A trip to New York City
- Submitted by: Sopelak
- Submission Date: 14th Feb 2005
Got up early and headed north up the New Jersey Turnpike. Stopped at Liberty State Park (Exit 14A off the New Jersey Turnpike) to see the view of the Manhattan skyline and a view of the backside of the Statue of Liberty. There is an environmental interpretive center and a science museum in the park but we didn't have time to check them out.
We stayed at the Holland Motor Lodge 201-963-6200 for $48/night on weeknights and $53 on weekends. It's in Jersey City right at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel. The Quality Inn is across the street but that's $68/night. The hotel was very convenient to get to the PATH train (more so than the Quality Inn since you don't have to cross the many lanes of Holland Tunnel traffic) but it was very noisy at night with music and talking and car and room doors slamming.
To get to the PATH train we went out the back of the hotel and took a right and crossed the street, cut through the parking garage, Newport Center Mall and the office building to the PATH. It cost $1 and on a weekday you can go from the Pavonia/Newport Center stop to either 33rd St. or the World Trade Center. On weekends take the PATH to Hoboken then 33rd St. or toward Journal Square and get off at Grove St. and catch the train to the World Trade Center.
First we went to the World Trade Center Observation Deck and up to the roof ($4 for adults and open from 9:30 am - 9:30 pm). That's a nice way to start off a visit to the city - it really gives an overview of the layout of Manhattan and the bridges connecting things. We could see Liberty State Park where we had stood just a couple of hours earlier. There's also a TKTS booth in the same location as the Observation Deck tickets in the World Trade Center. TKTS booths are a source of either half price or 25% discounted theater tickets on the same day as the performance.
>From the World Trade Center we took the subway (a token now costs $1.25 and you can get a free subway map when buying tokens) and went to see the Christmas tree and skaters at Rockefeller Center (49th St. and 5th Ave.) then across the street to St. Patrick's Cathedral (50th St. and 5th Ave.). Although I'm not religious, this cathedral was beautiful and interesting - it's the 11th largest in the world.
We then walked over to the Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd ST. between 5th and 6th Ave. - Cost $7.50/person) and saw the special Miro exhibit and the special Ferrari exhibit. Some of the more well-known as well as my favorite paintings there included - Starry Night by Van Gogh, Christina's World by Wyeth, and Waterlilies by Monet.
We went back by Rockefeller Center and saw the tree at night (even prettier).
For dinner we ate at Periyali - a Greek restaurant at 35 W. 20th St. between 5th and 6th Ave. We had agvolemmono soup, moussaka, and souvlaki ($63.20) - the food was good but in the future I'd like to make it over to Astoria for Greek food.
We then walked to the 23rd St. PATH station and took the train back to Pavonia/Newport Center.
Took the PATH train then the subway and ate breakfast/lunch at Kiev Restaurant 117 2nd Ave. at the corner of 7th St. ($23.20). We had blueberry blintzes, fried cheese pierogies, and French toast. More food than we could eat and very good.
Took the subway to Grand Central and looked at the ceiling and its well, 'grandness' then walked to W. 47th St. in the Diamond District.
Went to Hayden Planetarium next to the American Museum of Natural History at 79th At. and Central Park West (Cost $7/person) and saw the Orion Rendevous show and the Star Trek exhibit then saw the dinosaur skeletons and Asian and African mammals at the American Museum of Natural History. I was a bit disappointed in the planetarium show - something wasn't lined up right so these circles were supposed to be around certain stars to outline a particular constellation - only the circles weren't lined up over the stars correctly. The Star Trek exhibit was very good but many of the other exhibits weren't working correctly - they were kind of run down and a bit shabby.
For dinner we went to Rincon de Espana at 226 Thompson St. between Bleeker and 3rd ($58.15) and had Gallician soup, half pitcher of sangria, lobster, seafood, and chicken paella, and shrimp with garlic sauce. This food was excellent at the portions were large.
Walked through Greenwich Village and stopped in a fun card shop on Christopher St. then took the PATH back.
Met a friend for breakfast at Manatu's (didn't catch the address but we walked there from Chelsea). We had a bagel with lox, cream cheese and onion and corned beef hash and an omelet. It was quite popular and crowded but I didn't think there was anything special about the place.
Took the subway to the Staten Island Ferry (a bargain to take a one hour round trip ferry ride right by the front of the Statue of Liberty for 50 cents) then the subway to Canal St. and walked around in Chinatown and Little Italy then took the subway up to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on 110th St. and Amsterdam (the largest Gothic cathedral in the world - at 601 feet it's longer than two football fields). Took the subway and watched the skaters at Wollman Rink in Central Park and walked by the windows at Tiffany's then walked to Times Square.
The two Italian restaurants that were recommended were closed on Christmas so we ended up at Ecco L'Italia ($49.20) on Bleeker St. We had the calamari appetizer, veal marsala, and salmon then walked to the PATH. Rather than go back there I'd still like to try the ones that had been recommended. The two we had wanted to go try were Cucina Stagonale on Bleeker St. near Jones St. or Tutti Pasta on Carmine St. near Bleeker St.
Took the PATH then subway up to the Natural History Museum and saw the IMAX film on Antarctica ($5/person) then walked around there a bit and saw the lifesize model of the blue whale.
Took the train over to Serendipity at 225 E. 60th St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave. Had their 'frozen hot chocolate' which was excellent but steep at $5.50. We had a hamburger and fries and onion soup and a footlong hotdog with bacon and cheese ($38.12).
Walked from there to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Ave. at 82nd St. - Cost $6) which was really too far to go in that cold. After thawing out we saw the baroque Christmas tree and the Egyptian artifacts and I particularly enjoyed seeing some original Tiffany and Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass.
Took the subway and PATH back to New Jersey to get the car and drove up to visit a friend in the Bronx. Drove from there to Simsbury, CT and stayed at the Executive Inn ($55).
Visited relatives in the Simsbury and Hartford, CT area. We went to a new place (for Hartford) called the Pasta Warehouse. Apparently it's a chain - we had a tasty and very inexpensive dinner there. We drove as far as Mt. Laurel, NJ. Stayed at the Budget Motor Lodge on Rte 73 and Fellowship Road in Mount Laurel, NJ 609-235-7400 for only $37.05.
Driving south on 295 we exited at Rte. 70 East in the Haddonfield, NJ area. Big John's is on Rte. 70 about a half mile off the exit on the left side. There's a lot of construction on that road but the hassle was worth it. They have great cheesesteaks and french fires my favorite way - very crunchy and a bit greasy. Then back home and back to work!
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