My New York Vacation and Tips (Part 2)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

For the 1st half of this post go here:

Third Day in New York

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Tip: Rainy days are the best days to go to tourist attractions. The forecast was for a 90% chance of rain the entire day and night. We almost decided to go to a museum instead, but then realized that the rain might work in our favor as long as it stayed light and didn't become a downpour. We were right! We had no line to buy our ferry tickets and we skipped past all of the winding ropes that usually hold long lines of people waiting to get on a ferry.

For $17 Statue Cruises takes you to Liberty Island, Ellis Island, and then back to Battery Park. The tour includes an audio tour of both Liberty Island and the Ellis Island Museum. We were able to stay at each island as long as we wanted and just hop on a ferry when we were ready to go.  As we were leaving the Statue of Liberty it started pouring rain. We hopped on the Ferry and went to Ellis Island where everything was inside the museum. We couldn't have planned or timed it better.

After returning to Battery Park, we walked around eventually making our way to the financial district.

Castle Clinton

East Coast War Memorial

The Sphere
from the World Trade Center

New York Stock Exchange
 Seeing the financial district wasn't really high on my list of things I wanted to do in New York, but I am so glad we went! I wish we could have had an entire week to spend there since there are so many things to see and do. I mostly loved all of the history that was there (Federal Hall, Trinity Church Cemetery, and tons more).
After walking around the financial district for a while we went and saw Mamma Mia.
Tip: We bought rush tickets that morning and got full view seats in the upper part of the theater for $32 each! Rather than go to the extremely crowded TKTS booth in Times Square, we just went to the show we wanted to see at 10:00 am every morning and bought tickets (Before our trip we bought tickets to Harvey and Wicked since those shows were selling out). This method worked great and got us into a lot of Broadway shows for usually around $32 a ticket.

 Fourth Day in New York
Saturday morning we bought tickets for Mary Poppins (matinee) and Phantom of the Opera. We walked around times Square and bought a few souvenirs.

We had been in New York all week and never saw anyone selling illegal handbags until Saturday morning. All week long there are guys with carts selling knock-offs, but they are legal since theirs don't completely copy the name brand or use the name (Instead of Prada the bag will say a different name, but look like a Prada bag). For a brief moment there were guys on every corner selling the real deal. They carry their handbags in white sheets with drawstrings so that they can scoop up their loot when a cop comes. I had a hard time looking because they kept scooping everything up to escape the cops. They all wanted $55, but were willing to bargain a little.
Tip: My first couple of attempts to bargain didn't go well until I learned to have the cash out that I was willing to pay. I bought an orange wallet for my sister-in-law by holding a $20 bill out and saying that was all I had when they wanted more.
I forgot to take a picture of it, but it looked similar to this one, but with zippers.

Tip: Make your offer and then walk away. I got this really great quality Prada bag for myself after making my offer and then walking away when he wouldn't accept it. He called me back and ended up going down to $35.
Designer bags are really not that special in NY since everyone has them (Everyone on the subway carried them, including the lower class). I was glad I bought my bag when I did, because I never saw anyone selling them again. The entire week I was in NY I only saw them out for about 1 hour on Saturday morning.

Behind us is where the ball drops every new year.

Buying a street dog in NY was on Ryan's bucket list of things to do.

We bought the cheapest seats for Mary Poppins at $32 each, but they ended up being the best seats in the house. They were cheap because there was a very tiny part of the stage that was obstructed, but they were a great view for everything else (nothing ever happened in that far corner of the stage anyway). We had our own private box with a curtain in the back. We didn't have anyone in front of us or behind us and it was so roomy and comfortable. We were close enough to see the facial expressions of all the actors and did not need our binoculars.

Mary Poppins ended up being one of our favorite shows.

My husband and I both love Apple and met in a graphic design class in college. Going to the New York Apple store was a dream come true for Ryan and this is the happiest I have ever seen him. You just can't go to the Big Apple without going to Apple.

We ended our day with Phantom of the Opera.
It was my second time seeing it, but Ryan's first. The music was amazing, but poor Ryan couldn't hear in surround sound since his left ear was still having problems from The Empire State Building.

 Fifth Day in New York

 We started our Sunday off at Central Park.
It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, "Enchanted".

This is Belvedere Castle, which was featured recently in "Smurfs". It was really neat to see so many places/landmarks from movies. They are everywhere!

We found The American Museum of Natural History (featured in "Night at the Museum") right next to Central Park.

After our stroll through Central Park our legs were tired, so we got on the Subway and headed downtown.
By Sunday, we were pros at using the Subway and found it very convenient. I actually really miss it and wish we had one here in Utah.

 We stopped really quick at the American Girl store. I was happy to be away from my kids the entire trip, except here. I called my 11 year old daughter to tell her where we were and felt very guilty and wished she could be there with us. The guilt passed and we got back on the Subway and headed further downtown.

Washington Square Park

I'm a sucker for a colorfully painted door and loved this neighborhood.

After eating lunch at Washington Square Park, we got back on the Subway and went all the way to Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Bridge

There is a lot of great graffiti in Brooklyn.

Wow! Everything is cheaper in Brooklyn; we paid as much as $3 for a bottle of water in Manhattan.

After a full day of exploring, it was nice to sit down at our last Broadway show, Wicked.
 I had been wanting to see this show for years and it did not disappoint.

 Goodbye New York
It was really hard to pack up and leave. My trip to New York was easily the best vacation I have ever had and I hope to be able to do it again one day.

We took the Subway into Queens where we hopped onto another Subway to the Sky Train that took us to the JFK Airport. Making all of those connections would have scared and intimidated me the first day there, but was really a piece of cake by our last day. It took us about an hour to get to the airport, but it was a lot cheaper than a taxi (a taxi would have taken about 30 min).
Tip: I had read that you shouldn't take big items like backpacks on the subway, because it is too crowded and people would be annoyed. We saw lots of people with luggage and even bikes on the Subway, so we had no problem taking our luggage with us.

I am happy to be home, but am still having major New York withdrawal. I miss it so much.

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