By Aoife Carbin
Recently our colleague Aoife Went to New York City for a short break away and very kindly wrote about her experiences. If you are thinking of going to NYC, have a read of Aoifes' adventure, for her top tips and some great insights. Get inspired and see what could be in store for you!
Sunday, 7th February
We checked in for our flight UA22 to Newark in Dublin Airport Terminal 2 and proceeded to the US Pre-Clearance. Everything ran smoothly at pre-clearance and there was no queue. Quick tip: if you have are bringing in food for your flight, you should declare it or else it would be confiscated.
We were treated to UA economy plus seats. Benefits to this are plenty of leg room and you get to board off the plane first before everyone else. The food is the same but those in economy plus will be served first and therefore they will always get their preferred choice. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included for all economy and there is a charge for premium drinks and spirits. We arrived in Newark an hour ahead of schedule. We then took a transfer to Manhattan to our accommodation, the Fitzpatrick Manhattan Hotel that took 40-45 minutes. Traffic was light since it was a Sunday.
The hotel is an excellent Midtown location on the corner of 57th street and Lexington Avenue. The closest subway is on 58th street. 5th avenue is just 2 blocks away, Central Park is about 10-15 minutes’ walk, Rockefeller Centre is about 10-15 minutes’ walk and Time Square is about 25-30 minutes’ walk.
The hotel is currently undergoing soft refurbishing with changing the art-work, colour schemes, new beds and TVs etc. Our rooms have not been changed yet and were still in excellent condition. WiFi is available with extra charges in the rooms but it is free in the lobby and bar area. The in-house bar of the hotel is modern and quiet compared to the busy traditional Irish-style bar in Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel which is frequented by the after-work crowd.
We went to the Slice of Brooklyn Tour which started at Union Square. This tour shows sites of Brooklyn and Coney Island including the Brooklyn Bridge and Coney Island fairgrounds. The tour also features a taste of Brooklyn with 2 pizza stops including Grimaldi’s – President Obama’s favourite. We were entertained with movie clips such as Goodfellas and Saturday Night Fever that were shot at the locations we were driving past en route to the landmark sites. The tour was approximately 4 hours long and returned us to Union Square. This tour was highly entertaining and good for those who have been to New York a few times already.
After the tour, we went to Hotel Indigo in the uber-cool Upper East Side, Ludlow Street. This area is known for street-art, trendy boutiques and vintage shopping. The Indigo Hotel has aimed to incorporate the vibe of the area into its design. This hotel has recently opened in November 2015 and has a number of features that definitely stands out compared to the rest like their 14th floor lobby that has unobstructed 360° view of the Manhattan skyline. The hotel owns the airspace so no buildings will ever be able to block this view. On the 15th floor, there is a rooftop bar and a heated pool that overlooks the city.
We had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant in the 15th floor called Mr. Purple which is owned by Randy Gerber a.k.a Cindy Crawford’s husband. The menu is quite reasonable and the food is contemporary, tasteful and stylish which ties in with the motif of the hotel.
After our dinner, we took a 20 minute stroll to Lafayette Street to watch an off-Broadway show Blue Man Group. Not the average Broadway show, Blue Man Group is 3 alien-like Blue men who bang drums and climb about the audience (no seat is safe). It is highly entertaining in a surreal way using technology like giant iPads to illustrate and make comic observations on modern society.
Tip: There is no interval at this show. It is 90 minutes long and whatever you do – do not arrive late. They stop the show, shine a spotlight on the late arrivals and film them on a big screen on the stage!
We headed to the subway on 53rd street to get the E train all the way to Ground Zero. We visited the 9/11 Museum followed by One World Observatory. Allow a minimum of 2 hours for the 9/11 Museum. It was an emotional experience honouring the lives of the people who perished in the terrorist attacks of 2001.
The One World Observatory is an uplifting attraction parallel to the World Trade Centre museum and is perfect for visitors to stopover after the harrowing memories of 9/11. There is a glass-lift-with-a-difference for the journey to the Observation deck. In the lift, there is a 3D visual depiction of the area since the beginning starting from the bedrock foundations through the first settlements of the 1600s. We watched as the twin towers appear and then disappear again in 2001. There is a 360° view of the city and excellent view of the Statue of Liberty from the top floor. This attraction is great for those who are on a short getaway in NYC and we highly recommend it.
We had a little bit of free time after the tour of the Observatory. I went to Central park and then stopped off at the Rockefeller Plaza to watch the ice-skaters while the others went to Macy’s or Century 21 for shopping since we had a little bit of free time before our 19:30 flight back to Dublin. We arrived on Wednesday morning at 07:00.
This city has something and everything for everyone and this trip showed that it is possible to see a lot in a short time that makes New York City worth while.
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