait for the LIRR, which was running infrequently.  Then several subway loads of people were deposited on the platform all waiting for the same train I was so we were jam packed once the train arrived.  Since I had a backpack and suitcase, I took up a bit more room and got jammed in the back so had to practically fight my way off - people actually had to get off the train to let me off and then they got on again.  Fortunately the City did not do train repairs on SUnday due to the NYC marathon as 47,000 runners were using it to get to and from start/finish.  A man and his son staying at the Mariott were from QUebec and were taking the train into NYC to get to finish line at Central Park to watch his wife finish. I saw several finishers on the subway on Sunday early evening, wearing plastic ING capes
My NYC Hostel dorm of 12 women included Jeannette, a rehab counsellor from Australia who had been at her step son's wedding in Washington DC and was enroute to Whistler to visit her son and daughter were were working there and who were on a gap year, and Erin who lived in the Blue Mountains of Australia and who worked for her family's juice factory.  She was travelling the US for about 3 months. We, along with about 15 other hostellers (a drop considering the hostel had 650 beds and was always full) did an 8 hour Central Park tour with 'Jerry' which is offered free of charged through the hostel, and the next day a 12 hour tour of Brooklyn Heights (where I saw the nice! and exclusive part of Brooklyn, and we walked back over the Brooklyn bridge, easier than it sounds!) a nd went to the World Trade Center (WTC) memorial site and saw the new building in progress, one that will be impossible to penetrate and will be I believe about 150 stories when done.  The Occupy Wall Street protestors were very close to the WTC which we found strange.   Wall Street itself is a narrow and short street, a contrast with its large reputation.  Then the tour took the ferry to Staten Island but I had to leave at that point as I got a ticket to the Metropolitan Opera!  Was a great thrill, after having attended the broadcasts 'Live in HD' from the Met operas at the Yellowknife Capital Theatre and thinking 'some day  I will be there live in the theatre in NY.  So I attended the Philip Glass 'Satyagrah' opera, all sung in Sanskrit with no subtitles, about Ghandi's early years as a lawyer in South Africa.  It was in the 'classic minimalist' style, according to the young man sitting beside me. He was a fan of Philip Glass's music so was attending his first opera to hear it. THe next day Jeannette and I went to the NYC Public Library which is like an Art Gallery in itself, and the fabulous  Grand Central station (actually I went there a few times as their food court was amazing)!  One night Jeannette and I went to an off-broadway play called 'Freud's Last Session" about a fictional account of him meeting CS Lewis and debating the presence or absence of God. It was not a very uplifting play and i had wished we had got Mamma Mia tickets!  I needed a Mamma Mia fix.  Anyway after 5 nights in the  Hostel I had to move again as it was full on Friday and Sat. nights. So I got a really good priceline deal on Friday night for a Hilton Doubletree in TriBeCa (short for triangle between Canal) and the next night a scuzzy hostel called Chelsea Hostels in Chelsea, across the street from Madison Square Gardens. On Sat. I had a ticket which I received as part of my membership in th Appalachian Trail Conservancy which I bought in Harper's Ferry, for a documentary at AMC theatre in downtown Manhattan (42nd and 7th) at 11 a.m.  That was very nice - as there were a couple of people who gave talks on their experiences as a 'thru hiker' of the 2400 miles of the trail.  It was very inspiring.  Then I went to eh movie J.Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio a very enlightening movie about Hoover.  
The only advantage staying at the Chelsea Hostel was that the Mega Bus which I had booked ($26.50) to go to Boston at 11:40 a.m. on Sunday was a short two blocks walk away.  The Mega Bus preloading experience was Mega disorganized.  In a parking lot were separate lines of people going to Phili, Baltimore, Toronto, Boston etc. and there are buses almost every thirty minutes for various groups would get intermingled.  In my line up which I got to at 11, were people for the 11:10. 11:40 and 12 10 for example.  They would call for loading the 11:10 and various people from the line had to squeeze through to get on.  Once on the bus, there was an annoying passenger who kept talking loudly on her cellphone and the bus driver finally had to shout at her to please cut her use of cellphone - she was so loud she didn't hear him, so i think her seatmate told her as she said oh sorry and then lowered her voice.
After 4 hours on the bus I arrived at the South Station in Boston.  I will write more from there!
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Patricia on

All rather envious of your travel experiences. Sounds like a lot more fun than removing carpet and cleaning up the garden.
My day will come at some point.
Enjoy the journey.

Sharon Cronk on

Hi Linda,

How are you doing? And where are you? Haven't heard for awhile.
I am wondering where you are spending Xmas? Are you heading to Broadview?
Thinking of you and hope all is well! Love, Sharon

Garry on

It looks like Lesley and I will be in Panama the first two weeks of March. Will you be in that part of the world by then?

At any rate, Merry Christmas, wherever you are.

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