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New York! New York!

July 18th, 2008 at 07:09 am

We are back from a week in NYC and what a great week it was. For the first five nights we stayed at a very nice hotel that connected to Grand Central Terminal, so it was very convenient to get anywhere in Manhattan. For the last two nights, we stayed in a “boutique” hotel with tiny rooms in the Murray Hill area on the east side. Manhattan is alive with an energy that resonates day and night. Although NYC is very expensive, it is an exciting, fast-paced city that has much to offer.

NYC attracts tourists from around the world, and we heard many different languages everywhere we went. New Yorkers were very friendly and I noticed that people walk everywhere…something very healthy. It also seemed that a lot of people smoke…not so healthy… but it could have been that some of these were visitors, although some were obviously New Yorkers. Since we have family in Manhattan, we had reliable information on good places to eat and interesting things to do.

The subway and buses were convenient, inexpensive, and almost always crowded. On a few occasions, we used taxis and we thought these were inexpensive compared to those in our home city. We packed in a lot of activities in one week and these are some of my favorites:
~ The Metropolitan Museum of Art
~ The Guggenheim Museum
~ The Museum of Modern Art
~ The Museum of Natural History
~ A two-hour cruise on the Hudson and East Rivers
~ The Empire State Building (we paid $15 extra to go to 102nd floor)
~ The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
~ Central Park (Zoo, Lake, Boat House, free Philharmonic concert)
~ Grand Central Terminal
~ Rockefeller Plaza
~ Times Square at night
~ The hot pastrami sandwiches from Katz’s Deli on Houston
~ Cannoli from Veniero's in the East Village

Food and drink can be VERY expensive in NYC. For example, one glass of Cabernet and a beer cost us over $25 at the bar in our first hotel… we did that only once. However, we came in $80 under budget, not great but it still was under budget.

We saved money by buying:
~ a City Pass that paid for all the museums and the cruise, saving a bundle ($74 PP; thanks, scfr, for the tip)
~ Metro cards for the subway and buses
~ breakfast and lunch at small delis and groceries
~ our drinking water at Rite Aid or Whole Foods instead of the street vendors (59¢ vs. $3 per bottle)
~ salads from the Whole Foods salad bar for our picnic in Central Park
~ decent CA wine for $9 a bottle at a wine shop and enjoying in our hotel room
~ walking to places that were within 10-20 blocks

We also saved money by not shopping… DH and I just enjoyed the sites and being with our family. My DS, BIL, their children and grandchildren, my DD1, and several of our friends were with us, so we had even more fun.

Our $150 a day budget included:
~ City Passes/extra tour fees
~ Two lunches and three dinners at more “upscale” restaurants (expensive)
~ Breakfast, lunch, fruit, coffee, snacks at small places like the Metro Café
~ Meals at airport
~ Metro cards and taxis
~ Shuttles to and from the airport
~ Tips
~ One souvenir for me (a $25 scarf from the Met Museum)
~ Buying items forgotten @ hotel (e.g., sunscreen)

Our airfare was free with miles, the five days at first hotel were paid with points, and the two nights at second hotel were prepaid in March.

All in all, it was a great trip and I look forward to going back some day soon. Here is a view from the Empire State Building.

Central Park is lovely, safe, and well-cared for.

Here is one reason why mass transit is so popular. It can be very costly to park your car in NYC.

5 Responses to “New York! New York!”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Wow! Those prices for parking are obscene. I would walk, too. I'm glad you had a great time.

  2. Carolina Bound Says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time, and you planned well.

  3. scfr Says:

    How wonderful! So glad you had a great time. It sounds like you made fantastic use of your time and money. Welcome home!

  4. monkeymama Says:

    Sounds great!

    I have always been insanely jealous of the transit on the east coast, but NYC has everyone beat. For pennies you can get anywhere. Last time I visited we actually stayed with a friend in the suburbs in NJ and it was so easy to get into the city by bus. The bus/transit prices astounded me because they were a mere fraction of the crappy/useless transit in California.

    OF course, I may have to qualify that. Japan had the best transit I had ever seen. But NY isn't half bad either. Wink I would use public transit 100% if we could get half the quality here. Big Grin

  5. Analise Says:


    I totally agree with you about the sad state of public transit in CA. I'd use it, too, if it were more efficient and inexpensive.

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