New York, New York

Posted 5 years, 20 weeks ago.

I’m currently on a flight to Orlando, having just finished up the first leg of my trip to the US: New York. It’s been a great few days; we did a whole load of shopping, visited touristy places and even caught a Broadway show.

Day 1

We left Sydney at a very reasonable time (around 10:30) and flew to Los Angeles. Suffice to say it was a long flight. Just when you think “Ok, I’ve had enough of this flying thing”, you realise that you’ve still got more than two-thirds of your flight left.

We landed at Los Angeles and basically ran through the airport to Customs. We only had an hour until we were supposed to be on our next flight, so we were really booking it… until we actually hit customs. After waiting in the line for 45 minutes, my fingerprints were taken (separately to Mel, since the US Government doesn’t recognise de facto couples), I was given a gruff and very un-welcoming “Welcome” and sent on my way. I collected my checked luggage, took it through, re-checked it, went through the TSA checkpoint (I was randomly selected, so that took some extra time) and finally got into the terminal to catch our flight.

Only problem was that our flight had closed, and despite our pleading, we were told we would have to catch a later flight. So we organised a seat request on one a couple hours later, caught our third breakfast of the day (we’d already had Macca’s in Sydney and a breakfast on the plane) and eventually caught a flight to New York.

Upon arriving at our friend Cathy’s house, I discovered that the TSA had randomly selected my bag, too. And the best bit is, they broke the zipper. I was going to have to buy some new luggage.

Day 2

We woke up really early on Saturday and decided to head to some of our choice locations. Cathy tagged along, as our impromptu guide to NYC, and we headed towards Central Park. We walked along the bottom section (it was really nice) on our way to the 5th Ave Apple Store. Sadly the glass cube was under maintenance, but I still got to ride in the elevator, and the store itself was pretty darn awesome.

After the Apple Store, we headed down 5th Ave towards Rockerfeller Plaza, where Mel squeeed over the stuff from the opening of 30 Rock, and I visited the Lego Store. This store was brilliant: it had so many different sets of Lego, a wall to bulk buy bricks, and statues from the plaza built using Lego bricks.

From here we headed over to Times Square, where we visited the M&Ms Store and the Hershey’s store. We didn’t stay long, as it was so very busy, so we headed towards Macy’s.

By the time we got to Macy’s, my feet were suffering pretty badly from all the walking, and it was time to get some food, so we headed downstairs to Cucina & Co, where we got salads and drinks, and were able to sit for a while. Afterwards, we headed up to their luggage department to I could buy a new bag. Amazingly, there was a sale on luggage on, so I managed to get a $300 bag for US$130. It’s larger than my broken one, and weighs about the same, plus it’s a burnt orange colour, so it’s impossible to miss at the airport.

After Mel and Cathy did some brief (it felt like hours) shoe shopping, we headed back to the apartment for a break before heading our to see if we could get cheap tickets for Wicked. We couldn’t, so instead we caught the subway down to the Ferry terminal, and caught the Staten Island Ferry, which gave us a fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty.

Day 3

On Sunday morning, I dragged Mel out to visit Cathy’s church (Liberty Church, down in Tribeca). After a really good message – titled “My God is Able” – we headed out to see the fire station used in Ghostbusters (it was just down the street) and then headed up towards Soho, where Mel did a little shopping, before we both realised we couldn’t really afford any of it.

With that knowledge, we headed to the Empire State Building. I convinced Mel to come up to the 102nd floor with me, and despite her frequent mini-panic-attacks, we managed to get all the way to the top, and even went outside to look at the view.

After getting Mel safely on the ground, we headed to Macy’s again to buy shoes. With all the walking we were doing, our current shoes were not helping keep our feet from getting sore, and it only got worse every day. So we bought a pair of walking shoes each, and headed back to the apartment.

That night we went down to Pier I with Cathy for dinner and to watch the sunset.

Day 4

On Monday morning we headed out to see Harry Potter: the Exhibition at Discovery in Times Square. It was a display of props and costumes from the movies, including the Hogwarts Express train (I was a little impressed by that). Entering the exhibit was quite… magical, with the staff putting on delightfully fake British accents and slowly revealing the Hogwarts Express in a cloud of fog and light. The rest of it was a steady stream of bits and pieces from the movies, which didn’t interest me so much, though they made Mel happy.

Afterwards, we headed to Rockerfeller Plaza again, and this time we headed to the Top of the Rock, which gave us a great view of Central Park and the Empire State Building. There are three levels, and we discovered too late that the top two are completely outside, which caused Mel to nearly collapse on the escalator in fright. While she retreated to the closest inside point, I started walking around taking pictures, and eventually Mel built up the courage to walk around, and even managed to stand near the edge for a photo.

I then headed to a meeting (basically the one business related item on the agenda for our trip), which gave Mel the opportunity to visit some stores. Afterwards we went to meet Cathy at her work, and then headed out for food at Ben’s Pizza (which appeared in MIB2) and then some drinks before heading home.

Day 5

For our final day, we headed to South Port to try and get cheap Broadway tickets. After discovering that none of the shows we were interested in had cheap tickets available, we walked around the piers and then headed up to Chinatown. There we bought “I heart NY” souvenirs (and a fedora for me). We headed up to Grand Central Station from there, and had sushi for lunch.

We decided that we were going to attempt to get tickets for Wicked or Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, so we headed over towards Times Square. Discovering that the cheapest tickets were around the US$250 mark, we decided to try Spiderman. They had tickets in the orchestra for US$150, so we grabbed some of those, only to discover afterwards that they were actually premium tickets, so we saved a couple hundred bucks. Score!

After heading back to the apartment for a rest, we headed back to the theatre for the show. It was a lot of fun: the wire work was some of the best I’ve ever seen (so complicated, especially towards the end) and the score by Bono and The Edge was really good. The set design referenced a comic book style, and some of the fight scenes were done in slow motion (fake, obviously, but quite impressive). It was a really really fun show, and definitely one of the highlights of our New York visit. Well worth going to.

Highlights

I managed to mark off quite a few items on my “things to try” list, including a hot pretzel, New York style pizza slice, root beer (ew), pretzel M&Ms (SO GOOD), Twizzlers and an American hot dog.

All in all, our stay in New York was wonderful. We felt really at home (especially Mel) and quickly got the hang of the subway system. There’s so much good food around and with all the walking, it seems easy to get in the habit of exercising regularly.

We both want to come back and visit again. We barely managed to force ourselves to leave, so hopefully it won’t be too long till we’re back.