Today started a bit different as expected. I didn’t feel great and went to the doctor which acknowledged what I already thought I have a sore throat. Which resulted in medication, it seems like there is something with me traveling to New York, last year I also had a sore throat.
At 10:30 we left our house to the Nürnberger airport and at 11:30 we were fully checked in. After a simple lunch at the airport it was already time to board on our flight to Munich. IN Munich we walked towards the gate and after going through the usual additional passport check for the USA we could board our plane. The plane took of without delay.
The flight was ok, I didn’t felt to good, Danielle felt okay. We both watched several movies like Broken City, The Guilt Trip, Playing for Keeps and Identity Thief and in the end the 9 hours flight took too long.
And what would we be without an internet connection? So before the plane was parked I already started the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini which we use during the trip as a mobile router. The phone is simlock free and on www.keepgo.nl they offer sim-cards for interesting prices. I didn’t expect too much but the speeds so far are good.
After going through customs we waited a couple minutes for our suitcases before we left Newark Airport. We wanted to take a yellow cab to our hotel and so we did. Unfortunately the rain was so bad we didn’t even had a proper change to take a picture but it’s all about the experience I would say.
As you’ve read before we booked the hotel via priceline but the hotel was kind enough to give us an upgrade to a deluxe king room. The room is nice but we still needed something to eat.
Since we are both tired we decided to grab something at a restaurant in the street but first we need to buy some water for in the room. We walked through the heavy rainstorm (imagine a rainstorm and multiply it with 3) to the Duane Reade near our hotel when we decided to walk another 400 meter to the Magnolia Bakery. But even before we arrived there we were already soaked.
After getting water and cupcakes we went to our room and jumped into bed to write this blog and sleep because it was a long day and we can’t wait for tomorrow.
Day 2: Shopping near New York…
This night was difficult we woke up several times because of the jet-lag and probably because of my cold. But in the morning we came out of bed without many problems because today would be shopping day!
We planned to meet Glenn & Gina on Staten Island so at 8:00 we left our hotel walked to Times Square from there we took the Subway 1 towards the Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is a free transit from Manhattan to Staten Island. Danielle found a great spot to make some pictures from the Statue of Liberty.
On the Staten Island side Glenn and Gina would pick us up with their car. First we gave them some gifts from Germany and soon we left for the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, one of the biggest outlet shopping centers in the world.
At about 11 o’clock we arrived and started with getting our free vouchers for extra reductions:
- VIP Coupon book with ‘Show Your Card’ (ANWB/ADAC/AAA)
- Free vouchers with a foreign MasterCard
- Getting a free suitcase when you spend 500$ or more on a MasterCard
- FourSquare check-inns for Specials
After getting an overview on what additional discounts for which shops were available we selects the first shop to visit, the 7 for All Mankind. I found 3 new jeans for about 75€ each which is a real bargain over the prices in the German outlets (180€). From there we went to the Converse where Danielle found a nice pair Converse in Stars and Stripes style.
At Michael Kors and Oakley we were not so lucky, but at Tommy Hilfiger Danielle hat her moment. Moment might be the worn word we stayed in the women part of the store for over 2 hours of shopping! At my side of the store there was not so much choice.
Since shopping makes you hungry we went to the Applebee’s for lunch to continue shopping afterwards. In the afternoon we spender an additional 2 hours of shopping at several stores like The Sunglass Hut, Vilebrequin, Uggs, The disney Store and more.
- 3 dresses
- 3 jeans
- 2 pants
- 1 pair of shoes
- 5 shorts
- 1 swimming pant
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 2 suitcases
- 1 Polo shirt
And soon it was almost 6 o’clock and we were tired and ready to go back to our hotel. Glenn and Gina dropped us of right in front of our hotel so we didn’t need to travel from Staten Island back with 2 new suitcases full of clothing. After dropping of the suitcases we went to Times Square t check-out the Disney Store but we didn’t found any Tiger stuff for our little nephew but Danielle was lucky and found a new outfit for Duffy the Disney-bear.
Our feet were tired and sine I’m far from fit we went back to the hotel at 8:30.
Already the second full day in New York today. The weather forecast is great, Mr. Jet-lag almost left us alone and I feel a lot better again although I still have a “runny nose”. The first thing we wanted to do was getting our New York passes at the GrayLine Visitor center on 8th Avenue (between 47th and 48th Street), on our way there we stopped at the Starbucks for breakfast to go.
After getting our passes we went straight to the Rockefeller Center because we wanted to go to ‘The top of the Rock’ again because we wanted to see Central Park in green this time. Without waiting we were on 67th floor by 9:15 and we made some FaceTime calls to our family in the Netherlands. I still think it’s cool to stand on the top of 259 meter high building and share what we see with people at about 5.900 kilometer far away. After enjoying the sun and making some pictures we went downstairs ad walked down 5th avenue.
At 5th there was an all day parade running from 44th Street (the street where our hotel is located) all the way up to 79th street. The parade was the annual Puerto Rico parade which attracts a lot of visitors. At the beginning of the parade the major from New York, Michael Bloomberg, walked with the participants. And at the moment I wanted to make a picture from him our camera lens broke… After almost 6 years this wasn’t a total surprise I guess but the timing is not the best.
Since this was the only lens we had with us we need to find another one. Searching on the web learned us that the prices are the same everywhere so we decided to meet Glenn & Gina at the Best Buy, an electronics store, at Union Square to see or they had the lens. After getting the worst service in an US Store ever we got a new lens for 20$ less as the online prices in the US. Unfortunately this is still a lot more expensive as in Europe but we wanted to make some more pictures with our Canon this trip so we didn’t had a choice and bought the Canon EF-S 18-200mm again.
After this experience everyone was hungry so we went to Dallas BBQ to get a lunch. Danielle went for Chicken & Shrimps and I went for a Classic Burger from the BBQ.
After lunch we went to f*cking Brooklyn by car to have a stroll over the boardwalk along the beach and Coney Island, at the beach there where kites in a lot of different sizes and forms, there was even a witch ‘flying’ in the air. And Gina insisted that Danielle tried the world-famous hot-dogs from Nathan’s at the boardwalk.
From Coney Island we said Glenn and Gina goodbye, they need to go to work tomorrow, and we took the Subway line ‘Q’ back to Times Square.
At Times Square we walked through some stores before we went back to the hotel to give our feet a bit of rest and later the evening we went out to get some food before we went to bed a bit earlier as usual because tomorrow we have an early morning appointment.
Day 4: Raining in New York…
For today we had a helicopter flight planned but due to the weather everything went a little bit different today. We woke up early so we would be at the helicopter platform on time. We arrive 45 minutes early but we didn’t knew what to expect from a monday morning rush-hour in the subway.
At 9 o’clock we were allowed to enter the and it already started to rain so I asked or it wasn’t a better idea to reschedule the trip. This wasn’t the necessary we were told, although the weather radar told it would only get worse. At 10 o’clock, our departure time, the group with the departure at 9:30 was still waiting inside the building. I asked again what the changes were and at 10:40 finally someone made a decision: We are not flying today! After waiting for the rescheduling of the flight to next Wednesday it was already 11 o’clock and it was pouring outside.
We walked back to the subway station near the Staten Island Ferry and made new plans for today. When it rains it means you need to stay inside, So we decided to go…..surprise: SHOPPING!!! First we made a selection of stores we’d like to go to and then figured out how the subway route would be:
- At Whitehall St/South Ferry: Subway Line R towards 34 St/Heralds Sq
- Shop at Victoria’s Secrets
- At 34 St/Heralds Sq: Subway Line M towards 5 Ave/53 St
- Shop at Tommy Hilfiger
- At 5 Ave/53 St: Subway Line M towards 47-50 St/Rockefeller Ctr
- Lunch at T.G.I. Friday
- Shop at Michael Kors
- Shop at Sunglass Hut
- Walked back to the hotel
And there is the big question which sunglasses should Danielle get as a birthday present from my mother?
We stayed almost dry and had a lot of fun, I guess we are becoming New York City Subway Experts or maybe I should be honest there is an App for that (Embark NYC). When Danielle was unpacking her new items she found out that one of the dresses had a stain so we needed to go back to the store which meant we had a second subway adventure today.
- At Times Sq/42 St: Walk underground to 42 St/Port Authority Bus Terminal
- At 42 St/Port Authority Bus Terminal: Subway Line E towards 5 Ave/53 St
- Exchange dress at Tommy Hilfiger
- Shop for more new items at Tommy Hilfiger
- Shop at the Apple Store
- At 5 Ave/59 St: Subway Line R towards Times Sq/42 St
Day 5: Celebrating in New York…
Half way down the trip and we were both tired from all experiences we have had so far that Danielle suggested to sleep late on her birthday. I was okay with that although I knew that she would wake up early anyway because I had a surprise for her a breakfast in the room to start her 29th birthday!
Then we made plans for the day, Danielle wanted to do something outdoor in the morning since the sun was shining. We decided to walk to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space exhibition which is located on a flight-deck ship which was used from 1943 till 1974. Normally the space shuttle Enterprise would be visible but due to damage caused by Sandy the pavilion wasn’t opened yet, I guess we’re just not so lucky this time. But we have seen a Space Shuttle before but it would have been cool since it was the only still existing space shuttle in the world which we haven’t seen in real life yet. After visiting the exhibit we found a geocache which was located nearby the flight-deck ship.
From there we walked back to the room to check or our air conditioning was working again and it wasn’t actually broken but set at 18,5 degrees Celsius it freezes. But it worked again and then Danielle suggested to get a piece of birthday cake since she didn’t had any yet, so we went across the street to Café Un Deux Trois to drink a cocktail and eat a piece of New York Cheesecake with a ‘never ending candle’ brought by the singing staff of the restaurant. I love to mention that Danielle is a birthday girl…
Then we walked to Bryant Park, along the public library and there we took the subway towards 23 Street and we walked a long the Flatiron Building towards the Museum of Sex. According to the website this should be very interesting about the history of sex and more but it wasn’t. But at least is was free admission with our New York pass.
From here we walked to Herald Square to visit the Macy’s the biggest department store of the world. It’s not the nicest looking one and it’s also not the most convenient one but they have a lot to choose from. And again we were successful. First Danielle went to the Sunglass Hut @ Macy’s to use the international visitors saving card to get Sunglass #2 (Danielle says: Thank you Ineke). but Danielle wasn’t really happy with me since I got the whole staff of the department singing Happy Birthday for her, but I can’t leave it to surprise her everywhere and at every possible occasion.
After the show Daniele found a nice shirt and two shorts where I left with a royal blue chino from Tommy Hilfiger for only $49,98. It was almost 5 o’clock but Danielle wanted to have a short look at the Victoria’s Secret since we had seen bags with ‘SALE’ on the street. And there was as ale going on and we decided to leave directly since some ladies were almost fighting each other over panties and bra’s and we didn’t want to mix us in it.
From 34 St/Herald Sq we took the subway back to Times Square and went back to the hotel to dress up for the party at the Dopo Teatro-Trattoria across the street from our hotel. At 7 o’clock Gina and Glenn joined us for a nice italian dinner where Danielle got the last surprise of the day a nice dessert with birthday wishes.
After dinner Gina and Glenn left because they needed to work tomorrow. But we continued the day with a subway ride from Times Square/42nd Street towards 34 Street/Herald Square.
From Herald Square from there we walked to the Empire State Building for a view over the city that never sleeps at night. Up till the 80th floor there was no waiting line but for the last six floors there was a wait from about 30 minutes so we decided to skip and walk the last floors, we were up stairs in no time and there it was windy.
After taking the pictures we’d liked to go downstairs but unfortunately there was a waiting line again so I decided to ask or we could walk downstairs instead of wait and this was possible. After leaving the building we walked uptown over 5 Avenue until we reached West 44th street where we turned left towards our hotel to write this blog and get some sleep after this long end busy day.
Danielle had a wonderful day she told me and I will be honest I had a blast myself too.
Day 6: Flying over New York…
The only bad thing about a trip to NYC is that you need to wake up early every day since there is so much to do and today even more as we actually had in mind, but that means more experiences. We started with a walk towards Penn Station where we would meet our guide and the tour-group for the Food on Foot tour. As usual we were a bit early and need to wait a little bit till it was 10:20 before the tour would start. The group existed of about 30 people with all different nationalities with made the tour even more interesting.
Soon we started and left the station for the first food stop at New York Pizza Suprema. Here we shared a slice of a regular pizza and it was really delicious. From there we walked to the subway station at 34 Street/Penn Station where we took the Subway Line E towards 50 Street.
After a short walk we arrived at a Mexican Deli called Tehuitzingo Deli where we shared a Mexican Chicken Taco and then there was the first sweet stop we went to the Sullivan Street Bakery to have a caramel tart (Danielle), chocolate tart (me) and a chocolate cookie (me) which we ate in a park nearby.
Now we were half way during the tour and we had still 3 stops to go and we felt already full although we shared the food which was inexpensive by now we only spend $ 23,50. The next stop was at City Sandwich a restaurant from a cook born in Naples, raised in NYC and cooked in Lisbon which had the most interesting sandwiches on the menu. Again we shared and we went for the Salvatore sandwich which is a chicken breast sandwich.
From he we walked down a couple blocks to get something sweet a greek bakery called Poseidon, I went for the Apple Strudel. And then it was time for the last stop which was at Shake Shack near our hotel. At this stop we went for the Double Cup with Frozen Custard (Vanilla & Chocolate) and we were stuffed.
It was still a bit to early to go directly to the second experience of the day so we went back to the hotel to give our feet some rest from this close to 4 kilometer walk through Manhattan.
At 3.15 we left to the South Ferry again for the at the helicopter dock. And this time we had more luck the weather was great with almost no wind and clear blue skies. We waited about 50 minutes before the boarding procedure started. We walked over the deck and had a picture taken in front of the helicopter. This picture would be free for us due to the long wait we had on monday.
We got both seated near the window and soon the helicopter took off. We first flew in the direction of Liberty Island to wave at Lady Liberty and then we flew down the Hudson to look at all the highlights of Manhattan. At the Yankee Stadium we turned around and flew back to the Brooklyn bridge before we landed. The tour took about 20 minutes and it was amazing to fly in a helicopter and see all those landmark buildings, I guess we were lucky with this operator since they didn’t fly monday instead of some of the other companies because it’s all about the views. For everyone who wants to know we flew with Zip Aviation.
After this amazing experience we decided to do something we haven’t done during this trip yet, we went shopping. First we took the subway towards 34 Street/Herald Square because I wanted to go Macy’s were I saw a nice vest yesterday but didn’t bought for some reason. A kind salesman helped us when I was searching for the right size. He asked or I would buy it, I said if it fits and the price is right yes. He answered size is no problem and I will make the price right, he gave us 2 discounts which save us 40%.
From the men’s department we went to the women’s department where Danielle was lucky again she found to dresses and had a discount from over 60%. From 34 Street/Herald Square we took the subway line Q towards Lexington Ave/59 St to visit the Victoria’s Secret because the semi-anual sale is just started. After successful hopping here I wanted to have a look at the new Apple Time Capsule because that might become the next Apple item in our apartment.
We both were tired and our feet are not fit anymore after 6 days in New York but we decided to walk back the hotel from there. And as a treat we made a brief stop at the Magnolia Bakery for some cupcakes before we arrived at our hotel.
Day 7: Walking through New York…
We had no plans for today but in the end we’ve done a ton of things after we had a lazy morning. At 10 o’clock we left the hotel walked to the subway station at 47-50 Sts/Rockefeller Ctr from where we took the subway line M towards 5 Av/53 St. After exiting the station it was raining but we were close to our goal, the Museum of Modern Art at 53 Street.
At the museum we watched at all the floors and the most interesting items where from Andy Warhol, Vincent van Gogh and a big part of the contemporary section. Furthermore art museums is not our kind of museum to see and we guess that it was also a bit to crowded, probably because of the weather forecast. After we left the museum we wanted to visit the ‘Rain Room’ a room where it’s not raining when someone stands there. But when we learned that the wait was over 3 hours we decided to do something else.
We walked from there towards the Shops at Columbia Circle at the corner of 8th Avenue and 59th street. The shops were nice and it wasn’t crowded but we didn’t came for shopping, did that surprise you? We came to lunch at Porter House, they had a 3-course Park View lunch for only $25 which included a mushroom soup, a petite filet mignon and a NY cheesecake combined with a nice wine. It was delicious and the price was right. After lunch we went out and took the subway line C at the 59 St/Columbus Circle to get to 14 St.
At 14 St we walked to Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market could be described as a huge food mall with a lot of sweet food. You’ll find lobster, doughnuts, cookies, sushi, freshly brewed beer and more in a very good-looking building. And although we had eaten enough we both got appetite and went for a cupcake at Ruthy’s Bakery which is specialized in 3D baking. Danielle ate Cookie Monster and I went for Big Bird.
Since the weather was still nice we wanted to walk outside and we were near to Highline park so we decided to walk uptown through this park. Highline park is a long park build on top of a former elevated rail line which has a very nice design and gives some nice views at Manhattan.
After we walked from 14th Street uptown to 30th street we walked towards 34 St/Penn Station where we took the subway line C towards 42 St/Port Authority Bus Terminal from where we walked to our hotel over times Square.
In the hotel we partially packed our suitcases and we are still below the maximum weight. We also made a reservation for transportation to the airport for tomorrow since it might be raining and when it rains it’s difficult to get a taxi.
for the evening we had an appointment with Glenn, unfortunately Gina wasn’t able to come since she was ill, but we had still fun at the Irish pub near our hotel. It came to our mind that we’ve seen Glenn on every single US Vacation we’ve had, we’ve seen wedding photos from last year, we ate a burger, drank Irish beer, had a laugh and at about 11 o’clock it was time to say goodbye because we fly back home tomorrow.
As always there is one bad day during a vacation and that is the day you’ll need to go home. This is the same with this trip and that day was today. But before it is time to leave we wanted to do some things.
Danielle wanted to stay in bed a bit longer and I wanted to check out the biggest one-day-sale of this season at Macy’s. Because of this Macy’s opened one our earlier so I left our hotel at 8:20 to take the subway line M at 42 St/Bryant Park towards 34 St/Herald Sq. At 8:30 I walked through the door and I saw Christian, a salesman who helped us out earlier this week and told us to be here again on friday. He helped me finding the best prices and the right sizes. With 60% discount I left the men’s department and went to the women’s department. Is it bad if employees in the biggest store in the world recognize you from before? I guess it is.
During my last-minute shopping Danielle stayed in the room and packed the rest of our suitcases and answered my WhatsApp messages with pictures and prices. So I was sure I bought the right stuff and I made Danielle happy because I bought her a dress from Tommy with 50% discount! Shopping is fun, but shopping in the USA during a sale is even more fun.
When I arrived back in our hotel I asked Joe Joe to come up to our room to weigh our suitcases and they where roundabout exactly the weight which we could take with us, so we kept our fingers cross for the check-in at JFK. At 11:30 out town car arrived to bring us to the airport and only 45 minutes later we were waiting in line at the Lufthansa counter. And we were lucky since one suitcase was 24,2 kilo the other one was 23,6 kilo which is both a bit to heavy but I guess they liked my smile and we didn’t need to pay for the overweight.
After the security check we already found our plane ready at the gate but we needed another 2 hours before we would be allowed on board for the flight back home. Unfortunately we had some delay because a couple of passengers were still at the security check at our original take-off time. After waiting for more than an hour we finally went up in the air and there was the big surprise, FlyNet was already available in this plane although there were no signs in the plane yet. FlyNet is the inflight wireless internet system from Lufthansa which costs € 19,95 for up to 24 hours access. So after thinking, actually I didn’t really thought, I bought access.
First I was just reading a bit but, than I saw Yves was online in the Facebook chat so we started chatting, we send some pictures until we came to the idea to make a FaceTime call. We bought expected it didn’t work due to limited bandwidth, high latency but it worked perfect. I walked with an iPad Mini through the plane to show the stewardesses, the alcohol, the other passengers and a nice view on the clouds. I got some strange looks probably because people thought I was talking to myself?
After this inflight highlight we had rice, vegetables and chicken as a meal. The flight went well I actually got bit of sleep and although we had an hour delay we arrived 40 minutes early in Frankfurt. Danielle always wanted to go to Frankfurt but I always told her there is no fun there… And now she agrees because after 30 minutes of wandering, 2 elevator rides and 4 escalator rides we finally made it to our destination the gate! We got something to eat and after about one hour waiting we could board the last plane of this trip, the Boeing 737-300 was for 2/3 empty. After a short flight without a snack or beverage we landed on time in Nürnberg.
In Nürnberg we took the last hurdle of the trip, we needed to go through customs but all went well they questioned about every 3rd passenger walking through customs but we got through without any questions asked. We walked to our car and drove straight to our local Lidl to do some grocery shopping. It felt a bit disappointing to shop at the Lidl only 17,5 hours after I was shopping at the world largest store.
So comes an end to this fantastic trip, I hope you all enjoyed reading the blog at least as much as did writing it. I know Danielle enjoyed her combined anniversary & birthday trip a lot and she’ll never know or I’m ever going to surprise her like this.