Arrived in the USA…
Early on this Sunday morning Jörg brought us to Nürnberg Airport. The start of our first trip to New York City was made and on time we took off towards Düsseldorf Airport from where we would fly to Newark Airport. The Short fine was nothing special except for an almost empty plane. The flight to the US went fine as well even the food was good.
After 8,5 hours flight-time we arrived at Newark where we needed 30 minutes for the Customs. Our suitcases where already circling on the baggage claim carrousel and at 15:45 we where waiting outside for Glenn which would pick us up to get dinner together with Gina and his parents.
The dinner was planned at the favorite restaurant of Glenn but it was way too busy which made us change to the Cheeseburger in Paradise! Danielle and I both got an All-American Cheeseburger! The burgers where really good and the company was even better. We had much fun and there will be much more to look forward to this week!
After dinner Glenn drove us to our hotel which is really in the middle of Manhattan! The location is better then we expected. At the check-in we where already surprised by the friendliness and got directly a FourSquare Action coupon for additional points for our stay, free entrance to the fitness area and free wireless internet ($ 9,95 for 4 hours). This because I’m a Priority Club Gold Member! The hotel room looks amazing and is on the 42nd floor! It’s not a Time Square view and it was to dark to see what our view is.
After checking out the room we went down for a short walk through Manhattan. This walk brought us to the Disney Store, Starbucks, Toys’R'us, Rockefeller Square and the Apple Store on 5th Avenue! After some grocery shopping we went back to the hotel and after being awake for 23 hours we are both very tired!
Because of the jet-lag I (Sander) woke up early at 5:55 this morning and Danielle woke up short after. It was nice to read the reactions on the blogpost from yesterday! And soon after we were ready to go!
The first stop was Planet Hollywood to get our New York Passes. The first stop of the day would be the Top of the Rockefeller Centre. We decided to take the metro and got Metrocards which are prepaid tickets. Every ride costs $ 2,25 and if the money is gone you can reload the card at every metro station or select bus stop. After a short metro ride and walk we entered the Rockefeller Centre and it seemed like we were the only ones visiting early. There was no waiting line and we could take pictures from every observation deck and the views from there are great! There is free wifi on top and that combined with the iPhone app made it easy to spot the highlights in the area.
After a short stop at a Starbucks we went towards Bryant Park which is a small park near time square. From there we walked towards Grand Central, the major train station in New York. We spend some time in the new Apple Store there, this is definitely the most beautiful we have seen so far!
After a shirt while we took the Line 4 Metro in Downtown direction to visit Wall Street. We had a look at the New York Stock Exchange and the statue of George Washington.
From Wall Street we walked via Water Street to Battery Park. From there we went took the Statue Cruise towards Liberty Island to check out the refurbishment works on the Statue of Liberty. From here we have made also some amazing pictures of the New York Skyline including the Freedom Tower/One WTC which is being build at this moment. We soon stepped on he ferry towards Ellis Island.
Ellis Island is the place where all the immigrants from oversea went in the early 20th century. It was interesting to see the process where all the immigrants went through in the time. At 14:45 we went back to Manhattan because we would meet up with Glenn at the Staten Island Ferry.
Glenn showed us some other things in Manhattan like the globe which was standing in the original World Trade Center but got damaged in 9/11. The ball is a special symbol together with the internal flame. Interesting place since you have a clear sight on the One WTC from that place.
We walked through the streets of Manhattan and ended up at Pier 17 where Danielle and Glenn had a Bubble Thea, I went for a regular coke. After a drink we decided to go to Staten Island to have a look at Glenn and Gina’s place.
For dinner we went to our all time favorite steakhouse the Outback! Gina joined us too and we had a lot of fun together! And off course we learned some new signs!
After diner Glenn took us back to the Statem Island Ferry which we took back to Manhattan. And after a ride with Metro Line 1 to uptown we got back to 50th street near our hotel in no time. After 13 hours of wandering and traveling we are tired but we seen some amazing things.
Thanks Glenn and Gina for joining us today!
A little bit of Disney in NYC…
Today we woke up pretty early because we wanted to visit the Observatory deck of the Empire State Building at 5th Avenue. After we took some pictures of our hotel by daylight we went to the subway station to drive to the Empire State Building. The sun was shining and the sky was crystal clear. We also saw Macy’s, but that was for later.
Thanks to our New York Pass we did not have to pay for the Entrance for the Empire State Building. We bought some sort of map and with this map we could see where in NYC all the buildings really are.
As soon as we entered the waiting line we had to go through a security check (similar as a security check at the airport). After that we went to the elevators which took us up to the 80th floor of the building. At the 80th floor we had to change the elevator to get to the 86th floor. Here we got to the Observatory Deck and guess what we saw…… The Disney Fantasy (Cruiseship of the Disney Cruise Line) at the Hudson River going to the Cruise Ship Terminal, We took a lot of pictures from it. At the East and South Side of the building it was very windy and cold. On the other hand, the other side of the building was easy to found and here the sun was shining. The views were amazing. There was a possibility to get to the 102nd floor for an additional § 15, but we did not do this.
After this it was time to go to the 9/11 Memorial. Again we took the Subway and founded it pretty soon. And here again a big security check . The Memorial was pretty impressive even though the Museum was not open jet. From here it was also possible tot see the Freedom Tower. This tower is still being built and we think it is going to be beautyful.
After that we went back tot Macy’s, the biggest department store in the world. First we went to the restaurant in the Cellar of Macy’s. It is located at 151 W 34th. We both had the Burger of this restaurant and it was very good. After that it was time to go shop, but Macy’s was not what I was expecting from it. So we went to the next store – Victoria’s Secret. This store was a madhouse, because they launched a new fragrance. We bought some nice things there. Next shopping shop was going to be Bloomingdales, but Bloomingdale is unfortunately not next to Macy’s and Victoria Secret, so we had to walk a couple of blocks.
When we we’re walking towards Bloomingdales we saw the New York Public Library, so we we’re going to visit the Library. It was a short visit (only the restrooms) and we were walking further towards Bloomingdales. We stopped at the Build a Bear shop and at Armani and Tommy Hilfiger (where we bought some new clothes for the both of us).
We had to walk 22 blocks on 5th Ave. After we took some pictures of the Apple Store at 5th (by daylight) we arrived at Bloomingdales. The store is really big, but a lot of people are trying to sell you all kinds of stuff. At the cosmetic department, they tried to sell me some expensive cremes, but they did not succeed. On top of that, I was trying on some clothes of Ralph Lauren in a dressing room at the Michael Kors part of floor. The saleswoman was freaking out…. Sometimes the Americans are a little crazy.
After the shopping part of the day we were really thirsty, so we went to the Trump Building to get a Starbucks. The Trump Building is a really chique building with lots of companies in it. On our way back to the hotel we visited finally the Magnolia Bakery. A Bakery where you can buy really expensive Cupcakes, but when you are in New York, you just have to buy them. And I can tell you, they are delicious.
Pretty early we arrived at the hotel, because walking all day through New York is no picknick and we need to give our feet some rest.
This third day in New York City we had not so great weather, better to say we had really bad weather. So we needed to plan as much indoor activity as possible. We started the morning with a Starbucks so we could wait in line at the TKTS Booth. Here you can get tickets for Broadway shows on the same day. We decided that we wanted to go to an afternoon show.
We went for Sister Act and we were lucky since they had tickets available with 50% off. So the decision was easy and we ended up with 2 tickets for seats in the middle of Row 17 in the Orchestra. The show takes place at 14:00 at the Broadway Theatre just 4 blocks away from our hotel. After getting the tickets we did some shopping at Times Square and we waited for Yves to get home from work so he could make a print screen from us on the webcam on Times Square.
After the picture it started to rain and we decided to walk through the M&M’s World to Pier 88. During our walk we saw some firetrucks passing a couple blocks away from us. I was disappointed since it seemed like I missed a nice photo opportunity. Just a couple minutes later the road was blocked by at least 5 fire trucks including a Ladder. We watched this scene but it seemed like nothing was wrong in the end and the firemen left the scene soon.
At Pier 88 the Disney Fantasy Cruise ship is docked for the Christening Ceremony. We wanted to make some close up pictures but there was a lot of security and it was very difficult to come close. But in the end we got some pictures from the parking deck of Pier 90. Unfortunately the rain make the pictures less nice.
After visiting the Manhattan Cruise Terminal we went back towards the hotel and after a lunch we dropped our stuff in the hotel room before we walked to the theatre for Sister Act. the show was really good and the music and atmosphere were both great.
After the show we continued with shopping. We walked in the direction of 5th Ave and visit Michael Kors, Saks 5th Avenue, Abercombie & Fitch, Hollister and we ended the afternoon with diner at T.G.I. Friday. Danielle went for a Cajun Shrimp & Chicken pasta and I had a Jack Daniel’s Burger. We decided to not have a dessert and instead go to the Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes. Today Danielle picked the Red Velvet cupcake with whipped vanilla cream topping and 4 different colors (purple, yellow, green and blue).
We walked back to Times Square where Danielle bought a nice sweater from American Eagle Outfitters with 15% off because of a Foursquare check-inn. And we went back to the Disney Store since Danielle had seen a very fluffy plush Dumbo which she wanted to adopt.
After the Disney Store visit we went back to the hotel for our last night in Manhattan. Tomorrow we move to the Indigo in Rahway just north from Staten Island where we have the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner tomorrow evening.
We both woke up somewhere around 6 o’clock in the morning but we didn’t want to get out of the nice warm kingside bed. Main reason was probably that it were the last hours in the Crowne Plaza hotel and we needed to move to the Indigo Hotel in Rahway, New Jersey. But first we needed to repack the suitcases since we had more stuff with us then the day we arrived.
After replacing we checked out and went downstairs to get a taxi. This taxi should bring us to the rental car facility from Newark Airport. It was an interesting adventure explaining this to a driver who could barely speak English. But we ended up on the right place. At National we were Rey lucky since we got a nice upgrade offer and we upgraded to a Fullsize SUV. We got a GMC Yukon which was fresh and almost brand new. Everything seemed to be fine and at 10:45 we left and drove to Jersey Gardens, an outlet Mall.
In Jersey Gardens we had a nice lunch in the food court. It was very easy and in most stores we where the only customers. Except at Tommy Hilfiger there it was busier. We succeed in the store and Danielle bought a whole new outfit for the wedding rehearsal which takes place tonight.
After shopping at Jersey Gardens we drove to Woodbridge and this was very close to our hotel in Ranway. On the way to the mall it became clear that there was a problem with the Yukon, the mirror wasn’t working properly. After a Starbucks I bought a pair of shoes for tonight and we left the Mall. Due to the problem with the mirror we went to the nearest National Car rental office. After 20 minutes they suggested us to take a smaller car or to drive back to National to get a new car. After a couple minutes everything was done and we left with a black Chevrolet Yukon.
After this car issues we went straight to the hotel. The indigo hotel is very nice and seems to be verily new. It has hotel rooms with very high ceilings and with a very modern interior.
After changing our clothes we went for the rehearsal in the church. It was nice to see how that works. After the rehearsal we went with about 40 people to Nove an italian bistro in Staten Island. We had a very nice dinner and got to met some amazing people.
We really look forward to tomorrow.
The Gina & Glenn wedding…
This morning we woke up and told each other this day is the reason for this vacation and this is also the day we looked forward too for a year. We managed to get a late checkout (14:00) in the Indigo hotel which fitted almost perfect to the time we should be in the church (15:30).
Since we still wake up early due to the jet-lag we had some time left today. Danielle thought that shopping would be a great way to spend the morning and we went to Woodbridge Centre. She wanted to buy slipper as an exchange for the black heels she had brought with her. But first we needed a breakfast and we ended up at the Starbucks. Danielle found a nice pair of slippers which fitted perfectly to her dress.
After successful shopping we went back to the hotel to change from jeans to dress/suit. After changing we packed the suitcases in our car and went towards the church in Staten Island. The church is new and looks great. It is the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen.
The wedding mass was nice and somewhat different them we are used to from in the Netherlands. There was a live singer and the participants are participating more. The priest even made some jokes. After somewhat over a hour the mass was over and it was time to congratulate the newly weds. Then we needed to rush to the hotel to be on time on the party location which was in the Venetian in Garfield New Jersey.
There was a lot of traffic on the road but in roundabout 45 minutes we arrived at the Holliday Inn. And we were just in time for the latest shuttle towards the The Vemetian which meant we could both drink some alcohol! When we arrived we both were blown away. Such a nice location. In between the other 240 guests we soon found a table with Richy and Denise (the people we celebrate thanksgiving with in 2009). The food served at the cocktail party was delicious, they were serving a huge amount number of really big shrimps. Rumors go that there is no shrimp left in the oceans near New York City.I also had a short look at the location and made some pictures with my iPhone.
Soon the 2nd part was starting and we were sitting on table number 20. With other friends from Glenn. The dining room was even more beautiful then the other areas of the location. The food served was very tastedful and contained Sushi, Burgers, Chinese style food, Italian food and probably lost more but it was too much to try everything. You all know I’m a big eater and I’ve seen some food coming together but this topped everything. And the things I tried were really delicious.
And where there is dinner there is also a dessert. And I didn’t make any pictures of this part since I was blown away. It seemed to be even more then the main course. There were a white chocolate fountain, milk chocolate fountain, wafer makers, popcorn machine, cotton candy, cocktail glasses with different kinds of pudding, chocolate mouse, cake, fruit covered in chocolate, fruit. Can you remember the picture of the strawberry we had at Magic Kingdom in 2009, the one bigger then a golf-bal? Today I should have brought a honk-bal because the strawberry were bigger and more tasteful.
And in between the eating there was a lot of dancing going on. And yes there was some alcohol too. They actually had some interesting beers like Guinness and Corona! There were cocktails and shots without limits. And the following guy, Sully “took one for the team”
I think this picture says it all. We had an awesome experience and if they ask us to come to the party again we would definitely do it! The two families and the friends of both Glenn and Gina are great we’ve met a lot of nice and interesting people.
And the. A couple readers asked after pictures from the dress. I would first try to describe it. Gina was the shining star of the day. Her dress was American made and that was something you could see by all the shining stones on the dress.
And then there was also the groom.
Glenn, Gina it was a pleasure to be part of this wonderful day. We can’t thank you enough for inviting us. I’m looking forward to the anniversary party’s already! ;-) Thanks for making us part of the beginning of your future together.
The day after…
We were tired after yesterday’s party or the jet-lag is over because we both woke up after 8:00 in the morning. As you might have seen in the blogpost from yesterday we had a great time and the wedding was the main reason for making this trip. And if we would need to decide again we would do it again.
This morning we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant together with all the guest and the newly weds which stayed a night in the hotel after the party. It seemed like the party continued for another couple hours. We got to learn some more sign language and showed some party pictures!
After breakfast we said goodbye to the families and friends of Glenn and Gina and we left the hotel to go to Woodbury Common. This is said to be the largest outlet mall in the world with 220 different shops. And we still wanted to do some shopping. After driving 45 minutes we arrived there and it seemed really busy. The shops are much larger them the shops we’ve seen in any other outlet we’ve been to.
We’ve spend over 4 hours and we still have the feeling there was more to shop. We bought a lot of stuff at Tommy Hilfiger, glasses at Michael Kors and had a great deal on 7 for All Mankind jeans. After the shopping we went back to the hotel since we planned to have dinner together with Glenn, Gina, Ian and Maxx in Hoboken, New York.
Gina took Glenn to a pizza place a couple weeks ago and Glenn sensed us the picture via WhatsApp. We both told him we want to get such a gigantic pizza slice too. And so we did. It was a really busy neighborhood which was caused by the celebration of St. Patrick’s day. This is celebrate 2 weeks early here to not have a conflict with the party’s in New York City at the official date. The pizza was delicious and the slice where about 50 cm. long. We took a normal size pizza with the 3 of us and we were lucky since it was enough food. A normal size pizza is the size of a family pizza in Germany.
We had a blast this evening and we had some laughs for which my stomachs still hurts! I can only say:
“Talk to the hand, please”
Thanks for taking us there Gina and Glenn, Ian and Maxx thanks for the fun we had together!
Central Park and more…
When waking up we had no idea about what we would be doing today. We had some ideas like going to a movie, visiting Glenn en Gina but no real plan. Then Glenn send us a WhatsApp message about what to do today. Danielle really wanted to go to Central Park since we didn’t had time in the beginning of the week. So after taking a shower and having breakfast at the Starbucks near our hotel we went for a drive to the Ward’s residence in Staten Island.
After arriving there we took the express bus to Central Park which took us about 40 minutes and we got of the bus at the entrance of the park. In the park we walked in uptown direction towards the turtlepond. From there we walked towards the Belvedere Castle.
We were lucky that we had Gina with us as guide so we got to see the nice spots. We saw a lot of nice places like the Bethesda fountain, the boathouse, the Shakespeare theatre and a lot of squirrels.
I was willing to find a geocache in the USA during this trip to drop the “Around the World” travel bug. And what would be a better place for a travel if then one which would like to travel around the world then the Central Park where lots of foreigners try to find a geocache. It took us a minute or 10-15 to find it due to juggles around but I found it in the end.
After the geocache we visit the strawberry fields and the imagine sign which is a memorial to John Lennon who lived a cross the street. And there we had some luck as the self declared major of strawberry field was just talking about the area.
The hike made us feel hungry and there was a nice dinning place in 72nd street called Dallas BBQ. This was a place Gina recommended us to go in the beginning of the week but we didn’t had the time to do so. The place had some awesome food for really great prices for the Manhattan area. Glenn, Gina and Danielle went for a half chicken and a Texas size piña colada. I picked the beef baby back ribs with a Texas size beer. And as you can see it tasted great.
Then we went to the Apple store where Danielle got a pink bumper for her iPhone. The store was crowed and there was a line for the elevator. I can imagine that this is the best selling store in the world.
We picked a metro to the area where Little Italy is for a dessert. We went to the Ferrara Bakery which is an Italian American bakery which is said to be the first place in the USA to server espresso and was established back in 1892. On the way there we got to see a live breakdancing session I the metro.
Glenn found out that his cousin was working at the firehouse that night and suggested to pay him a visit. He is working on the Ladder 5 which is a fire station near to the Freedom Tower. It was the station where former major of New York City made a phone call to president Bush on 9/11. For us this was a unique opportunity to visit a firehouse. It was really packed and with equipment and firefighters.
From the fire station we went back to our car at Staten Island by Metro, Ferry and train. On the train we needed to wait very long at a certain station without a real reason. All of a sudden 2 men came I to the train told an older man to get out which he did. The two men were undercover policemen and arrested the man. At the time we came back at the car we said goodbye to Glenn and Gina for the last time this trip. And we went back to the hotel.
The day which started without having a plan ended up to be one of the days we have seen the most of the city. Thanks Glenn and Gina for taking the time to show us a bit more of New York we had a blast.
Back home again...
We woke up with a very sad feeling, the trip we started planning a year ago was about the end. We got a late checkout and this made it possible that we could sleep a little bit longer today. Which was not bad since we would miss a whole night due the time difference.
After packing most of our stuff in the suitcases (Danielle) and me writing the blog from yesterday we decided to go out for something to eat. We ended up eating a sub at a local Subway for and at a local Starbucks for a frappuccino. After breakfast/lunch we went back to the hotel room to pack the last items in the suitcases and the carry-on bags. I got the task to guess the weight of the suitcases and I guessed it would be just about right.
After packing the car we left the hotel in the direction of J.F. Kennedy Airport. Without looking at the navigation system how we would be directed we left in the direction of New York City. Soon found out that the drive was a very exciting one over the George Washington Bridge. Danielle told me that it was great to look around, I paid more attention to the traffic since it was busy on the road.
Soon we arrived at National Car Rental to return our Full-size SUV and everything was fine. Too bad we only got to drive this car for a couple days. I can imagine driving this car in one of our next USA trips for a longer period.
For the rental car facility we took the AirTrain to Terminal 1 where the Lufthansa check-inn is located. Danielle was not so sure about the suitcases but as I guessed earlier today we had one suitcase from 21,8 kilogram and the other one was 22,6 kilogram. It’s allowed to have 23 kilogram heavy suitcases. We went directly to the security line and waited near a power outlet to board our flight to Munich. The flight took of 10 minutes earlier then expected and due to the strong back wind the flight time was only 6:56 hours instead of the 8:15 on our flight plans. We landed in Munich at 6:40.
Due to the early arrival we could enjoy a breakfast at the Munich Airport and we were also sure that our suitcases would be on the same flight to Nürnberg. At 8:50 our flight took of and at 9:08 we both woke up from the rough landing on the runway. Since we woke up so abrupt we directly grabbed our coats and luggage jumped in the bus to the baggage claim and at the moment we walked in the suitcases arrived.
And as always at airports the officers from customs are really active if a flight arrives. But this time we were lucky again. They picked the man walking behind us for a check. We were happy and we rushed through the doors to get a ticket for the U-Bahn and the train. At 10:45 we arrived at home.
Danielle unpacked and I started checking my 200+ business mails. We were both directly back into reality. The next evenings I will spend uploading additional pictures to our Flickr account and Facebook.
Thanks for reading and commenting on our blog. It was a pleasure to read the comments every morning.