Friday, March 29, 2013

New York, New York ( Part I )

As a kid, whenever New York comes to mind, that cheesy 80s song called Arthur's Theme would start playing in my head. Now, at thirty-six, I'm glad this is not the case anymore.

New York has always been at the top of my list for places to visit. I was just so ecstatic to find out that hubby and I could visit this famous city at 50% off on flight (via KLM) and accommodation (at the heart of Manhattan) with breakfast and airport-hotel transfers included, courtesy of hubby's company. And how convenient it is to just have to cross the Atlantic than to come from the Far East (where I used to live) to go there.

Later we found out it could be such a hassle to go on a trip with a large group of people. So much time wasted waiting for everybody else to finish this and that. So we swore never to go on group travel again. Fortunately, we only got to be part of this group on the way to, and out of NYC.

Upon arrival at the JFK International Airport, there was the longest immigration queue I have ever seen in my entire traveling life! We arrived at 8:30 PM but made it to the hotel at midnight, and so wasted a lot of precious hours on our trip. We were too tired to do anything but sleep.

First impression of the locals at the airport: they all seem to dress and look like the homeless people here in France. No offense, just stating an impression. Fortunately, the rest of NYC did not dress and look like this. I guess because we were in the touristy part of the city.

Breakfast at our hotel (Doubletree by Hilton Chelsea) was the usual American stuff -- bacon, eggs, coffee, bagels, fruits. I loved having this big hearty breakfast!

crispy bacon! what a dream! :)

The next day, hubby and I took a boat ride to Staten Island for a better view of the Statue of Liberty.

Bright sunny day on the way to Staten Island from South of Manhattan

It was a cold day, but thankfully sunny.

La statue de la libérté, le cadeau de France aux Etats-Unis
And then we headed off to Soho (South of Houston Street, according to Wikipedia) for some shopping.

Lots of shops have comfy couches like this for weary shoppers to rest... how thoughtful!

At a Vans shop, my hubby's favorite shoe brand

I suddenly realized how the Philippines has copied some of the US places' names like Trinoma - which sounds a lot like Tribeca, which we passed by on the way to the Staten Island ferry.

Typical smoky NY street scene

Federal Hall façade along Wall Street

Lunch was at Le Pain Quotodien... ah, the name has to be in french in order to sound classy. ;)

Bread and charcuterie at Le Pain Quotidien

We had some Mediterranean food. like we were really missing it. LOL. Found out this chain is of Belgian origin actually. I think they also have it here in France. Haven't really been to one of the branches here, though. And like in the Philippines, all the Starbucks branches are fully-packed. We decided to have a coffee break while still in Soho.

Having a coffee break at some Starbucks branch in SoHo

I super loved the friendly service in all the establishments and restaurants. Shopping at Soho and Fifth Avenue was a lot, lot more enjoyable than anywhere else I have been to for shopping because the salespeople were so nice and helpful.

After the shopping, we headed off to the hotel for some quick nap. We took the High Line on the way there. This is an overhead walking area that was previously a railroad.

Interesting architecture high above the High Line

These brownish red bricks remind me a bit of Toulouse.

that famous WW2 kissing scene all colored up

We ended the evening meeting with an old childhood neighbor / high school classmate who made it big in New York.  He treated us to Japanese Barbecue at Gyu Kaku after meeting at SNAP Sports Bar for a pint of beer.

I super loved all the stuff that were served before us. But my favorite was the green tea crêpes. Unfortunately, i was too tired to take a picture of it. We would've gone somewhere else after dinner, but hubby and I were dead tired from walking all day, so we decided to call it a night.

More of New York next time...

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