Tips for Visiting The Big Apple, New York City for the first time: Day 1
We arrived this morning around 11am via LaGuardia airport. We had hired a driver to take us to our humble abode that would be home base for the next eight days. It is our nephew's room in an apartment on the upper west side just outside of Harlem. He was nice enough to let us stay here while he is gone on a family vacation. You heard right, I said a "room". It's about 12x14 with no A/C. Not to mention we share a kitchen, bathroom and living room. I have a new found appreciation for living in a single family home all to ourselves with A/C, especially in the middle of summer. The benefits of staying here are that it is much cheaper than staying at a hotel @ $200-$400 a night, and everything is close by including the subway. The bonus is that the family that owns the place, also living here, is very nice and helpful.
After we arrived, we made a quick trip to the grocery store, subway station and a pizza place. The prices on the groceries were not much higher than at home. There are several other corner stores that have food and snacks, too. At the subway, we purchased our unlimited ride metro cards at $29 each for the week. Now to figure out how the subway works! We then went to a local pizza place and got a couple slices. They tasted o.k. but not award winning. I'm sure we'll be having more pizza in the coming days.
The advice I received from friends before we left was don't get mugged, come back alive, and see a show while you're there. I have to say we feel pretty safe here so far, and we plan on seeing a show on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, after stocking the fridge we headed to midtown Manhattan for a tour of Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock observation deck. Figuring out the subway wasn't hard, and we felt safe riding it. Just pay attention when the train stops to make sure you know where you are and how far you have to go to get to your station. It took us about thirty minutes to get to midtown. We had some time to kill upon arrival, so we went to the Hard Rock Cafe and got a guitar pin. I collect them from all the HRC's we visit. From there we went to Trump Tower to get some pictures. We watch the show The Apprentice with Donald Trump, so we were excited to be there where they film some of the scenes. Although we did not see the Trumpster, it was cool. Next stop was St. Patricks Cathedral. The architecture there was jaw dropping and a photographer's dream to photograph. We'll be going back to that place to take more pictures. Finally, it was time for our tour. The guide was a little lackluster, but we learned alot about the history and architecture of the plaza. I think the tour guide needed a vacation. You could tell he had repeated himself for the umpteenth time to just another tour group. After that, it was up to the 70th floor of 30 Rock for an unprecedented view of the city at sunset. It was a beautiful clear day with a calm breeze that kept it at just the right temperature for a nice visit. We got our pictures and proceeded to find the subway station for our return trip.
On a side note...It's hard not to think of 9/11 while in NYC. The sirens, fire trucks, and the highly visible NYPD are all reminders of what it must have been like to be in the city when the towers came down.