Registered: September 2008
Names (left to right): Linda Billbe
Where photo taken: The Statue of Liberty in New York City. I jumped on the subway ($2.00) to Battery Park, caught a jam-packed ferry that comes every 30 minutes or so, and took the standard tourist up-close look at our most famous symbol of American freedom. She’s as big a tourist cliché as they come, but you can’t help feeling inspired and proud at what she stands for. Be sure to visit Ellis Island. The museum there recounts and honors the incredible history of immigration that built our country. Plan to spend the better part of a day, and start early. Don’t worry about the ferry departure times when buying an on-line ticket reservation. Seems like it’s first come, first served.
Best meal: I’m not much of a food connoisseur because my best meal was at Cranberry, a 24-hour delicatessen on 45th Ave. near 6th St. They had a great buffet with steaming hot dishes and chilled fresh fruit of all kinds and of course standard New York fare such as bagels or croissants made to order. There were probably 15 kinds of coffee mixes and a smiling crew of cooks and help.
Best deal: The deli just mentioned was only two doors from a modest, but nice and very affordable hotel, the St. James, located a block from Times Square. This is not a luxury hotel, but the rooms were clean and classic old New York, and you can't beat the location. It is just a few blocks from the Empire State Building, the City Library, Broadway and the heart of the Theatre District.
Best time to go: New York, of course, never sleeps and there is always something to attract any time of the year. When I was there at the beginning of September, the weather was exceptionally muggy (I even heard a New York cop complain) but even with that, it was a pleasant visit. You get some relief as the wind comes and goes up those concrete canyons and you go from overheated subway stations to cool, air-conditioned trains. The weather on the boardwalk at Coney Island was warm with kites flying in the ocean breeze, even as the area braced for the coming visit of Hurricane Hanna. Travel conditions are uncertain, but the city will always be what you make of it.
Best travel tip: Enjoy the subway system. You can get unlimited passes or pay by the trip and the Metro Transportation system provides access to all the interesting places. It can be confusing to the novice, but despite the impression you get from the movies, the subways and streets are full of friendly and helpful New Yorkers who respect your space, but are eager to help when asked. Some even offered kindly help unasked. So my advice is “dive right in” and experiment with the public transportation and don’t be afraid to seek help. It’s the Big Apple and seems to say, “Take a bite.” Also, tickets for everything from Broadway shows and the Empire State Building to the Ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty can be bought on-line and will save you time.