My First Trip to New York City

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I think I have a good excuse.  I just took my first trip to New York City! 

Lights-of-Time-Square

Time Square at Night

My husband had a conference there so one of our daughters and I decided to tag along.  How much fun can you cram into 3 1/2 days?

Standard Tourist Sites

Since we didn’t have a lot of sightseeing time, we decided to try a hop-on, hop-off bus tour which did allow us to tick off multiple sites in an efficient manner.  Pros: you see a lot, hear some educated commentary, and learn what’s where.  Cons:  by mid-day it was uncomfortably hot, buses were sometimes full, and there were some long boring stops (“why are we sitting here?”).   Advice:  compare vendors, and think twice before buying a bigger package (we did only one tour out of the five in our 48 hour package).

United-Nation-Building manhatten-bridge Bitter-End

Chrysler-Building

“…’til it shines like the top of the Chrysler building” (from Annie)

Theater

The great theater options turned out to be one of the high points for both of us.  We took in two Broadway shows (Newsies, Pippin) and one off-Broadway (The Fantasticks) and felt that this (esp. Newsies and Pippin) would have been a completely different experience done by a touring company (ask me about my “Billy Elliot” experience sometime…).  Since we were flexible, we were able to score “day of” tickets at 20-50% off from the tkts booth on Time Square.  The line isn’t as bad as it looks–really!  pippin shows

Central Park

After pushing through larger crowds than I’ve ever seen (I’ve been joking that Time Square makes downtown Chicago look rural), Central Park is a lovely break.  Bikes are available to rent or wear good shoes and take bandaids!  And the photo opps are many!central-park-2

central-park-3

An Island of Green!

central-park-1

Food

The great food was the other big highlight for me (surprised?).   Some of the “famous” food, however, turned out to be rather ordinary, after which I decided it was probably not worth trucking to Brooklyn for various extra-special-recommended pizza.

We did participate in some truly amazing fine dining which, alas, was mostly too dark for non-flash pictures on my phone’s camera.  You’ll just have to imagine gossamer-thin sheets of pasta drenched in rich truffle sauce.

Bouchon-Bakery

Bouchon Bakery

chocolate-tart

Bouchon Bakery Chocolate Tart – mmm, should have tried more!

wine-serving

The exquisite Del Posto

fine-dining

Miscellaneous

Getting around New York City is surprisingly easy.  Walking is convenient and, since Manhattan is (mostly) on a grid system, navigation is fairly intuitive.  Crowds and traffic can strain progress but sometimes moving one street over (if it’s on your way) can make a difference. The subway is easy to use–and great if your feet are starting to hurt, or again for avoiding traffic.  Just bring some cash since there was a problem with the ticket vending machines when I was there (not sure how common that is) and the booths don’t take credit cards (but they do give out handy subway maps!)  Riding is economical and for a longer stay, a 7-day pass is a bargain.

today-show

Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone and Savannah prepare to do battle with Gail Simmons!

Have a teen who wants to sleep in?  Leave them in the hotel and catch an early broadcast of GMA or the Today Show!  The Today Show films in Rockefeller Center, right by Bouchon Bakery and I was worried that I was arriving too late (7:30 ish) but it was no problem.  The whole experience was well organized, friendly and fun.  Even better I happened to catch the filming of a celebrity chef cook off!  Tip–don’t stand behind the watermelon if you want to catch yourself on the film 😉

And final advice?  Good shoes, good shoes, band aids, good shoes.

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8 thoughts on “My First Trip to New York City

  1. Karis

    Happy to hear you had a great experience during your first visit to NYC and I’m loving the timing of your post since I’m heading there for the first time 3 weeks from today!

  2. Beth

    What a fabulous trip! I’m a big fan of the half-price ticket booth, and we’ve seen some wonderful shows that way. (And you HAVE to share the Billy Elliot story.) Central Park is always a great respite from the busy city.

    So glad you had a great time!

    1. Inger

      Oh, I am so late on the Billy Elliot story, but here goes. My oldest was studying in Britain and when her sister and aunt went to visit her, they all went to London and saw Billy Elliot. They came out amazed and said it was the best thing they ever saw. In fact, they kept talking about it for months. So when the touring company came through my youngest and I went to see it with really high expectations. As you can probably guess, it just didn’t have the same impact. My book club all said that they’ve had similar experiences with touring company versus London/Broadway.

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