A Visit To New York City

Visiting New York city in March  was fun. I’ll be honest it is not the best time of the year to go, however, It’s New York; so there’s always an awful lot to do, you’ll be entertained and you will enjoy the trip! The month of March has it drawbacks, even for New York.  With that said, it is still a great time of the year to take in the sights of the “Big Apple”.

Start spreading the news, New York lives up to it’s advance billing!  Let’s see, there are interesting people,  more than enough venues to visit, plenty of Broadway shows, great food, and much more. My wife and I visited New York city in March 2006.  Actually I won the trip in a sales contest. It was a pre-paid trip, airfare, and hotel.  Three nights in New York city we stayed at the Belvedere Hotel, located about a half mile from Times Square.  This was a getaway trip on the cheap! Yes, we did not spend a lot of money, because we did not have a lot of money!  But we managed to have a great time, see a lot of sights, and get a real good flavor of the “City That Never Sleeps”. Trust me  New York  never sleeps!

We flew out of Rochester, New York, on Jet Blue.  On a scale of one to five, with five being the best experience, I’d give Jet Blue a five, primarily because of the in flight television at each seat via Jet Blue. If you have to fly anywhere, pray that Jet Blue has service in your city, that way it breaks up a tedious flight, that often can be quite boring.  Jet Blue offers standard satellite television.  That alone is a great reason to choose Jet Blue and sets the stage for  a great trip!

The flight from Rochester  took about one and half hours.  So it was a short flight.  We took a shuttle from JFK to our hotel, the Belvedere, located about a mile from Times Square.  It was an older, but well kept hotel.  We did get a room with a view, if you would call it that. Our view was a run down apartment cross the way. But for $225 per night, pre-paid, it was a bargain! After all we were in New York! You can’t beat that.  We mapped out our trip and we had pre-established walking rules. We would walk, ride the subway, or take the bus, anywhere we traveled in New York. We really had limited funds. Be sure to schedule your trip during the week starting on Tuesday.  That way you can get the best discounted hotel fares from a travel agent or on your own.

I  carried a  back pack, which we used to carry everything.  Our schedule included the following venues;  Metropolitan Museum of the Arts, ESPN Zone in Times Square, Madam Tossauds Wax Museum, The Empire State Building, China Town, NBC Studios,  Virgils Bar-be-que, and we made sure we took in some shopping while we were there.  Neither my wife or I, had the privilege or should I say the experience of riding  the subway. So we had no idea what we were doing, but we got detailed instructions from a Bellhop on what subway to take to the Metropolitan Museum of the arts.

The Bellhops instructions were to take the “A” train which we did, we had to transfer one time, but we made it to our stop about  three blocks from the museum. We paid an expensive fee to get in and view items for over three hours in the Museum, which was well worth the trip. By the time we finished, we were ready for our trip back to the Times Square, which was an adventure to say the least!  We figured we would back track on the subway, which we did, the only problem was we missed our stop in Midtown Manhattan.  Despite our best intentions, we were on not on our way to Mid Town Manhattan, but to Brooklyn!  Granted Brooklyn would have been interesting, however we did not have enough time to digress from our schedule.  We got off at the next stop, walked to other side of the subway system and boarded the next subway to Mid- Town Manhattan.

We made it back to our hotel around 4PM, we rested a while and decided to go to  ESPN Zone in Times Square for dinner. It literally took us about a half hour to  to go one half mile, because there were so many people in Times Square; tourists, street vendors, hawkers, you name it, people were literally everywhere! We finally made it to Times Square and got a bite to eat. We started back to the hotel around 9 PM. Where we planned the activity for the next day.  That would be China Town.

We got up bright and early, got a bite to eat at a corner sub and caught a city transit bus to China Town. It was a straight shot from  Times Square, no transfers, and we could see where we we going!  What a welcome relief from the subway. We did some shopping while in China town and headed back to Times Square. We walked from there to the Empire State Building and took the tour of the building.  It is an older building, but the tour was well worth it. It was a windy on the top floor however the view of New York city was great. We brought a few souvenirs and headed back to mid town. We made a stop at the New York Public Libary in Midtown.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  I love libraries, so it was exciting just to see such an expansive library.

We happened to end up back on Times Square but this time we  ended up at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.  We decided to  go for it  and paid  admission to the museum.   Nearly everyone has heard of the museum and it was with out  doubt a treat.  We took tons of pictures Larry King, Bill Clinton, John Stein Brenner, Donald Trump, Ted Turner, Barbara Walters, Hillary Clinton,  Joe Namath, Babe Ruth, Lance Armstrong, the cast of  Today Show,  Martin Luther King, Prince, the likeness of all were displayed in the museum.

We left  Madame Tussauds and  headed to Virgils Bar-be-Que, which was located right off Times Square about  two block from ESPN Zone. Virgils had great bar-be-que and the people in the restaurant provided great conversation.  The Big East Tournament is annually held in New York City at Madison Square Garden, and the tournament was in full force on this day. Nearly every Syracuse Fan on the Planet was in Virgils that night, so talking about the tournament and my favorite team, the Louisville Cardinals was a special treat. Plus the food was excellent. If you’re ever in New York, be sure to visit Virgils.

We started out the next day by checking out of our hotel, leaving our bags in storage and visiting NBC studios, where we purchased souvenirs and other items.  We started back to our hotel where we caught a shuttle  to the airport for our flight back to Rochester.

If you ever plan a trip to New York. Talk to people who have been there.  They can recommend good restaurants and places to visit.  Usually they can tell you how to obtain reduced Broadway tickets.  Be sure to plan your trip, where you will stay, how you will get there etc. Be flexible, things will certainly change when you get there, you never know what will happen in the city. Expect a whirlwind trip and the chance to see New York up close and personal.


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