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Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

London
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Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Myself (L), other half (J) and his 17 year old son (T).

This was my and J's third trip and T's second.

See below for full trip report.

London
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1. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Departed London Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic on time with exit row seats (paid £50 extra each way). Exit row seats were a great benefit as T is now 6ft 4 and he really suffers with the normal legroom seats. Flight uneventful and arrived JFK about an hour ahead of schedule. Immigration was its normal joy – there had been a flight that arrived just before us and the estimated wait time was between 3 and 4 hours – luckily we managed to get off the plane quite quickly and to the front of our queue so we were through in about 90 minutes. There was no queue for the taxi and we were at the Nu Hotel in about 30 minutes.

Check in at Nu Hotel was easy and the rooms were surprisingly large (Rooms 225 and 223) and more importantly clean (I always do a mattress check and they looked to be brand new). I should add that I was unsure of booking a hotel in Brooklyn but can honestly recommend the Nu Hotel. The breakfast is a bit of a free for all and the lack of a breakfast room is a bit of a nuisance –but free Wi-Fi, the gym and just being away from the madness of Manhattan more than makes up for it, there are two subways within walking distance to the hotel and you can be wherever you want to go within about 30 minutes at the most. Also I can highly recommend Carroll Gardens Classic Diner, about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. The staff are lovely (especially Judy who works the morning shift), the food is excellent and extremely good value for money (about half the price that you pay in more tourist locations).

Got to bed at about 10pm and as our body clocks thought it was 3am we had an excellent night’s sleep and woke up fresh at 7am raring to go!

(Absolutely no noise from the Correctional facility which had been one of my major concerns and we where directly facing it)

Toronto, Canada
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for Family Travel, Honeymoons and Romance
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2. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Sounds like you had a good first day..........I'll check back again for day 2...thanks

London
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3. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Wednesday 26 December 2012

We took advantage of the continental breakfast at the hotel. The food was fine and plentiful (cereal, fruit, toast, bagels (if you get there early enough), juice, tea and coffee but seating was a bit of an issue.

Greg B of RealNewYorkTours met us at our hotel shortly after 10am for our Big Apple Private Tour. I can’t recommend highly enough this company and Greg. From my first contact with them to enquire about tours and availability through to the day of the tour itself they were professional, friendly and genuinely interested in giving us a great experience.

Greg asked us what we wanted to see and we explained that although we had all been to NYC previously we had not done any organised tours, we were interested in the history of the City and we were more than happy to put ourselves in his hands for the day (what a great decision that turned out to be!)

We covered about 14 miles during the day and saw A LOT. Areas included where:

Brooklyn Heights (this is where my love affair with Brooklyn started!). We discovered the difference between Green and Brown Street signs(!), the reason why some of the streets are named after fruits and the origin of “Hicks” and “Hicksville”. We went into a little shop for coffee and (tea for me!) where the guy behind the counter created the customer behind us with a “What do you Want?!” – I don’t know why it made me smile but it seemed in my head very Brooklyn (in a nice way!)...

Brooklyn Bridge Park

DUMBO

China Town (including the parts that normal tourists don’t go to – in fact I think at one point we were the only non Asian people on the street). Greg pointed out a Chinese Funeral Shop and it was interested to see what they had buried with them for the afterlife.

We stopped off and had an extremely filling and non-expensive lunch at Wo Hop.

We then walked through what was left of Little Italy.

I can’t remember exactly what order the rest came in but also did the following:-

The Post Office across from Madison Square Park

Walked the Highline - which I loved and am sure that it will look amazing in the summertime.

Chelsea Market

Soho

Greenwich Village – where it started to SNOW so we stopped for coffee (tea for me) and a bun.

Washington Square Park where T got very excited when Greg pointed out Will Smith’s house from I Am Legend. I enjoyed the story behind the hanging tree and the Christmas tree was lovely.

We parted company with Greg at the subway station promising that we would give him a call if we needed anything at all during our stay.

For the price of $350 for over 6 hours in the company of a genuinely nice young man we are all agreed that this is something that we are glad that we did and when we return to New York we will do another tour with RNYT and hopefully with Greg! We have already recommended him to two sets of our friends who are planning their New York trips for later in the year.

We headed back to Brooklyn feeling much more confident on the subway – I must admit on my previous trips I haven’t been comfortable using it but this time we used it to get EVERYWHERE and I do mean EVERYWHERE and the only cab we used was to get to our hotel from the airport.

We took the G Train to Bergen Street and walked up the road to our hotel. We decided that we would have dinner at Lunetta and it was a lovely meal – again the atmosphere was so much more relaxed and unhurried.

Because T has exams starting on 14 January we had agreed that he would spend as much time studying as he needed to and after dinner we decided to call it a night.

I honestly believe that this was the best first day we could possibly have had and set up our holiday for one of the best we have ever had.

More to come if anyone has got this far!

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4. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Very nice, your tour sounds fun! What kind of vehicle were you in for this? :)

London
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5. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Syrahgirl - No vehicle it was a walking tour. RealNewYorkTours do all their tours by foot and subway. I must admit I had sore feet by the end of the day! But it was a great way to get rid of the stiffness of an 8 hour flight!

New York City
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6. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Note that the handsome main Post Office is across the street from Madison Square Garden, not Madison Square Park. Madison Square Garden has not in fact been at Madison Square since the third incarnation of the venue (the current one is the fourth) was moved to Eighth Avenue and 49th Street in 1925. The Post Office was built by the same architect, and in the same style, as the beatiful but now-vanished old Pennsylvania Station. Because it was built before World War I, the "nations of the world" theme used for decorating the ceiling of the service lobby shows the coats of arms of figures such as the German Kaiser and the Czar of Russia, who were then still in power.

jamesville ny
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7. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Very interesting TR, I am really enjoying reading it, Please continue.

Oklahoma City...
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8. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Please say that you have pictures and will post a link.... I would live to see them if you have them.

New York NY
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9. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Oh, I'm excited to see that you visited a restaurant I have enjoyed.

I have been raving about Lunetta on the forum since I discovered it in September.

I thought Lunetta was one of my top 10 dinners (out of about 150 dinners out) in 2012.

I've been trying to get visitors to leave the "walking distance from my Times Square hotel" concept out of their heads and go to wonderful neighborhood gems like Lunetta.

Did you enjoy it? Recommend it for other visitors not necessarily staying in the immediate area?

And for those curious, Lunetta's website is www.lunetta-ny.com/

NSW
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10. Re: Trip Report - 25 December to 4 January 2013

Loving your report...seriously thinking about changing one of my hotel bookings.