New York, being New York, is not an inexpensive place to stay especially in Midtown Manhattan. Spending the first night on the plane seemed like a prudent way to save a little money by not having the extra night in a hotel. Ok…we left late at night. As it turns out it was technically early morning as the flight was delayed 40 minutes. With wheels up (finally) at 12:35 AM and a flight time of just over 3 hours to Toronto, we arrived at 5:30 AM Toronto time. A layover of 2 hours and we were in New York by 9:30 AM. But…both flights were also short haul flights so no food (i.e. breakfast).
So let’s see. We have been up since 9 AM Sunday morning, worked a lot in the house, caught a very late flight, lost time due to time zones, actually were in the air 5 hours with an extra 2 in layovers and another 1.5 in customs, collecting baggage and making our way to our hotel. By now it’s well past 24 hours with no sleep. All this to save the money on an extra hotel night? FAIL!
However, surprisingly we’re not really complaining. Really…we’re on vacation. NOT at work. And we did save the money which now can go into….breakfast!! (ok…not the price of a hotel room but you get the idea.)
After unloading the luggage, we set out on a journey of discovery. Heading down the street with the Empire State Building firmly in sight we happened across an excellent little coffee house. It also managed to serve up a superb pastrami sandwich and an equally good chicken and bacon sandwich. Thank goodness there were no fries as there was also no room for same. Over our meal we decided against doing the HOHO bus…walking around seemed like a perfectly good idea. Why would we believe, that given the first plan had already failed, the second would work differently?
Very close to the ESB was a stop for the Big Bus (HOHO) and the requisite vendors of tickets for same. The deals for various packages for the tours were…not bad, but not outstanding either which was the major deterrent for us. After some haggling we ended up changing our mind AND getting a much better deal than advertised. Maybe the day would turn around.
The sun did not threaten to burn fair skin and the wind was almost constant but the view from the top of the bus (double-decker) was certainly improved from ground level. The tour guide, although a little difficult to understand at times, was Very well versed in landmarks that we drove past.
There’s Barnes and Noble that have been around since 1873. Nearby is a pizzeria that has, amongst other things, a chocolate pizza on the menu. Over there is a store that you can buy some special edition Kanye West sneakers for only $5,000. (yep…3 zeros for SNEAKERS).
A one bedroom in midtown Manhattan is not overpriced at $3,600 /month. Especially when you consider Taylor Swift pays in the vicinity of $41,000 (per month) for her place in this same area.
(We also drove by, then returned by foot, to the New York Wine Exchange. Great selection but their prices for vintage port…how can I be polite? I’ll just say not a snowballs chance.)
Over there is the Philmore East. Jimi Hendrix was the opening act for the Monkees there at one time. Here’s a unique store…not a diabetic’s friend. It’s called….It’s Sugar! Home to the 5 pound gummy bear!
Now we’re entering Soho…which stands for South Of Houston (pronounced HOUSEton – and yes there is a Noho…same concept…North of Houston). In this area you can find a $15 milkshake and Lombardi’s, the first pizzeria in the USA.
Chinatown, Little Italy, Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal). I think every major city in the world has a version of Canal street. You know…knock off road. Here you’ll get amazing deals on a new jPhone, or a stylish Michael Dors purse.
Looking up you’ll see the magnificent 88 story 432 Park Avenue apartment block where the top floor will set you back just $60,000 per month. But hey…you’ll be in the 3rd tallest building in the USA and the tallest residential building in the world. Gotta be worth it, right?
There’s the Federal Reserve. It contains a LOT of gold bullion for the US as well as other governments around the world. The value is generally calculated at an ‘official US book value of $42 per troy ounce’. That works out to about $8 billion…very round figures. If you used current stock market value it would be closer to $250 billion. If you go on a tour there, you come out with a bag full of money! Well…sort of. The Fed shreds about $100 million dollars per day so that’s really what you get. A bag full of shredded money.
So much to see and we have just started. Stay tuned…I’m pretty sure there’s more.