Fall Weekend in NYC (Part 1)


Last week I decided at the relative last minute (on Tuesday) that I needed to get out of town and head somewhere for the weekend.  Work had been beyond busy since the labor day weekend, with me working many evenings and going in earlier than usual in the mornings and the Fall Thunder Beach motorcycle rally taking place that weekend.  I never really enjoy being around that weekend with all the noise of the motorcycles and fact that it becomes nearly impossible to go anywhere at all.  With all that in mind, I booked a low (25,000 mile – yes they do exist!) award ticket on Delta to take me to New York City.

I booked myself on the 4:35pm ECP-MEM flight and connecting to the 7:00PM MEM-LGA.  I decided to go this way as I figured MEM-LGA would be an easier upgrade even though there weren’t any available when I booked (I booked within my Upgrade Window).  Memphis has been pretty good for me this year with me only missing one upgrade this year and that was a MEM-LAX as a Silver and there was over 60 seats empty in coach – this drove my decision over going through ATL.  Still by the time I got to the gate to board the MEM-LGA flight, I was #1 on the upgrade list (on an award ticket, so only Silvers existed below me) with 0 seats left.  I talked to the gate agent, who told me that it looked like that guy wasn’t going to show, but that I should go ahead and board anyways.  I got down to my seat, and started to get situated when the agent walked down and passed me a new boarding pass for seat 4C!  Dinner would be served on tonight’s flight in First and due to the inconsistency in how Delta takes meal orders, instead of getting the salad like I had wanted I wound up with the Turkey Sandwich, Fruit, Ruffles, and my favorite thing in Delta meals, a Dancing Deer brownie!

ASA CRJ-200 in Memphis (I Just Like How This One Turned Out)

Turkey Sandwich Dinner in First (MEM-LGA)

Arrival into New York City / LGA was on-time.  I quickly ran outside, bypassing the “Do you need a taxi” people over to the legit taxi stand.  I threw my bags into the trunk climbed in the back and directed the driver to my hotel for tonight – The Element New York Times Square West, on 39th Street between 8th and 9th.  Over my three trips to NYC this year, I have found using a taxi to be the best way to go from LGA to midtown with my late-night arrivals.  No waiting for the M60 at LGA and then waiting at Astoria for a N or Q train into the city and I get to my destination in about 20 minutes.  In my opinion that is worth the $20-30.  The faster I get to my hotel, the faster I can either go out or crash on the bed.

Element Times Square West - King Bed (25th Floor)

Element Times Squre West - Desk/Chair/TV/Kitchen

Element Times Square West - View of the Port Authority Bus Terminal

The Element was pretty nicely done.  It’s a newer hotel and focuses on being environmentally friendly.  I’m not sure what all they consider as being environmentally friendly, as it seems to be no different on the surface from other brands, but I did like the fact that room had wooden floors throughout.  It also seems that this fairly new Starwood brand seems to be more catering towards longer stay travelers; otherwise that kitchen, with full-size fridge is completely useless.  Otherwise, the bed was the usual comfortable bed I’ve come to expect at Starwoods, the Internet speed was decent, and the large rainfall shower head was just great to wake up to.  My only complaint: why does it take 10 minutes for an elevator to arrive after pushing the button?  Perhaps its because in a 40-story hotel they only have two elevators.  I think you either have to be on the top floors to guarantee space in the elevator or be on a low enough floor to use the stairs.  Being stuck on the 25th floor pretty much that you’re well…stuck.

I headed out briefly after checking in so I could find a Duane Reade to get an umbrella – It really does amaze me that all too often I forget to pack an umbrella.  It also further amazes me that in almost every case where I have to buy an umbrella I wind up breaking it during the trip.  This was no exception and it wound up lasting roughly 36 hours before breaking.  Sometimes I just wish that they would at least last until I got home…

The next day I woke up with zero plans as to what I was going to do.  I headed downstairs, requested a 4PM late checkout and made my way to the 42nd Street Station around the corner.  With nothing better to do I wound up catching an A train down to Fulton Street.  I stumbled across St. Paul’s Church first, which surprisingly is a site that I had not stopped at before.  After a quick tour of the church and the graveyard in front, I noticed the 9/11 Memorial visitors center was across the street.  I went and got in line for a ticket to visit the memorial that day –  for 6PM.  I was glad I was able to get one, but in the end I wasn’t able to use it.  I’ll touch on that in Part 2 of this Trip Report.

Remember to Love - St. Paul's Church

I was getting hungry, since I didn’t really have much in the way of a breakfast (just a chocolate croissant from Pret A Manger) so off I headed to Chinatown.  I didn’t want to fill up completely, so I figured that I would go for Dim Sum – or in other words a snack.  I found a place that looked decent enough and ordered a tray of pork steamed buns (Xiaolongbao) which was served with tea.  Its always interesting trying to eat those since they are filled with soup and half of the time I wind up squirting the broth everywhere.

After finishing up with my snack I had been heading for Washington Square Park to sit and read for a while, but I got a text from my friend Lee about something happening at Union Square Park.  Since I was only about 6 blocks south I figured I would head up there and at least check out what was going on.   It turned out that it was a rally/protest called SlutWalk.  Yes, you read that right, but it may not be what you think.  It was started “to protest blaming the victims of sexual assault after NYPD police warned women not to wear clothes that might make them more prone to being raped.”  If anything it was an interesting sight and I walked around for a bit before heading back down towards Washington Square, where I sat around the fountain for about an hour reading, which is always nice, especially with the fall weather.  The only reason I stopped? It started to rain and I figured that was my sign to head back to the hotel to transfer to my next hotel in Jersey City.  I’ll pick up from here for the rest of the trip in Part 2 of this Trip Report.

Union Square

SlutWalk Rally in Union Square


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