It was the most ambitious family trip since heading to Florida
while that isn’t completely true… the concept was simple enough.
A short trip… Bob and Terry, Mom and Dad, Kris, Kerri, Nick, Naya,
Tamsin and Ky united for the journey and on the way to New York
City the weekend before New Year’s.
was intended to be fun, with only a few musts packed around a
fairly open schedule. And in the end, a lot of ground was covered…
by van… by ferry… by subway… and by foot. Let’s get to the City
and start the journal…
One -- Friday, December 27, 2013
the idea of bringing the ten of us into Midtown on a Friday afternoon
wasn’t stunningly funny enough, we decided to add challenges.
and Nick are already at the hotel. Nick needed to do some work
in the city, and they left on Thursday.
has to do some work, and she’s been dropped off early at the train
station so she can use a consistent WiFi signal during the trip
and effectively deliver from a mobile office.
leaves Terry and I in a van, with the grandparents and the grandchildren.
And if you know Terry and I, this means the grandparents are in
trouble because we expect to have fun and enjoy the ride.
heading in to West 36th… most definitely Midtown… and a stay at
the Hyatt Plaza. The GPS is set and we’re following it all the
most people know, I tend to trust our Mi Luv U unit a bit too
much. It’s not a blind faith approach though. I almost always
have a road atlas on hand, or a familiarity with the driving ahead.
And in this case, I fully recognize that once we hit Manhattan
all hell is going to break loose. Or, more accurately, be recalculated…
and recalculated… and lost satellite reception… and recalculated…
and lost satellite reception… and recalculated. So I’ve set up
the destination on the GPS for my phone as well, with “start navigation”
not engaged but ready to go if I ask Terry to hit it.
getting some messages from Kerri and Kris along the way. Apparently
Kris is struggling with the WiFi plan… or more specifically, the
consistent part of the consistent WiFi. Amazingly (sarcasm alert),
the train is having troubles with delivering the service, and
it isn’t quite measuring up as the anticipated office on the go.
the car… we’re doing amazingly well. Everyone is smiling and laughing,
happy and entertained, and the miles are ticking off. The only
thing we’re bracing for is the potential of headaches that might
be triggered within the city on a Friday afternoon… on dates falling
between holidays… with traffic expected and towering buildings
ready to freeze GPS signals.
we do hit a bit of traffic… mainly running slow between the lights…
but nothing worth inducing headaches. We’re staying at the Hyatt
Place on West 36th Street. And… hold on, let’s start fresh and
with a positive approach (and see how long it will last)…
general, this Hyatt has virtually everything you would want from
a hotel in New York City.
check some things off in the optimistic and upbeat column…
-- Let’s face it, just about any place on the island is going
to be located near something cool. A museum… a national monument…
a beautiful park… an entertainment venue… an incredible deli…
and so on. But this Hyatt… two blocks to the Empire State Building…
roughly five blocks to Times Square… almost nudged up against
5th Avenue… it’s five blocks to the New York Public Library… just
about a dozen blocks to Rockefeller Plaza… its spot is darn near
perfect. Heck, you could slide off of 5th after the library and
be staring at the Grand Central Terminal. Location? Big check
-- Ok… I’m not about to suggest that hotel food is an amazing
perk you should be looking at too closely. It’s New York City.
Great food is all over the place. When in New York City, depending
on your schedule, group and plans, there are plenty of other options
you should be checking out for food before ever thinking of any
hotel buffet. But a free breakfast, with hot items, is worth mentioning.
Turned out it wasn’t exactly delicious… wasn’t exactly memorable…
but one description does work very well, and that would be convenient.
-- Trust me, the cost is below what you’re expecting.
-- Clean property and a friendly staff greeted us. (It did continue
as clean… and a good portion of the staff remained friendly. This
would, without hesitation, return to this hotel. In fact, if I
was heading to New York, and depending on my needs (location,
location, location), I would probably check out this hotel before
investigating others. I want you to know that as we’re arriving
and before the stories begin. Because this travel diary is going
to be critical of the place. Very critical. Elevators
that frankly might have been faster if they were locked in place
and out of service critical… a couple of staff members that failed
at absurd levels when called upon critical… I can’t tell you that
the Hyatt impressed when offered the chance to shine.
wait in the lobby forever after checking in. We’re staying on
different floors, mainly because Nick and Kerri had checked in
the day before, and partly because we have four rooms. The arrival
right now includes seven members of our complete group and their
luggage. And the elevator isn’t slow. Slow implies a speed of
movement. There were definitely times that elevator could not
possibly have been moving… and I do not mean occasional stops
on floors. I mean frozen in place stopped. Toss in that luggage
with small elevator cars, and suddenly we’re looking to climb
on top of each other to avoid waiting for more than two trips.
As we wait for our lift, Kerri explains that darn things have
been driving her batty since she arrived.
get in our rooms and manage to bring together two of our groups.
Nick got out of work a bit earlier than expected, so he and Kerri
have joined up with Mom and Dad, Ky, Naya, Tamsin, Terry and I.
(Krissie is in transit, and as such represents the third group.)
We’re thinking about lunch. Not in any special way… rather more
of a “if we eat too late we won’t be hungry for dinner, so let’s
get something now” kind of way. A few thoughts are floated around,
and eventually things completely separate from food settle the
aren’t certain when Kris will be arriving… and even after she
does, we aren’t sure when she’ll be ready to move. So we’re going
to walk a few blocks into Times Square, check out a few restaurant
options and get something to eat, then maybe some sightseeing
with Broadway and chocolate stores on the agenda.
Square is packed. To give the idea some perspective, the ball
is actually in place… ready for New Year’s Eve. We’ve come between
Christmas and New Year’s, and arrived at one of the most recognizable
and visited tourist spots in the world. So… yeah… duh.
stop to watch a dance troupe perform, and not only are they pretty
good, they also manage to draw one of the larger crowds I’ve seen
for a street performance in the City.
is beginning to become a theme… it’s not that it’s so packed right
now that we can’t get around. Actually, when we came before near
in 2009 we had significantly more troubles
with people as individuals and as groups. Funny thing though…
in 2009 we had no wait for a restaurant when we arrived for lunch.
In 2013 though, each restaurant we step inside is telling us there
will be more than an hour wait for a table before we
can even mention to them we want seating for nine.
the three kids present an offering… and Maccas it is.
eaten in a few McDonald’s over the years. Catch it right… hot
fries would be the definition of catching it right… and McDonald’s
is fine. I never… ever… need to get back to the Maccas in Times
Square, thank you very much. Packed, dirty, disorganized, and…
just guessing, the order of severity may differ, but would bet
money there really isn’t a time of day or season of the year where
those three descriptions wouldn’t apply to this establishment.
yet… once we finished eating… we get back out into Times Square
and were about to set off on one of those stretches of time where
first stop is at M&M’s World. The last time Terry and I were
here, we had Ellen and Richard along in that 2009 adventure. And,
a bit better than that visit. Far less crowded,
and you don’t feel like a corralled herd slowly being led from
entrance to the escalator back downstairs past the register and
out the doors. This time we had the chance to look around a bit,
while not being swept away by people.
the street and into Hershey’s Chocolate World.
have zero clue why… but I like Hershey’s store better. There is
NO reason for this to really be the case. There seems to be more
in M&M’s World. It’s actually harder to navigate the floor
at Hershey’s, with rows that don’t seem to have as much space
and a weird flow. And yet, in general, the candy and merchandise
and atmosphere seem to appeal to me more. Strange.
stores are fun… both worth a stop… and in general it’s hard not
to feel a bit cheerier after a bit of chocolate.
this time Terry begins asking about our location. She recalls
our 2009 trip, some of our walking, and thinks we’re close to
Rockefeller Plaza. I confirm her hunch, and point out that we’re
just a couple of blocks away.
on your timing, tolerance for crowds, and desire to see some Christmas
decorations in New York City, there are a few things that really
need to be on your must list. Something like Central Park would
probably be in your sights, with thoughts of a carriage ride.
Different shopping options and restaurants might be debated. Perhaps
a show at Radio City Music Hall will be the centerpiece of your
visit. Almost certainly though, if it’s Christmas decorations
you want, you are going to be kicking around Rockefeller Plaza
while branching out to Times Square and 5th Avenue.
had been. Because… of course. Rockefeller around the holidays?
Duh. It just wasn’t something we had placed into the first afternoon.
With Kris still on the way though… and us moving in the right
direction… we discuss it for a bit. We decide we can stop back
if Kris wants to (maybe catching it again at night), and we break
off of Broadway onto 49th Street in the direction of the big tree.
walk itself turned out perfectly. While there were people still
massively swamping the Plaza and the tree, we were able to get
some pictures, and see all we wanted to check out. From there
it was easy enough to turn down 5th Avenue, see sights like the
New York Public Library and several window displays such as at
Lord & Taylor. Only thing really missing that we likely would
have considered attempting on any other trip is the Top of the
Rock. However, we hadn’t really thought much about heading to
Rockefeller Plaza on this afternoon so testing the lines doesn’t
seem like a good idea, plus our plan is to see the Empire State
got about a dozen blocks to walk on the way back to our hotel,
which means Kris is closing in on her arrival and we’re actually
starting to get hungry again as we reach the lobby.
waiting for the elevator and talking, acknowledge we’re tired…
the early start and drive, along with a good afternoon walk… and
with Kris now safely part of the group, we take aim across the
street for dinner.
Keg Room is a pretty decent place. Prices
were good… food was good… atmosphere was great. In fact, I believe
Ky may still be in The Keg Room, watching the televisions that
were broadcasting every sporting event you might consider for
a December evening, from local hockey and basketball to an international
rugby match. And when you consider we were trying to fit in ten
people on a Friday evening, they actually should get a few extra
stars in the rating.
to the hotel after our meal, for a quiet night ahead of a busy
Two -- Saturday, December 28, 2013
don’t enjoy admitting this, but we ate breakfast at the Hyatt
today. But first, we had to get there.
you ever wonder about magic tricks with disappearing cabinets?
I’m starting to believe that’s what the Hyatt had installed instead
we’re on different floors, we haven’t all been meeting in a hallway
to venture to the elevators as a group. It’s been phone calls,
meet here or there arrangements, get the people in motion toward
an assembly area sort of goal.
only have the elevators been slow, they’ve been a source of entertainment.
Arrive in the lobby first and you can set up camp with a view
of the elevators, watch the display indicate a car’s arrival,
and wait to see if the opening doors reveal anyone you know.
line for breakfast we compare notes with a few people and we’ve
decided that an elevator car takes about 20 minutes, minimum,
to travel a circuit of lobby to the top and back again. They have
two cars and clear just about 180 rooms. While I can’t confirm
how many floors have hotel rooms compared to any other amenities
or offerings, I can tell you the building is more than 20 floors.
So… think about that… basically saying 10 rooms per floor would
be a decent estimate. Also means two small elevator cars with
the majority of the guests more than ten stories above street
couple of funny thoughts that will explain everything without
a need to try and pick on the food.
asked us about getting some hot cocoa. Seemed easy enough. You
know the routine in a hotel breakfast serve-yourself kind of situation.
Find the coffee station, look for the hot water, and then grab
a mug and a packet of hot chocolate. Combine, stir, sit, enjoy.
for us it quickly became a quest. (I know… I know… just ask. And
we should have. But honestly, you’ve been there… you start on
something so basic that once you begin and encounter troubles,
you’re convinced you have to be missing something and feel compelled
to look for the answer.) No matter how hard we looked, we couldn’t
find a combination that would end with a cup of hot chocolate.
then there was Ky. Now… I can’t blame him officially, since I
didn’t notice it at that exact moment. But, the kids had been
borrowing our phones. They knew the passwords, knew the games
we had on them, and since we were in our home country they didn’t
need to worry about all sorts of ridiculous international travel
charges if they selected one that needed some data usage.
the next time I used my phone I discovered it was awfully sticky.
Syrup. Syrup that stayed on it for a few days, no matter how much
I tried to clean it. Ky’s response when asked was to laugh and
we leave the hotel and start on our day… one more quick aside
involving the phones.
had taken mine at one point, and I noticed she was handing it
to Naya or Ky for a few minutes and then taking it back. A few
minutes later, it would get handed off again. LOTS of giggling.
When I asked her what was going on, she explained that they were
playing all of the games I had. She also said she was making sure
that between the three of them they were resetting the high scores
and challenges and such to levels I would never reach.
yes… children. And probably the worst part of this is that I knew
she was right. I almost without question never would top their
scores. (Which probably explains why a few weeks later, after
they had left to return to Australia, I was thrilled to find options
such as profile resets to clear things out and return them back
to a simpler time. Just don’t tell the kids. Ok? Cool. Let’s head
for the subway…)
walking roughly a block, maybe two (and possibly three) to get
to the right subway station for our ride out to Battery Park.
I think it was Kris and Kerri that reserved our ferry tickets
for the ride out to Liberty Island already, so things are set
up for a smooth trip. Which I almost screw up.
not really paying as much attention to the different routes and
connections as I should be, and I point us toward the wrong platform
at first. By the time Kris catches it, we are running right up
against the worst-case-scenario timing for arriving at the terminal
to get our tickets and join the ferry line.
tickets for our group. And the people here… well… wow. Unreal.
As near as I can tell, every time you would be faced with a decision…
Do you have your tickets yet? Do you have a reserved time for
a ferry?… we seem to be answering by moving in the direction of
the shorter lines. Miraculously, we are on a boat and headed to
Liberty Island while the lines at the docks seem to have remained
the boat I’m trying to keep my camera hidden. Kei warned me about
the three kids. Evidently they aren’t known for asking about cameras
when it stays out of sight. But make one visible, and suddenly
all of them think they need to take a shot at that moment to capture
the setting forever or lose the memory entirely. According to
my sister you will end up getting your camera back, but it’s usually
that was a joke related to my phone after letting Ky use it. But
Kei did warn me that her camera almost without fail comes back
to her with the settings messed up in ways that normally take
her at least an hour to sort out, even the best charged of batteries
will somehow be dead, and, while she has plenty of selfies of
Naya making faces, she does not end up with many that reflect
the surroundings and capture where the picture was taken.
has encountered a surprise… he’s talking to someone from Australia
that he works with. Roughly ten thousand miles away from the job
and they meet near the border between New York and New Jersey
on a ferry circling Liberty Island.
get off the ferry and make a few decisions about our visit. To
my knowledge, when we made our reservations the tickets for going
inside the monument were sold out. So we’re going to take the
walking tour around the island. We’ve also taken advantage of
the included audio tour option for our visit. (Ky, Tamsin and
I debated asking for different languages, but it doesn’t happen
and we all use English.)
is my third visit to Liberty Island. As a kid, Mom and Dad brought
the three of us (that being Kris, Kerri and I). Just over fifteen
years ago, I was with Terry, Justin and Jay on a trip that included
a stop here. (For the day in New York on that trip we were joined
by a good friend, Dave.) In both of the previous stops, we went
inside and used the stairs to climb to the crown. Amazingly… maybe
it’s because it’s the most recent trip… this one seems to have
been the most informative.
audio tour around the island… and yeah, the narrative is wordy
and dry in places… on the whole is incredibly well done. Amazing
views of the city are presented, along with some fantastic angles
of the Statue of Liberty. Throughout the walk, you think you’ve
seen the best opportunity for a group picture, only to be calling
everyone together a few minutes later for another shot. Different
displays, postings, and more are offered as checkpoints, and the
audio tour does a really good job weaving the history of the island
and the Statue with the stroll.
pass on it… the audio tour is available as part of the ticket
granting you access to the national park grounds. (Yes… national
monument… Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty are combined
as the Statue of Liberty National Monument.) And while we all
found something different from the content, all ten of us enjoyed
the audio part.
ferry heads back toward Battery Park via Ellis Island. Never made
a stop here and stepped onto the island that I can recall. In
general, the ferry provides not only a service to get you to the
Statue, it also offers some terrific sightseeing opportunities
during the voyage.
get off the ferry and things begin to swirl a bit. Our only specific
destination remaining is the Empire State Building, which we plan
to visit later in the afternoon. We haven’t really considered
any plans for lunch or dinner. We haven’t exchanged notes on places
we want to check out. All of us have a desire to meander over
to the Freedom Tower area. But there is no set idea of how Battery
Park might progress to One World Trade Center and ultimately on
to 34th Street.
has taken the lead and is bringing us toward Freedom Tower and
the 9/11 memorials. The trick is… well, three tricks…
no plan has been made for lunch. None of us are really mentioning
being hungry, but, it is a subject that each of us seems quite
Kris has a friend… Hi Greta!… and she thinks Greta should be in
the area. While she would like to see her friend, right now she
is also thinking Greta would be a great help in navigating our
journey and making some decisions about places to see and where
perspective and walking distances. I plan to expand on this in
the Best of New York 2013 column, in the discussion about biggest
surprises. The main thing to understand here is that New York
is amazingly deceptive when it comes to walking distances. Incredibly
deceptive. And I think part of that is based on the walk-subway-taxi
approach that comes from getting around.
in general is sort of within walking distance, at least when you
speak in generic terms. Wherever you are in New York City, there
is pretty much a fill-in-the-blank within a handful of blocks.
(Blank fillers could include great restaurants, thrilling attractions,
fantastic art/architecture/historical landmarks, and so on.)
you get to specifics though, walking distance shifts. People use
mass transit, such as the subway, and that does mean you can cover
substantial distances by foot with ease. When you aren’t truly
familiar with the city though, it’s easy to be lost even though
you’re not. You look at a map, consider the you-are-here mark
and the I-am-going-here destination, and it sure as hell appears
that you are only three or four blocks away from where you want
to be. Once you set off though, those three blocks may seem to
take a lifetime to cover. Get more than a handful of blocks involved
in any walk, and you may find yourself getting depressed when
you stroll forever and suddenly realize you’re only about halfway
to where you want to be. (This is a concept which will come up
again in a moment, when Terry and I are back at the hotel.)
so… there we are, leaving Battery Park, and we are on the edge
of being hungry, looking for Greta, and moving roughly toward
the Freedom Tower area. On a map, the edges of Battery Park that
border Battery Place (we’re more or less near Greenwich Street
to give you an idea if you want to follow us and our progress)
create a journey of roughly a mile. Not too bad. A nice walk.
But we range from children to grandparents, are stepping fresh
off the ferry and have a walk we already completed around Liberty
Island. We’ve basically been on our feet since leaving the hotel
that morning. And if you’re familiar with that little section
of the city, you know this isn’t a straight corner-to-corner,
block-by-block, one-mile journey.
sum it up by saying that all of us were feeling a bit jittery
as it progressed.
highlight of this portion of our day was seeing station 10 of
the FDNY. I’ve often seen it referred to as the Ten House, and
is the home of engine company 10 and ladder company 10 of the
New York City Fire Department. Each company claims roughly 150-years
of history and service on behalf of New York City, and was (and
is) the closest station to the World Trade Center.
looking around a bit, including swinging over to St. Paul’s Chapel,
some quick deliberations have us headed toward a subway station.
We aren’t certain how far we’ll use it, but we are looking to
get started on the trip out to the Empire State Building. We end
up in Grand Central Station, which places us in quite stunning
can’t say it enough… New York City is a breathtaking collection
of everything. From residences like apartments and hotels to landmarks
like museums and churches… from entertainment to dining, Central
Park to Times Square… and on and on, it is just a ridiculous collection
of riches on all levels. And there we are, stepping out of Grand
Central Station, in a territory that includes Park, Madison and
5th avenues. In short, you say “wow, look at that” only to walk
a block or two and say it again. Skyscrapers appear and disappear
once again… from where we rejoined the city streets to our arrival
at West 34th… we add almost another mile of walking. We did spot
a Duane Reade, and I jumped in to grab a bottle of water and some
snacks (which quickly turned into everyone deciding that sounded
like a good idea).
and I were toast when we arrived at the Empire State Building.
Toast. And so, once we spotted the line and began getting estimates
of wait times approaching two hours, we bowed out and left the
group to head back to the hotel and relax a bit before a planned
meeting again for dinner.
a few phone calls, we managed to touch base with everyone again,
confirm that they had a fantastic time and enjoyed the Empire
State Building, and learned that the dinner meeting point had
been arranged. We grabbed our things and set off to find the others
at Don Giovanni Ristorante near Times Square.
we’ve covered enough ground and offered enough nods to express
that New York is a very strange city. A GREAT city. Frustrating
city. Strange city. At time it is much, much easier to get around
by foot than by virtually any other kind of transportation. And…
when foot doesn’t work… you usually go to things like the subway
or a taxi before you would ever think about taking a car. (If
you even own a car… if you even brought a car.)
hotel was in a simply phenomenal location… on West 36th Street,
between 5th Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas. Don
Giovanni Ristorante is located on West 44th,
between 8th and 9th. (Check out a map if you wish… locals are
already nodding. It’s not an overwhelming distance. (Yeah… you
guessed it… the trip is about a mile.) It does however border
against being a significant distance, especially for where we
had been on that day.
and I left our room and went to the front desk of the hotel. We
wanted some information about getting a cab and thought they might
be able to call one for us, or at least give us a tip on the quickest
way to flag one down outside. A girl at the desk pointed to a
gentleman emerging from an office a few feet away and said he
could assist us with a car.
out she was mistaken.
of assistance, he apparently thought the New Yorkerly thing we
would be expecting as a guest of the hotel was stubborn ignorance
with a side of argumentative debate.
started out by offering us a geography lesson. After we briefly
explained we were looking for a ride—which included a gesture
over our shoulder and specifically saying “she said you could
help us in getting from here to Don Giovanni’s on West 44th”—he
offered the enlightenment that we, the two tourists, obviously
didn’t understand it was walking distance from the hotel to the
response was that we knew it was only a few blocks, but we didn’t
want to walk it that night. So, naturally, he repeated himself.
time he added emphasis on his insistence that we should want to
walk, which from the eye rolling involved he appeared to be offering
instead of his actual thoughts… likely based on telling us we
were silly, stupid, and bothering him. (Terry also believed that
the car the other hotel representative had noted was driven by
him, and his stubbornness was based in not wanting to go out on
the road. And once explained, yeah, I’d support that thought.)
may well have been both silly and stupid. He may have had a point.
Because thinking we could get through to him that we didn’t want
to walk, we kept trying and even shifted to specifically asking
how to get a cab… and he kept telling us to walk, walk, walk.
“Where can we get a cab?”
Square is right there, and the restaurant is two blocks away
from Times Square, and you can walk it as quickly as a ride
But we don’t want to walk. Where can we get a cab?”
hair, lather, rinse, repeat.
Square is right there, and the restaurant is two blocks away from
Times Square, and you can walk it as quickly as a ride will take”
were his words the first time.
the second time.
he repeated it, raising his frustration level but perfectly maintaining
the message content with a consistency allowing me to capture
it as a quote for you.
more we stuck with our request that we simply didn’t want to walk,
the more he dug in with his defense by repeating how close it
was, and perhaps modifying the finish. It began with being so
convenient and moved on to not having to go through the trouble
of flagging down a cab before eventually leading to an explanation
that it was so close it wasn’t worth the money. At one point he
even debated how much he would need to charge us for a car from
didn’t matter what we said, as each time his response involved
walked away from him and caught a cab at the corner of 36th and
the Avenue of the Americas. Did we encounter traffic that slowed
us down a bit? Yes. Did Nick and Ky prove by walking back after
dinner that the trip wasn’t that far and took roughly the same
amount of time? Yes.
was the best money we spent all day. It was so good, we did it
again after dinner to get back.
and Greta were already at the restaurant. They had put in our
name for a table, and basically once all of us arrived we were
seated. The meal was brilliant. Great food… outstanding service…
and, it bears mentioning again, delicious food. We ordered a really
wide range of drinks, appetizers and meals, and everyone spoke
in glowing terms about what they were served.
of us were exhausted at this point, and plans were quickly decided
to head back to the hotel. Nick and Ky elected to walk and took
off on their own. It was a few minutes before our taxis arrived…
leading those of us riding to worry about how embarrassing it
might be if the duo beat us to the lobby. (Didn’t happen.)
Three -- Sunday, December 29, 2013
elevator is broken.
One of the cars is broken.
couple waiting for the elevator has up pressed as well as down,
and they tell us we’ll want to ride it up when we can. Apparently
they’ve been waiting an hour. Two previous times the car arrived
while headed down and was packed… no room. They’ve basically decided
to catch it heading up when there is a bit of space and just go
for the full ride since they know there likely won’t be any room
once people on the top floors fill it again.
chances to get on headed down in an hour? Hmm… I asked them. They
said the car was arriving every 15 minutes, alternating up and
down. This was the fifth time the doors would open… the car should
be headed up… and they explained it had been an hour for them
since seeing the doors open the first time. So even if we allow
a bit for it stopping at virtually every floor, estimates of 15-20
minutes in the best of times seem about right.)
yeah… broken. We did learn the second car was being worked on
and marked as out of service in the lobby. I mean, wow, I don’t
think there is much else that could happen as far as elevator
stories over just a two-night stay.
was taking long enough to get us downstairs that we’ve decided
to eat the hotel’s breakfast again. In line we discussed the elevators
with some people and someone mentioned that he stayed here before
and knew the elevators would be slow, soon this visit he asked
for a lower floor. (He also said they call it a room with no view
when being booked, but since I didn’t book the rooms for us I’m
not certain exactly how this would work.)
he was greeted with a lower floor for his room, which has worked
for him to use the stairs. But, the noise from street traffic
has been horrendous. And yet, he pointed out, for him the combination
of location, room quality and price made it likely he would return.
here’s our review, based on our experience:
are great. They were clean. And, considering the location
of the hotel on West 36th Street, the price was fantastic.
I would stay here again without a problem because all things
considered the room was quite easily worth the cost. And yet…
was hit or miss. Most people were fine. A few, such as our
friend the taxi whisperer, were downright insulting. Ironically,
at the breakfast we didn’t like, the staff there were all
friendly and tried hard to assist us.
give you a bit more on the breakfast, basically the food is just
not good. At its best, it’s bland and has little flavor. Things
like pancakes seem more like assembly line toasted Frisbees than
pancakes. Danish looked fancy and pretty, but all of the quality
points were put into looking upscale and not into tasting fresh.
Expand that idea to the full assortment of offerings and you’ll
capture our opinions.
waited for the elevators though, in order to get all ten of us
together we decided that between cereal and pastries we probably
could come up with something palatable. I suppose we did… barely.
Park is… sure it is… about four blocks away, near the New York
Public Library. Mom has been mentioning a French bakery she wants
to try. Although more accurately, she keeps saying French patisserie
near Bryant Park. The funniest part of this have been the grandchildren.
They often tune out most of what us adults are saying unless we’re
having a direct conversation. So there’s mémère,
and they miss most of what she’s saying until she’s halfway through
the word patisserie, and each time that word catches just enough
of their attention that they look at her and ask what she’s talking
looking for volunteers to join her for a walk to see if they can
find it. She gets a few, and we divide into some heading out with
her, and a few heading up to our rooms to get packed to go.
we check out of the Hyatt and prepare to leave, the grandparents
are with Terry and I, along with Tamsin and Ky. We get separated
in traffic, and a quick phone call confirms that we’re all fine
in getting home and that there isn’t a need to try and connect
again. Having heard a radio spot discussing some traffic on interstate
95, Terry and I decided to slide over to another route we used
when Justin was in school. And from that, we realized that there
might just be a great place to stop to get something to eat.
Guys in Brookfield, Connecticut.
a perfect stop to wrap up a great trip.