I admit it, I am not a big city girl. I prefer a small town to the glitz and glamor of the city. I grew up in a small city of around 30,000 and going to the big city meant going to Madison, Wisconsin with 270,000 people.
I’ve traveled around the world, but had never been to New York City until this year. In January I had an 11 hour layover and was lucky enough to have a driver from PCS Limousine to take me into Manhattan and give me a tour. It was a snowy day and most of the time I was in a vehicle so while it was a good overview of the city, I can’t really say I experienced the city.
I was looking forward to my next trip to New York City, which would be for the Disney Fantasy® Christening on March 1. This time we would spend more time in the city as I had planned to arrive at lunchtime on March 1 and return back to my friend’s house very late on March 2.
What I found on my latest visit is this is a very comfortable city. We arrived in Grand Central Station and were welcomed by many banners and posters announcing the New York City sailings of the Disney Magic. Grand Central Station was amazing.
We had a fabulous lunch at the Inside Park at St. Barts with another friend of mine before heading to our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on West 57th Street in Midtown. It was fine for a night, and also good for a lower cost alternative. It was close to the port and not too far away from the Subway. A client of mine had stayed there and left a package for me with some treats and city guides. We used the subway map very much the next day! We didn’t plan anything else for the afternoon as we didn’t want to tire ourselves out or be late for the big event!
After breakfast, we had Bell Services hold our luggage for the rest of the day while we explored the city. We went on the subway down to see the 9/11 memorial. I found the subways clean and very easy to negotiate. I will warn you about the memorial though. If you do not have tickets in your hand, you should be prepared for a lot of walking. We had to go to the ticket center first and then walk six blocks down and one block over for the start of the line. We made our way back and forth though the lines. When we finally got to the end of the line, we walked around a construction wall, then around a building only to find another line. This took us to security. Then we basically walked the rest of the way around the construction site to the memorial.
Next we decided to head towards Battery Park, get something to eat and then watch the Disney Fantasy sail away. Instead we ended up at a Starbucks with a snack pack of fruit, nuts and cheese then needed to find a public restroom, since the Starbucks did not have one for their customers. We recalled there was the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian History across the street so we headed over there. What a beautiful building! We found a bench inside the rotunda that offered a place to relax and take in all the history of the building.
After resting and seeing what we wanted to view in the museum, we figured that the ship was not leaving as early as we had thought so it was time to make our way back towards Midtown. But we still had a few hours before our Wine Expo at the Javits Center. We decided to go to the Meatpacking District and stop at Chelsea Market. I would love to spend some time here! There was so many restaurants and food related shops, though we didn’t see what we were looking for – authentic New York style pizza!!
We walked a couple blocks down and found Artichoke – Basille’s Pizza & Bar. Here we shared a third of a pie and some garlic breadsticks. Oh my was this yummy! Finally we made our way to the Javits Center for the New York Wine Expo where we joined the rest of our group. This was a fun event where we got to try foods and of course wine and more wine. I found a number of them that I really liked. A couple in our group hadn’t eaten dinner so we left after the expo to go to 5 Napkin Burger. I just had an appetizer because we had eaten so much already today, but everything looked wonderful! One friend said this was the best burger place in the city. We had picked up our luggage before coming to 5 Napkin Burger, and now it was time to head back to Grand Central Station for our train ride back upstate. Unfortunately, it was raining and the theaters were just getting out so getting a taxi was impossible. We decided to walk in the rain. It wasn’t terribly far and we only ran into one issue at the theater where people were waiting for Nick Jonas to come out (we had to walk into the street around the car waiting for him to get by). Times Square was incredibly bright! We made it to Grand Central Station with time to spare.
There were so many other things that we could do in the city, but so limited time. Getting around was very easy between the taxis and the subway. I highly recommend spending a few days in New York City. For those of you thinking about a Disney Cruise to Canada or to the Bahamas and Florida from New York City, how about adding a couple nights before or after your cruise to take in this wonderful city? We can help you put together a touring plan, hotel stay, show tickets and finish up with your Disney Magic cruise! Contact Travel On A Dream today for details!