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Why Fly to the Big Apple for Dinner?
What does one do with some extra JetBlue points laying around? Fly to New York City for dinner and fly home in the same day, duh. Well, that is what I chose to do for fun. I live in MA so flying to NYC was actually quicker than driving to my closest casino. I wanted something random for my birthday and this was it, 14 hours in the big apple!
Initially this trip was for dinner purposes only, we wanted to be hardcore “foodies” for the day. It was my good friend and I’s birthday week and this is what we wanted to do. We ultimately decided a few extra hours in the Big Apple never hurt, so we arrived earlier in the day. Traveling with no luggage and TSA pre-check made this the easiest airport experience yet! Sitting at the gate, Dunkin’s in hand, my phone buzzes. “Flight delayed 4 hours due to mechanical problems”. 4 hours?!?! We are only going to New York for a few hours! This is not cool.
Of course we start thinking of where we can fly to instead. This trip was all about “winging it” so this was actually pretty exciting… for like 10 minutes. Turns out JetBlue had a plane laying around Logan Airport somewhere, so we were back on track for our original departure time. Cue take off.
We Hit the Ground Running!
We arrived at JFK eager to hit the streets with no plans for the day. No tickets to any shows or museums, no ideas of where to eat, where to go, or what to see, my kind of fun! We took a taxi to Lower Manhattan and started our day off at Ground Zero. I have always wanted to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum since it was opened to the public, and now was my chance. I won’t get into too much detail, but just being present in the exact location where the infamous 9/11 attacks took place was moving.
I didn’t realize this until after, but apparently we lucked out not having to wait in line to get into the museum. We bought our tickets at the entrance and started to make our way through the archives. The museum allows photography in some areas but the Historical Exhibition was not one of them. At first I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t be able to document some parts of the experience, but after going through this part of the museum I was glad I was distraction free. Nothing but absorbing every bit of emotion from the artifacts and the audio/video recordings.
Our next stop was the Brooklyn Bridge. I have seen it in movies and well, I wanted to walk on it. So I walked across and back. Exciting? Not really, I would have preferred to bike over it but that’s ok. I still enjoyed the sights and just being on the Brooklyn Bridge. We hopped on a subway that took us to our next stop, the Empire State Building. Again, something I had always seen on TV and I just had to do it. We purchased the “standard” tickets for $37 each that would bring us up to the 86th floor observatory. This is the exterior deck that you probably see most people post pictures from. We lucked out again with no lines, and we made it to the observatory shortly after buying our tickets. It was chilly but the views are so worth it!
If you are at the Empire State Building or even in that general area, stop by Little Italy Pizza across the street. Quick, cheap, and delicious pizza. I was able to sit and charge my phone while we were eating which was a huge relief, but don’t go there just to charge your phone, that’s rude ;). We stopped at Grand Central Station for a quick picture before heading to our next stop, Central Park. As we approached one of the many entrances to Central Park we noticed the bike rental station. Perfect! I’ve never been to Central Park so I had no idea how big it was, where I was going, or how long we would be riding for. We figured the bikes would be fun and a nice way to get off our feet for a little bit. We were so right. If I lived in the city I definitely would be spending my free time cruising through Central Park on a bike.
Our one hour deadline on the bikes was quickly approaching and we needed to find a return station to turn them in before we got charged a late fee. We began searching all the other openings of the park to find one and couldn’t locate a single bike station. We ended up riding bikes in the traffic of the city and returning the bikes in the original bike area where we started. We are now hot, tired, and hungry.
It was time for our final stop of the day, Times Square. We made sure this was our last stop so we could see the place lit up at night! My friend and I settled for dinner at a restaurant in Times Square that was just ok. Nothing special, but I couldn’t complain either, it was nice to sit and rest our feet for a bit. We shopped around, took in the sights, took some snapchats, and realized that we had a flight to catch… In two and a half hours… and we were about an hour from JFK. We unsuccessfully tried calling a cab and were struggling with Uber for about twenty minutes before we finally got us a ride to the airport. Phew…
All in All, it was Fun!
I was sitting on the plane reflecting back on our day, thinking about how much of the city we got to see in such a short amount of time. The day was full of excitement and it was so fun just going with the flow. Some people would say they needed more time or that it was too rushed, but this trip really wasn’t my way of exploring NYC, it was all about winging it. The idea of this trip was originally just us flying to NY, eating dinner, then flying home, not a day of sightseeing and scheduled tours.
While I am a huge fan of going where the wind takes us, it’s also a good idea to have some idea of what you would like to do for the day. That way you are not googling “things to do” for 3 hours and losing valuable time. I do have a few goals for my next day in the Big Apple so stay tuned!