Sunday, 20 December 2015

New York City

I've spent the last week in New York City on a 'short' vacation.  To be honest, you really an entire week to experience NYC, but anything beyond that would be burn-out.....if you ask me.  So, my ten observations.

1.  Yes, people in NYC are that 'crazy' (as you might refer to Seinfeld's characters).  It doesn't matter where you go.....they just seem odd.  I might also note that I think over half the folks in the city are doing medical marijuana.....for some ailment or health episode.

2.  You are absolutely safe.  Cops are everywhere.  I don't think you can walk more than ten minutes in any direction without bumping into a cop.  I just can't think of a single occasion walking around town where I felt unsafe.  Even in Harlem.....it seems safe (I might have been stupid walking around).

3.  It doesn't matter where you eat or drink.....you'd best bring a ton of pocket money.  A single beer and cocktail will cost you around $22 (without the tip).  You want a steak dinner for two with drinks?  Figure $75.  Breakfast buffet at the Hotel Roosevelt?  $28, that's for one single person.

4.  A full-week's ticket on the subway system is $31 and probably the best value of anything you will come across.  It's the best way to see New York City and note some pretty bizarre characters that might entertain you either on the platform or in the cars themselves.  Yeah, the whole subway system is something out of the 1950s, but it's safe and a great way to get around town.  Oh, and that black mold stuff you see up on the ceiling....just don't pay any attention to it and wash your hands and face after you get out of the subway.

5.  Normally, mid-December would be a harsh time to do anything around NYC.....but this strange thing occurred while I was there.....the sun opened up and the temperatures got up to around 65 degrees.  I saw guys walking around in shorts and t-shirts one afternoon.

6.  You really don't know how bad traffic can be until you've gone to New York and tried to get from your hotel (roughly 14 miles) to JFK.  My limo guy just accepted it as normal, but on this Friday afternoon.....I even allowed myself 90 extra minutes.....it just barely worked out.  It took 130 minutes to cover 14 miles.

7.  The difference between Macys and Bloomingdales?  You could walk around Macys for hours and hours and probably spend $500 easily.  In Bloomingdales, it feels more like a show-room for upscale clothing and style, and you want to walk out after thirty minutes.  The thing is.....on the list of ten things you really need to experience.....you need to do a walk of both places.

8.  Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  Generally, while it's best to go in mid-summer.....the crowds would make the experience impossible.  So, in mid-December.....I quietly boarded the ferry, quietly walked around the Statue of Liberty, and quietly did the tour of Ellis Island.  It was stress-free and without all the crowds.  Crowds basically make the whole experience impossible and lessen the whole experience.  I would offer this advice as well.....bring along some fruit or something to eat.....your offerings at either location are marginal.

9.  Walking in NY City.  A guy could easily walk ten miles in a single day and not realize it.  It simply makes sense to put on a pair of decent shoes and walk from neighborhood to neighborhood.  I'll admit, on a map display....walking from hotel X to point A....might take sixty minutes but it's the only way to see the city up close and personal.   This means you need a decent map, some idea of subway coverage (when you get ready to return), and a compass to give you bearings on direction.  As for asking for directions?  Well.....New Yorkers will rattle off a forty-word comment and simply point in a direction....it's best to just accept that and walk in that direction.  If you ask about the forty-word comment, this leads onto a 100-word comment, and then onto a 200-word comment, and eventually a 1,000-word comment.  Yeah, they do talk a bit if you let them.

10.  As a kid, I would marvel at the Today Show (NBC) background landscape around Christmas time.  There would be the Today Show camera guy giving shoots of the ice skating rink and the studio building.  Well, so I finally stood there and gazed at the ice skating rink.  At best, it's about the size of two plain regular basketball courts.  That's it.  You could probably put eighty skaters on there at one time (it'd be awful crowded).  It's awful small in relation to the image I had from watching all those shows.  And walking around the whole thing on Friday or Saturday night?  Don't go.....there must have been 100,000 people there on the night I went and it was massive chaos.

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