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Unread 15 Aug 17, 03:21 PM  
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i love jack
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A sneaky little New York trip August 2017 - Pre travel and Travel Day, Shake Shack & Times Square

A sneaky little New York trip - August 2017

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Pre travel day 7 August 2017

So here we are feeling very happy to have two weeks off work and a trip to New York to look forward to. This time last year we were super excited about our forthcoming Florida trip, this year we were feeling less excited. We are looking forward to New York, its definitely a bucket list trip but its not Florida. Partly I think its the not knowing. Florida is easy, we know where everything is, we know where we want to eat and what we want to do. I was feeling nervous about finding my way around an unknown city.

I was awake early to start the mammoth cleaning, washing and ironing jobs thats the law! The boys cleaned and tidied their rooms (under duress).

We went out at 11am to drop Josh on a not a date at Nandos with not his girlfriend, Emily and the rest of us had a coffee and cake break at M&S. We made some last minute purchases of trainer socks and I decided I wanted a black cardigan. I found one in H&M 8.99 bargain!


Back home to finish the boring jobs while Andy and Dan took Hershey to the kennels.

Wed originally planned to travel up to Manchester airport on the morning of the flight. We usually stay at an airport hotel the night before which is nice as it feels like the holiday has started early. So a few days ago wed looked into Premier Inns. We wanted one with free overnight parking as we had booked car parking at the airport from travel day. The closest one to the airport was fully booked so we went with Premier Inn, Handforth. It was about 15 minutes from the airport and was 76 for the night.

So we left home at 3.30pm (with our lovely new cases so we dont have to keep borrowing Mum and Dads).



Sat Nav said it would take 2 hours. Traffic was pretty busy and we were parked at the airport at 6pm so we could do sundown check-in and perhaps see if we could upgrade to Premium. We could, with 3 seats together and 1 behind for 179 per person, one-way. We decided against this and paid 20 for the sundown check-in. This was very easy and once checked in we had to take our cases to oversize baggage. The queue was huge, mainly with people with soft luggage like holdalls who had to drop these here. We queued for an hour to drop the cases! We then paid 9.50 for 2 hours in the car park (annoying as wed paid 65 to park in the same car park for 6 days from tomorrow!)

We drove to the Premier Inn, this was a lovely drive through Styal & we passed some gorgeous houses, some huge & gated.


We received a very warm welcome at the Premier Inn, dropped our bags in the room which had one double and two single beds,

and then went to the Bulls Head for a meal, which is a Chef and Brewer attached to the hotel. This was a nice pub and most of us had a lovely meal. Andy and Dan had a burger, Josh had a sirloin steak, and these were all lovely. I had an Italian platter which wasnt the best, I could have made a better choice. It was ravioli tossed in pesto (but with no pesto!) flatbread with crispy pancetta (which was actually just like bacon) and rocket, tomato and mozzarella salad (with no rocket)! What was lovely though was the elderflower gin and tonic. We also had deserts, 2 millionaires cheesecakes and a salted caramel sundae. The meal came to 100. We waited a while for the bill as the staff were busy setting up for breakfast.






We went back to the room at 9.30 and set the alarm for 6am.


Travel Day 8 August 2017

We didnt need that alarm as I woke up at 5.50, Andy was already up and running a bath! We coerced the boys out of bed and into the shower.

We opted not to have breakfast in the Bulls Head as it wasnt served until 6.30 (it looked good value though as kids eat free up to 16) as we wanted to be at the airport by 7am. Our flight was at 10.30 and while we had already checked-in we werent sure how busy the car park and security would be, so preferred to get there and find somewhere for breakfast airside without clock watching.

We joined a long queue into the car park but this was mostly people heading for the drop-off rather than entering the car park so it didnt take long after all. Once in the airport we went straight through security, it was very quiet and we were soon dodging the perfume sprayers in duty free.

We considered the breakfast options and opted for Starbucks. Andy had a latte and a bacon roll, Josh a cinnamon swirl and orange juice, I had fruit toast and a tea and Dan just a light breakfast of a ham and cheese toastie and double chocolate chip crme frappuccino! This came to 20 and wasnt the most pleasant of experiences, our food was served in paper bags rather than plates (Im so fussy! ).



We found some seats, made camp and took turns having a mooch round the shops. I looked at the books but begrudged paying 10 for one I could have got in Sainsburys for 3 (I do sound a bit miserable dont I! ) and thought I probably wouldnt be spending time reading on this holiday. Then I changed my mind again and downloaded one onto my kindle (indecisive). I went for A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer. Ive recently been introduced to his books and have really enjoyed the couple Ive read. Then I went and smelt a few Jo Malone bottles and got some snacks for the plane from Boots. This comprised a chicken & bacon sandwich, 2 bags of crisps, a fruit pot and 3 bottles of drink 7.09.



We boarded at 10.40, the seats were great, we had the back two sets of two in front of the toilets which meant we could recline without bothering anyone. There was plenty of legroom and the seats were comfy. The flight was due to be 7 hours 20 mins. They played New York, New York by Frank Sinatra while we were waiting for the safety demonstration. We were delayed taking off as the plane needed a box starter to start the engines. The first one didnt work. Im not really a fan of hearing about engine problems while waiting to take-off. But on the upside, as we were an hour late leaving they upgraded us to Premium movies. Hurrah! We were due to land at 1.40pm local time.



I watched Beauty and the Beast to start with, Id not seen this, it was lovely, Emma Watson is fab in it. Then I lowered the tone with the Hangover Part II. We had a choice of braised beef or chicken with risotto for lunch. I went with the beef which was delicious. It came with new potatoes, carrots and a red wine sauce. Good old James Martin! There was also a malted chocolate cheesecake (yum) and cheese and biscuits which were really posh a slice of brie and cheddar and a little pot of fig chutney with crackers. I turned round to Andy and Dan to discuss the deliciousness of the meal (theyd all gone with chicken) and the cheese and biscuits. They enjoyed the meal but their cheese though was a little portion of laughing cow!



At 5.30 we were served afternoon tea which was a slice of lemon drizzle cake with tea, coffee or water. This was nice enough. The boys had also eaten all the snacks by this point too, in fact, I think the sandwich had gone before lunch.



The flight was good, it was really smooth, the crew were friendly, no complaints. We landed at 1.50pm. Then, in a change from landing at MCO, we left the plane via a set of stairs and had to get on a bus to the terminal.

We were directed to the machines in immigration as wed travelled previously on an ESTA. Josh got an X though so we joined the queue to see an actual person. We were stamped and through to baggage reclaim where our cases were already off the carousel and waiting for us.

Id opted for what I thought was the easiest option now which was to get a cab to the hotel. We found the taxi rank easily and only waited a couple of minutes to get to the front of the queue.


We loaded our cases into Mohammeds cab and the dispatcher gave me a ticket which said the cost would be 52 + tolls + surcharges. The boys and I sat in the back and Andy sat in the front. We were impressed to start with that we had a TV in the back, until we realised the same three clips were on a loop. I remembered reading that a taxi was around $70 so worked out how much Id need to give Mohammed with a tip. It was a busy journey, pretty solid traffic.

At this time I hadnt really grasped the New York geography, where everything was in relation to everything else etc, but I knew at some point there would be a bridge or tunnel to get onto Manhattan. The bridge we did eventually cross had the Roosevelt tram above us, this was quite exciting to see, reminded me of the old King Kong ride at Universal. I was surprised to see this though, I thought this was way off where wed enter Manhattan but like I said geography is not my strong point!

We started to see a few sites at this point, the Chrysler Building and One World Trade Centre, poor Andy was oblivious to this sat in the front behind the screen.



Then we drove past Tiffany and Bloomingdales, now I knew these were definitely miles away from our hotel, then we pass horse and carts so must be near Central Park... maybe hes just taking us the scenic tourist route! But no, he pulls up outside The Plaza (of Home Alone Lost in New York fame). Andy looks at me confused through the screen and Im saying its the Broadway Plaza not The Plaza but Andy cant hear me though the screen so I pass my phone though the gap so Andy can show Mohammed the address (I could have pressed the intercom button, wouldve been so much easier!) So off we set again, this time to the correct hotel!

When we arrive Im completely thrown because the cost is just $52 and I have a complete blank when trying to rework the tip, we gave him $62 in total. It took 1 hour 10 mins and we arrived at the hotel at 5pm.

The hotel is on 27th and Broadway and from the outside the hotel entrance is just a doorway and the lobby and check-in area are quite small and dark. Id booked this hotel after reading Amandas (WileyCoyote) trip report and read that some rooms have an Empire State Building view, so Id requested a room with a view on the booking. On checking in I was told they had no Empire view rooms tonight but would have tomorrow so wed be welcome to room swap in the morning.

We were in room 206 and assured the concierge that we could manage our cases. The room was amazing! It was HUGE. We had two double beds, a table with two chairs and a desk at the window end and the other end of the room was a sofa bed, table and comfy chair. The room also had a fridge, safe, TV and plenty of drawers. The bathroom was also huge. The room looked out at the buildings opposite and because we were only on the 2nd floor didnt really have much of a view. I decided though Id rather have this room than move to one with an Empire view as it was a fantastic room.


We had quick showers and put on shorts (it was lovely, hot and sunny) and headed somewhere I was super excited about going to. Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Shake Shack started as a hot dog cart in the park and was so popular they opened a permanent kiosk in the park and now have shacks all over the US. It was a 10 minute easy walk to the kiosk. It is literally a kiosk and all the seats are outside in the park, Id been following them on instagram and wanted to go at night when there are lights over the seating area, very pretty. Today though we got there about 5.30 so it was too early for lights. Dan and I had a shack burger and fries, Andy had a smoke shack burger and fries and Josh had a hot dog and fries. It was delicious. We also had 3 large sodas and it was $48.70. We were sat next to a little planted area which was full of birds, squirrels and a mouse scurrying around!


We then walked to 7th Avenue and uptown towards Times Square, I think this was about a half hour walk. Times Square blew my mind! So busy, so much colour, so much noise, so many lights, I just stood there looking up in all directions, it was quite surreal, one of those wow we are in New York/quite tired now its midnight UK time moments.


The sights of Times Square


We had a look in the Hershey shop and as there was no queue at the TKTS booth asked about Chicago tickets, they were $77 for the show that night but I thought that was probably pushing it for day 1, wed have probably all slept through it!

We walked back to the hotel down Broadway, the boys have already worked out a fair bit about getting around, Josh had twigged that Broadway was the street that wasnt straight and Dan was an expert in knowing when the ok to cross man was going to appear on the pedestrian crossings so was generally half way across the street before the rest of us! One of the things Id been worried about was finding my way around New York and using the subway. Id read a few trip reports and everyone made it sound so easy, I was hoping I would eventually.

On the way back we called into Duane Reade for plasters, Dan had got a blister and was walking with half his foot out of his trainer. We were back at the hotel around 9pm and ready for bed. We had an early booking tomorrow and needed to use the subway as it was an hour walk. So I logged onto the MTA route planner to plan the route! We were then straight to bed, Dan had somehow commandeered the double bed and Josh was on the sofa bed which when he pulled it out was already made up, result! We were all definitely ready for a good nights sleep!

Edited at 05:50 PM.
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Unread 15 Aug 17, 03:44 PM  
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Great travel day

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Unread 15 Aug 17, 06:11 PM  
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Ah, you have started.
Not a bad travel day , some of those prices sound a bit steep though, they really hold you to ransom at the airports !
Good that the flight was OK after being delayed. It's so exiting in that taxi queue ( how sad is that as a comment) , just the anticipation of driving into the city.
So pleased that the Hotel was good. That is a great room , really spacious to spread out in and really cool after being in the hot city.
So envious, that first evening at Shake Shack, it's a moment you could bottle, just taking in the atmosphere and eating delicious burgers. That's a great pic of you there.
Lol at Times Square, it's just a crazy place isn't it.

Look forward to more !
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Unread 15 Aug 17, 06:49 PM  
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Looks like a great travel day all things told!

It is so good to have space with teenagers - we stayed in LIC when we went at Christmas just to have space!

Times Square sums up NYC - my two loved it but at times it was crazy (NYE comes to mind!)
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Unread 15 Aug 17, 07:20 PM  
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Great report so far. We've just booked a 6 night stay for October with our 2 kids. Will be reading with great interest.
Your hotel room looks fab as do the Shake Shack burgers! Have a great time : )
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Unread 15 Aug 17, 10:54 PM  
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Originally Posted by mick View Post
Great travel day

Joan
It was

Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
Ah, you have started.
Not a bad travel day , some of those prices sound a bit steep though, they really hold you to ransom at the airports !
Good that the flight was OK after being delayed. It's so exiting in that taxi queue ( how sad is that as a comment) , just the anticipation of driving into the city.
So pleased that the Hotel was good. That is a great room , really spacious to spread out in and really cool after being in the hot city.
So envious, that first evening at Shake Shack, it's a moment you could bottle, just taking in the atmosphere and eating delicious burgers. That's a great pic of you there.
Lol at Times Square, it's just a crazy place isn't it.

Look forward to more !
Thank you, it was a fab first evening, I loved Madison Square Park.
Times Square completely bonkers

Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
Looks like a great travel day all things told!

It is so good to have space with teenagers - we stayed in LIC when we went at Christmas just to have space!

Times Square sums up NYC - my two loved it but at times it was crazy (NYE comes to mind!)
Definately good to have that space! oh blimey NYE in Times Square I cannot imagine!

Thanks for reading

Originally Posted by beegnjasmum View Post
Great report so far. We've just booked a 6 night stay for October with our 2 kids. Will be reading with great interest.
Your hotel room looks fab as do the Shake Shack burgers! Have a great time : )
Aah exciting
They were definitely both fab!
Thanks for reading
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Unread 16 Aug 17, 10:40 AM  
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Looks like you had a great travel day. Can't wait to see what you did next.
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Unread 16 Aug 17, 05:57 PM  
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Originally Posted by Goldia View Post
Looks like you had a great travel day. Can't wait to see what you did next.
It was nice and smooth Thank you
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