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Unread 20 Aug 18, 08:44 PM  
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CrispyA
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Expedition East Coast: Day 1 Statue of Liberty, 911 Memorial, Chinatown

19 July

We were so tired that we did sleep okay - apart from having the phone ring twice at about 10.30pm which woke us up and confused us greatly. However, we were awake by about 3.30am, and got up a couple of hours later after fruitless attempts to get back to sleep.

The Best Western did a great breakfast - all the usual offerings, plus fresh donuts, broccoli omelettes, hash browns. We all ate our fill before setting off for Battery Park and our trip to the Statue of Liberty. We had worked out our subway journey and thought all the mishaps were over.

But no! We had loaded 2 metro cards with $20 each and these had worked perfectly yesterday. However, only one of them worked today and the lady at the desk was at a loss to explain why. So we had 2 of us stuck on one side of the barriers and the other 2 on the other side trying to sort it out. In the end, she let us through and we then had the pain in the neck of transferring between stations later by having to walk down the street and being unsure of whether or not to swipe the card again. When our ticket didn't work again at the next station, the man told us it was damaged and that he couldn't transfer the credit and, you guessed it, we had to mail it to customer services and he didn't have any envelopes. This was after us leaving one station, walking to the transfer station, finding there were no staff, then walking back to the station we had just exited in order to speak to someone. We passed the Sprinkles cupcake ATM on Lexington avenue so many times we were starting to feel intimately connected with it.

At this point, we had spent $120 on useless tickets. We were considering setting up a direct debit to the New York subway as we were giving them so much money on a daily basis. A man passed us on an electric remote controlled skateboard and we wondered if it might be cheaper to buy one of those each? Or maybe to just set fire to $20 each daily as our offering to the New York Transit system.

Eventually we made it to Battery Park, discussing a potential poster campaign - Justice for the AirTrain Four! Would we get justice - or bankruptcy? Stay tuned to find out!

We were booked onto the 8.30 Ferry and so joined the queue which was fairly short and moved quickly. (When we came back a few hours later, the queue to board was huge so we did well to get the earlier boat). Security was a pain as they insisted on Paul removing his (not at all metallic) belt before he could go through the scanners and it got stuck in his belt loops and then he couldn't get it back on. He was not a happy bunny by the time that we boarded, but the boat ride across to Liberty Island was really good, with great views from the deck and that perked him up.





We positioned ourselves to get off the boat quickly and headed for the statue herself. We had pedestal tickets as the crown looked very claustrophobic so we weren't sure we wanted to bother with it. We had a look at her before heading up inside.



It was a decent climb up the pedestal and some great views across to Staten Island and Manhattan. We also managed a picture.

Justice for the AirTrain Four!

The museum itself is really interesting, especially the information on the design and build of the statue - a real feat of engineering. And such an iconic view of New York.

You get good views from the boat on the way to Ellis Island, which was our next stop.



It was really busy by the time we got there and we were starting to feel a little "museumed out" so we breezed through the immigration exhibits and reception room, pausing to allow Evan to send us back where we had come from.



The information was interesting, but we had had enough after one floor so didn't linger, but headed back to the boat.

Once we landed back at Battery Park, we had a look to see what was nearby and decided to head for Shake Shack on Broadway so we could walk past the Wall Street statues. We also spotted that the MTA customer services centre was very nearby so went there first. Would there be Justice for the AirTrain Four?

The staff in the centre were really nice and assured us that it "happens all the time" which really does beg the question of why nothing has been done to warn people, or to prevent it happening, but anyway . . . We filled out a form, gave them the tickets that were loaded with our money and yet could take us nowhere, and they gave us back a copy of the form and a number to ring to get a reference to follow the complaint up online. Justice beckoned, but would it happen? Stay tuned . . .

I really wanted to see the Charging Bull and Fearless Girl statues but when we got there, you could hardly see them for the swarms of people crowding and climbing on them, let along get a picture. It really annoyed me as did the whole crowded nature of Broadway and the fact that it was so difficult to just get from A to B. None of us were loving New York at this point.

We continued on to Shake Shack, to find it had a 50 minute queue. No burger is THAT good, so we retraced our steps to the McDonald's we had passed earlier and ate there instead. It was a pretty funky McD's, with its own DJ, and it was okay.

As we crossed a square, someone stopped me to give me a metro card, saying I had dropped it. I didn't think I had but took it just in case. When we tried it out later, it turned out to be a seven day pass, so there was some karma there. I did feel bad in case someone else had dropped it but there was nobody to return it to so we couldn't let it go to waste. A smidgen of Justice for the AirTrain Four.

We did enjoy some of the architecture of Manhattan, if not the endless crowds.





The next activity in our plan was the 911 memorial and museum which isn't far away. Despite the crowds, most people were respectful and the memorial pools are a moving tribute to those who died. They add white roses to commemorate victim's birthdays and we spotted a few.





Hannah and I had originally planned to visit the Museum as well, despite a colleague from NY advising me not to, saying "Don't go, you're on vacation!". But we hadn't got tickets in advance and when we saw the length of the queues to get in, we were glad that we hadn't. Nobody wanted to wait for at least an hour to even go inside, let alone not be able to see or read anything properly because of the crowds.

We had a look at google maps and decided to head for the nearby North Cove Yacht Harbour and Rockerfeller Park. It wasn't a long walk and we enjoyed the more chilled out atmosphere away from the traffic. The park itself was really nice and we enjoyed watching the skateboarders and a very enthusiastic guy doing endless burpees.

We fortified ourselves with iced lattes from Dunkin Donuts and walked to the nearby Pier 25, seeing more skateboarders, including a very confident guy who was filming himself striking poses as he glided along. He then proceeded to do a fairly extra workout at the end of the pier but he was a fine looking gentleman so we didn't mind being his audience! No pictures, as that would have been weird.

We found some seats and sat and watched the boats going up and down the Hudson.

We don't know this man but he did photobomb us excellently!



We also saw a HUGE cruise ship



It was lovely to get away from all the noise and crowds and we all need some time to just decompress after such a busy start to our trip. We hung out for a while, before setting off to walk to Chinatown and the restaurant we had decided on - the Nom Wa Tea Parlour on Doyers Street.

We quite enjoyed exploring Chinatown and Hannah and I were quite intrigued by a place near the statue of Confucious that offered both Breast and Ovary massage, but we did decide to give it a miss in the end.

The Nom Wa Tea Parlour had great reviews but didn't look like much, although it did have a funky road mural outside.



The Dim Sum was really tasty and good value for New York. We also timed it very well as there was a substantial queue for tables outside when we left. We had a very nice meal and then, after the early start had caught up with us, we caught the subway back to Queens and our hotel. We had walked very far, partly because that's what you do in a city and partly because we were avoiding the subway wherever possible. We clocked up 33000 steps in one day, which is over 15 miles, so no wonder we were tired!

Edited at 08:46 PM.
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Unread 21 Aug 18, 11:37 AM  
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Smilesonfaces
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You are managing to see a lot despite the metro card hiccups. I will try and read up about the travel card options before we go as these are the mistakes we would do too !
33000 steps wow !
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Unread 21 Aug 18, 05:04 PM  
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Looks like you had fun if a bit busy. I wonder if most of those 33000 stops were past the cupcake ATM? 😁 glad the dim sum were nice and you enjoyed the SOL
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Unread 21 Aug 18, 08:49 PM  
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I can hear how frustrated you were with the subway fiasco- I would have been too! Thankfully the first time I flew to JFK there was someone there to help out, but it certainly isnt obvious! And we bought our 7 day tickets from a person! I cant believe there isnt an easier way to get a refund for dodgy tickets though!

SOL is so iconic - you got some great pictures! I always love your family poses!

The chill out time sounds perfect! We rushed through Chinatown - I think you got a lot more out of it than we did!
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Unread 21 Aug 18, 08:57 PM  
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Unread 22 Aug 18, 07:56 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Smilesonfaces View Post
You are managing to see a lot despite the metro card hiccups. I will try and read up about the travel card options before we go as these are the mistakes we would do too !
33000 steps wow !
Definitely read up on the cards and don't load up with too much money at any one point as you can always top up again. The tickets are cardboard and easily damaged I think. Have a good trip!

Originally Posted by katiebaz View Post
Looks like you had fun if a bit busy. I wonder if most of those 33000 stops were past the cupcake ATM? 😁 glad the dim sum were nice and you enjoyed the SOL
I think there were at least 20K going past the cupcake ATM!

Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
I can hear how frustrated you were with the subway fiasco- I would have been too! Thankfully the first time I flew to JFK there was someone there to help out, but it certainly isnt obvious! And we bought our 7 day tickets from a person! I cant believe there isnt an easier way to get a refund for dodgy tickets though!

SOL is so iconic - you got some great pictures! I always love your family poses!

The chill out time sounds perfect! We rushed through Chinatown - I think you got a lot more out of it than we did!
It's crazy that you have to go through so much palaver to get a refund - especially when they seem to issue so many!

We do love a silly holiday pose, although the boys can be reluctant at times!

Originally Posted by disney owl View Post
busy first day
it was - but fun also!
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Unread 22 Aug 18, 09:04 PM  
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Glad you finally got somewhere with the transit tickets, despite no envelopes.

Love the pose of Evan trying to send you back and love the road mural too.
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Unread 26 Aug 18, 03:59 PM  
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WileyCoyote
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Im still musing on broccoli at breakfast
Anyhow, more ticket drama. Not good. I could see a meltdown occurring if it was my family.
Nice trip over the the Statue , love the pics.
Ugh its swarming at those statues around Wall Street though isnt it. People just barging past you . No queueing ethics there !
Im detecting you are not feeling the love for Noo Yawk at the moment
Nice that it was ok around Ground Zero and totally lol at the photobomb dude. I thought it was your hubby at first but then realised it was a random. He did look very happy !
End of the day and Dim Sum dinner sounded good. A better end than the start !
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