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2011 The Nightingale's Oddessy Our exchange year in Canada.

New York, New York, 13th-18th March 2011 Spring break

CANADA | Friday, 25 March 2011 | Views [273] | Comments [1]

Hi folks and welcome back, either turn off now or settle back in as this one’s going to be a novel in chapters.

Let me tell you a tale, a tale of a trip, a trip to New York City, possibly, the craziest city on Earth.


Days One & Two: 12 – 13 Mar 2011

This tale starts as all our tales do, on a clear crisp Saturday morning. Once more driving South West around the tip of Lake Ontario to Buffalo over the border, however this time the crossing didn’t go quite as fast as our last trip. The traffic to get into the US in mid morning is horrendous and we had to wait in line for over an hour, just to be questioned by a surly Customs official, something we’ll have to get used to I guess or else try and get there as early as possible.  From Buffalo we took a roundabout route to our next destination, Binghamton, thanks to the fact we had no toll ways programmed into the GPS. This wasn’t such a problem in the end, as we saw places we would not have otherwise. The scenery in Northern New York State is very pretty and there still was quite a bit of snow around with a number of ski resorts nearer Lake Erie still open.


We arrived in Binghamton late afternoon and after some issues over our room, had dinner and an early night. Sunday morning, early breakfast and head off to the big lights. The Spring thaw has started over here so all the rivers in the North of the state are on the rise with flooding expected in many areas, signs of this could be seen around some towns.

We made it to Newark airport around lunch time, we had decided before going that we didn’t want to go anywhere near Manhattan Island with a car, so we found long term parking near the airport, dropped the car, got taken to the airport then picked up a shuttle from there into New York City (NYC).  On the drive in we got our first glimpses of the Empire State building and the Statue of Liberty, we also went through the Holland Tunnel, the same one that gets blown up in one of those Sylvester Stallone disaster movies, I thought it best not to point this out to Chelle, though she did tell me later it had crossed her mind. The bus dropped us outside Grand Central station which gave us our first opportunity to take one of the 13,000 yellow taxis in the city to our hotel.


The hotel we stayed at was the Beekman Towers, a 26 story building on the Eastside of the city, one block up from the UN buildings. We could see the flags out front of the UN from our room. At one time the hotel used to be a hostel for young catholic students and so the rooms are self contained with one bedroom (the kids,  got the bedroom) a lounge sitting room (Mum and Dad got the lounge) and a small kitchenette, though it was very light on for cutlery etc, we had to get some plastic ones later on. The rooms are a bit dated but all this was made up for by the location, it only taking 15-20 Mins to get to Times Square and Central Park.


Once we were unpacked, it was time to get out and about. By heading directly West we first came to Rockefeller Plaza, two blocks of towers that house amongst others, Radio City Music Hall, the NBC studios, many up-market stores and at this time of year an outdoor skating rink. After getting photos we made our way to Times Square, hopefully to leave a message at the hotel that Natasha’s godmother, Jenny, her sister and father were staying at. One of the pleasant surprises of the trip was to find out that Jenny would be in NYC at the same time as us, a great opportunity to catch up. Unfortunately getting in touch wasn’t going to be quite that easy as our mobile wouldn’t work in New York, mobiles are starting to become the bane of my existence and Facebook was giving us grief as well.


Message left, it was time, by Ryan’s stomach, for lunch and it had to be McDonalds, where Chelle got to taste some of the New Yorker’s courtesy, Not!!!  Chelle and I grabbed a slice of pizza each,  a slice of pizza in the States being the same size as a small pizza in Aus.  We then headed down Broadway towards Macys and the Empire State building with the idea of going up it. If you don’t have pre-booked tickets, you can expect to wait in line to go up the tower for sometimes as long as an hour, and around the base there are guys trying to sell you tickets for the tower and other attractions. As we didn’t have tickets, we decided not to buy any there and went back up town looking for a tourist centre that would sell some. For those that haven’t been to New York before, here’s a tip, there are any number of attraction packages you can buy on line, do that before you go. We ended up buying a New York Pass that gave us entrance to at least six attractions and a harbour cruise. So back up to the Rockefeller Plaza (to get a New York City pass)via Times Square, on the way we found time to stop in at Toys R Us, three levels of toys with its very own Ferris wheel inside, toy heaven (but not the best, - that was still too come.)  Picking up a pass at Rockefeller Plaza,  the first attraction we saw was the Top of The Rock, a three story observation deck at the top of the highest tower in the Plaza 850” above street level. The view from there is fantastic as it’s North of the Empire State and so gives a better view out over Central Park and to the Hudson and East rivers, also it’s a bigger observation area, not as crowded and not as obstructed by netting so you get better photos. Getting back down to earth, it was back to the hotel via a convenience store for dinner.


Sunday night was rest, restore communications and sit at the window and watch all the bright lights and traffic of New York city (another of those pinch yourself moments) while the kids scrolled through the TV channels to find something to watch.


Well two days down, but there’s more so stay tuned.



still awesome...can't wait to read next instalment..

  Mel Mar 27, 2011 5:38 PM

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