New York, New York!
Trip Start Dec 30, 2013
21Trip End Mar 25, 2014
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First stop was New York City BABY! We were spending 4 nights in the Big Apple with Kathy’s friend from college Ciara. Michele was then to join us on Friday and we were to start the Central American adventure from there. 11am Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to JFK. All went smoothly during the journey, after a minor initial hiccup!
So since this trip covers quite a bit of mileage there’s quite a variance in the climates we’ll be in so we had to pack accordingly – i.e
Ciara works for Deloitte and is over in NYC on a 6 month secondment so she ever so graciously hosted us in her apartment in Tribeca for the 4 nights. We definitely wouldn’t have been able to start the trip in NYC over NYE without having Ciara there. Accommodation would have bankrupt us and we wouldn’t have been able to afford the rest of the trip before we’d even started. So Ciara – you’re deadly! Thanks sooooooo much for your generosity. I hope you didn’t regret the few days’ company! We’ve both been to NYC a few times before and had done most of the sights but there were still a few things we wanted to tick off, along with the numerous restaurants Ciara kept telling us we HAD to go to
Day 1, Mon 30th Dec: We arrived to Ciara’s apartment mid-afternoon after a taxi journey from JFK. There was an Irish girl in the taxi queue behind us and asked could she share a taxi with us into the city. She was over to visit her boyfriend who had moved over here 10 weeks ago and hadn’t a notion where she was off to! For the whole journey into the city we pretty much forget that she’s in the front seat (and that the driver is too for that matter!!) and end up recounting numerous drunken moments from our college years – probably not the best first impression to make on the poor girl! We all dropped our bags to Ciara’s apartment, freshened up a bit – especially Sinead (it took us about 90 mins before we realised that we hadn’t introduced ourselves to each other!) who was now very excited about the upcoming reunion with her boyfriend. We went for a wander around Tribeca to walk Sinead to the Subway and see the Brooklyn Bridge (To Do List – walk over the Brooklyn Bridge some night before Friday). Dinner had been booked for that night in a restaurant called Balthazar. Kathy had given a voucher when leaving her job in Melbourne so that was No. 1 on the restaurant list
We went for a few drinkies after dinner in a bar up the road from the restaurant. Can’t for the life of me remember the name of it but it’s on Spring St. It’s nothing crazy, just a place for a few quiet drinks, but played all the 90’s pop classics. LOVED it! Ronan came to meet us for a couple hours. I’m sure he felt super macho with that music playing sitting at a table surrounded by 4 girls. J
Day 2, Tues 31st Dec: NEW YEARS EVE
We had dinner booked for 5.30pm in Bobby Vans Steakhouse on 46th Street (just off Times Sq). We had no concrete plan for midnight but we were thinking dinner and then maybe try sneak into Times Sq and hang around for the ball drop. Chances of us being able to manage it were close to impossible with the amount of crowds and NYPD out in force but feck it we’d give it a shot and see how far we got! All else fails we would head up to Central Park and watch the fireworks up there. We grossly underestimated the mission it would be to get us to the restaurant, we knew Times Sq itself would be closed off but we had no idea that every avenue either side and about 30 streets all around it would also be on lockdown! (Noted for future reference!!) We ended up literally going around the world for a shortcut, walking for a good hour before we begged and pleaded with a policeman to let us through to get to the restaurant – and we were only let past because we showed a booking reference for the restaurant and ID’s! We were still about 10 blocks away but were told we could go through with police escort!! As we were literally walking across Times Sq all this commotion started – we didn’t realise it but it was exactly 6pm and there was a big ceremony and fireworks show for the ball to go up
Day 3, Wed 1st Jan: Surprisingly we weren’t that hungover today after the NYE festivities so we could function and continue on with a couple of touristy bits. We went breakfast in this teeny tiny place on Chamber St called Kitchenette (the name should have probably given it away that it wasn’t going to be huge!!). Afterwards we went up to the 9/11 memorial. In 2011 on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 a memorial was opened at the site of the two WTC buildings. The memorial is basically two fountains with the name of every person that died in the attack inscribed along the sides of them. It’s so well done. The fountains are the exact same shape and size and in the exact same location as the foundations of the Twin Towers. I was really impressed by it. If someone worked in the North Tower then their name was inscribed on the wall of the North Tower, and same for the South Tower workers. A white rose is also laid on top of each person’s name on their birthday. There’s a museum currently being built on the side, with landscaping to be done, all expected to be completed by summer 2014. Well worth a visit to anyone going to NYC for a trip. Afterwards we headed up to Central Park to go ice skating. Loved it! No broken bones or injuries of any sort thank god. Another tick off the bucket list! We went for a wander down 5th Avenue then (with a pit stop to get a hot dog from one of the street vendors – you just HAVE to!!) to have a look at all the Christmas lights
Day 4, Thurs 2nd Jan: Our last day in NYC! Michele was arriving in this evening and the three of us would be flying out to Mexico first thing Friday morning so there wasn’t much on the cards at all for the day. We met a few of Ciara’s friends and went to Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Times Sq for brunch. This just has regular diner food, but what makes it different to Eddie Rockets and the likes back home is that all of the waiters / waitresses are trying to make it as Broadway stars and they perform for the diners’ in-between taking orders and clearing tables! It’s gas! They’re very good, a number of them leave every year and get jobs on Broadway shows so they use this as their stepping stone. After that we walked up to Macy’s to have a look at the Christmas windows – but being Jan 2nd they were taken down L. We did manage to pick up Macy’s Christmas Teddys in the sale for $6 – the ONLY thing we’ve bought to date in NYC, so proud of ourselves
Day 5, Fri 3rd Jan: Murphy’s Law – whatever can go wrong will go wrong!!
It was most definitely a winter wonderland outside the window. Snow completely covered everywhere. More than I’ve ever seen before! The roads looked to have been cleared a bit though so the snow ploughs were obviously out during the night. Thank god we had the car booked cos there would have been absolutely no hope of us flagging one down on the street (as we learned the hard way a short while later…).
So 4.55am we’re sitting in the lobby of Ciara’s apartment waiting for the car we had booked for 5am. At 5.05am it’s still not there and we get a bad feeling so Kathy calls the company we booked the car through. After 40 mins we are told that our booking reference was actually used for 2 bookings and that the car has gone to the other one so there are no more cars available for us. Anywhere in NYC! It’s ok though, because they will refund the $110 that we paid 24 hours previous to secure the booking
Thinking we’d been through the worst of it we walk into Departures with big smiles on our faces, they soon disappeared. There were people EVERYWHERE! It was crazy. Since we’d checked in we just had to print our boarding passes and bag tags and then drop our bags. Easy?
Yeah right. United Airlines have RIDICULOUS system of doing that. There are kiosks that passengers go to to print everything. The boarding passes come out there but the bag tags all go to one machine, manned by one member of staff. So the eight kiosks are printing bag tags to this one guy. Cue mayhem. The poor chap has about 100 people standing around him, shouting their names and destinations and bag tags are streaming out of the machine every few seconds! Eventually we got tags on our bags and off we went to drop them off. We were told to leave them outside departures with a few members of staff on what were the equivalents of hotel trolleys. We reluctantly leave our bags and cross our fingers and toes that we’ll see them again in Mexico!! Onwards to security, more delays.
Eventually we get on our flight, spend 90 mins sitting on the runway and FINALLY we’re in the air en route to Mexico. Things can only get better….right?!!