Tuesday, February 25, 2014

East Side, West Side, My Feet Are Killing Me


The new World Trade Center
We live a 2-½ hour Greyhound bus ride from Manhattan. It beats driving. No traffic, no tolls, no ridiculously high parking rates. Sit on a comfortable WiFi-equipped bus and enjoy the ride. Round trip per person $36.

Hub and I spent three days in the Big Apple this past weekend. We snagged a great hotel rate on Hotwire - $106 (plus taxes) a night – at a beautiful old establishment, the Hotel Roosevelt at 45th and Madison, next to Grand Central Station.

For those envious of the mid-Manhattan rate – our room was clean with a big bathroom – January and February usually offer the best (translate: cheapest) hotel rates. Cold, wintry weather limits tourist interest in the big city. The sun rarely penetrates to the sidewalk and the wind whips between buildings and right through you. Manhattan can be a freezing, dreary place in winter.

We booked our hotel a few weeks ago and discussed buying theater tickets in advance, but bagged the idea for two reasons. One, tickets are obscenely expensive. And second, we did not want to get stuck with tickets if ugly weather prevented us from getting to the city.

We were lucky. The weather was gorgeous; except for the hour spent in line at the Times Square discount theater TKTS booth. As soon as we got on line, the sky darkened. It started sprinkling, and then raining. When tickets were in hand, the rain stopped.

Saturday and Sunday sunny, 50-degree temperatures lured city dwellers and tourists outdoors. Everyone earlier huddled inside for months joyfully took advantage of the balmy weather.

People from around the world – I should have counted the variety of languages heard - promenaded on wide, jam-packed sidewalks, deeply breathed in polluted air, and adeptly dodged melting snow and ice puddles crossing streets, savoring all the city has to offer.
 
Window shopping on Fifth Avenue.
Great place for a delicious chocolate treat.

We made an interesting discovery concerning discount theater tickets. Once you braved the elements and stood on long lines to obtain tickets – not your first choice, because that particular show sold out right before you reached the window – ticketholders are entitled to a special benefit.

If in the city for more than a day, walk up to one of the line attendants (actually, they are probably security guards masquerading as too-happy folk eager to answer your questions), flash a show ticket from the past seven days, and you get to cut the line. Everyone points at you, ranting and talking loudly - as only New Yorkers can - speculating on who those people are and why they get to go directly to the ticket window.

We saw three shows, tickets purchased at a 50% discount. We ate delicious but calorie-laden meals, and walked endlessly. We met friends for brunch Sunday morning in Tribeca, on the southern end of Manhattan, then walked around the neighborhood, Ground Zero, and the Battery Park vicinity.

Strolling along the water, the spectacular view included the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and New Jersey. Kids and adults ice-skated on a fast-melting rink. The river was alive with kayaks – probably for the first time in months - and ferries transported people across the river.

My feet ached each evening.

My body retaliated.

New York, New York, what a wonderful place. To visit.

This morning I skipped zumba. Sleep beckoned, my feet as well as the rest of my body begged for rest, and I did not resist. 

6 comments:

  1. Wow, Meryl, this sounds like an amazing trip! It even sounds almost do-able price wise, too. I would never have guessed you could do Manhattan and three shows and stay in a cool hotel, too, for what you paid. Thanks for the tip! :-)

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  3. You're making me nostalgic. I spent many days, weeks, months in New York City. Work, friends, professional meetings, you name it. A wonderful city!

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  4. Using those tkts to get to the front of the line ... now you're thinking like a New Yorker!

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  5. Funny. I too, am 2 and 1/2 hours from NYC. It sounds like a lovely time and I envy you. When sitting here at home, the city always seemed too large and unwieldy, but you definitely conquered it in style.
    And thanks for the inside information on how the theater tickets work.

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  6. Lucky you! We've skirted around New York City but never gone into it. I would love to see it someday. I didn't even know there were wifi connected buses. Wow!

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