Saturday, August 21, 2010

New York City Day 1

I had taken 4 days off from work a while back, just for some me time but as summer progressed and life got more and more stressful, I decided I needed to actually get away from home on a mini-me-cation. I was going to go to NYC for 1 day and head home that night but decided to splurge and stay a night or two depending on where I could find an affordable room. I waited until I knew my car accident traffic ticket was settled before I officially booked anything. I was worried they would schedule me for court that Wed I had off but they didn't, hooray! Finding a room last minute is not very me but it all worked out and I had a fabulous time. Here is my report.

Day 1:
I finished packing and kissed the BF goodbye. I stuffed everything I could into a backpack and my purse. Then I grabbed a shopping tote and umbrella in the car and headed an hour away to the train station. I parked the car where the cost wasn't too high and where I thought it would be safe and headed in to get my train tickets. I was early enough to sit and rest a bit. I was taking the 12noon train to Penn Station. When they called for my train to load, the 11:10am train was still on the tracks! I had no idea what was going on but I was sure glad I didn't take the 11:10am train. I would have had less sleep and for nothing. That train finally left, not sure what the hold up was. Then out train headed out. Everything was fine at first but then we kept stopping for track work or going really slow because of track work. We ended up getting to NYC about 45-50 min late. This already cut into my cramped plans for the day. I needed to get to the Upper West side to check in to my hotel and had hoped to be out of there by 3:30 but it was 3:30 when I got to NYC.

I went to get my Metro Card and 2 confused looking foreign tourists told me to go ahead and then asked me to teach them how to use it. I tried to explain as best I could without taking too much time but they still looked a little confused when I left. Lets hope they figured it out. Luckily my hotel was within 2 blocks of 2 different subway stops, what a great location! The hotel was the Park 79 Hotel. It is nothing fancy but safe and a decent place to sleep with a great location for the right price when it comes to NYC. The rooms are small but they usually are in NY. The staff was nice, the room seemed clean and the AC was already running when I got there. My backpack had seemed insanely heavy...maybe because I packed a few bottles of water to save money. Next time, I might skip that one LOL

I had so much that I wanted to do today since the forecast has claimed it would rain on Wed & Thurs. Once I knew I was settled in, cooled off and ready to head out I started to walk north until I grabbed a taxi. My first stop was the Guggenheim Museum. Somehow, out of the major art museums in NYC, this was the only one I had never been to and always wanted to go. We used to go on day trips all the time with art groups in college but they were always closed on the day we went or we ended up elsewhere. I finally made it there. They close at 5:45 so I was worried I wouldn't have time with my train running late and I had plans on Wed and they close on Thurs so this was my only shot and I made it! I went up to the top level and walked down. What a magnificent building! You are only allowed to take pics on the first floor but I wish I could have taken some from the top level looking down. Some of the art was amazing and some of it made me remember why I didn't want a career in the "Art World." So much about making a statement of some kind instead of skill and talent. My favorite pieces were older pieces by some of the greats like Picasso, Kandinsky and Chagall.

From there, I walked over to Central Park which is just across the street.  Central Park is a lot harder to navigate than it seems.  Lots of little paths going every which way.  It took me quite a while to find what I was looking for but I did it! The heat and the walking were a bit much for me but I made it.  First, I found the Obelisk, by accident but I knew what it was and it helped me figure out my location LOL Eventually, I made it to Belvedere Castle.   Of course, having trouble getting around myself, I got asked for directions by tourists again.  Why does this happen to me everywhere I go? I directed them in the direction I believed they needed to go but explained that I wasn't really sure beyond that. I snapped some photos and looked at the view from there, then I headed on. I randomly saw a commercial being shot in the middle of the park.  I tried to walk closer to find out what was going on but there were guys at every angle telling people to please go around or keep moving so I quickly snapped a pic and moved on.  FINALLY I found Bethesda Fountain! I so badly wanted to see this spot and it felt great to find it.  Last but not least, Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon memorial. Aside from waiting for a long time for someone who set their baby on the memorial, trying to get her to look at the camera, it was very nice there.  A lot of people but a very mellow vibe, similar to the fountain area.
I moved on and took the subway down to the Village.  I went towards the East Village where I had lots of shops and food places marked on my map.  I found one of my fave NYC shops, Pylones and did some shopping.  Found a nice jewelry place called Tierra where I found some cool earrings. Unfortunately, this was when the heat was really getting to me.  I was not feeling well at all.  I walked and walked, finding shops I wanted to stop at or restaurants I wanted to eat at but they were closed.  Oy vey! Then, finally, I made it to Yaffa Cafe and sat inside though they had a nice outdoor set up.  I was hot and tired and had not eaten much all day.  I loved the decor of this place and the food was really good too.  I had the linguine with a basil tomato garlic sauce and grilled chicken.  YUMMY! I felt a bit better though still exhausted and realized I was insanely sore from yoga class the day before, no wonder walking was extra hard for me.  I took my time and got to the nearest subway stop that would get me to Rockefeller Center. 
I made it to Rockefeller Center and loved that the subway stop connected right to the building so I didn't have to run around too much.  Just followed the signs and hooray, I made it to my final stop for the day, Top of the Rock!  The line was not bad, a bit of a wait but nothing like the Empire State Building when I went years ago.  I got my ticket with my AAA discount and headed up in the elevator to the next level.  We all wait in our group and then we load the elevator.  The ceiling of the elevator goes clear and you see a tunnel of lights above you as you shoot straight up with no stops to the 67th floor.  Very cool!  From there, there are 3 levels where you can take pics, see the view, enjoy their indoor rooms or go outside.  I went right outside to see the night skyline and take tons of pics.  Eventually I made it to each level.  The higher I got, the windier it got.  The view was amazing. I think this was much better than the Empire State Building.  Less lines, faster overall, no switching elevators and more levels to go to and spread out and see the fantastic view. Plus security seemed faster.  After I felt like I saw all I needed to and took all the night skyline pics I could, I slowly headed back to the subway to get to my hotel.

Once I got to the hotel, I sat in the lobby to check my email and facebook since the wifi signal wasn't very good in my room.  I reported home and checked in with friends and went to my room to shower and rest.  I think I still had too much going on because I had trouble sleeping even though the hotel was quiet. I had a fun day planned for Wed and needed to get some sleep! Pin It StumbleUpon

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