Friday, July 21, 2017

NYC - Day 5

Before getting to the pictures, I'll elaborate a bit on the Big Bus. As I'm sure you would imagine, tour buses are all over New York. In October, Mom and I toured some on The Grey Line. We were somewhat disappointed. It probably did not help that it rained, a lot, on our second day of the 2-day pass. Scott and I had used Big Bus on other trips, so I looked into it. Of the various options, once again, it seemed to be the best. We were somewhat disappointed but it was most because of our own approach. Most of these buses, including Big Bus and Grey Line, are hop on and hop off. They have predetermined stops at tourist spots and you can leave one bus and in theory, another will be there every 20-30 minutes, depending on the stop. In October, as Mom and I waited for Grey Line, we would see 2 or 3 Big Buses come through and comment that maybe we should have done that. More than once, Scott and I waited for what seemed to be forever. He finally commented, "Maybe we should have used Grey Line, I've seen several of them come through." I could only laugh. Here's the general rule - no matter what bus you choose, more of everything else will pass you by. I'm sure there's a parable in here somewhere.

What do I wish we would have done? Glad you asked. Big Bus had 5 routes (including the night tour) ranging anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours. We had the 3 day pass which included the night tour and a short boat ride (so did Grey Line and I did like their boat ride better). Both tours included passes to a museum too. I think we would have been better off to have done complete routes without getting off and back on. They give good historical, cultural, and fun information on the bus. We could have completed the tours and still had plenty of time to explore more by walking and using our subway/city bus passes. Plus, the night tour and the boat tours are well worth the entire passage.

While in our UBER car on the way to the hotel (Day 1), we quickly learned that the mother/daughter riding with us were from Kansas City and we shared some common views in life. The mom had been to NYC before and they only had a couple of days this time. She had bought a private, 3.5 hour van tour combined with a 2.5 hour boat trip that completely circumvented Manhattan. That sounded very appealing to me - maybe next time! However, I do think the upper levels of the bus give a vantage point that a van wouldn't have. Pun intended.

Enough about buses! You're hear for pictures.

 According to the signage,
Our 18th president, General Ulysses S. Grant
is indeed buried in Grant's Tomb.
But don't go on Monday (or Tuesday)
- the Visitor's Center is closed.
We neglected to click the "plan your trip"
tab on the website!

 The Riverside Church is across from
Grant's Tomb
Another church that we knew nothing
about but felt it was picture worthy.

 This is the 125th Street Subway
which we ascended into Harlem
to walk down to Grant's Tomb.
This (click here) is the article about
this station 2 weeks later.
I first saw it on the nightly news.
Live dangerously, my friends:)

The famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem

This just reminded me of so many NYC scenes
that I've seen on TV on shows such as
Blue Bloods and Law and Order.

We didn't get to get out and spend time in Harlem.
I would have liked to explore more - for instance,
this bazaar on 116th Street. Harlem received quite
a reputation in the 20th century but has seen a
recovery of late. In 2001, former President
Bill Clinton established his office on 125th street.

This is from the Museum of the City of New York.
Alexander Hamilton looks over Central Park from
the front of the building. Our Big Bus tickets included
free admission. I'm not sure it was worth the free
admission but, Scott did enjoy some of
the WW1 posters throughout the museum. 

At the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park

A walk through the park.

Another statue in Central Park. This one was
interesting because it was commemorating
the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Did I mention that all roads lead to Times Square?
This McDonald's runs the length of a city block.
 It's not very wide as you might be able to see
in the next picture.

The only place in NYC that you can get something to drink for a buck! The photo of Scott gives you get a bit of an idea of the length.This is a good time to let you know about NY bathrooms! Public bathrooms are few and far between. As I like to say, 8 million people and only 8 bathrooms. Several places put a code on your receipt so you can punch in and take care of business. Just making sure you get this... you can buy a drink at McD's or Starbucks so you can go... of course, that drink puts you looking for the next place to get a code. 
Interesting dilemma.
Remember the Disney characters from an earlier post? They solve this problem by having someone with them walk up to people in McD'sand ask for their receipts. Just warning you!

I really wanted to see Madison Square Garden so we found it. Next time, I want to attend an event there.  One of the things that I found interesting was that right across the street, there was a K-Mart. Who'da thunk it? I was glad to see that K-Mart because I could barely walk at this point. Scott wasn't sure I'd make it back to the hotel.My knee had started hurting on the 2nd day and was getting progressively worse. Then, while in Central Park earlier in the day,I had moved aside for someone only to step into a small gully - that was the final blow. Our plan to take Monday a bit slower became a forced reality! From here on out, you will see my K-Mart purchase in many of the pictures - a cane. It helped tremendously and I also learned that K-Mart on 34th Street at One Penn Plaza (I see there's another on Broadway) had souvenirs at a much better price than anywhere we had seen.

We walked on down 34th Street towards the Empire State Building passing by Macy's - but no parade.

Below is inside the Empire State Building where the lines are
VERY long to go to the 86th floor. I did this in October but, as you saw in an earlier post, we opted for 66 floors of Top of the Rock this time. So, which one would I recommend? That depends. Top of Rock is a much shorter wait - not just from our experience but from looking at the reports of others as well. The ESB takes you much higher but can have waits up to 2 hours. My wait in October was an hour and a half and I was told that Sunday evening was one of the best times to go. No matter which one you do, try to time it so that you go up about 30 minutes before sunset. You can get a day and a
night view. I love the city at night and have included a picture from the 86th floor of the ESB.

While waiting on the bus around the corner from the ESB, we saw a couple of helicopters hovering around it. Never did hear what was going on. We thought it might be tours but not sure. Then, this week, while watching a Cardinal's game against the Mets, they showed aerial shots going around the ESB. I'm guessing every station that goes to NYC does something like that so maybe we were seeing something similar. Or, maybe not. And, while waiting, I got asked for directions from other tourist. That happened several times. Maybe it's the thick NY accent:) 

 Just thought I'd show you one more pile of trash.
This is on the street to the hotel. It's how
we closed down the city every night.

NYC - Day 1 
NYC - Day 2 
NYC - Day 3 
NYC - Day 4a 
NYC - Day 4b 
NYC - Day 5 
NYC - Day 6 
NYC - Day 7

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