New York by night WOW!!!!!
14.02.2008 - 14.02.2008
Up bright and early we went down for our last continental breakfast in Arizona then back to our room for our cases and we checked out by 7am.
It was a nice drive back to the highway as the sun was still coming up but we thought we’d had enough photos by this time. What I wanted to take photos of were the cacti on the last stretch to Phoenix.
The drive went smooth and again we noticed new vegetation every time we went over a ridge then we came to what we were looking for.... Cacti!! Hahaha
There was loads of them up on crests of hills on the sides of the road but no where to park to take photos. When we did find somewhere it wasn’t but the big ones I desperately wanted to find. Eventually we saw a slip road off the highway which had them in the area. Off we went (I think I indicated) and there it was, a giant, but it was not alone. There looked to be a number of Chinese tourists around it, hahaha. We discovered that they had come down from Canada especially to see this sort of cactus. So I offered to take their photo with it hoping that they would do the same for Sue and me. But then I thought I was going to have problems as all the instructions and buttons on their camera were in Chinese!! But with a bit of pointing and gesturing we found out which button to press and they returned the favour.
Ok back onto the road again and foot down we hit the outskirts of Phoenix. Even though it was rush hour by now the traffic was moving freely and the directions back to the Car hire place were clear.
Next thing we knew we were on the shuttle to the airport to check in.
Uh oh! Problems. At check in we thought there was going to be a problem as the man at the desk said we had reservations but no tickets.
Huuuuuhhhhh?? That’s one thing that worries me about booking flights and hotels over the internet it’s not something we do everyday so in the back of my mind there could have been a mistake or a misunderstanding when the booking was made. After about 5 minutes the supervisor was called and with some convoluted way of clicking on icons pressing of “F” keys our boarding passes came out. Phewwww we were on our way to New York. Now the next different thing was that at check in they didn’t take our cases. We had to take them around the corner and remove our locks as the X-ray machine wasn’t working and all the cases had to be searched by hand. Hmmmmmmm will they be checked in time to be on our flight? We’ll see.
Nothing much more to do so we thought we’d go through security and again everything that needed to be removed was removed belt watch shoes sweat top etc for them to be X-rayed and obviously our back packs too. I did wonder what they would make of Valentino Pup in Sue’s back pack as it contained electronics, wires and batteries. But there were no alarm bells so we didn’t loose him. Unfortunately one of the other passengers was not so lucky.
We had managed to drink all the coke we brought with us just before entering the queue, as we knew no fluids were allowed to be brought into the cabin of the plane but the person behind didn’t think. He’d bought what seemed like a litre of brandy. Oooops!! That’s it!! Confiscated and no compensation either!!
Well we got to our gate and found out that the incoming flight was delayed but they would try to get it turned around as soon as possible. Which they did.
On our way to New York!!
The flight was ok and we even had a spare seat beside us, so Sue could stretch out a little and I stretch my legs. Going from East to West time goes faster well it seems it as Sunset came 2 hours early for us (2 hours difference between Phoenix and New York time) and we flew over New York about 7pm local time and it was spectacular. Every Avenue and Street on Manhattan looked like stretched gold threads. It was Beautiful we could not wait to land and explore the streets at night.
Not long after we landed and as it was an internal flight no immigration. It seemed like we had landed at a bus station this time as we walked a short distance to left luggage picked it up and made our way to the shuttle Only thing to note here, I did have someone ask if I needed help with my case which I did refuse 1 because I could manage it and 2 I had read somewhere that you should only let official “bag people” (or what ever you call them) help and I could not remember what made them look official. Any way we got out into the evening air and were surprised that it was not as cold as we thought. After spotting the signs we made our way to the shuttle and saw a “real” official who we asked what we needed to catch to get to Manhattan. I think she spoke English there were some words I recognised but she spoke so fast mentioning all the stations and changes what seemed in 1 breathe that I could not take it all in. So we asked her to repeat it again and then 1 more time. Ok I now knew where the 1st place we had to head to, was called - “The end of the line”.
We had thought the shuttle would have taken us right into Manhattan because we thought it was part of the subway system. But this shuttle was only to get us to the subway.
Any way, got to the end of the line but didn’t like the look of the area and hoped we didn’t have to walk the streets here. We had arrived at Jamaica station the place where we catch the subway train. But which station do we get off at? I think the girl who spoke to us before told us but my ears were going at a slower speed than her mouth.
We looked at the automatic ticket machine and decided to press select English. Phew it didn’t speak to us we just had to read. But damn. What were all these options? Luckily one of the staff came over and asked where we wanted to go and he pressed a few buttons and $14 later out came our 2 person ticket.
Next problem. How to negotiate turnstiles with suitcases. I didn’t want to push them through in case some helpful person decides to take them on further. I know it sounds as if I don’t trust anybody but we were in a new city after travelling for 12 hours, do you blame me? After the 1st attempt I gave up and went to the ticket office and with out much hassle he remotely unlocked the side gate to let us through.
Now which train was it we wanted? I think it was on the “A” line we needed found our way to the platform and after a short wait got on the train hoping it was going in the right direction (which it was). Now we had to figure which station we had to get off. We were heading for East 47th Street which was not far from Time Square. But we could not see any maps in the carriage like thy have on the London Underground. Out came the guide book but the map in there did not show all the stations Humph.
I know I said before that it seemed I wasn’t very trusting but I did find the people we came across that evening to be very helpful. The guy sitting opposite us must have overheard and guessed we were tourists. Maybe because of an English accent we stood out or maybe the large red suit cases gave us away. But he told us our stop was only a couple away and sure enough we read the station name as we came to stop. Off we got again with guide book in hand and another fellow passenger stopped to ask if we knew where we were going. She explained that we had to go to the end of the platform and up the stairs there to get to our next train.
After thanking her we set off and came to the stairway struggled up with them and then saw a lift to the next level we needed. As we got in so did this big black guy Oooops! Was this a mistake? I tried to look him up and down to gauge if I could take him if needed and spotted what I needed to know. He was carrying a library book. I could tell by the sticker on the spine. Now remember what day it was? Yes, Valentine’s Day. The book he had was called “Dating for Idiots” Maybe he was going on a 1st date and was a bit nervous. Maybe that’s why he started to talk to us. We explained where we were going and he told us t follow him I didn’t have too many worries this time and also I could see the signs directing us to the platform we needed. We were lead to another lift, where we let a man, with his home in a shopping trolley, exit. Got to another level where we would catch our last part of public transport for that day.
We exited the Subway about 5 streets down from 47th Street and all we could see were people so best foot forward we started to drag our cases. We could not help but look up at the buildings and I know I was smiling to myself and I’m sure Sue was too. Eventually we got to 47th Street but did not know which part of East 47th we were on but we need not have worried it was almost on the corner of 7th Avenue which we had just walked up.
I was surprised how close we were to Time Square for the price we were paying.
The lobby was small but what would you need a large lobby for in a small hotel right? We checked in and went up to our room on the 6th floor we didn’t think the lift was moving but the numbers were but sooooo slowly then we grinded to the top floor and waited for the lift to drop back to the ground floor. Well that was what it seemed like was going to happen after all the noises it made as the length of time it took the doors to open.
But eventually we were there and our room was only just around the corner. Ok the Room. Yes the Room. We read reviews on this hotel as we had the others and when it said the rooms were small we didn’t mind as we were only going to sleep in there. But was it small. Hahaha
It was a good job the TV was a flat screen one and even whit that on the wall I had to “limbo” past it as there was only a small gap between the foot of the bed an the wall. Hahaha.
We unpacked and managed to fit all we needed to in to the small wardrobe and stand our cases against the wall so we had enough room to get out of bed. Once we did that we hit the streets.
Even though it was 10pm, like London, the streets are always busy here. We made our way down to Time Square where we took videos and photos for our selves and for other couples who again returned the favour. There were a lot of couples about that night, I wonder why? I treated Sue to a Valentine’s Hot Dog well it was nothing special but Sue just wanted to have one from a street vendor like we see on the TV. More photos later we walked down Broadway and then we came across Macy’s another Icon of New York but now we were not far from our destination, the Empire State Building. We had bought 2 pairs of tickets before we left England. 1 pair was for tonight as I did not see the views at night from the top last time I was in New York and I knew Sue would love it too. The Empire State Building was lit up special for tonight as it was Valentine’s Day. The colours were Red, White and Pink. There were no queues at all when we got there as it was gone 11pm by this time. We went through security. Showed our Tickets got in the lift and in the time it took the hotel lift to do the 6 floors we had reached the 80th. We didn’t mind the ear popping as we were going up as it was part of the experience. We then followed a maze of tape and signs avoiding the photographers wanting to take our photo in front of a blue screen and eventually arrived at the next lift to take us to the viewing area. A couple of minuets later and......
What a breathtaking view. There were only a few couples up there but what a view. I never imagined it would look so fantastic at night. The last time I view took my breath away was when I was in a church the Santa Maria Assunta in Venice. We were there gone midnight spellbound by the lights of New York. The only problem was the cold. So we eventually made our way back down and up through to Time Square. Our body clocks were saying 11pm but the time in New York was 1am could we find somewhere to eat? Only a 24 hour McDonalds. I don’t normally do “Fast Food” burger places but we were in the US hahaha. Almost had some problem with the change but got that sorted it may have been our 1st night in NY but I was used to the money. Finally back to our tiny room ready for a good nights sleep before we explore more of Manhattan.