Cruise 10, New York, Vacations

Vacation 2010: New York (Part One)

Part Two
Part Three

There are currently 13,000 taxis in New York.
Though I’ve always wanted to go to New York, we hadn’t planned on going to New York quite so soon. All we really wanted to do was catch a boat out of the New York harbor and sail to Canada for a few days.

But, since we were planning on cashing in our frequent flyer miles (not a sponsored link – calm down) in on four free (well, we paid $10 bucks a piece for tax and then we paid $20 bucks a piece for our two bags) flights, our fly options were limited. Even though I understand why American Airlines does this (after all, they’re flying us for free – why would they reserve prime-time money-making flights for us?), it’s still a bit annoying that we only have a narrow window of opportunity to work around.

But hey, I’m grateful they even HAVE this program, let alone still running it after Obama’s “hope and change” crap he’s pulled since being in office, so I am not going to complain; the program has saved us boo-coo bucks over the years. (I mean, you’re going to buy/pay for stuff anyway [groceries, utilities, etc], why not earn points why you do it? Just be sure and pay it off at the end of the month so you’re not paying interest. If you can’t pay it off, then don’t charge it. Just sayin’.)

Check out the reflection in the building.
Anyway, since we were cashing in our points, our options were limited as far as when we could fly out to New York. I have learned, from our 10th anniversary cruise, that I will NEVER AGAIN fly out and try to catch a boat on the same day. It’s WAY too stressful. So, ever since then, we’ve made a point of flying out at least one day ahead of time so if there are any delays, we won’t miss the boat.

So to speak.

The closest time we could get to New York and still make our boat was two days. So, we thought, “hey, we’re going to be in New York anyway, let’s just splurge on a hotel room and hang out in New York for two days.”

And that’s what we did.

We started planning this trip back in January of this year. January has become our “vacation planning” month. We plan, book and by the time vacation time rolls around, it’s paid for. The only money we have to dish out is last minute expenses.

Only this year, Kevin had his accident in April and suddenly, we weren’t sure what to do about our pre-paid vacation. Though we had purchased insurance on our cruise (which sounds like a waste of money, but something you’re REALLY GLAD you have in case something comes up and you might not make it, like we did), we hesitated on canceling it. The accident happened in April, our vacation wasn’t until July – that’s a lot of time to heal and get back to normal. Since the doctors were confident that Kevin would walk again, we remained optimistic.

We oscillated between taking the vacation and canceling the vacation. I had doubts, but I left it up to Kevin on whether he wanted to cancel or not – it all depended on what he felt like doing and what he could handle.

Obviously, he decided to wait it out and we ended up going.

My guys at Times Square.

I was a little worried about getting him through security.

I needn’t have worried. Though he did indeed set off the alarms in the Springfield airport, that was largely because he was wearing his leg brace. Why do I know this? Because when we went through airport security in Newark, NJ, he wasn’t wearing his leg brace and the alarms didn’t go off; he sailed through without a second glance. (Though we did have to put his cane and his walker through the x-ray machine).

Our flight up to New York went off without a hitch. Everything was on time and we arrived in New York at 6:30.

Look at how thin the building on the left is.
We hailed a taxi. Though I had read a lot about New York taxi drivers and that was enough to make me nervous using them, I was so concerned about getting all of our luggage, Kevin’s walker and Kevin himself settled into the car that I didn’t give myself time to really BE nervous. We ended up having to put the walker in the backseat – me, Dude and Jazz had to hold it on our laps, which was uncomfortable and cramped, but we dealt with it.

Since I was sitting in the backseat, I couldn’t see. And it’s a good thing. Because every hair-raising story you’ve heard about New York taxi drivers weaving in and out of traffic and getting within inches of the surrounding cars are absolutely true. I would NEVER survive driving in New York. I’d be a bumbling basket case, even more so than I am now.

We arrived at The Salisbury. Since we had used Google maps at home and saw what it and the street looked like, there were no surprises; it was exactly what we expected.

The bellman took our luggage up to room 611. We had read reviews of the place on (in fact, we booked our hotel through them – recommend them, by the way), and one of the complaints were the slow elevators.

They weren’t kidding. There were only two elevators for 15 floors and yes, they were slooooow. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t bother me, we would just take the stairs. But since Kevin doesn’t do stairs very well, we were forced to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

The hallways were also really, really hot and stuffy. I don’t know if the hotel was trying to save money on their utility bill or what, but it was unbearable, especially in the afternoon after the building had had a chance to bake all day. (New York in July is HOT and STIFLING).

How appropriate for my musicians to stand in front of Carnegie Hall.

However, that is the extent of anything bad I have to say about The Salisbury – everything else was great. We had our own window unit, so our room stayed nice and cool (in fact, I was amazed to see just how many buildings in New York had window air conditioners – I guess this is because most of the buildings in New York are so old they may not even HAVE central air installed). The hotel is indeed old, but it was clean and we loved the location!! There was an entrance to the Metro just one block away and Central Park was literally around the corner. There was a coal-oven pizza place next door (they have since outlawed coal ovens so it was cool that we were so close to one and could sample a coal-oven pizza), and a quaint cafe that we ended up going to several times while in New York.

We couldn’t have asked for a more centrally located hotel. (I’d recommend staying there – though I forgot to mention that though The Salisbury advertises a continental breakfast, you don’t figure out, until they drop off the voucher that you are required to give them if you want the breakfast, that the continental breakfast? Is $6.00 PER PERSON. Twenty-four bucks for doughnuts and bagels?! Yeah, we did that exactly ONCE).

(Side note: We had pizza the first night we were there and I took one bite and burned the ever-loving CRAP out of my lower lip because the cheese was so hot. My lip was numb throughout the rest of our trip. 😦 )

This truck in the background was stalled in the middle of the intersection and it was pure chaos.

We didn’t do much our first night in New York. We arrived, got settled, ate some famous New York pizza and crashed. But we had been in New York long enough for me to understand what people meant when they said NY was the city that never slept. The energy was nearly palpable. I felt small, insignificant, lost, overwhelmed, and naive.

But I was already hooked and couldn’t wait to see more.

(…to be continued)