A couple days in NYC for work meetings meant free airfare, and with all my travel this year I had enough points to score a weekend at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square. We found a really cheap ticket for Col, invited Lisa and Jeanne to come out and headed to the Big Apple for a long weekend.
We had planned on three days of fun before Col and the girls headed back home and I stayed for my meetings. But, in the end, it only ended up being two full days, which meant it was pretty hard to see and do everything we wanted to on Col’s first trip to the city (Lisa and Jeanne had been once before). In the end, I think we got a nice mix of activities to satisfy the “tourist” need as well as some local flavor.
We started the trip with dinner at Junior’s (best cheesecake ever) and a tour of Grand Central Terminal. After that we wandered around Times Square and Bryant Park checking out the ice skating and all the shops.
We grabbed breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts on Saturday and headed downtown. The new World Trade Center tower is really progressing, and it’s visible from just about anywhere downtown. We wandered around Wall Street for a bit, taking some time to check out what’s left of the OWS movement (not much), then walked over to Battery Park. A nice stroll around the park led us to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, so we hopped on to get a nice tour of the harbor and see the Statue of Liberty. I love the ferry because it’s clean, easy to use and still free. There’s not much that’s free in NYC.
I’d never actually been to Staten Island. And, about the time the ferry pulled in, we were ready for a bite to eat and some beer. So, we thought we’d get off and find something nearby…maybe a nice pub to park for an hour or so before returning to Manhattan. We made it about a block from the terminal before we realized this was a big mistake. Big. Huge. We quickly turned around before we were shanked or shot, and jumped back on the return ferry. Crisis averted and lesson learned.
Back downtown, we wandered looking for an Irish bar and found the White Horse Tavern (not the famous one in Greenwich Village), complete with an actual Irish bartender. Happy hour was in full swing, so we crammed into a booth and started ordering pints and some greasy pub food. Then, it was time to roll to the next meal.
We jumped on the LIRR (coming from UT, you really gotta love that you can buy draft beer in to-go cups and take it on the train) and headed to Long Beach to meet my friends Debbie and Jen for dinner. Long Beach is the coolest little village on Long Island. The girls live about 2 blocks from the beach, which includes an awesome boardwalk and reminds me of most southern California beaches. We met at their house and walked to dinner at Lola’s, which is a nicer wine bar and restaurant. Jen thinks it has a Cuban atmosphere, but the rest of us think she was smoking something good. Several wine flights, martini flights and delicious entrees later, we walked down to the beach (I continued to find sand in my hotel bed for the next three days) before jumping back on the train for the city. Four drunks navigating the NYC train and subway system, as well as Times Square was quite a treat. I have a series of very funny photos that I’ve sworn will never be shared. At least I got some good blackmail material.
Sunday started early with brunch with my cousin in Greenwich Village. Then, we headed to the UES where we walked most of the length of Central Park. We stopped in for a couple hours at the Met before walking back to the hotel to meet a co-worker and her husband. From there, we went back downtown and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was really cool to do this at night, and the views of the city lights were amazing. We enjoyed some delicious authentic Brooklyn style pizza before heading back into Manhattan.
We got off the train about 13 blocks north of the hotel, so we decided on a pub crawl back. We set up some rules, such as only one drink at each stop. The next pub had to be at least one block closer to the hotel. Each pub had to be Irish. Those rules lasted about one stop, and we ended up for the rest of the night at the same pub…The Pig and Whistle, which was about the fourth one on our tour. I don’t remember much about the rest of the night, but my co-worker apparently has some very interesting photos and videos on her phone. Yikes.
Monday morning it was time for the Gang to pack up and return to Utah. We had time to walk up Fifth Avenue and check out the shops, and grab a hot dog from a street vendor before they headed out. It was a fun start to an otherwise tedious week of meetings and travel. I’m happy Col finally got to see the city, even if just a few things. It always seems like time gets away from you, and there’s never enough to see everyone and do everything.
Here is the photoset from the trip: New York City – December 2011