tom911 goes to New York City

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  1. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Hello this Saturday night from Brooklyn, across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan. I’m at Hotel Indigo on a rate that averages out to $96 a night plus tax, one factor that weighed into my coming here for a few days. Don’t think I’ve ever stayed in New York CIty for a price that low. The other factor was a low $278RT airfare, and I used a bump voucher towards that to make the trip free. Enjoying various sound effects from the street below (honkng horns and sirens). I'm tired enough that those alone will not deter me from getting to sleep tonight.

    Headed out the door at 0430 to off-airport parking at SFO. Even though my boarding pass did not say TSA Pre-Check for the first time, the TSA employee at the AA checkpoint allowed me to use that line so I could keep my shoes and sweatshirt on (and not remove my laptop, tablet and liquids). My lucky day. Another passenger in line next to me, also with the same Pre-Check status that didn’t print, was sent through the normal security line where everything has to be placed on the belt (shoes, laptop, liquids). Was in the Admiral’s Club just before 0600. Boarding was at 0635 for a 0705 departure.

    Didn’t expect to clear the upgrade list on this trip as I only booked two weeks out. I was #4 on the upgrade list and first class only had one seat available. It had been sold out the past few days and that seat just opened this morning. Aircraft was a 767-300 with the old style overhead bins that require your bags to go in sideways. No wi-fi on this model plane. Survived the 4 hr 40 min flight in coach and slept about half the way. Landed at 1500 on the nose. Stopped by the Admirals Club for a quick check of e-mail and was set to go.

    Caught the Airtrain to Howard Beach ($5) and the “A” train to Jay Street Metrotech station in Brooklyn ($2.50). The subway portion was 30 mins once on board (had about a 15 min wait for a train). Was able to reload my Metrocard from last trip which still had $1.50 on it. Easy 3 block walk to my hotel.

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    When I arrived at Hotel Indigo, which has 17 stories, I was told I could wait a few minutes for an upgraded room that housekeeping was preparing, or take a queen that was immediately available. I had read the reviews on this hotel which commented about the rooms barely having enough room to walk around the bed, so figured an upgrade would be worth it. Only had to wait about 5 minutes and was able to use wi-fi during the wait. Think the desk clerk was even surprised the room was ready so quickly.

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  2. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Headed out after 1800 for a walk through the Fulton Street Mall shopping area--lots of small shops as well as a Macys, all along the road. Passed by some government buildings and made my way onto the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a walkway from the Brooklyn side in the middle of the traffic so you’re pretty safe as you ascend the hill up towards the bridge.

    Very happy with the night time photos with the new camera (recall I destroyed my last camera in Vienna when I took a fall in a snow storm there). Old camera didn’t deal well with night time photos.

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    After arrival on the Manhattan side I tried to find Five Guys burgers down around Nassau and Fulton Street, but no success. It wasn’t coming up on my route planning app or on yelp so figure it’s gone. Likely replacements were a Dunkin Donuts or a Burger King that are both in the same area and look new. Ended up at a Wendys as I was starving. The one soup chain in that area, Hale and Hearty, is closed at night, and I didn’t want to do Chipotle.

    Caught the “A” train back, came out a different exit, and was just two blocks from my hotel. Arrived back around 2100.

    Tomorrow I’m having breakfast with a frequent flyer friend here in Brooklyn, and then off to Long Island to visit cousins out there. Hoping to get back into Manhattan by early evening to avoid the incomng “wintry mix” that is due.

    Some subway, hotel and Brooklyn photos here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-USA/New-York-City/2014-New-York-City/i-RSMrf3Z

    And all the Brooklyn Bridge night time photos here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/2014-Brooklyn-Bridge-at-night/i-vNwdd56
     
  3. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    Lovely photos, especially the night shots. What are the details on your new camera?
     
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  4. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    It's a Panasonic Lumix FZ70 with a 60X optical zoom. I had an earlier model with an 18X optical zoom that I bought before the Beijing Olympics that lasted me almost 6 years and over 20,000 photos. Amazing how the features have changed over the years as I could not take the night time photos with the old camera. Whatever chip comes with the new model does really well at night.
    http://www.costco.com/.product.1000...categorypageHorizontalTop|CategoryTopProducts
     
  5. NYBanker
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    Looks like a fun little trip! Great camerawork.
     
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  6. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Pictures are great! The skyline pics make me miss living there. The 'A' train pic does not!
     
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  7. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Before the days of the Airtrain I remember many a bus ride over to Howard Beach and the "A" train in. At least now I can rotate between the "A" train and the "E" train depending where I'm staying.
     
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  8. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    DHammer53, a Brooklyn native, made the drive over and joined me for breakfast this morning. It was just a 2 block walk from my hotel while I'm pretty sure Dan had to cross a bridge or two to get out here. I'm surprised we ever got past this section at Juniors:


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    We both left full. :)

    My American cheese and bacon omelette:

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    Dan's french toast under a pile of bacon:

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    I'll report on the rest of the day in the next installment. Tomorrow I have lunch at a Manhattan deli with a Jersey City based frequent flyer that many of you have met over the years. Sampling a lot of food groups on this trip.

    More photos start HERE.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
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  9. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    The long-anticipated snow storm came in overnight while I was asleep. Not much snow. View from my room this morning:

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  10. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Hello this Monday night from New York City. Just after 8pm here. Fly home in late morning in AA business class which cleared 100 hours out. Some of this will be repetitive from previous posts as I've included it in an e-mail to family and friends I just sent out.

    SUNDAY

    Walked 2 blocks from the hotel to Junior’s Restaurant where I joined my friend DHammer53, a Brooklyn native, for breakfast at 0930. Junior’s is known for it’s cheesecake and it confronts you right as you walk in the door:

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    We weren’t there for cheesecake, though, so briskly walked past that section and were seated in a booth. Breakfast here comes with some small pastries, rolls, and juice, and a hot beverage (coffee for Dan, tea for me). Our meals were just over $12 each with tax so a pretty good value.

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    Back to the hotel to grab my daypack and I was off on foot to the Atlantic Terminal of the Long Island Railroad which happens to be right across from Barclays Center, home of the New York Nets basketball franchise. Only about a 10 min walk and saved me having to take the subway over to Penn Station in Manhattan, my usual place to board the Long Island Railroad. Didn’t even know there was a station a few blocks from me, and it’s the end of the line at that. Dan told me about this location over breakfast and it saved me the hassle of getting over to Manhattan to board there.

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    I was inside the terminal at 1135, purchased a ticket at the kiosk to New Hyde Park ($16RT off peak--glad it wasn’t a weekday as that is $22RT), and was on my way at 1145. One train change at Jamaica and I arrived at the New Hyde Park station at 1230. Was met by my cousins Terry and Kathleen and spent the afternoon with them at their home in Floral Park.
     
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  11. tom911
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    Train pulling into Jamaica for New Hyde Park:

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    New Hyde Park station as I crossed the tracks:

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    Back to New Hyde Park for the 1934 train to Jamaica, then another train change to Atlantic Terminal. Was in the door of my hotel at 2030 and called it a night.

    Had been expecting the winter storm to come in all afternoon but no sign of it by the time I went to bed.

    MONDAY

    Snow came in overnight. View from my room:

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    Took a late morning train over to Manhattan and came out at Columbus Circle, home to the Time Warner Building (CNN is in there), Trump International Hotel, and a gateway into Central Park.

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  12. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Short walk over to the Wollman Ice Rink which was very busy:

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    And my favorite view of one of the bridges in the park:

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    Walked down Fifth Avenue and into Rockefeller Center. The Christmas Tree is gone but ice skaters are still out:

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    Down to West 38th Street and Ben’s Kosher Deli where I met my friend Catman, a frequent flyer who came over from Jersey City, for lunch. We both had pastrami on rye:

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    After lunch a stop at Macy's, and then I walked down 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) all the way to 14th Street. Popped into a Dunkin Donuts for a hot chocolate there (it was 20F outside), then a walk down to 8th Avenue to catch the “A” train back to Brooklyn. Popped into a Trader Joes with 40-50 people in the check-out lines - one busy store. Did pass a bakery on West 14th with one of my favorite New York City items:

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    May make a run over to Five Guys, which looks like they have a location about 2-3 blocks away, and then call it a night. The hotel has a pub on the bottom floor (Brooklyn Brewhouse) and will also check that out for food.

    Last thought of the day: people lining up out the front doors, on Fifth Avenue, of both Abercrombie and Fitch and the Hollister store. Don't see that in the Bay Area.

    New photos start here:

    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-USA/New-York-City/2014-New-York-City/i-NVjhk5b
     
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  13. tom911
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    Burger at the brewery restaurant next to the hotel was $12. Headed 2 blocks over to Five Guys for the $5.89 burger instead. Just under $12 with drink and fries.

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  14. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Should add that Five Guys, at least this one, plays a lot of music from my generation. They had Grateful Dead and Bachman Turner Overdrive on their speakers, and a third song from "way back when" that I can't recall right now. I remember when I worked for BART Police back in the 80s and the Dead came in for concerts at the Oakland Coliseum with some regularity. This particular Five Guys also drew in two of New York City's finest, so if it's good enough for them it's good enough for me. :)

    Currently on AA 179, the 1030 JFK-SFO flight which had an hour ATC delay, probably due to SFO weather (showing 67 min arrival delays when I checked on the ground at JFK). No worries as I just sat it out in the Admiral's Club. Just finished my after-dinner Baileys and ice cream.

    Lunch was Mushroom Stroganoff Served over traditional and spinach spätzle:

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    Listening to Pandora (surprised that isn't blocked) at 39,000 feet over Iowa. They're currently playing Out in the Country by Three Dog Night. I remember taking my driver education training listening to them on the radio (whenever Jeremiah was a Bullfrog/Joy to the World played, the instructor would make reference to another student in the car, calling him a bullfrog...must have been back in 1971 or so). Some great memories associated with that song.
     
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  15. KENNECTED
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    I would have warned you not to eat a Juniors. Back in the day, pre 2000. The place was wonderful, but over the last decade the ambiance and cleanliness of the downtown Brooklyn location is questionable!
     
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  16. tom911
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    Breakfast was fine, and service was prompt, so I would go back for that. Looking around, not many places in that area for breakfast unless you want McDonalds (I don't). Thought about going there for dinner on Monday night but read some Yelp reviews and decided against that.

    On Myrtle Street, two blocks up from the hotel, in addition to Five Guys there's a Chipotle and Au Bon Pain under construction, so the neighborhood is changing. Even saw a Marriott hotel out on Jay Street. A little further away I remember passing a Shake Shack which is a franchise I've never been in. Might try it for a burger next trip.

    There's a lot going on in the area and Barclays Center will hopefully bring even more in. I was surprised to see there's a Target in the shopping mall that adjoins the Atlantic Terminal station, and a big PC Richard store across the intersection.

    I'd definitely stay over here again. In the past I mostly commuted from Jersey City on weekend paid stays or award stays at the Hyatt. Much easier to deal with the subway rather than PATH.
     
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