Trip to New York City - November/December 2007

Back to index pageGet in touch if you have any questionsClick here to read about restaurants we went to in NYC




The salvation army’s jangling bells, ice-skating in front of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, freezing winds on 5th Avenue, sunsets behind the statue of Liberty, close encounter with Jennifer Garner, Knicks strutting their stuff at MSG, Macy’s filled to the brim with happy shoppers, Will Smith’s movie locations, the best cheese cake in the world....this is a travel blog from New York City before Christmas.


A short summary
Nikki and Gard of the ferry back from Statue of LibertyThis trip report will focus on the trip that my wife, Nikki, and I took to New York City from November 28th – December 4th 2007. As we have been to NYC before (click here to see trip report from 2004) we have already the likes of the Empire State Building, Guggenheim, American museum of Natural history, Brooklyn Bridge etc. So this time our main focus was to do a bit of shopping but we also had time to a check out some other must sees and do’s.
Please get in touch on if you have any questions or comments. All pictures are taken by Nikki and Gard with our Canon Powershot S1 IS camera. The trip report is split into several sections: Click here to check out the interactive NYC Google map which will indicate where attractions are located, click here to read about restaurants we went to, click here to see more pictures from NYC and click here to read a review of the hotel we stayed at (Quality Inn in Long Island City)


The lower Manhattan skyline seen from trip to Liberty IslandIn July 2004 we went to NYC and we had a great time visiting this amazing city for the first time (see seperate trip report with pictures). When Nikki came across some cheap tickets to NYC we were tempted to check out the city again as it has a reputation for being an amazing Christmas destination...and of course the US dollar is remarkably low compared to the Norwegian kroner which makes it an ideal current shopping destination :-)


Planning the trip
Whilst idly surfing for a new holiday destination, Nikki came across some cheap tickets and we decided to go for it. This time we bought the tickets through Seat24 after we found the tickets through the Norwegian site The plane tickets with Lufthansa cost about 3500 Norwegian kroner (about 640 USD) per person...only about 90 USD more than our trip to Florence this summer but that's another story :-)


The Quality Inn hotel in Long Island CityFinding a hotel this time proved to be a bit of a challenge. We started out by checking the cheaper hotels on Manhattan but maybe we started looking too late...or maybe we were going at a busy time (weekend after Thanksgiving) but most of the hotels were above 300 USD/night. Even the Pod hotel added up to about 330 USD per night when taking all the taxes into account. In the end we decided to stay at Quality inn in Long Island City and that was “only” 160 USD/night. You can read my full review of the hotel here.


As we had been there before we didn’t buy a new guidebook. We brought our old Eyewitness Guides NYC and we also borrowed a Norwegian guidebook from the library in Stavanger :-)


The trip begins
For once our Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt was not bright and early in the morning. This time it left at about noon so there was time to get up in the morning and pack the last details. This time we brought 3 suitcases and one of them was more or less empty. After all we were going on a shopping trip.


Flight from Stavanger airport when going to NYC 2007So at about noon on November 28th we left a wet Stavanger with Eurowings and about two hours later we landed in Frankfurt. We didn’t have much time in Frankfurt but we stopped by the Senators lounge just to check it out...hey, I got to get some value for my gold frequent flyer card :-). Our flight from Frankfurt was on an older 747 model from Lufthansa with no personal entertainment in each seat. But the flight was only about 8 hours so it was not much of a problem. We came in for landing at JFK airport at about 8 PM and we had to circle for a while due to a lot of traffic at the airport. It was amazing to look out the window when landing and seeing all the planes being lined up for landing. When the plane was on the ground we had to drive for quite some time and we even crossed a couple of highways before we came to the gate. I think it is safe to say that JFK is a HUGE airport.


Arriving in America
We landed at JFK at about 8 pm and getting through immigration and customs went pretty smooth. Before we left we had talked about taking the subway to get to our hotel but we decided that with three suitcases it was better to go for a taxi. So we took a yellow cab and asked him to take us to the hotel in Long Island City. Our driver talked away on his cell phone (yes, with a handsfree) and he didn’t seem that focused on us - he had to ask for the address three or four times along the way. I’m not totally convinced that he took the shortest route but at least we got to see Shea Stadium, LaGuardia airport and Flushing Meadows...the place where the end of MIB takes place (remember where the alien played by Vincent D'Onofrio tries to escape from Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith?) - seemed a lot larger in the film.


The elevated subway station 39th Avenue in Long Island CityWe arrived at the hotel at about 9.30 PM and the taxi driver finished his phone conversation before we parked by the reception. I paid the driver 40 USD including the tips. We took a walk in the neighbourhood right away to find some food and to get a feel of the place. I have to admit that we were a bit was dark, the place was more or less empty, the wind was making plastic bags and other trash fly around...and there were hardly any stores or restaurants. But a few blocks later we did find a few fast food joints and some grocery stores at least :-)


Note: The taxis from JFK charge a flat rate to Manhattan. At the moment this is 45 USD excluding tip and toll charges.


How to get around NYC?
Get out your MetroCard to get into the trainsFor me there is only one way to get around NYC: the subway. We used the subway frequently on our last trip and the first thing we did this time was to buy a weekly metrocard. The hotel was located just around the corner (yes, even by Nikki’s standards) from 39th Avenue subway station in Long Island City and from there it was only 2 stops to Manhattan on the N line - no more than a 10 minute ride (see metro map on this page). This line goes to 5th Avenue, Times Square, Macy's etc.


Manhattan is quite well laid out: you have streets that go east to west and avenues that go south/north directions. Lower Manhattan is a bit of a mess but from about Washington Square park (the area where 1st street starts) and north figuring out your way is less complicated. The same goes for the avenues and 1st Avenue is on the east side of the island.


To get around just find out which line to use and decide if you are going uptown (north) or downtown (south to lower Manhattan). Swipe your metrocard to get into the station and find the right line and platform. Note that some trains are express trains and don’t stop on all stations (hehe, even we had a few mishaps this time)...but even if you end up on the wrong train it is not the end of the world. Just get off the train and wait for the right one :-)


One of the many subway stations we visited :-)We didn’t have any problems taking the subway. In rush hour the trains can be quite full and the ride can actually be quite bumpy and noisy. But the cars are in good condition and trains run all the time. A few times we did run into people begging while we were riding even if it is against the law and we also ran into people that were talking and singing (or laughing hysterically) to themselves...but it felt like a safe way to get around town both day and night. Don’t be surprised if you see a rat on the subway by the way :-) We saw several rats (kitten sized) on the tracks on a couple of subway stations.


Use the subway map to check out the subway system compared to the map. I would also advise you to use tools as MAPfrappe and Gmaps Pedometer to get a feeling about how big the city is.


Note: You can take a virtual walk of NYC by checking out Google Maps Street View.


Symbol of hope – Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty ferry flagWe woke up the first morning to pretty decent we decided to get started on the sightseeing right away :-) After a healthy breakfast at the hotel (Ok, I’m trying to be ironic) we got rolling on the the middle of the morning rush. But we squeezed into one of the subway cars and after a train change at Times Square we were on our way to South Ferry terminal on line 1. Nikki going to the Statue of LibertyWhile we were on the train I noticed a poster saying that if you were heading to the end station on South Ferry terminal you had to be in the first 5 cars. So Nikki and I had great fun running to the next car at each station...before we remembered that you can actually walk between the different cars while the train is in motion. It was actually a bit spooky doing this (and I have also heard afterwards that it is illegal) but in the end we found out the all our work was in vain. On the second last stop the train stopped and remaining passengers were all instructed to move to one of the first 5 cars. Well, at least we got some exercise by running from one car to the other.


The deck on Statue of Liberty ferryWe ended up at the South Ferry terminal where you can take the Staten Island ferry. We did this in 2004 and you get a great view while on the boat...and it is free. It was also a short walk over to Battery Park where you can catch the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island (see the homepage of Statue of Liberty ferry). We bought tickets to Liberty Island and Ellis Island at Castle Clinton for 12$ each and we also picked up a free time pass to get into the Statue of Liberty . This pass allows you to get into the Statue of Liberty in a certain time frame but I will get back to that.


The Statue of Liberty ferryBefore we got on the boat we had to go through security control and it reminded us of a regular airport check where they x-rayed our bags and took us through a metal detector. But the line was not very long but I can imagine what it must be like in the middle of summer. On the boat we had company of lots of other tourists and school children on excursions. Liberty Island was the first stop and it was only about 15-20 minutes but on the way you get great views of the statue and all the way to lower Manhattan.


The Manhattan skyline


Front view of theStatue of LibertyWe decided to go straight to the statue when we arrived on the island. Here we had to present our time passes, stash our backpacks in lockers and then go through a new security control which included a regular airport security check and a ‘sniffing machine’. But in the end we were finally ready to check out a bit of the inside of the lady :-). The first thing that met us inside the base was the original torch from 1886. The Statue of Liberty in sunsetWe also got a guided tour from here and a ranger told us a bit about the history of the statue and how it was built. There is also a small museum where you can see old pictures from the building process, models etc. After this we proceeded up the stairs inside the pedestal and there are a few steps before you reach the top. But fear not...if you are not able to do it you can also take the lift. As we are still kinda young and healthy we went for the stairs and managed to warm up on the way up. The view from the top of the pedestal is spectacular...apart from looking up the robe of the statue you can also walk outside and get a view of the island and Manhattan. .


Note: After 9/11 I think the inside of the statue has been closed off and the torch has been closed since 1916


Close up of the head of Statue of LibertyWe were on the way out of the statue when it started raining so we used the opportunity to grab some fast-food at the restaurant at Liberty Island. Food was a bit on the cold side but they had a good variety of more healthful food. We also experienced some varying weather - when we left Liberty Island the sun was shining again and the golden torch of the statue was flaring in the sunlight and that gave us the oppertunity to take some better pictures.


Note: Boats leave every 30 minutes to Ellis Island so there is really no need for detailed planning.


Welcome to America – Ellis Island
Leaving Ellis Island behindEllis Island was the first stop for many immigrants to the USA. The numbers that we saw and heard range from 12 to 14 million people so quite a lot of people in USA today have ancestors that came through this small island. When we came in we found out that there was a tour about to start so we tagged along together with a few others. It’s also possible to take an audio guide. Our park ranger guide was great fun and he was telling about the history of the place, the various rooms such as the baggage room and the registry room etc. The registry room at Ellis IslandAccording to our guide the movie Hitch with Will Smith was filmed on location on Ellis Island and the ranger claimed that he and Will Smith even had morning yoga classes together in this historic building. I’m not sure if everything was true but it was entertaining. The most interesting part was hearing about how people came to America with everything they owned in their arms and they were processed at an impressive pace. A majority of immigrants that arrived were let into the country. The baggage room at Ellis IslandThose who were sick were given free medical care until they were well enough to officially enter the country...isn’t this a bit ironic when looking at the situation in the USA today? At this museum you can also see lot of artefacts from the people that came to the USA, lots of photos of the times, statistics, old bills from various countries around the world etc. Ellis Island is well worth a visit.
US flag at Ellis IslandStand in the registry room and look out the windows...imagine how impressive it must have been for a penniless Norwegian peasant to stand here at about year 1900. Out the one window was the huge Statue of Liberty (probably the biggest statue this person had ever seen) and outside the other was the skyline of Manhattan...probably the biggest city the person had ever seen or been to. It must have been a jaw dropping sight even after several weeks or months in a small boat crossing the Atlantic.


As we left Ellis Island the sun was setting and lower Manhattan was glaring in the evening sun. As we approached Manhattan again the sun was setting behind the Statue of Liberty casting a truly unexpectedly amazing silhouette.


Skating and proposals – Rockefeller center

On our way back to the hotel one night we stopped by the Rockefeller center. We were walking up 5th Avenue looking at all the Christmas decorations but coming around the corner to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller center was a highlight indeed. I guess most people have seen the tree in movies and pictures but it seemed to be a bit different to what I have seen in pictures. Turned out they had added some blue lights. Nikki overheard an elderly lady questioning a security guard about the change - The Christmas tree at the Rockefeller centerI guess not everybody liked the addition :-) This year they were advertising that the lights where being lit up by using solar panels on the rooftops of some of the buildings in the there is some focus on the environment in the USA. Anyway, the place was crowded with tourists of course - all trying to take pictures of the tree. Some were also lined up to try out their skating skills on the small ice rink in front of the Rockefeller center. It was actually quite entertaining just watching people skating. One guy was showing of his talent by doing graceful pirouettes...while most others were showing the world that they had no idea how to skate. It was quite a sight seeing a couple of orthodox Jews struggling to keep their balance as they were shuffled on the ice. As we were standing there a guy got down on his knee and asked the girl he was with to marry him. Judging by the cheering from the crowd he got a yes.


Note: If you want a place to relax near by it seems like Morrell wine bar might be an option. We never did get to try it out but they seem to have a pretty extensive collection of wine by the glass.


Top of the world – Top of the Rock
Empire State Building seen from Top of the RockThe last time we went to NYC we went up to the top of Empire State Building and got a great view (see the pictures in the 2004 trip report). I understand that they have now also opened 102nd floor in the building. But this time I decided to check out Top of the Rock at the 30 Rockefeller Plaza while Nikki was making a frantic effort to finish the Xmas gift shopping.
I got there at about 11 am and I was thrilled to see that there was no line to get through security and to buy tickets. After buying a ticket for about 17.5$ I went straight for the lift that took me to the 67th floor. The list had a glass roof which made it possible to see the entire lift shaft as we were going up.


Observation deck at Top of the RockAt the top you can walk around inside and outside and it was also possible to use escalators to get to 70th floor, if I’m not mistaken. As you can imagine the view from 260 meters above the street level gives you a good view of Central Park and Midtown and lower Manhattan. It was freezing cold at the top this day as it was about 0 degrees Celsius (about 32 degrees Fahrenheit), windy and snow in the air. As I was freezing my fingers off taking some pictures I felt pretty sorry for the two security guys that seemed to be posted outside at the top. So if you do go here in the wintertime, be sure to bring along a warm hat and gloves :-)


Close encounter with Roxane – Cyrano de Bergerac Broadway show
Going to Cyrano de Bergerac on BroadwayWhen we left for NYC there was still a stage hands and scriptwriter’s strike on Broadway and most shows were cancelled. But a few days after we arrived the strike was over and shows started running again. We were pretty determined to see a show...but we were not sure which one to go for. In the end we decided to go for Cyrano de Bergerac featuring Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner in the Richard Rodgers theatre on 46th Street. We went for the Sunday show at 3 PM and we bought the tickets at the theatre entrance for 100$ each. We did check if there were any discounted tickets at the TKTS Discount booth next door but of course...none of the shows that we wanted to see were on the list.


Getting close to Jennifer Garner in NYCWe grabbed a coffee at Starbucks while waiting for the show to start - I can’t really recommend the Gingerbread latte :-). The line to get into the theatre was unbelievable so we just waited inside the entrance of the Marriott hotel next door until it was time. Our seats were on the 4th or 5th row but all the way to the left hand side so we didn’t have a perfect view to the stage. But it was still great to get this close to the stage and Nikki was a big fan of the TV show Alias so this was a real treat for her. In the middle of the show they ran into some technical problems and they had to stop the play. But the cast was pretty sporty and they came out on stage to answer questions to pass time while the stage hands were working on the problem. Of course the first questions were related to Jennifer Garner’s daughter and her relationship to Ben Affleck.


After the show was finished we waited outside for a few minutes and it didn’t take long before Jennifer Garner showed up and she took time to sign autographs for the people that were waiting. It must be strange for the others to be cast with people like Kevin Kline and Jennifer...people hardly looked at other cast members coming out of the theatre so it was clear to see who were the stars of the show.


Jennifer Garner outside Broadway show in NYC 2007It was expensive to buy tickets for the Broadway show but we decided that we had to do it this time as we never got around it the last time we were there. Cyrano de Bergerac was a good play and for me it was nice to see a story that I know (I have seen the version with Gérard Depardieu) and it made it easier for me to understand (as English is not my mother tongue). Nikki enjoyed the play but was disappointed by Kevin kline’s lack of stage voice - the show has been running for a while and he seemed to only really get into his role near the end. If you are going to check out a show you have to be early to get the cheap tickets...or use the TKTS Discount booths to get discounted tickets but note that they don’t have tickets to all the shows.


Under the surface – The Bodies exhibition
Posters at The Bodies exhibitionAt the hotel we found a “BODIES The exhibition” brochure. We have heard about this kind of exhibition in the past and there has been a bit of fuss about it in the media. We took the subway to Fulton and from there we walked over to South Street Seaport near Brooklyn Bridge. We came there pretty early so we didn’t have to wait to get tickets. We had to cough up about 26$ each to get in and unfortunately I was not allowed to take any pictures...if I had been allowed to take pictures I could have shown you some interesting stuff :-) But hey, search for “bodies the exhibition” on Google images and you will see what I mean.


The show is all about showing the human body and how it works. In order to do this they have taken the bodies of Chinese “volunteers” and they have preserved them by drying, dissecting and the covering them with some sort of silicon. This allows them
- to show the human body without the skin in order to show the mechanics of the muscles,
- to slice a human in two so you can see how the internal organs are placed,
- to slice a human in horizontal sections and stretching this over several meters so you can see a intersection of the body from toe to head.


I found it pretty interesting and it gives you a great insight on the human anatomy. But I’m not sure that the kids that were there on a school excursion gave much thought to the fact that we were looking at what were once real people. The Bodies exhibition is different for sure...but you can find far “worse” stuff around the world. Try the Museum of Forensic history in Bangkok for instance (see the pictures in my Thailand trip report).


An evening in the Garden – Knicks game at Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden seen from the outsideGoing to a sports event when you travel can be great fun. One of the highlights of the trip to e.g. Tokyo was going to see a sumo wrestling match (see pictures in the Tokyo trip report). We decided that we wanted to see a sport event in NYC during our short visit and we ended up buying tickets to a Knicks game. We bought the tickets online in advance and the tickets were about 75$ per person for seats in section 338 (check out seating map on this page).


The game started at 7.30 PM and we went there an hour in advance to pick up the tickets. Madison Square Garden is connected to Penn Station so it is not a problem getting there on public transportation. We just walked over there after a short stop at Macy’s. Once we came to the Penn Station area we were met by lots of people trying to sell tickets to the game so I don’t think it would have been a huge problem if we had not bought tickets in advance. Even as we were walking through the door to the ticket booths we were offered a ticket...I wonder if this is legal. There was a brief security control before we went in and they checked our backpack and we had to leave bottles of water. But that was not a problem as they were selling beer, soda etc outside the arena area. We didn’t have any problems finding our seats in section 338 (row K, seat 5-6) as it was clearly marked. I had fears that we would be so far from the court that I would not be able to see any of the action without a pair of binoculars from we found the view from section 338 to be great.


Action between the Knicks and the Bucks at Madison Square GardenBefore the game started they had the national anthem of course, presentation of some of the players etc. When the teams ran in I was of course cheering for the home team (oh, they were playing against the Milwaukee Bucks) but to my big surprise the home crowd was booing when the Knicks came out on the court. I think it was because they had lost to the Boston Celtics the night before...but still, I’m not used to this kind of treatment from a home crowd.


The Knicks City DancersWe don’t know all the details about the rules of basketball but it was still fun and exciting to watch the game. And whenever there was a break they would have some sort of entertainment in the form of Knicks City Dancers, kids playing on drums, people from the crowd trying to aim for the basket from the middle of the court etc. And of course there were some celebrities at the game and they were sitting ringside so to speak. The first one that was “discovered” by the camera was Masi Oka who plays Hiro Nakamura in the TV show Heroes. Next to him was also Sean William Scott. I guess I will always think of him as Stifler (remember American Pie?)


The view from our seats at Madison Squasre GardenAt half time Knicks were like 10-15 points behind the Bucks and again the home team faced a crowd that was far from pleased. But in the second half the Knicks seemed to get their act together and they were catching up with the Bucks point by point. A minute before the end of the came it was a tie 88 to 88. And to the home crowd satisfaction the Knicks were able to score again and they won the game 91 to 88 more or less in the final seconds of the game. At this point the Garden was boiling as the home crowd was in ecstastatic. Going to a Knicks game was a great experience and we could not have asked for a more thrilling ending.


As good as it gets? – Cheesecake at Junior’s
Caesar salad at Junior's in NYCI have a bit of a sweet tooth and I do enjoy a good slice of cake. One of my favourite cakes is the NY style cheese cake and I can actually make a pretty good homemade cheesecake...I even won the great cheesecake duel at work in November 2007 :-) The last time I went to NYC I didn’t try the cheesecake as I was afraid that it would be a bit of a let down. But I got lots of feedback from people saying that I should try out the cheesecake at Junior’s at Grand Central Station. We went there during lunch hour and we didn’t have any problems getting a table.Maybe the best cheese cake in the world :-) Junior's in NYC After a bite to eat we had to try the plain cheesecake and I have to admit that it was pretty damn good. Very rich, filling, creamy and with a great taste :-) As we were finishing our meal a homeless lady came over the restaurant and she asked the waitress for something. The waitress walked away and came back with a spoon that she handed over to the lady. The lady was like “Why do you give me a spoon?...I was asking if you had any food”. Incidents like this gives me a bit of bitter aftertaste as the lunch meals that we had were waaaaay too big and I was not able to finish my Caesars’ salad because if was so huge. We did see quite a lot of homeless in the city and it is sad to see that even in a rich country like the USA there are people that fall outside the system.


Note: Junior’s also has a branch by Times Square (near the Marriott hotel).


Grand Central Station is still a beautiful place that is worth a visit. When we were there they had a special Christmas kaleidoscope show in the main hall of the station. This was a huge light show where they displayed images on all the walls and it gave the hall a completely look.


Beware of a glowing credit card – Shopping in NYC
One of our main goals with this visit was to buy some Christmas gifts. Initially we had a loose plan to visit Woodbury Common outlets located a bit outside NYC but we actually never got around to that. Instead we just stayed in the city and we did end up going to Macy’s quite a lot. The ground floor at Macy’s were really crowded especially on the weekend but as you have several floors to choose from you should be able to find a floor to get lost on :-)


Note: If you are there in the winter period remember that there is a free coat check in the basement of Macy’s. You can also store shopping bags here and it makes it easier to shop when you don’t have to drag around lots of stuff.


If you are looking for a new camera, camera equipment etc I would recommend a visit to B&H Photo Video located a short walk from Penn Station and Macy’s. We went there a couple of times and to our big surprise it was closed on Saturday!! (it is due to the Jewish owners). But I went back there on a Monday and I did buy an Olympus camera for Nikki. It is a camera that is waterproof by the way so expect underwater pictures from our next beach vacation :-) The prices were quite good compared to the prices in Norway at least and I also ended up buying a camera for my brother. The store itself doesn’t look that big seen from the outside. B&H Photo Video is an amazing camera storeBut when you get inside there are two huge floors with cameras, equipment etc. They have quite the system going on when you buy something. I first went over to the Olympus stand to say that I wanted the camera. He went into the system and then he told me to go to a new counter. At this counter I was asked if I wanted extra insurance etc. Then I had to wait for a minute or two and then the camera came rolling on a conveyer belt under the desk. He picked it up, scanned it and then asked me to go downstairs to pay. I went downstairs, paid and when I came to the last counter the cameras were already put in a bag for me and I could finally walk out. I guess they must have quite a warehouse to store all the cameras :-)


If you are into wristwatches you should make a visit to some of the places on 5th Avenue. I’m not convinced that they have the best prices but a place like Torneau has several floors of watches and here you can take a closer look at brands like IWC, Breitling, Panerai, TAGHeuer, Jaeger LeCoultre just to name a few.


I ride a Harley here in Norway and I used the opportunity to make a stop at the Harley-Davidson store in Long Island city. It was a bit like seeing American Chopper on Discovery Channel as two of the employees were having a bit of a lively discussion when I was walking into the store. But they had a very good selection of stuff for the bike, clothes etc.

Nikki and spongebob squarepants at FAO SchwarzWe also went to Union square and stopped by Paragon Sports again. This sports store has a great selection of all that you need...and a bit more. It you want to buy Nike stuff be sure to stop by the huge Niketown store located close to 5th Avenue. We also went to H&M - of all things. This is the brand that you can find all over the place here in Norway and traditionally it has been seen as OK and cheap clothes. They seem to have a name in the US and there were a few stores around on Manhattan. We also had to visit FAO Schwarz while in NYC. This toy store seems to be very popular and it was made famous by Tom Hanks in Big (remember when he played the piano with his feet?). The piano is still there but you have to line up if you want to try it out. We did end up coming out of the store with some Barbie stuff for one of my nieces :-)


Nikki’s summary of the shopping in NYC is “there was not enough time”. We came over with three suitcases and one of them was more or less empty. When we went back we had three suitcases that were stuffed.


New York stories
If you need something check out a Duane Reade. I guess it is first of all a pharmacy but you can also by lots of other stuff there. I guess the big rat crawling the entrance was also looking for pain medication - seemed to have a bum leg. It was fun to see some of the customers that didn’t notice it until they where right next to it. Well, eventually one of the employees came along and smacked it “senseless” with a shopping basket.


Broadway, NYCTraffic in NYC is not that bad for a pedestrian. But we did see a couple of incidents where cars and bicycles were involved. There was the furious cyclist at an intersection – from what we could tell a yellow cab had ran into him or had been close to running into him. The cyclist was yelling to the cab driver “Be a man and get out of the f%&+! car so we can settle this”. I guess they were not completely in agreement about the traffic rules in the situation :-)


On my way back from B&H Photo Video I was stopped by a young woman on the street. Her long red hair was everywhere in the strong wind and she was going through a long sales pitch. I was freezing my ass off so I told her with a smile “Look I’m freezing...why don’t you get to the point. What do you want from me?” :-) Well, it turned out that she was selling membership to GreenPeace and I tried to tell her that I was just visiting so I could not sign up but she said that it was not a problem as I would be signed up to the Norwegian chapter. In the end I didn’t sign up...I guess she lost interest when I told her that I had tried whale meat and that it was quite tasty :-)


Time to go home
Empire State Building in snow weatherOn December 4th we had our last day in NYC. Nikki spent her last hours running around on 5th Avenue shopping while I checked out Top of the Rock etc. Our flight was at about 7 PM and we were leaving from Newark Liberty Airport. According to the hotel clerk a taxi to the airport would be at least 90$. So we decided to be cheapskates and we took the subway to Herald square and from there we walked over to Penn Station where we took the NJ transit rail to the airport. The tickets are 15$ each and it takes about 30 minutes to get to Newark. The train is not really made for passengers with lots of large suitcases so we ended up standing near the door to keep an eye on our suitcases. A guy was standing next to me with a 6 pack of Budweiser in a plastic bag and he kept on drinking one by one from a brown paper bag. I think he managed to drink at least three on the 30 minute trip to the airport.
The check-in was fast but security took a while of course but in the end we were in the SAS Eurobonus lounge sipping on a glass of red wine. The trip home was also quite fast as we had a strong tailwind and the flight to Frankfurt was only 7 hours and after a short stop we were back in Stavanger in Norway.


The Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skylineAs we were walking home one evening we walked through Times Square and we looked at all the shining billboards...some of them are so good these days that they remind me of scenes from Blade Runner. We were discussing what it is with New York City. There is something there that draws people and we still can’t quite pin point “it”. But NYC is worth a, it is worth several visits actually. This is the city that can offer everything and there is always something new to see, a new play on Broadway, a new exhibit, a museum that needs to be revisited. This was our second visit to NYC and I’m sure that we will be back one days as there is so much more to see in this amazing city.


I hope that this trip report has been of some help. If you are going to NYC you should get a good guidebook to plan your visit. Read the book and decide what YOU want to see and then try to build an itinerary based on how many days you have in the city. And you also have to accept the fact that you can’t see it all in a very short trip. In my opinion you should not have a minute by minute plan as this only makes a trip into a stressful event.


Some “useful” tips
So what do you need to bring to NYC? And how do you plan a trip to NYC? Here are some useful tips:

  • Get in touch with bigapplegreeter well in advance for a free tour.

  • If you are going to NYC in the wintertime be sure to bring warm clothing, gloves, a warm hat etc. It is freezing and windy.

  • Use the subway. Here is a subway map.

  • Wondering about the weather in NYC? Check out weatherbase to get some weather stats so you know what to expect. And check the weather forecast right before you go so that you know how cold/warm it could be.

  • A good guidebook: yes, you can find a lot of useful info on the internet. But get a good guidebook with a comprehensive street map. Which one to buy is up to you :-)

  • Which forums to ask questions: Try TripAdvisor, Fodor’s, SlowTalk, Frommer’s and Travelers to Go!

  • Are you bringing a laptop? We did and it was great to use this to check out attractions and opening times, maps etc. There are wireless connections where you can buy surf time.

  • Do you wonder how far it is from one place to another in NYC? Why not use Google Earth/Google Maps to measure? I find this to be a great tool.

  • Use Microsoft maps for a bird’s eye view. The details of NYC are stunning! Take a look at e.g. the Empire State Building.

  • Here is an interactive Google map where I have highlighted some of the places that we went to.

  • Would you like to print this report? Try to print this PDF file for a better result. (XXX)

Feel free to check out the next section: Eating and drinking in NYC :-)



Back to index pageGet in touch if you have any questionsClick here to read about restaurants we went to in NYC