Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Day in New York City

As mentioned in our previous post, we needed to go to New York City to get our India visas. If you arrive by 9AM you can get same day processing so we left Shrewsbury, MA around 4:45AM and cruised into New York. We actually didn't hit too much traffic and arrived with time to spare. We dropped off our paperwork (along with $98 each!) and since they weren't going to be ready for pickup until 5:30PM we had the entire day to spend in New York.

I hadn't been to New York city in about five years and Jaimee had never really spent any time in the city. We parked our car in a garage near the Travisa office and started walking around. We did have the whole day, but we decided to just see what we could on foot. (Notes: we didn't go see the Statue of Liberty because tickets to climb the crown were sold out and I figured if you can't go to the top of something, why bother. Also, we didn't feel like spending $20 apiece to climb the Empire State Building so that was out too.)

We started by walking to Times Square. Wow, I surprised how clean it is now. There are a ton of cops milling around and all the stores are fancy and clean.

Times Square used to be really grimy and seedy but it's actually nice now. There wasn't much to do here except admire all the neon so we moved on to Rockefeller Center to look at the ice skating rink and the building (which offers tours of the roof for $21 apiece, which we declined). We also got to see the statue from the beginning of one our favorite TV shows.

We rested here for a bit watching all the other tourists before walking up into Central Park. Partly it was because the weather was so nice (sunny in the mid-60s) but Central Park is really nice now too (I suppose it's always been nice, but I was impressed by how clean it was). The park reminded both Jaimee and me of the big parks of Paris. There were street musicians (including entire bands) playing music and people strolling around enjoying the good weather. We also saw lots and lots of bikes, including bikes for rent.

It's really pretty inside the park and we walked through the southern section and across (from the East side to the West side).

After grabbing a quick bite to eat at a hole-in-the-wall place (not very memorable, but cheap considering we were on 73rd and Central Park West) we walked back down Broadway and all the way to Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street.

Here's Jaimee admist all the hustle and bustle of the station:

From there we walked over to the United Nations building and took a quick self-guided tour of the areas open to the public. There's not a ton to see inside (you see more on a paid tour) but there was a really cool photography exhibit called "the house is small but the welcome is big" where orphans who lost their parents to AIDS or women living with AIDS were given cameras to take pictures showing their daily lives. Some of the pictures were great and reading the biographies was very touching. By the time we got done with the UN it was time to go back to pick up our visas.

Driving out of the city during rush hour wasn't the most fun thing in the world (and I was surprised that you pay the $5.50 toll on the RFK Bridge (formerly known as Triboro Bridge) in both directions - in all we paid $14.25 in tolls roundtrip to get into New York!) and at one point our GPS freaked out and thought we were in the East River:

Luckily she (the GPS) came to her senses before the next turn and guided us safely back to Shrewsbury by around 10PM. All in all a beautiful day in the city although driving there and back in one day isn't something I need to do again for a while again.

Now we're finalizing a few things and heading to Vermont for tonight and tomorrow before coming back here to pack up and head to the airport on Sunday. We're super excited about our departure and we'll post again before we go with details of our plane tickets and how our packing went.

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys, I can't believe you are about to go international! I also find it hilarious that India has outsourced its visa processing, sounds like a lucrative business though. Thanks for the run down of the prices on all the activities in NYC you decided NOT to do, but I think I would opt to explore Central Park for free as well. It sounds so Euro! I saw some very nice fall colors on the drive between Ann Arbor and Buffalo with Benita last weekend.


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