New York Supreme Court
I’ve finally seen it… the home of Friends, Law and Order, Sex and the City, Lady Liberty, Times’ Square, Wall Street, Broadway… the list goes on and on. I’m so excited I’ve finally seen one of the biggest “tourist attractions” in the USA. Speaking of Law and Order, I have to start my post off with one of the most exciting sites I saw on the entire trip… the New York Supreme Court Building. You may recognize it from just about every episode of Law and Order.
My trip started out with a conference for work. It was a good conference and I got to do a little site seeing around the sessions. When we first got to Manhattan, we checked into the hotel and then took our first trek out into the city. We ate lunch at a little cafe, then set out to see what we could see. We saw the Empire State Building, but since we were tired from an early morning flight we decided not to go to the top. We headed back to the hotel to relax a bit before the opening reception of the conference started. It was neat because the opening reception was at the Museum of Modern Art (called MoMA by the locals).
The next day was pretty much all conference stuff, but that evening we had dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It had an absolutely beautiful view of Central Park. Friday the conference ended at about 2 pm and from that point on my boyfriend and I were free to see the sites!
We started with a short walk to Times Square. It was a cool site to see! Well, I shouldn’t say cool, it was quite hot, in fact it was in the mid to upper 90s the whole time we were in NYC. We didn’t let the heat kill our spirit, but it sure did cook it a little bit.
After Times Square, we headed back to the hotel we had been staying at for the conference (the Grand Hyatt) and moved to about the worst place I’ve ever stayed in my life (Hotel Riverside Studios. Unfortunately the Hyatt was a little too rich for our blood, so we looked for somewhere less expensive to crash our last couple of nights in the city. I read the reviews on Expedia, and I was basically expecting a hostel. Now I’ve stayed in hostels all over the world, and I know about what to expect, but this place was terrible. At first it was fine, basically a hostel, but over the course of the two nights we were there it just kept getting worse. The first night we were there, the power went out to our room, and since the air conditioning was just a window unit, we were roasting our butts off. I went down to the front desk and they flipped the breaker for us. No big deal… BUT then the next night we were there, we had gone out to dinner and when we got back we couldn’t get the lock open to our room. We went down the front desk and they sent a “maintenance person” up to help us get the room open. We were sweating our butts off in the hallway waiting for the guy to come get our room open, and then when he finally got to the room he couldn’t get the door unlocked either (surprise, surprise). We asked if there were any open rooms that we could at least go to cool off. They said they had one open room. We went to that room and it was sweltering too. We cranked up the A/C and just sat there. We were waiting to get into our room, so we didn’t want to go anywhere or fall asleep there. Finally at 2:30 AM they came and told us they couldn’t get the lock open, so they just ripped it off the door (1. safe 2. super duper). We went up to our room and decided that we’d just chain it shut and sleep there. We didn’t want to screw around with packing up and moving all of our stuff for just one night (actually 1/4 of a night). And the hotel didn’t even offer to refund our money for that horrible night’s stay.
Sorry, I got a little side tracked there… Moral of the story… Don’t ever stay at the Hotel Riverside Studios!
Now let’s rewind back to Friday evening… after we checked into the hotel from hell we went in search of somewhere good to eat. We ended up eating at this little Irish Pub/Restaurant. It was kind of crazy, when we went into the restaurant the sun was shining and when we can out everything was soaked. Later that night when we watched the news we saw that we missed a torrential downpour and tornado warnings. We walked around the city a little more that night and then headed back to the hotel for the night.
The next day we set out for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island bright and early. It was another hot day, so we wanted to try to get out to Liberty Island before it was 100 degrees. We took the subway all the way down to Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan to buy our tickets for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Little did we know that you have to buy tickets well in advance if you actually want to go to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. The soonest they had available tickets for the crown was in November! So, let that be a lesson to any of you out there, if you want to go to the crown of the Statue of Liberty you better get your tickets super early!
Statue of Liberty
Our first look at Lady Liberty was from the ferry. It was really neat to see an icon that you’ve seen 100s of times in TV shows and movies up close and in person. When we got to Liberty Island we walked around and saw the Statue of Liberty even more close up. We checked out the gift shop, but other than the Statue, that’s about all there is to see on the island. After we were wore out from the heat we hopped back on the ferry and soaked up some A/C while exploring the Ellis Island Museum. That was another historic landmark that was super cool to see. It was crazy to read and see photos of what immigrants experienced when they arrived at Ellis Island. After several hours of exploring, we decided to head back to Manhattan on the Ferry.
We continued our day with a walk through the financial district. We did get to see the Wall Street and the Bull. It was kind of funny because the Bull seemed to be pretty easy to find, but we talked to someone the first night we were in NYC and they said they walked all over the financial district trying to find the Bull, but were never able to.
From there were took the subway to China Town and walked through China Town and then over to Little Italy. We had a delicious lunch at a little Italian resturaunt. It truly reminded me of being in Italy. That’s somewhere I’d really love to go back to, but that’s a topic for another post…
We ended the afternoon with a stop at McSorley’s Old Ale House based on a tip my boyfriend got from a local New Yorker. It was a really cool old bar. The walls were covered with pictures, paintings, and all sorts of random stuff, the floor was covered with sawdust, and they served two kinds of beer – light and dark. You got two beers for $5, pretty darn cheap for NYC. The waiters sounded like true Irish people with thick Irish accents. After that we headed back to our hotel. Little did we know that would be the last time we would be in the room when it still had a lock on the door. We went out for dinner and then came back to the hotel room drama.
The next day was our last day in New York. The only thing we really did was see the Natural History Museum. That place is huge! You could probably spend a whole week there if you really wanted to see everything. We started at the top with the dinosaur bones. That was really cool to see. We got some pictures with the extinct beasts. The t-rex was my favorite to see. After that we headed to the airport to bid farewell to the Big Apple. Overall it was a very fun trip and I would definitely recommend taking a trip over there if you haven’t.