September 2013 - Manhattan New York
Sep 3 - Day 1
We flew to Newark on Porter Airlines from Toronto's island airport on the 9 AM flight. It is so much more fun to fly on a small plane from this airport than to travel to Pearson International Airport. The island airport is located downtown.
Our friends fly from Buffalo so we met up at the hotel, the Hampton Inn Times Square North.
We immediately stepped out for lunch at the Stardust Diner home of the singing waitstaff.
This is a rather pricey diner but you are paying for the entertainment. We had burgers for much less in other restaurants in Manhattan. It is still worth a visit as the servers are amazing! They will also pass a bucket for donations.
Time to wander over to Times Square.
Pick up our hop on hop off tickets and buy some tickets for Motown.
We decide to start our hop on tour right away since we have three days of use. We take the downtown tour without getting off.
Our tour guide was not that good, he was too busy talking about himself and his ideas, but we enjoyed it anyway.
Empire State Building
Flat Iron Building
United Nations flags of all 193 countries plus the UN flag are arranged in English alphabetical order. As we passed by the flags were being lowered for the day.
While you wait for the elevator you get a photo taken (if you wish) showing your party sitting on a beam based on this famous photo. Source
Looking towards Central Park
Looking down at St. Patrick's Cathedral and the New York Palace, an extremely luxurious hotel.
A close up of the new year ball in Times Square.
Then it was time for a drink at ground level Rockefeller Square - this is where the skating rink is set up in the winter.
It was getting dark as we walked back to the hotel.
Sep 4 - Day 2
The highlight today was a visit to the 9/11 Memorial that I had written about earlier this week. We took a cab as it was rush hour and we wanted to be sure we were on time. We were.
A visit to the Memorial Visitors' Center located at 90 West St.
Time for lunch at Bill's Bar and Burgers in the financial district just across from the 9/11 Memorial.
Time for more sightseeing.
The Bull on Broadway. We had to line up to get photos.
Recovered from the rubble of the Twin Towers after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the artwork faced an uncertain fate, and it was dismantled into its components. Although it remained structurally intact, it had been visibly damaged by debris from the airliners that were crashed into the buildings and from the collapsing skyscrapers themselves.
St.Paul's Chapel - drop by on Sunday for a detailed post about the chapel.
It was very warm and sunny so we decided to get on the hop on bus and take it back to Times Square. Traffic was very busy due to a police investigation just before the United Nations.
We stopped for a beer at Hurley's on 48th between Broadway and 8th before the night tour that was included in our package.
We boarded the 6:30 tour and had another unimpressive tour guide.
Dinner was at a French bistro on 8th Ave that was delicious. I had duck!
Sep 5 - Day 3
We planned on taking the uptown hop on today but the busses were very crowded. So we got off at Central Park Strawberry Fields. We wandered across the street to the Dakota Building where John Lennon lived and was shot. The doormen as people to move as a resident's car was arriving. Three of us looked directly at the passenger in the front seat driven by a chauffeur.
Our friend twigged who it was and said to the doorman "that was Yoko Ono, wasn't it", and the doorman smiled and nodded.
We had decided we wanted to take a carriage ride but had to walk to the front entrance of the park to get one.
Well, then doesn't the guide ask who would like a quick five minute tour of the church!!! So he took us all inside and gave a quick overview, better than nothing!
Back on the bus and he decides to take us along the Hudson to show us where Sully safely landed the plane.
Then we went through Harlem and then back to the East Side past the museums. Jonathan pointed out who lived where. Then he gave us the rundown on the best "real" New York places to eat.
Pizza - John's
Cheesecake - Junior's
Burgers - Shake Shack
Steak - Gallagher's
Our plan was to have a bite and then do the river cruise included in our package but the last one was at 4 PM so we decided to go in the morning instead.
We took the guide's recommendation and went to Junior's for a late lunch.
We take a cab to Pier 78 to board the river cruise. It is sunny but chilly at 9 AM today. The boat is crowded so we made sure to get a good spot. The tour guide was excellent.
The river cruise allows the best views of the Statue of Liberty for photos!
Our friends were leaving today so we grabbed a quick lunch around the corner from the hotel at The House of Brews.
Excellent burgers cooked to your preference. AND excellent fries which, from me, is a big compliment!
We took a stroll to 5th Ave, stopped into St. Patrick's which is under major renovations. Then continued over to 42 St. and back to the hotel for a rest before going to see Motown.
The show is excellent and doesn't finish until 11 PM.
We went to John's Pizzeria for dinner. The pizza was excellent, however, they start closing up as we were being served.
Sep 7 - Day 5
We're going home today so we got up late and went out for a walk towards Central Park and then for brunch at the Cosmic Diner.
Columbus Circle in front of Central Park.
Photo taken from our hotel room.
Time for our limo to Newark for our flight home.