Our 48 Hours in NYC – Part 2
Continuing with our 2nd day in NYC it wasn’t as productive as the first day. We were tired, our feet hurt and things didn’t go as planned. A typical second day for us.
Empire State Building
First off, I kinda glossed over the NYC Empire State building in the last NYC post, and I’ll finish off day one here. Although doing this tour is where we failed the “not spending a dime” goal. Michelle wanted to take the tour, so we paid our $55 US each. The positive thing about it was we didn’t have to wait in the long lines inside the building. We bought our ticket from one of the many vendors mentioned when talking about seeing the Statue. He was good. Real good. He talked us up to get a package. (more about that in a moment) Each vendor must have a percentage they can drop off the price because we did get the deal cheaper than the flyers I picked up so, make sure to haggle.
I have mixed emotions about the ESB tour. It was nice that we were able to skip the lines inside to buy our tickets. They were huge. There were also Security checkpoints but these when quickly. My disappointment comes from the fact that there was lots of information where the lines would normally queue. Furthermore, I tried to read some of the boards as we waited for our “souvenir photo” ($40? really). Apparently, this building is a marvel of modern energy efficiency with light, and solar collectors built into the windows. Instead, we were whisked right past them to the elevators. Besides, once we reached the first observation area there was more to read, which we should have, but there was another line for the elevator. So, instead, they gave us the option to walk up six flights to reach the outdoor observation platform, the goal of the evening.
The Observation deck
It was four people deep (or more) to get to the edge looking over the building. The crowd made it hard to get good photos because of peoples’ heads. I wish they had limited the number of people allowed out onto the deck and encouraged more time reading the signs spaced along the entry. To my frustration, it seemed to me that they just wanted to push the people up to the top and get as many tickets as possible sold.
Ok, enough complaining about that. Here are some photos we did capture. Michelle was a bit more aggressive than I was.
Circle Line Cruise Around NYC
Now, here is where the 2nd day truly starts. Since we had bought the tickets, our first stop was the Circle Line Cruise docks. We took the train and subway up to W-34th. That’s where the boat docks. Being budget conscious, we walked down to the river. But guess what, not the right dock. We were 16 blocks off. Grey Line sells The Circle Line tour and a “Hop on, Hop off” boat tour. Don’t mix them up as we did.
After a quick lunch from the Sausage cart, we boarded the boat. There are an open deck area and interior seating. You can buy a VIP ticket that gives you access to nicer, padded spot inside. We chose seats outside upstairs. There is a quick safety talk, and then the general information. The tour guide for this trip was very funny and quick-witted. He had lots of information about NYC to pass along while we waited to depart.
If you are looking for good value for your money, this tour is it. Initially, we were told this was a one-hour tour. It turned out the tour was 2 hours long. Fortunately, we were tired and gladly enjoyed sitting on the sunny deck site-seeing. It was just what we needed.
The tour included another pass by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. This time with a guide who gave us lots of interesting trivia about both. From there we traveled up the East River passing under the Brooklyn Bridge. We heard about each borough of new york city as cruised by them. I wish I remembered more of it.
Off to Central Park
Once again we were on foot. We walked up 50th to 11th Ave then followed 11th through Hell’s Kitchen. It didn’t look anything like I expected… the Dare-Devil TV show makes it look rough and tough. This Hell’s Kitchen seemed like a pretty trendy neighborhood with lots of open-faced bars/patio. We turned up 57th and reached Columbus Circle. Mass chaos! Much like other parts of the city, folks are trying to sell stuff. This time they were much pushier, and we were exhausted. “No I don’t want a tour, no I don’t want to rent a bike.” The first 100′ is a gauntlet of sales pressure.
Inside the park, it was an oasis, free of the sales pitches. There are still lots of people, but they mind their own business. The washroom is just inside the gates where the play area is. What a relief! We wandered around, laid on the grass and rested up for a few moments.
There are free maps at the info kiosks. Unless you want a souvenir, don’t buy one. Three kiosks are located at the south end, inside the park, one in the middle near W-81st and one located way up north at 110th. What you see from this point on is a personal choice. Once again, we kept to the South part below W 72nd. We had great plans, but tired feet keep it simple.
- The Carousel ($3.00 tickets – how can you visit NYC without riding once?)
- Tavern on the Green (had dinner there, bit pricey but worth it)
- Sheep Meadow (just a big field with people hanging around)
- Strawberry Fields and the Imagine mosaic
- The Lake (lots of people in rented boats)
- Cheery Hill
- Bow Bridge
- Bethesda Terrace (very busy and a few weddings being photographed on a Sunday)
- The Mall (free concert going on)
We exited the park at E 72nd and 5th Ave past the Zoo. It was just as it was getting dark as walked down to 59th St. (Central Park South) where there is a set of concrete patio chairs. Of course, we snapped a few pictures sitting in these. Next, we strolled down to 6th Ave (also called the Avenue of the Americas)to the subway via the Rockefeller station.
There you have it NYC in 48 hours.
NYC in 48 hours. We saw lots and spent little. Although there is so much more to see still and do on the cheap, we just ran out of steam and time. I hope you enjoyed my take on the “City that Never Sleeps”.