New York, New York

We’re spending the week in New York City to celebrate Susie’s 60th birthday (Wednesday) and my “technical” retirement at the end of the month.  Since both of those are pretty big milestones, we decided to visit somewhere we’ve never been before.  New York was the obvious choice.

For a number of reasons, I had little interest in visiting New York until about a year ago. Two co-workers, one who visits whenever she can and another who lived there, said I’d love it. Others who’d been there concurred.

We came very close to visiting New York last September, when I stumbled upon a great package deal, but I was too busy at work to take the time off.  (My supervisor left and I became “acting” until about a month ago.)  This week is a small window of opportunity because work will be hectic through next March.

Although this trip is “a la carte,” I of course worked the Internet for deals.  Roundtrip airfare from Jacksonville into LaGuardia on Southwest was just $374 for both of us after a $166 credit from rebooking our Vegas trip last January at a lower rate.

I’d heard how hotel rates in New York are triple digits but I was able to get into the Country Inn & Suites on Long Island City for $82 nightly on an “advance payment, no cancellations” rate. It’s a short walk to the Queensboro Plaza subway station where three different trains, including the “Broadway” train, stop.  We’re just two stops from Central Park.

Normally, I do extensive research before a “first time” trip.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much time for research for this trip, which I see as a “scouting” expedition.  If we like it as much as everyone says we will…we’ll be back!  I did pick up Pauline Frommer’s “New York: Spend Less, See More” (my travel philosophy) and so have a general sense of where we’ll be each day.

In San Francisco, we enjoyed walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, which provided spectacular views of the city and Marin County headlands. So, we’ll take a subway to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, enjoy a pizza under the bridge at the landmark Grimaldi’s and then burn the calories off walking across the bridge back to Manhattan while taking in the city skyline.

A number of my high school classmates live in the area, so on our last night we’ll meet at a Filipino restaurant and have a mini-reunion.

Assuming I get in some computer time during the week, I’ll post a summary trip report next Sunday.  And of course there’ll be many travel photos on my travel website in about a month.

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