Days one to three 15 Sept 2019
So, off again on another wee trip, this time headed to New York with a two day stay here and shortly heading to the pier to board the Norwegian Escape, aptly named as for a wee while I will be escaping the madness that is Brexit back hone. An idiocy that Scotland did not vote for but is being sucked into because of the UK Union.
Ok so enough of Brexit as that is exactly what I am temporarily escaping from. So I started my trip just after four in the Morning with a two mile brisk walk to pick up the bus from the city center to take me to Edinburgh airport. A great new service run by National express and the best part of it was that I used my Sottish government travel card, meaning that all it cost me was a one pound booking fee.
Arriving timeously at the airport and through security without a hitch, I checked into one of the Airport lounges for a relaxing wait and some breakfast. Now on this trip I had decided to travel light and at the same time save some money . I booked with United at an incredible £320 return. New York and back. But hold luggage was extra at $160 for the two flights, so I decided to see what I could take in a carry on and together with a small back pack and I think I have managed it. I will know better when I unpack and realize what I have left out. The advantages of this ( apart from the cost saving) is that I am always in charge of all of my luggage, I don’t have to wait at the luggage carousel and I go straight from immigration to customs and on to ground transport.
Boarded at 8.45 ( early) and believe it or not the flight took off early too. I have managed to persuade the lady at the check in desk to allocate an isle seat as, because of the economy fare I did not get a choice and had been allocated a middle seat. Unfortunately there was two very large people sitting beside me and the over-spill left me kind of leaning into the isle which meant that every time the trolley came past it usually almost took my arm off, or indeed, a couple of times, my head, when I had dozed off.
Because of the early departure and a cooperative tail wind for most of the way we landed early at Newark airport. Not much of a wait at immigration although could have been quicker if the attendant on the aircraft had realized that I did indeed need an immigration form to pre fill in, She seemed to think it was all done electronically now. I think we are some time off from the day when immigration can read your mind electronically. This meant that I had to hurriedly make out one of the forms whilst waiting to go through immigration. Once upon a time there was also a form which basically asked you if you were ever involved in any acts of terrorism. I think they stopped issuing that form when they realized that not many people were answering that question in the affirmative for some obscure reason.
So through immigration and through customs and on to ground transportation where I realized I had made a big mistake. I had booked super shuttle which is a shared ride operation , basically a minibus service which does various drops around Manhattan before getting you to your hotel. Now I had cleared customs about 12.30 and at 15.00 I was still somewhere in Manhattan still in the shuttle when I told the driver to stop around 48 street and decided to walk South to my hotel which was in 32 street plus a few Avenues to the west. What I should have done was take the bus which goes from the airport to Pen station which it directly across from my hotel, what a Dick.
After an energetic walk , zigzagging through Avenues and streets I arrived at my hotel in time to join a long line waiting to check in, but at least it was good to be in an airconditioned place as apposed to the very warm streets of new York.
Checked in and went to the room to find it was a complete tip, stained carpets and Curtains( for some reason) paintwork dirty , bathroom a complete mess. Tried to contact desk but impossible to get through , No doubt because every one was doing the same as me. Went down to the desk and went right to the front of the line and told the receptionist that I was not happy and if I couldn’t get another room I was going to check into the nearest hotel and send them in the bill for it. The girl went and spoke to the manager, returning to announce that I was to be given a room on the club floor. Great I thought and moved my luggage to the new room. A definite improvement ( which wouldn’t be difficult) but I am not sure what kind of club they had in mind when naming this floor the club floor but certainly not the normal hotel “club Floor” I can only assume it was a club for plumbing enthusiasts as the wash hand basin was precariously hanging off the wall and the tap had a handle missing which made things very difficult getting water out of it. Ok ,I suppose I have slept in worse places, although the last time I slept in a ditch, the Government were paying me to do so.
So out into the only place on the planet that could be new York, the city that never sleeps ( probably because all the hotels in the city are as bad as the one I was staying in). Only kidding , I have been in a number of hotels here and in the main they are all very good. Everything anyone can want is here and at any time of the day and night.
So into the night in New York and a meet up for dinner with a few people I have known for some time who are to be on this cruise followed by a retreat to an Irish Pub which at one time was a Scottish pup by the name of The St Andrews Lounge and now called O’Brian’s for the obligatory few pints of Guinness, before heading back to the hotel after a long day.
Saturday and was up with the lark and headed along to Herald Square next to the famous store Macy’s. There is tables and free Wi FI in the Square and a nice place to watch the World go by. Caught up on social media and headed north through New York ending up at an oasis in the midst of the madness that is new York, Bryant Park , again with free Wi Fy and great views of the surrounding skyline and the central libraries. Not bad coffee to. Walked up through New York as far as around 74th street and Central park, passing Trump Towers on the way, asked if Trump was at home but unfortunately he was heavily engaged in matters of state on the golf course, left a message that I was in New York so he will no doubt get in touch later.
Dinner at an Irish Pub off Times Square then an attempt to get into the Copa Cabana, which is a dance club only to be informed that it was a private function last night, so headed back to the hotel, stopping on the way to purchase an extremely large ice cream cone, bliss, Good Night New York.