Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Things I like - April (NYC edition)

This was our second trip to NYC which by no means makes us experts.  However, I felt a lot more comfortable planning this trip than the first since I knew where a lot of places are (or at least the general area) and we knew what we liked the first time around.  I keep trying to talk people into going with us.

1. Amtrak

Three years ago when I was trying to talk Matt into going to New York he said he would as long as he didn't have to drive.  I don't know what made us look at taking the Amtrak instead of flying but I am really glad we did.  It was about 17 hours there and 18 (because of delays) coming home.  We boarded about 1am in Waterloo and arrived at Penn Station at 6:30 that evening.  It seems like a long day but it's really quite enjoyable.  Pretty much sleep, read, eat, on repeat all day; pretty relaxing.  We packed most of our own food this time.  The seat are a lot wider and more comfortable than a plane.  There is a lot more foot room (I can stick my legs straight out in front of me without touching the next seat).  There isn't all the weird ear popping with flying.  Sure it takes awhile but that's part of the fun.  It was $184 round trip each which has to be cheaper than flying (for our first trip I looked and it was about half the cost).  I really don't see us going back to New York any other way. 

2. Jamba Juice in Times Square

We first had Jamba Juice in California and I got a little hooked.  When we went to New York the first time I discovered one in Times Square.  Every single night we've spent in New York we've had Jamba Juice on the red "Tkts" steps in Times Square.  It is honestly one the New York things I most look forward to.  Times Square is incredibly touristy and if I lived there I would probably avoid it like the plague.  But as a visitor...it's awesome.  So many lights, so many people, so many creepy characters walking around (people dressed up as creepy Elmos and stuff).  We went in quite a few stores this time, even bought something for Luke there.   Being in Times Square at night (or just when it's dark) makes me feel like I'm in the middle of something. 

3. Top of the Rock

When we first went I spent a lot of time (internally) debating if we should go up in the Empire State Building or do Top of the Rock (top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza).  A lot of time.  I googled it many times looking for opinions.  We ended up with Top of the Rock and the it's pretty incredible.  It's generally known to have better views, if only for the view of the Empire State Building from there.  Plus, the view of Central Park has to be a lot better because Rockefeller Plaza is a lot closer.  The above picture is the Empire State Building with the being built Freedom Tower in the background (and maybe the Statue of Liberty too).  We thought about switching to ESB this time for something new...but it costs twice as much.  And Top of the Rock really has great views.  It's not something Matt & I would do every time if it was just us but if we are going with other people I would definitely recommend it. 

4. Central Park

That's almost just a obvious one.  Central Park is amazing. We spent 2 afternoons walking around it this time and still only got about half way in.  There is so much to see, rocks to climb, neat stonework all over.  It's incredibly impressive.  We had two beautiful afternoons there too which made it even better.  I think there is always a wedding at the Bethesda Terrace (even mid week, we've seen multiples).  Tons of movies have shot there which is fun to point out.  You can play "nanny or parent" (usually nannies).   It's pretty much mandatory for any NYC trip. 

5. Statue of Liberty

This would be higher on the list but we didn't get to go this time because of Hurricane Sandy damage. Matt & I climbed to the crown last time and it was pretty cool.  The Statue of Liberty is probably one of the most iconic things in America and being up close and in her head even was a little surreal.  The view of lower Manhattan is pretty great from the statue, all levels of the pedestal, and the island in general.  Up close you can see how her right foot is lifted as if she is moving forward and how detailed all the folds on her shoulder are.  There is a free ferry to the island but tickets to climb weren't that bad ($15ish I think?) plus we got to jump to the front of the security line (or at least ahead of all the nonpaying people).  Hopefully next trip we can return to Lady Liberty.

I know this isn't the type of blog post people would most like...but those are coming.  =)

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