Date of visit: 20th April 2017- 28th April 2017
It is true what they say, New York’s sky is starless. The light pollution creates a blanket of light grey sky overnight but what an amazing city.
It was a long, ‘eight-hour’ journey. We flew from Birmingham to Germany to JFK. This wasn’t too bad. The food on lufthansa was actually really nice and I spent most of the hours learning how to play backgammon. Trouble started once we arrived at JFK. Our plane landed at 8pm, NY Time, my dad and I had never been to the US before, so we had to be verified and have our fingerprints taken, but the queue was hours long. The other people on our plane were long gone and we were still an hour or so into the queueing process. We later learned that if we had requested special assistance when arriving JFK we would have had priority in the security checks at the airport. 10:30pm and we were finally able to go and pick our luggage up from the conveyer belt and had to wait for our shuttle to arrive.
11pm, we were in the shuttle. Every 5 minutes, the driver stopped at another airport exit – why they don’t collect passengers from the same exit, I have no idea. He then drove past our hotel three or four times while he dropped off the other passangers, because he had to follow the order on his list. It was a little worrying as we had to be at the hotel before midnight. we got to our hotel at 11:45.
My Dad and I stayed at a hotel next to the empire state building, Executive Hotel Le Soleil. The rooms were cramped, and they forgot to include wardrobes, but it didn’t spoil the trip.
Dad and I went uptown, downtown and midtown as we visited many tourist places(all fantastic by the way),. The first two days we used our NY Pass to ride on the Big Bus, Hop on and Hop off, our first tour guide, Barnie was amazing, friendly and informative. Transport in a whole is easy to use, us Brits have a
Transport as a whole is easy to use, us Brits have a reportation for teasing the US, but we can really learn something about transport from them. The subway is great. It’s cheap, costing $3 no matter the distance and it is easy to navigate.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Just going around the block,” after visiting New York City I now understand the phrase. Their roads are practically square so if you are on 5th avenue, and east 36th street but want to get to West 38th street and 7th Avenue, you walk up two streets and across two avenues. It’s really great. I have Cerebral Palsy and often find walking long distances, or up and down hills tiring. I didn’t have that problem in new york. We only had to get a taxi once because we were at the bottom of Downtown and had to get to the top of Uptown to go on a cruise and New York drivers move in and out of traffic like nobody’s business! They really would struggle on the narrow British roads.
I also found the subway incredibly easy to navigate and figure out what train led to which street and cheap. Essentially, the streets of New York are disabled friendly.
My Dad and I had a New York Pass. This was incredibly helpful. It allowed us to use the BIG Bus Hop On Hop Off tour in two consecutive days, which was a handy way to get to and from attractions. Our tour guide, Bernie was great and had a sense of humour.
The pass itself can cost $150-250, but you can visit as many attractions as you like without paying extra, and often, this means at a discounted price too. Dad and I saved around $100 with all our sightseeing as we often went to two-three places a day. It was also helpful in allowing us to skip long queues. By long queues, I mean ones that stretch a street or two. This was helpful in making sure I didn’t get too tired while standing and made sure that most of our day wasn’t spent waiting to get into places.
Unfortunately, The Empire State Building doesn’t allow you to skip the queues, but we were given the advice to visit it early in the morning before 10am to avoid a long queue. It worked.
We visited the Guggenheim Museum, Natural History Museum, MOMA, a Circleline Cruise, Ellis Island, Battery Park, Top of the Rock, the two 9/11 sites and so much more. We’ve probably visited things we wouldn’t have visited without the New York Pass, so I personally believe it is worth getting.
On the way back, we used the same Shuttle service and the driver participated in road rage, actually getting out of his car to do so. Honestly, avoid Supershuttle, Trip Advisor has plenty of bad reviews on them too if you want other opinions.