A Travellerspoint blog

Day One

Arrival in New York

Getting to New York City was fairly epic and tiring. We had to leave Mainz in Germany on the 4.30 am train to Frankfurt Airport. This meant getting up at 2.30 am after just three hours sleep. From Frankfurt we flew on British Airways to London, then changed to American Airlines to JFK Airport, New York. After all the bad publicity airlines have been having in the USA, I must say the American Airlines flight there was excellent. We managed to get just two seats together, were given a plentiful supply of beer and white wine, the service was friendly, the food was good, the entertainment system worked and I even managed to get some sleep.

Arriving anywhere in the USA is always painful. Immigration takes forever. We queued for more than two hours to get allowed into the country. Then we took the air train into Jamaica, Queens. It took us a while to figure out that tickets are purchased on arrival there rather than at departure from the airport. While queuing to buy our subway tickets onwards from Jamaica, we witnessed two fights. I had read that New York was much safer nowadays, but this was not a very reassuring start. However, having said that, this was the only unpleasantness we witnessed all holiday, so I think it was just an unfortunate first impression. Our newly purchased subway tickets did not work and this was to be a bone of contention throughout our stay. New York really needs to upgrade its subway machines; they are hopeless. They tell you: you are swiping your card too slow, then too fast, then that your card is invalid. Often they take your money without letting you in. Then you have to deal with the stressed out person in the ticket booth whose blood pressure is sky high because they have to deal with complaints all day. These unfortunate people can only communicate by screaming at you as they are permanently totally pissed off with life.

Anyway, we finally made it onto the subway and stood in a crowded carriage all the way to Court Square/23 Street. I managed to fall over twice - tiredness or all that white wine, I don't know which. When we got to our stop and exited the subway, I was delighted to see our hotel, the LIC Hotel in Long Island City, Queens, the instant we stepped outside. We have seldom been in a hotel so easy to find. This was lucky as we were exhausted and it was pouring down with rain. Check in was quick and easy and we soon had our nice, clean, comfortable room. The hotel has a film star theme to its rooms, I guess. This room had a picture of Audrey Hepburn; our later room had Marilyn Monroe.

Our Room.

Our Room.

We did not have a great deal of energy on this day, plus the weather was bad, but we did take a wander around the hotel and go out and have some dinner. The LIC Hotel turned out to be a good choice for us. It is only one stop away from Manhattan on the subway, but it is cheaper and quieter than staying in Manhattan. There was not much in the surrounding area, but there was a supermarket right next to the subway stop and a few good restaurants near the hotel. Another big plus since we were on the road for more than six weeks was the hotel had washing machines.

We started our explorations of the hotel by going up on the roof. There are seats and tables on the roof and on our last night we came up and had a drink here. There is a view towards Manhattan and in particular a very good view of the Queensboro Bridge. I have always wanted to see the Queensboro Bridge for the simple reason that my favourite children's book (I am a primary school teacher) is E. B. White's 'Charlotte's Web'. At one point in the book Charlotte the spider likens the Queensboro Bridge to a human built web and in fact it really does look like one.

The Queensboro Bridge.

The Queensboro Bridge.

Rainy day in Queens.

Rainy day in Queens.

For dinner we walked down to the banks of the East River where we found the Anable Sailing Basin and Grill. This is a little open air East European restaurant with excellent views across to Manhattan. We ate here twice during our stay. The first time on a rainy day when it was nearly empty and the second time on a sunny evening when it was very, very full.

Looking towards Manhattan on a rainy day.

Looking towards Manhattan on a rainy day.

The Anable Sailing Basin and Grill.

The Anable Sailing Basin and Grill.

After dinner we had an early night to recover from the long journey and lack of sleep on the previous night.

Posted by irenevt 03:38 Archived in USA

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