Written by J. Moellenkamp on
Reading time: 12 minutes
No, this isn´t the first day of my vaction in NY. But a journey doesn´t begin with the pushback at the airport. A journey begins with a decision, with an idea. And this journey began last year.
Normally i thought about travelling to NY end of February. But as you may remember my grandmother was hospitalized at that time and died not much later. I´m glad the trip was postponed at that time, as i weren´t able to attend her funeral at that time.
So, somewhen in May or June the idea of visiting New York. But not as a part of a meeting in the US. This time as a real vacation. Taking a week off and doing recreation.
I´ve booked the flight on short notice end of June during the EM. A day before Germany lost in the european championship.
Believe it or not … this is my first wide trip for a vacation. I do so much business travel over a year, that i found it more recreating to simply stay at home . But this time wanted see something new. The other problem was that my girlfriends didn´t like to travel that far or didn´t like to fly.
I can give you some trips for travelling. At least those tips worked for me. Tip 1: Book a flight in afternoon, but bring your luggage to the airport as early as possible. At the check-in: Take all your smile, be Prince or Princess Charming, ask for an exit row seat. Your legs will thank you for that.
The journey starts. The plane will be pushbacked in a few minutes. Exit Row Window seat. But window is an great exaggaration in a A321. You sit at a large door with a window two or three inches wide.
Wow, this idiotic second security screening for the transatlantic flights has ceased. I walked to the gate, but no security controls for transit passengers. Makes sense, i was already screened in Hamburg.
BTW: A big complaint regarding the airport in Frankfurt. Who had the incredible dumb idea to place the Business/FTL lounge at one end of the terminal and to place the aircraft to NYC at the other end. High speed walking to lounge, eat something, high speed walking back to the terminal. This was much better at the old location where the FTL lounge was just upstairs.
We are now over the Atlantic Ocean.
The old trick still works. So Tip 2: Order a special meal and you get your meal first. There is only one problem. You can´t choose your meal. There is no “Chicken/Pasta or Beef” question. When the “low calories meal” contains beef and you don´t like beef you are out of luck.
And dear Economy purserette, was it really nescessary to call my name out that loud with “Mr. Moellenkamp, did you ordered a special meal?”. Head going red guaranteed.
BTW: Didn´t missed a thing with the Pasta. Really looked like cooked to death. But nobody really expect gourmet food, even when they call their catering subsidiary “Sky Chefs” or “GateGourmet”. The other meal was beef as well.
19:05 MEST or 13:05 EDST
Okay, i switched to New York local time. But why i´m still tired like being busy for the whole day. My inner clock has stil Hamburg time. We don´t need pills for erectile dysfunction, we need a pill to adjust the inner clock. “Oh, it´s 8 o´clock PM local time … i have to take the pill with the 8 imprinted”. That would really solve problems. Well, perhaps i will think different in 20 years ;)
I really hope that the A350 XWB (extra wide body) has some more space for Joerg XWS (extra wide shoulders). It´s annoying that all this people bump into my shoulders when they walk through the aisle.
And the amount of people walking by are the biggest disadvantage of exit row in a 747. Row 34 is located near the lavatories. Many people walk here after the meal. At the flight back from SFO to FRA last year in February i had even a bruise from one of these trolleys.
Oh my goodness. My neighbour took off his shoes. I should try if ear plugs are effective in the nose as well. This guy should put a biohazard sticker on it´s socks.
Landfall. We reached the North American continent between Gander and Goose Bay.
I hope that the runway took no damage when the aircraft touched down. No it didn´t touched down, it crashed down. Even the stewardess didn´t expected such a noise, albeit she expected a rough landing as she admitted later. I knew that New York is located on an island, but i really thought it larger than an aircraft carrier vessel. That was really loud. The complete final approach was strange. Really fast and the aircraft banked a little bit to right. I assume, the pilot asked himself after the landing, if he paid the last rate for the insurance already ;)
Besides of this (okay, and my neighbour Chief Stinking Socks), it was an almost perfect flight. Nice stewardesses. No turbulences.
Immigrations, baggage claim and customs in 15 to 20 minutes. That´s fast … sheer luck. Thank you to the one, who put a priority tag on my luggage by mistake. That made my day.
Exit Row 34 in the 747 has another advantage. You are in the first row of economy. Thus you can stay in front of the horde.
DHS guy unfriendly (well, unfriendly is the incorrect word, it was proper behaviour, but you can say at reply on a “Good afternoon” with words besides of “Right index finger, left index finger, look into the camera. Why do you come?”). But i assume you stop to say more after the 1000th visa a day.
The fifth visa in my passport. The fifth visit in the US.
Lost the saved time while searching for an ATM and waiting for a taxi. But nevertheless … it was really fast in comparison to my last trips.
Well … the trip Taxi to the hotel Was a good ride … just a small traffic jam. Friendly taxi driver.
So, i´m in my hotel, took already a first shower. You guys here in the US must be not that tall? I hate this low shower heads.
Hotel looks good so far. I´m in the Marrakesh Hotel. Simple, but clean rooms …. the usual ridiclious amount of chlorine in the water. Starbucks is left beside the hotel. So the supply of coffee and some of the breakfast standards is assured. The vacation can start.
Fsck … they don´t have the collector mugs like in Germany (the most important sights and the name of the city in large letters). Only this “Facts” mugs. Bought some bottles of water of Ethos water. I won´t make the error again of drinking water from the tap. My stomach isn´t accomodated to that large amount of chlorine. Water with an ethos? Well … i will think about that tomorrow morning.
I´m going to bed now.
I´m really tired.
I´m getting too old for this shit …
Okay, awake for an hour now. Welcome, jetlag, i didn´t really missed you. But hey, only six hours time-offset … could be worser. The time offset from San Francisco to Germany is a lot of harder. Nevertheless, i want a flat earth (carried by four elephants which stand on a big turtle). A round earth proved as ineffective. God (the higher entity of the non-existant kind) wasn´t a (business) traveller ;)
I will try to get some additional sleep now.
Apropos elephants. It must have been a horde of elephants living in the room next to me. Awake now … well … looks it makes no sense to try to get an hour more sleep.
It were two hours of additional sleep. Showered and ready for the City!
Just arrived back at the hotel. Was quite a walk today. From the 103th to the 53th. Had a nice day at the Museum of the Modern Art and jet another mug for my collection. I´m a proud owner of a MoMA mug ;)
Grand Central Station is a breathtaking building. And that´s just a a train station. The hall is huge. NYC, i´m already impressed. It here something not that large ? ;)
Good dinner at an Indish restaurant right beside the hotel.
The elephants are back. It´s an art to close the door to the shower with such a noise without the according noise of shattering glass falling down.
But heck ... i slept until 07:20. I should try two big glasses of wine everytime i have to accomodate to a new time zone. Seems to help.
Okay, this day will start with Chinatown. Maybe Battery Park later on.
Hmm ... my travel guide told me, that Chinatown is the largest chinese communities in the world. I visited Chinatown today and i have one important question: I know that Chinese People are somewhat smaller than the usual North European guy, but where are that much people from China?
Afterwards a nice dinner in Little Italy. I really liked the French Toast. And the calories budget shouldn´t be a problem with all this miles and miles of walking. They guy serving this meal got it´s tip of the day, because i still didn´t really understood the priciples of tipping (he got more than 30%). Later i´ve learned that you wait for the change and leave a and afterwards i´ve learned that wait for the change and leave an matching amount of money on the table as a tip.
By the way: Little Italy is pretty much Little China II. Pretty much of the streets designated as Little Italy on my map were filled with shops with neons made of chinese letters on the front.
Afterwards on the way to the Battery Park i walked along the site, were the Twin Towers stood. It´s a really disturbing thought that there were the two highest building of New York. That must have been ridiclious forces at work to break down such buildings. The building leaved a giant hole in the earth. A cold feeling ran down my spine. Even more interesting: There is a little church besides the site and the church wasn´t damaged at the crash down.
At this moments you think about the forces that protected this building, even when you are an atheist.
After a short stay in my hotel i had dinner at a restaurant at the Battery Park again. Was excellent. Good wine. Nice salad. Pretty expensive. But i assume you´ve paid the nice view from almost the southernmost point of Manhattan as well.
Yet another point removed from my "Been there - done that" list: Sitting in the Central Park eating lunch and lying in the sun afterwards.
Did some shopping in the afternoon. At 80 degrees fahrenheit and the humidity here in NYC you wear off your t-shirts faster than expected.
Sitting in the park for eating chips, fruit salad with a Corona or two is nice. Especially when you can look onto the Hudson river. But i saw several strange things there. At "Gristedes", a supermarket in the vicinity of the hotel, you was able to buy real beer. Was nice to see, that you could buy Jever when you want to that far from home.
Even more stranger: They play soccer here. Somebody told me that they call this "pussy sports" here in the US but it were definitely mostly male people on the field.
Another day for culture. Visited the American Museum of Natural History. Think i´ve walked at least the distance from the hotel to the museum again in the museum itself. Great museum and didn´t even visited the special exhibits. Certainly a goosebumps moment was the oceanic part when you come into hall and see a giant blue whale at the ceiling.
A multitude of new impressions. A multitude of things learned. When this rate stays at the same level my head will explode at the end of the week by new impressions.
I can´t be more stereotype-alike. Siting in the Central Park again, eating fruit salad and reading Wired ;) I know it´s a wannabee magazine .... but the gadget section is quite amusing.
Again shopping. That´s not interesting in itself. But why to Heck (and it´s ruler Phil, the prince of insufficient light) did they named a shopping franchise "Banana Republic"?
Just a remark to the US: I don´t know how often i saw the "I´m pissed off my anger management class". Anger Management ... what a ridiclious thing. This "political correctness" thing is utter nonsense. You need a good culture of dispute. Anything oppressed will explode later on. Just with a more devasting effect.
Just back from another long walk. Walked from Canal Street to Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge and back to SoHo via the Brooklyn Bridge. Was quite a walk again but it was really nice. Made some spectacular photos of the skyline of New York. It was really good to take this walk. Without it i would have missed a really spectacular and beautiful view to the downtown of new York.
Ready for the City ... the second last full day of this vacation. Time flies.
You need three and a half hour to walk the Broadway from Battery to the 103rd street. That´s round about 12 km when my measurement via USB cable is correct. It was more than 12km in my case because you should look on the numbers of the street after leaving a clothing store by another door than you entered it. You may detect earlier that you walk on the wrong direction on the wrong street because you lost the orientation while shopping in the store.
Now sitting on my bed and giving my feet some well deserved rest ... they carried me well through the city so far.
Fsck .... wrong setting of the camera. Kept the setting from inside the museum (forget automatics in there. Way to dark.) Well ... no wonder ... my thoughts were somewhere else. Normally i check the settings everytime ....
I assume, i´ve breaked the 40 km range this week at least (walked the distance from 103rd street to Columbus Square at least 4 or 5 time). I will add up all this distances with Google Maps when i´m back in the reach of internet.
I really thought about the question, if it was useful to buy a 7 day ticket when you walk any way. Nevertheless. I really think the only way to discover NY is by your own feet. Down in the subway you will see nothing. Walking through NY will give you an perspective about the city, the people, the crowds, the changing architecture and concepts of the buildings.
It´s a kind of Sex in the City. Do you remember "The secret of my success" scene, where Mr. Fox laid in the bed and his neighbour were fscking in their bed on the other side of the wall? Well ... the same here in the hotel. Even the wall to the next hotel room bumped like in the movie. Was fun to mimick Mr. Fox in this moment. The moaning of the woman was a little bit high for my taste. That wasn´t moaning that was squeaking . And the boy has no condition. From door closing to switching on TV in a time you should invest into the foreplay alone;) But that´s just my opinion.
The last full day. I´m totally overloaded with impressions. But there are some things left to view.
My back is aching, my feet are hurting. I´ve just asked for a Business Class Upgrade on Miles for my trip back to Frankfurt, as my back would punish me for such an endeavour in a Economy seat.
Phew ... my feet told me to go to hotel. Walked from Time Square to the United Nations, upwards to the Dag Hammerskjold Plaza. After that i walked to the Intrepid Museum at Pier 68. The Intrepid is an old aircraft carrier used as an aircraft and space museum. There was only a simple problem. I didn´t knew that they are rebuilding the Pier. No Intrepid there, no museum there either. So if you planed to visit the museum, check if it has reopened. As far as i was able to look at the pier, they already reworked much of the pier. So it couldn´t be that long to the reopening.
A short walk to the Central Park and into the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. That museum is a must for everybody visiting NYC. It´s a ride through the human history of art. I saw many of the objects in nature, i knew only from books. I was 6 hours in there, and i still think i missed something.
Whoever traveled to NYC without visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Arts missed an important part of New York.
Oh no ... my neighbours again ... the good thing about the situation ... it won´t take that long ;) It´s time for my earplugs again.
This is the day to say goodbye from New York. Was a trip full new things. It was worth effort. But now i want back home. When i look at my travel guide, i missed pretty much of the city despite of the city. Think this trip to New York will not be the last time ...
Sh... all this stuff fitted better in the suitcase on the inbound journey to NYC. And i really buyed nothing large. Just the minimum amount of stuff to get over a third of the days with fresh clothing.
After importing the last CF card: 1557 Photos in one week. I need a bigger disk in the notebook. 500 GB would be nice ;)
While importing i´ve read the actual issue of the Wall Street Journal (was the only non-yellow press newspaper available). One sentence made my day. In an article about exchange trades funds, the author wrote: "Many ETF are so overspecialized, that they make a pediatric endocrinologist like a family doctor who makes house calls".
Now it´s official, seven days since i´ve used the internet the last time (besides the small entry in my blog). So: I´m not an addict. Yeah! I´m so proud about this :) Enough waiting....