Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Day in NYC

Jonathan had heard about a tweet-up for NASA in New York City as part of the World Science Fair. He and our friend Rob both responded to the invitation and planned to attend a special panel that would have a couple astronauts and other really interesting people. We toyed around with several different plans as to how we'd spend the rest of the day (this was only a two-hour event), and eventually came up with an over-booked idea.

We decided to drive to New York this time, which is a first. This was spurred mainly by the fact that the NJTransit system upped the rates and it went from $43 to $62 for the two of us to go into the City and back. Plus, last time we were in New York we saw a garage that boasted $17 parking for up to 12 hours, and I had figured out the tolls to be under $20 roundtrip, so the price wasn't a big difference anymore. And, with no traffic it's about a 90-minute drive, so a little longer than the train, but not a big deal.

We ended up leaving about half an hour late, so instead of parking first, Jonathan and Rob ended up dropping me off at the Broadway Theater first, and then they went to park. I stood in line and bought a student rush ticket for the matinee. Then, we met up at the Seventh Avenue station and took the subway all the way to the World Trade Center area. We saw Ground Zero and some of the memorials, then we walked around the Financial District and saw Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and the big bull statue (which is anatomically correct, I might add). Then we walked down to Battery Park and were able to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.
The reconstruction at the World Trade CenterTrinity Churchinside Trinity ChurchAlexander Hamilton's graveNYSE on Wall St.

We had already planned our meals, and we headed over to the Corner Bistro (menu outdated online), which is the legendary burger place that they search for on How I Met Your Mother, a sitcom that's set in NYC. Rob and Jonathan each ordered a cheeseburger, and I had the bistro burger. Bistro apparently adds bacon, LoL. These burgers were FABULOUS. And I mean it. We all LOVED them. The fries were pretty average, but they were baked almost dry, so I was happy, LoL. Service was friendly (like mom-and-pop friendly!) and especially fast. The prices were beyond reasonable ($6 for a half-pound cheeseburger), and all three of us stand behind recommending the place to anyone and everyone. It's not even in a bad area of town... it's hard to come up with a negative (well, there is a tiny one. on my third refill, my water seemed to have a little greasy film on top. but Jonathan's didn't have this, so not sure where it came from).

Then, we went off to our respective events. Now, I've taken public transit alone in close to a dozen cities. But this was my first time taking the subway alone in New York, and I really got a sense of independence that I didn't have before when we wandered around Manhattan. I had a good time at Promises, Promises, which is a revival on Broadway. Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes are the leads (she's amazing if you're not familiar with her from her other work in theatre, movies, and television. he is most known as Jack from Will & Grace), and I really wanted to see one show while we were here where I was already familiar with the leads, so this worked out really well. My seat was 12th row balcony, so it was kinda far away, but not in the back of the theater. The choreography and the sets were my favorite parts, and the writing was just fabulous. Meanwhile, the boys really enjoyed their time at the World Science Fair, and they learned a lot, asked questions, and even got a ton of NASA swag.

We were originally planning to meet at the Empire State Building next. But that didn't pan out since both of our events went over the original time we were thinking. Instead, we went ahead and headed over to our dinner location to scope it out and have a drink at the bar. For this we chose McGee's Pub, which is what the How I Met Your Mother bar (MacLaren's) is based on. It was about 5pm on a Saturday, and they were still nice enough to give us happy hour prices, so that was cool.

Jonathan and I dashed off at 5:40 to head over to New World Stages and get student rush tickets to 39 Steps for the evening show (the policy on that show only sells them two hours before the performance instead of when the box office opens). The guy was really nice and sold us the tickets at 5:57 for the 8pm show, and we got 10th row center.

Then it was back to McGee's for dinner. It ended up being more of a snack, really. We shared the cajun calamari (that day's special appetizer) and the backed macaroni and cheese, and Rob went with some sliders and fries. The food was pretty good, and we ended up sitting right under a photo of the How I Met Your Mother cast, so that was interesting.

Rob went to hang out with an old friend while we saw the show. It's an Alfred Hitchcock piece, and is a comedy thriller. Jonathan enjoyed it more than I did, but I thought that the acting was wonderful. There are only four actors doing like 25 parts - one does the main guy the entire time, a girl plays most of the girl roles, and the other two guys play everything else. It makes for some really funny moments and ridiculously quick changes. Apparently there are like three versions of the movie out, so if this sounds appealing, check out 39 Steps.

We texted Rob as we started walking to the parking garage, and the timing worked out pretty well. We grabbed some iced cappuccinos from Tim Horton's on our way, and they were really quick about getting the car. The only problem (and a rather big one at that) is that we ended up being 40 minutes over 12 hours. Well, we didn't think it would be a big deal... worst case scenario they charge us another $17 for the next 12-hour-block (since they don't charge by the half-hour on Saturdays like they do M-F). But no... the system figures we owe $41. And the attendant has no idea how the computer figures it out. We end up paying since it's not like there's a manager around or anything, and proceed to get Rob (he was a block away at this point). Then, Jonathan got to experience driving through busy busy busy New York. As you can imagine, it's rough. There were two close calls, but I was overall incredibly impressed with his ability to navigate that insanity.

We took the Holland Tunnel back, then the NJ Turnpike (we had taken US1 most of the way there, and then the Lincoln Tunnel), and it was probably a little faster, so that's good to know (although it was $1.75 more in tolls for the turnpike). Although it still saved a little money (I called the parking company on Monday and found out that if you go over 12 hours, you get charged the 24-hour rate, which is indeed $41... even though that's not posted anywhere) and a little time, I think it's just easier to take the train in. I dunno... we'll probably go to New York a couple more times while we're here (we have a couple more MUSTS on our lists!), so we'll tackle the transportation next time.

1 comment:

  1. I drive to NY all the time & going up the Jersey turnpike is infinately faster. However, if you're going into the city & don't want to park a car, try taking the Bolt bus. It leaves from Center City Philly, stops in Cherry Hill, NJ & drops off at Times Square on 34th street in NY. The price is anywhere from $1 to $20 each way, depending on how far in advance you buy the ticket, and it's a 2 hour ride w/ free wifi. Waaaaay better than the Amtrack.