29 December 2007

Christmas in NY - Day 1

We had planned on going to New York City while we were over in this general area of the country and Nicole had the thought, "what better time to visit New York than Christmastime." And so about a month out I began planning. As most of you know, I'm such a techno-geek that I had to do it all on Excel.

First, I consulted with my travel agents at work to see what sort of things we should do while in NY (many of the people I work with are from the Oradell, NJ). Next, I began searching the web to reserve lodging and tickets for the various attractions.

For the hotel I searched on Hotels.com to find the best value with the easiest travel. I first reserved a room at the Ramada Inn in East Orange and I made all of my travel arrangements from here. Then two days before I was going to stay there, people at work asked where I was staying and when I told them "East Orange" they all started laughing and thought (hoped) I was kidding.

They said that this was one of worst areas to stay and that if I wanted to get mugged in the middle of the day that this would be a good place to stay.

Needless to say I asked them to tell me exactly where I was allowed to stay. So I scrambled for the next hour to find a Howard Johnson that was a hundred times better than what I had previously booked. It was about 10 miles closer and it had a $5/person shuttle into Times Square every day and had a continental breakfast. Plus I was told the area was a hundred times safer which was the most important reason. Disaster averted.

On my internet search I secured tickets in advance for the Radio City Music Hall, Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rock, and the Empire State Building. The rest of the stuff we payed for at the sites. When we said we visited New York, and when most people visit New York, we really only visited Manhattan because that's where everything cool to see is located. In case you did not know, Manhattan is just one of the five districts or boroughs of the city of New York (all five are The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island).

As shown in our itinerary, Day 1 included seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and visiting the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or MET for short). We also got to see Times Square, Central Park, and take the subway. Plus we ate dinner at Bubba Gump at Times Square.

Our first drop off at Times Square

In front of Radio City Music Hall

During the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Our first subway trip

At the American Museum of Natural History (better known by my kids as the place where "Night at the Museum" was filmed).

Walking through Central Park to get to the MET from the Museum of Natural History. We got lost a few times in the park and after walking through some portions I can see why they recommend you do not be in the park after dark. It was really quite spooky.

At the MET in the Egyptian Art section at the temple of Dendur

At dinner at Bubba Gump at Times Square. Nicole and Rebekkah enjoy dessert...mmmm...mud pie!

Finally at the end of Day 1 at Toys R Us and Times Square. The Toys R Us at Times Square was totally amazing. When you first come in there are people there to greet you and take your picture (of course because they want to sell it to you later). The first thing you see, even before you enter, is the ferris wheel inside. Also inside as we have taken a picture of and filmed is a 5-ton, 20-feet high, 34-feet long animatronic T-Rex from Jurassic Park. Plus it was a total madhouse in there since it was Christmas week. I was amazed that I could even pull off any of these pictures!

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