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Unread 14 Jun 15, 10:53 AM  
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ally1966
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A Complete Novice In New York - Pre-Trippie *Update 22/08/15


14th June 2015
First let me introduce the cast:-

Myself, Alison 48 - Mother of the Groom, Chief Planner and the novice of the title. I have been to the USA on 4 previous occasions but never before ventured outside Orlando. For some reason (blind faith? shear stupidity?!) my fellow travellers are still trusting me to organise this one.



DS27, Ian and his fiance, Georgie, the Bride & Groom. They are the reason for this trip as they have decided to get married in Central Park. They are also the only ones in the group who have actually been to New York before.



DS17, Dan, the Best Man. Planning to shop, shop and shop some more! Fortunately has just had a birthday so should have plenty of money to spend!



DD Nicola, will be 15 on the day we Travel. Has always wanted to go to New York (so has a lot to thank her big bro for, as I doubt we'd have bothered if it wasn't for the wedding!) Has expensive tastes but doesn't seem to realise that her money won't go very far in the likes of Tiffany's and Michael Kors!



DD Chloe will be 8 by the time we go. Slightly confused by the whole thing! Having only holidayed at the beach or WDW previously, keeps asking what rides she can go on. Also keeps telling people that we will be going up the Eiffel Tower - should be interesting.



Fiona, Mother of the Bride. Has never travelled abroad before and is VERY nervous about the flight but now getting quietly excited.



Emily, Sister of the Bride. Major rock fan, will be my partner in crime to see Phantom of the Opera and is the official hairdresser for the big day.



There will also be various other people joining us for parts of the holiday, particularly on the wedding day. These include the bride's Aunt and Uncle and their sons and also some work colleagues of the bride.

Now to the plan so far:-

The flights were booked as soon as they were released, back in May 2014. We will be flying from Manchester - JFK on 24th August and returning on the 31st.

Having booked the flight, this decided the date of the wedding, which will be on Thursday 27th August in Central Park, giving Ian and Georgie a couple of days to get their licence after we arrive in NYC. They are using the services of a wedding co-ordinator - Alexandra Paez of www.knotbythesea.com - she will be the officiant at the service and is also organising transport, flowers and photographer for the big day. After the ceremony we are all going to the Boathouse in Central Park for a meal.

After much debate and deliberation we have settled on The Sanctuary Hotel in Times Square as our accommodation for the trip. Mainly because it was in budget, has good reviews on Trip Advisor and has the STAR concierge team - who I'm sure will be completely sick of hearing from me before we even arrive.

The next thing to be arranged was how we were getting to the airport. The only drivers amongst us are Ian and Georgie and she's only recently passed her test so doesn't like to drive too far. So I decided to take myself and the kids out if the equation and booked us into the Premier Inn the night before the flight. We will travel up by train. This should also allow us a more leisurely start to the travel day and Nicola's birthday. The others will travel up on the day by car and meet us at the airport.

We have already booked a few activities for whilst we are in New York. We have Crown tickets for the Statue of Liberty (just hope Chloe will be tall enough!).

We have tickets to see Aladdin on Broadway and on the Saturday night we will be going our separate ways; with myself, Emily and Nicola going to see Phantom, Fiona going on a dinner cruise with her brother's family and the rest off to see Matilda.

We also have tickets for the Top of the Rock, where we hope to see the sunset over the city. Myself, Dan, Nic and Chloe also have a Groupon deal for a bus trip to Woodbury Outlets.

Apart from this we want to see all the usual tourist sites and try out some of the amazing eateries that New York has to offer. I am working on an itinerary on the advice of Dibbers who say that we can't just wing it! So will update when we have more plans in place. Now off to read some more trippies for inspiration.
To Be Continued...



15th June 2015
Just a quick update... As our arrival day is also Nicola's birthday, I have just ordered a box of these little beauties from the Magnolia Bakery.

With the help of the STAR team at the hotel, these will be waiting for her in our room on arrival, along with a helium filled Happy Birthday balloon.

Had to share with someone as I'm bursting with excitement and totally useless at keeping secrets!



20th June 2015
Some of the shopping that I've been doing in preparation for our trip!

Firstly picked up this lovely hard back notebook on EBay for 2.99 - will be perfect for planning notes and trip diary.



Secondly, bought these to try and educate Chloe about some of the thing that we are going to see. Thought they would also make good occupational therapy for the flight.



Bought this Frozen ReadyBed to solve the problems with our sleeping arrangements. We have a room with 2 double beds and the intention was for me and the 2 girls to share one bed and Dan to have the other - as we'd done this successfully on our last Florida holiday. However, having shared a bed with Chloe and her cousin at a recent sleepover, I quickly realised that we couldn't cope like this for a whole week now that they are bigger, so will be taking this in the case.



Finally for now I have bought these which I've been poring over in every spare moment - the plan is coming together nicely!



28th June 2015.
Not directly related to the New York trip but it was Georgie's Hen Do last night... yes, I know that there's still 2 months to go 'til the wedding but it was the only night that everyone could get together.

Not sure what aches most this morning, my head or my feet but a good time (and plenty of alcohol!) was had by all.



We started the evening with drinks at Fiona's house.






We then went on to The Revolution in Derby for a meal (sorry no food pics 😒 I promise to try harder in New York!) followed by a cocktail making master class and lots of dancing.



Good food, great company and lots of laughs! Thanks to Fiona, Emily and Georgie's friend Laura for organising x



2nd July 2015.
This update was almost to report a complete disaster!

Ian & Georgie had their hearts set on a meal at The Boathouse following the wedding ceremony. We knew that the wedding party of 14 was too small to book a private reception there, but they had taken our names and told us that we would be able to book a table in the restaurant. We just needed to phone and confirm this 2 months before the wedding date when their bookings officially opened.

So imagine the disappointment when we rang on Sunday to be told that the largest group that they could accommodate in the restaurant was 12 people. We even suggested booking 2 or 3 smaller tables but despite having availability, they wouldn't guarantee that we would be seated anywhere near each other if we did this. The staff were extremely unhelpful and we were left feeling that our business just wasn't wanted.

So, the search began for a suitable alternative. After looking at lots of different places and menus, the bride and groom eventually settled on Asiate at the Mandarin Hotel. It overlooks Central Park and has amazing views... And best of all, their customer service has been excellent. With the panic over and everything back on track we are all starting to get really excited!






11th August 2015.
It's hard to believe that after 18 months of planning we are now less than 2 weeks from take off. Excitement is building to fever pitch and last minute details are coming together nicely.

I have booked the above limo from Strussers limousines to pick us up from JFK. Not cheap (and I know considered tacky by some) but it is fully inclusive of tolls, taxes and gratuity. There is a mini-bar on board with free champagne (well "Fizz" anyway!) so I thought it would be a fun way to start the holiday and would save all the hassle of queuing for a cab after a long flight.

As we are now within 21 days of the wedding, Ian and Georgie have submitted their online application for their marriage licence. They now just have to show up to collect it at the City Clerk's office with their ID and they're good to go.



Nicola and I went on a shopping trip the other day and picked up some bargains in the sales.

I found these 2 dresses in New Look. Nic got a lovely dress in Miss Selfridges and some sandals for half price in River Island.






I also picked up a few bits for Chloe in the Next sale - favourites are this lace dress and the Cinderella t-shirt.






Also got Chloe this beautiful dress from the online firm Zulilly to wear for the wedding.



Not to be left out, managed to get Dan some new t-shirts in the Top Man sale and 3 pairs of shorts for 30 from M&M Direct.

So we are now all kitted out and ready to go... although I must be sure to leave enough space in the cases for all the shopping that will be done over there!

We have changed our seat selection with Thomas Cook so that we now have window seats on the left hand side of the plane. I'm reliably informed that this will give us our best chance of a view over Manhattan on arrival - I hope this proves to be true.



22nd August 2015
The cases are finally packed and this will be my final update before leaving for the airport. It's been a pretty hectic week full of holiday preparations and birthdays.

Wednesday was Chloe's 8th birthday. As you can probably imagine she was mega excited. She had her birthday party at home so it was a stressful day full of baking, sandwich making and kids but everyone seemed to enjoy it. Presents included an iPad mini with Frozen headphones and cover (crafty Mum moment - I wasn't ONLY thinking about having to keep her occupied on a 7 and a half hour flight, honest!)






Thursday saw my final shift at work before the holiday - Hooray! Can't really get into the swing of the holiday until work is out of the way.

On Friday, Georgie had her 25th birthday. She kept this fairly quiet as most of the celebrating will be done in New York.



Nicola and myself had a day of pampering yesterday. We both had our nails, eyelashes and eyebrows done in preparation for the trip.



Once we were suitably beautified and feeling glam we went for lunch at The Lord Burton - just a quick practice for all the "eating out" that we plan to do next week!

I had a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, Nicola had a BBQ Chicken Panini. Both meals were served with chips and onion rings and we both had a caramel frappe to drink. The food was very tasty and the total bill came to 9.48 which I thought was an absolute bargain - I'm guessing that we won't be eating for these sort of prices in New York!






Fully fed and watered, we proceeded to raid the local branch of Body Care for our holiday toiletries. So if anyone in Burton is thinking of going there in the next couple of days, don't bother, they haven't got any stock left.

We picked up the last of our holiday $$$$s and Nicola purchased (yet another) new outfit, to wear for travelling in on Sunday.

I did a bit of craft shopping in order to make this as a little present for the bride and groom






... and that's pretty much that really. We're as ready as we'll ever be.

To those of you who have stuck with my rambling this far, Thank-you. I'll hopefully see you again on Sunday evening at the Premier Inn Runger Lane x



Edited at 07:33 PM.
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Unread 14 Jun 15, 04:14 PM  
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All sounds lovely

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Unread 15 Jun 15, 06:25 AM  
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Thanks Joan, I can't wait!😄
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Unread 15 Jun 15, 06:36 AM  
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BONDY LAD
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We were in new York 10 days ago also flew tc booked day of release last year for a pittance just like to day what a fantastic post bondy
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Unread 15 Jun 15, 06:07 PM  
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Thanks Bondy, hope you had a great trip. Did you manage to see and do everything you had planned?
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Unread 15 Jun 15, 06:52 PM  
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Originally Posted by ally1966 View Post
Thanks Bondy, hope you had a great trip. Did you manage to see and do everything you had planned?
absolutely you need an itinary and a plan "b",though on our first pre booked visit to the wtc observation deck,its 102 floors up,after floor 50 couldnt see your nose for fog,what a mega dissappointment when we arrived at top, anyway returned 2 days later and after a little "blagging" they let us up for free,wow amazing 102 floors up in the lift in 47 seconds,",oh my ears"incredible view, also queued up at times square and got a whopping 50% discount on tickets for matilda,it was great,folk wanted aladdin or neverland (the gary barlow one) but zero tickets available that day, apparantly aladdin there are no or very rarely tickets available and neverland were available the following day at 30% reduction, bondy.
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Unread 15 Jun 15, 07:22 PM  
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Wow it all sounds fantastic, what a wonderful place for a wedding, hope you all have a fabulous time, happy planning and I look forward to reading more xx
Edited to add. . . Those cupcakes love gorgeous x

Edited at 07:35 PM.
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Unread 16 Jun 15, 07:19 AM  
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Originally Posted by BONDY LAD View Post
absolutely you need an itinary and a plan "b",though on our first pre booked visit to the wtc observation deck,its 102 floors up,after floor 50 couldnt see your nose for fog,what a mega dissappointment when we arrived at top, anyway returned 2 days later and after a little "blagging" they let us up for free,wow amazing 102 floors up in the lift in 47 seconds,",oh my ears"incredible view, also queued up at times square and got a whopping 50% discount on tickets for matilda,it was great,folk wanted aladdin or neverland (the gary barlow one) but zero tickets available that day, apparantly aladdin there are no or very rarely tickets available and neverland were available the following day at 30% reduction, bondy.
Thanks Bondy, we are going to keep the plan flexible so that we can switch things round depending on weather etc. We aren't planning on doing the WTC tower because we already have SoL and Top of the rock tickets, also want to do the Empire State so we thought that adding another one might be tower overload! Hope that we don't regret this decision, we will be visiting the 9/11 Memorial though.

We have already pre-purchased our theatre tickets. We did consider waiting and trying the TCKTs booth but knew that we couldn't get Aladdin tickets from there and didn't fancy spending valuable holiday time in a 2hr queue to buy the others!

Edited at 07:25 AM.
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