500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New York CityPASS

Busy day yesterday. And because we only had two and a half days in New York, we didn't want to waste any of it!

First thing, we went for a walk half way across the Williamsburg Bridge. We wanted to see if we could get a different view of midtown Manhattan, but it turns out that they've got screening mesh across most of it so that you can't throw things (or yourself!) onto the cars and subway trains that are also crossing the bridge.

It was a little chilly. We actually saw snowflakes, something we haven't seen since we were skiing in Colorado last April.

Our son Alex, with Kevin, out for a morning walk.

Looking back across the Hudson River at Brooklyn, New York.

This is our third time in New York City, and I'm noticing that I like the city more and more each time. I would like to actually spend a month or two living here. Besides Manhattan, it would be nice to explore Brooklyn, Queens, and some of the other boroughs. And, it would give us sufficient time to use a New York CityPASS.

We had been offered the use of a couple of these passes, but due to a variety of factors we didn't actually receive it until yesterday at noon. Don't ask me why the UPS customer center doesn't open until noon. Strange. So unfortunately we didn't get to take full advantage of everything the pass has to offer.

But, the top priority for us was the entrance to the Empire State Building. So we rushed over there shortly after we picked up the passes at noon. We had a lunch appointment for 2:00pm, so it didn't leave us a lot of room for wasting time. We had Alex with us, and the passes allow for same day entrance during daylight hours and again during the evening so that you can see the city all lit up. So I went up with Alex for the daytime view.


Fortunately, it wasn't busy at all and we didn't have to wait in any kind of a lineup. Oh, until we got to the 80th floor. One elevator takes you to the 80th floor and then you have to use a different elevator to get to the observation deck on the 86th floor. But they only have two elevators for that, and one was not working for whatever reason. So they said you could wait in the lineup for 15 or 20 minutes, or you could take the six flights of stairs. Without hesitation, Alex and I took off for the stairs, along with a half a dozen or so other people.

Looking towards Lower Manhattan

Same view at night!

Unfortunately, it was a little overcast. But it's still a breathtaking view of the city. I'd have a tough time paying the $27 regular adult fee for this experience, but with the CityPASS you also get entry to a variety of museums and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island boat tour. If you've got the time and inclination to do all of those things, the CityPASS will save you 40%, so you would be crazy not to buy one. But if you're going to pick and choose out of the options, you would have to do the math to see if it makes financial sense or not.

Looking towards New Jersey.

Same view at night!

Looking down.

The view definitely makes you say "wow"!

We rushed back down and back onto the subway to meet Volkan and Heather at the Whole Foods store restaurant section. This couple had been instrumental in our decision to visit Bulungula Lodge on South Africa's Wild Coast. They had been there, and we had come across their email address online at one point and he sent me some info. We kind of stayed in touch through email along the way and recently they asked if we wanted to meet for lunch here in the city! Of course we did!

And so we sat an chatted for an hour and a half and had so much to talk about that we forgot to get a picture of us all together. That's okay, because I think it's one of those meetings where you can see yourself getting together again at some point in the future.

And then, we had to rush off again to get Alex to Newark airport in time for his 6:00pm flight back to Ottawa! So, back on the subway and up to Penn Station where he bought his train ticket to the airport. Said a quick goodbye, and by this time it was shortly after 4:00pm. We were thinking of trying to squeeze a museum visit in, but decided to go back to the apartment, rest up a bit, and have some dinner before heading back to the Empire State Building for the nightime views.

We did exactly that, and arrived back at around 8:00pm. However, it was much busier and we had to wait in the security lineup for a half hour or so. Again, Ruth and I took the stairs from the 80th to the 86th floor to avoid that lineup although it wasn't very long.

Looking towards Times Square.

We're up early again. Why? Headed back to the airport. In a few hours we'll be in Cancun, Mexico!



Prices and information valid March 1, 2014 - Feb. 28, 2015
Save 41 percent off admission to New York City’s must-see attractions and skip most main-entrance ticket lines. New York CityPASS ticket booklets: $109 adults; $82 youth, 6-17. Purchase online at CityPASS.com or at the participating attractions. Includes:
Empire State Building Observatory
American Museum of Natural History
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Top of the Rock OR Guggenheim Museum 
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise 



22 comments:

  1. The CityPASS does sound like a good deal. I think it takes a little time to get used to a new place so that you can actually tell if you like it or not. I'm glad you had the opportunity to visit NYC often enough to get a good feel of the city.

    I love the day and night pictures of the city. I imagine it would be really nice on a sunny day with blue skies.

    Safe travels to Cancun.

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    1. Thanks Karen and Al and yes I think the CityPASS is a good deal especially if you have time in the city to take in all of their attractions which are the top attractions that people choose to visit in New York City.

      We look forward to returning to the city and seeing some of the other boroughs.

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  2. looks like a wonderful time! I will b in NYC w my son and family in June and so looking forward to it! Question? Did u rent the apartment like a Hotel? Is there a website for those kind of rentals? I have booked hotel rooms but they are terribly pricey! Appreciate the info on CityPASS...Have a wonderful time in Cancun!! U know how to travel!

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    1. Sorry for the late reply, trying to catch up on these past comments from all the traveling we have been doing in the last little bit.

      We rented the apartment from a site called airbnb.com. Kevin will do a post on this shortly to give everyone a bit more info on it. We think it is a good and less expensive way to stay in NYC. We will try to do it shortly, hopefully before you book something up.

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  3. Crazy busy! We have yet to get to NYC. I think my wife would need to get her knees fixed first though, to take advantage of all the places to see.
    Hope the flight to Cancun is a good one.

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    1. We find it hard to believe that you haven't been to NC yet with all the traveling that you both have done. Yes, walking around really is the best way to experience the city.

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  4. Your NYC photos are awesome! It was nice that you got to spend time with Alex and friends. You two sure are go-getters and cover alot of ground in the short time you were there. Cancun - here they come!!!

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    1. Thanks Connie and Barry. We did have a great time with Alex and our new friends, Volkan and Heather, really wished we had more time to visit with them.

      When you are only in a place for a short time, that has so much to offer you want to try and see as much as possible, there will be time to slow down later.

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  5. City Pass sound like the way to go. We did a similar thing here in Tucson and it paid for itself after 1 visit to the Desert Museum. Looking forward to more of your great photos from NYC.

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    1. It seems that there are a number of cities that do this type of thing. We think it works out great as long as they are places that you really want to visit.

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  6. Great advice re the City Pass, and yes, a month in NYC sounds like a great idea. Safe flight!

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    1. Maybe one day, we or you can do a house sit in NYC, that seems to be the way to do it.

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  7. Love the nights shots. As I have mentioned before NYC is our favorite city. So glad you are getting to see more of it bit by bit.

    Bet you are are getting excited about Mexico.

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    1. New York City is definitely an amazing city and you certainly need lots of time here in order to explore all that it has to offer. We like the idea of seeing it over a number of visits, that way you don't get so tired of the busy city thing.

      Yes, we are really looking forward to Mexico, almost feels like we are coming home.

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  8. Excellent pictures of NYC, glad we could travel along with you.

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed them George.

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  9. Very nice photos, I bet Sherman misses you!

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    1. Not sure if he misses us but we sure miss him!

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  10. Stunning pics of NYC! City Pass is a great way to see a city, we did that in Philadelphia, best trip ever. Hope you have an uneventful trip to Mexico.

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    1. Yes, the pass is a great way providing that these are places that you want to visit and seeing that they are all in the top 5 to 10 attractions that most people visit than by buying the pass you save a good chuck of money.

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  11. If someone has more time, we didn't buy the pass but opted to do all the same things for free. Each of the items in the pass have certain days and times that are free with the exception of the Empire State. The pass is great for very short trips though. We were there for eight days and were able to fit in everything. I would recommend the subway pass for a week if you stay that long. Well worth it. Of course, we enjoyed it because we were there in the cold and the snow. Not sure what the weather was like for you guys this week.

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    1. Yes some of the museums have a free night/time or pay-as-you can but you can't get on to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty and as you said the Empire State Building with out having to pay. So you definitely have to figure out if it is worth it to you. Yes, the subway pass is good if you are staying for at least a week but walking is still the best way to see New York City without a doubt.

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