Friday, August 15, 2014


UpTake Travel Gem

We love New York. If you saw our first trip report to the city, you can see we were a bit intimidated but that soon passed. I would never pass up a trip to this great city.

In our ongoing quest to see every Major League Stadium, this time we’re headed to the Big Apple. Our flight is scheduled to leave John Wayne Airport in Orange County at 6:30 in the morning. We’re on Frontier Airlines today and have comfortable bulkhead seats at the front of the plane.

We taxi and wait. Although Frontier schedules a 6:30 departure, airport rules don’t let any planes actually leave until 7:00am. The flight attendant tells me they do this so they can push back and be first in line.

It’s a comfortable, direct one-stop flight (in Denver) to La Guardia Airport in New York City. Out front, we get to the taxi stand and immediately the dispatcher tries to get us into a regular sedan that is in the front of the line. We explain that the wheelchair won’t fit and we at least need a minivan. He won’t budge…until I ask him to tell me how to get there by bus since there isn’t a taxi that will work. That does the trick. He loads us in a minivan that was about sixth in line and off we go.

Our hotel for this trip…our third to the city…is the Beekman Tower, adjacent to the United Nations on 1st Avenue. It’s a roomy two-room suite with a dine-in kitchen and marvelous views. We were able to book it just between to high periods and got four nights for just a touch over $200 a night, including taxes. A quick online check shows that normal rates run from $276 - $350, still not a bad deal for a good Manhattan neighborhood. The tub was doable and the toilet tiny, but we managed.

The next day, we took the subway up to the Bronx to see the Yankees play the Detroit Tigers in the old Yankee Stadium. You could see the new stadium going up over the left field side. The corridors are were very narrow but our seats above first base were very good but the view was just a bit obstructed by the second deck.

The Yankees required us to write in for tickets but we were rewarded with a great location for the three of us for only $86. The staff was very helpful and the concession workers very friendly. Say what you will of the Steinbrenners, they make sure their fans are treated well. I’d go into the complete specifics of the stadium’s accessibility, but since it is demolished now, it just seems a waste of typing.

We met a couple from Tennessee sitting next to us that were at the game to complete a dream of their son, Wes, who had been killed in an auto accident. It’s a sad story, but they’re wonderful people who are honoring their son as they get on with life.
The Yankees went on to win the game and Tim says this is the best baseball experience he’s had other than being at the playoffs in 2002 when the Angels took it all.
The Rooftop Bar and one of the Views From the Bar
Back at the hotel after the game, we went up to their magnificent rooftop bar and had a couple of martinis. There is a mostly accessible deck where you can get a view from all directions around the hotel. Drinks aren’t cheap…around $10 for a happy hour martini…but just this once.

The next morning we have breakfast at one of the most wonderful bagel bakeries we’ve been to, Tal Bagels, just a couple of blocks north of the hotel on 1st Avenue. Hectic and delicious, you need to know what you want before you hit the counter…they will have no patience with you if you don’t. When you do decide, get in line, order quick, pay at the end, get your food, and find a table. You’ll have one of the most mouth-watering experiences you’ll every have.
It’s off to the subway, heading downtown. It’s time to see just what those idiots did to us on September 11th…the ruins of the World Trade Center. A cobbled-together walkway in the buildings surrounding the site give you a view of the giant hole that used to be the world’s tallest buildings. It’s accessible but in fits and starts as you sometimes have to take an elevator to another level or go out to the street for a few feet…but we make the circle slowly. It’s a sad and somber reminder, looking into that grave, of man’s inhumanity.
I wish they would be faster about erecting the replacement building…as long as that hole is there, al qaeda gloats.

Back on the subway, we head up to the upper west side for one of New York’s great cheap eats, Gray’s Papaya, located just outside the accessible subway station at 72nd and Broadway. For a couple of bucks, you get two delicious hot dogs and a glass of fruit juice. We go with the management’s recommendation and choose papaya. For some reason this goes real well with a hot dog.

On a previous trip here I limited the amount of food we had here so we wouldn’t be full when we had dinner at Tavern on the Green. My wife later told me she wished I had just cancelled those reservations and let her and Tim eat to their heart’s content. Today, she got her wish…which was an extra two hot dogs, I guess.

They are great dogs. Savory, tasty and packed in a natural casing that provides a great snap. Fine dining Gray’s is not. There are no tables or chairs…you just stand at a narrow shelf that wraps around the room and eat. Still, one of New York’s best food deals.
One of the Views from our Room
We finish the day with a walk through Central Park before heading back to midtown and our hotel.

There's more, stay tuned for Part 2...

Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick

1 comment:

  1. Hey, would you rate your hotel? I'm looking for a place to stay in NYC and have been browsing the for days now, but I'm pretty confused, there are so many options. I'm looking for something cheap and relatively cozy or just clean, I won't be staying in the room for long. If it matters, I'm flying in September.