We had just taken in The Empire State Building, rested up at Big Daddy’s vintage diner, and found Macy’s infamous wooden escalator.
But the next day promised to be a big day… we were changing hotels, and by golly, I HAD to brave the scary subway so we could make it to Times Square… HAD TO!
Today was hotel change day, which rattled me a little. What does one do with the luggage from 11 am check out to 4pm check in… in NYC? Sit with it on the sidewalk? Hope there’s a coffee shop nearby…
We were about to find out. Attempting to hail a cab, I quickly thought differently. Traffic was locked tight and there was no way I was willing to pay to stand still in gridlock.
So I went to the hotel desk, and asked just how far our next hotel was.
“It’s right behind us.”
This is the thing. Don’t go by google or online maps. Ask the front desk.
So we took our luggage for a walk. For all of up to 10 minutes tops, and that included waiting for lights.
And what I found waiting in front of us made me GIDDY!
And this hotel AND district was amazing.
The flower district is where everyone sells florist and greenhouse supplies. Each AM, they positively load the streets until there are only narrow pathways left. And each night, it all gets taken inside again.
At first I thought the city was undergoing some major park type renos. But nope… this is every day.
As for our 2nd hotel, I HIGHLY recommend The Hilton Garden Inn, located in Chelsea. (not a sponsored post… I wish!) Greeted with a lovely sitting area complete with flickering fireplace, the lobby always has fruit infused water on ice all day, and a massive platter of cookies in the evening. Very nice touch!
The rooms also have a Keurig coffee maker (bring your own stronger brew), fridge, and microwave. A true bonus if you wish to stay for a few days.
Hotels in NYC are like ‘What’s behind door #1?” All you can make out are the front doors. The rest of it appears to be smothered up by other tall buildings. Strangest thing. You just don’t feel the presence of them until you walk through the doors.
And there’s that plant thing again.. I felt VERY safe with plants surrounding us. This was a good move! How can you be afraid of plant owners and flowers?
We also requested a city view a little higher up. I mean, if you’re paying the bucks anyway, may as well see something! Goodness we were high. Just don’t look down.
Tip: price check around. I quoted the hotel direct an Alaska Airlines price, which they matched. So grateful!
I just loved the historic buildings surrounding us. So charming. So NYC.
After we settled in, it was time to face reality. If we wanted to go see cool stuff, the looming subway was apparently the only way. After witnessing gridlock traffic in the AM, I forced myself to approach the front desk with a subway map in hand.
Unfortunately, I returned to my room shortly after, crawled into bed, feeling completely deflated and dread. I didn’t understand any of the instructions that were rattled off, so I just left.
After my pity party, I realized I had to beat this fear of getting lost. See, I visioned shooting across the ocean all the way to China without realizing it. Everyone swore the subway was easy. Why didn’t I get it? The maps may as well have been a plate of spaghetti. No sense of direction at all. No two were even alike. And I didn’t even understand the two apps I uploaded to my phone.
So I went online, jotted down where we wished to go, started to draw another map, when I crumpled it up and head back to the lobby, DETERMINED to understand from someone that knew the score.
And that’s when I met my NYC subway angel. She took me by the hand, and wrote each and every step I needed to take to get to Times Square. BLESS HER!
Fearing for my life, So we packed a backpack and head out. Just in case. You know… China is a long way away.
My son felt my fear, and really REALLY wanted a cab. So did I, son… like never before. But I had
to do this…
I’m sure google search will find these handy if no one else does…
Sometimes they announce it too, but not always.
The easiest way is to load a card with several trips worth, so you don’t have to use the machines each time.
It only costs $3 for one direction, as long as you stay on!
There actually is a booth in each subway where you can ask questions. Thank goodness! They got their workout from me.
Once the doors closed, I was like a deer in headlights, watching for the numbers on the walls. Very Harry Potterish if you ask me. Fearing they’d be going in the wrong order, they ended up being correct.
Oh my gosh… we were subwaying!
Tips for taking the subway
Bring a paper map with you wherever you go. (I had a death grip on mine.)
You may like the downloaded apps. We didn’t use one though.
Bring some cash. Sometimes the machines cough back your credit card.
Buy one card, keep loading it, and share it with others with you. Less to lose.
If you need help, you may not get it. Just take your time, and read the signs.
Avoid rush hour if you can, to avoid the sardine can squeeze.
Subways ARE safe. Remember.. you are around lots of people.
Some sing in subways, just like on YouTube! Another reason to bring cash.
We got comfortable with the #1 red line, before we attempted to transfer to other subways. Never did master the transfer part very well. #1 seems to reach most major destinations, so we chose to walk a few blocks instead.
And teach your child early that he doesn’t have to pay everyone that asks. Oy….
Being that the day was completely fogged in, we passed attempting The Rock, but I do recommend doing that if your day ends up being nice. It’s said to have an AMAZING view of Central Park. Next time!
So off to Times Square we went!
It was hard to take pictures of because of so many people. But it was a sight to see and worthwhile, even if for a quick glance.
Then during my glancing, my jaw dropped.
Matilda was the show I had wanted to see, but I had NO IDEA how to go about all this. Apparently you were to go to some place that sells cheap tickets, THEN make it back here? I think not. I just learned the subway and that felt like too much
But then it was right there, in front of us. I yelled to my son, “BE RIGHT BACK!” and BLASTED across the street, towards the doors to see when the show would start, and if we could possibly get in. Long shot I know. We weren’t even paying attention to the time…
Ohmywordguys… it was soooo enjoyable! Adored every moment! Just missed the popcorn. There is no popcorn in this theatre. Popcorn would have made it perfection. Popcorn AND coffee. Shubert Theatre, did you hear that request?
I’ll never forget it. My son wasn’t all that impressed to go to a show, so I was a little concerned I blew a buncha money for nothing. But when he suddenly said, “I know this show!” I knew he was locked in. The show was hilarious, and kept getting better and better. We BOTH adored it!
When you exit a subway, you may feel disoriented. This is because you need a different hole in the ground upon exit. Exiting completely threw me off… imagine getting lost on your OWN hotel street at night.Yes. That.
After we paced and spun around several times, we finally crossed the street where we were suppose to go, grabbed some cookies and water from the lobby, and head up.
And this time, I crawled under the covers, with the BIGGEST smile ever on my face EVER… we did it! We mastered the subway! And now we could see ANYTHING we wished!
The next day promised to be soooo cooooool! We were meeting up with a very dear junker friend of mine, someone I’ve wanted to meet for a very long time. So, think JUNK, and Grand Central Station.
AND I’m also going to throw in meeting another dear friend who led us around the 9-11 memorial.
Tour guides! What a way to travel. That’s all next!
And here’s a short video seeing the hot spots in NYC in 4 minutes!