October 3rd ~ We arrived!
After a sleepless night, we were happy to have pre-arranged transportation from Newark airport to Manhattan. I found a company online with reasonable rates that would do the job. Through Go Airlink NYC you can book private or shared rides. The will pick up at all three of the major airports that service NYC and deliver you to your hotel. We opted for the shared van which cost us $21 each.
Upon arrival, we proceeded to the baggage claim/ground transportation level. Having smash-packed everything into carry-on luggage, we went straight to the desk where the agent took our information and had us take a chair to wait a few minutes for our driver to come collect us.
We ended up in a van with seven other people. One family was from Brazil with their two-year old daughter and another couple was from Israel. The mix made for some interesting conversations as we motored through the Lincoln Tunnel toward Manhattan.
An early morning arrival is not ideal from a traffic standpoint, and we hit the commute rush. We decided to simply enjoy the scenery and pretend we were on a guided tour of the city.
We have chosen the Excelsior Hotel for our four night stay for several reasons:
- The reviews were OK
- The price was still high, but with our hotels.com discount, it was more reasonable than most hotels in New York City. Hotels here are NOT cheap 🙂
- Location – I wanted something near Central Park and in one of the neighborhoods so we could get more of a local feel. The Excelsior is on 81st Street which is just one block from the park.
- It was walking distance to the Metropolitan Museum which was a must-see for this trip.
It was 10:00 by the time we finally arrived and Tim and I were both blurry-eyed. Of course our room was not ready this early, but we were able to check in, leave our luggage with the bell man and use the restrooms.
Much to my delight, even before we left the hotel, Tim received a phone call from the front desk that our room was ready!
The room was a little chilly, so we tried to get the heat to come on. Hmm, did not seem to be working. After a call to the desk to inquire, we were informed that no, there is no heat available. It does not get turned on until October 15th. We have hence found out that is normal for the hotels in NYC. There is an ordinance that says they can turn on the heat by October 1st if the outside temperature dips below 55 degrees.
Who knew? Obviously we didn’t. I love learning little tidbits of trivial information as we travel…
As much as I wanted to get out the door and explore, the bed won the argument and we succumbed to a several hour nap. Tim of course required some nourishment before sleeping, so he deserted me, scoped out the neighborhood, had breakfast and then rejoined me for some rest.
By the time we finally got ourselves back upright, it was mid afternoon and I was anxious to get some steps in. Since Central Park was only a block away, we decided to start our explorations there.
Having seen shots of Central Park in many movies and TV shows, I was delighted to finally experience it in person. It made the park more meaningful and it came to life for me. Families playing games, eating, soaking up the sunshine, walking, jogging, riding bikes and most common – walking their dogs.
Turtle pond was a fun photo stop with the castle in the near background.
After a couple of hours walking and exploring, we returned to the hotel to freshen up and then chose a restaurant a few blocks away called “Good Enough to Eat”. It is a local favorite, best known for breakfast. But, the salad and half chicken dinner with roasted vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes was generous enough for the two of us to share. A welcome margarita topped off the meal.
Already I am loving our location. It is fabulous to be able to walk the streets and feel like you are having a “local” experience in one of the neighborhoods, and not just hanging out in touristy places.
Tim is already sound asleep beside me, so I will close for now with much anticipation of waking up rested tomorrow and ready to get out the door to see/do/experience more.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we are having the opportunity to see more of New York City. The last time we were here was back in 1991, when we took two months to drive around the country before we started our business. On that trip we concentrated on the Time Square area, checked out Wall Street, visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as well as landing outstanding tickets to watch both Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.