New York City 2023

It is always a good time when I head to NYC. I was born in Queens a few years ago… and it never needs to be explained to me why now is a good time to visit. Much of my family still lives there… so it is like visiting an old friend. I was accompanying my mom and sister on business… but there was a lot that I wanted to do before heading home. My sister had her own thing that she wanted to do. So let’s get into it.

One of the biggest pet peeves with people in the south has been people giving me a list of reasons they would never want to live in or visit NYC (once they figure out I was born there.) Usually based on a very exaggerated experience that one person they know from there said. Not because they have been there. It makes me roll my eyes. None of what people claim have I ever experienced visiting there.

One of the things I have learned when traveling is that if I am going somewhere relatively close to where I am traveling from then I expect a nonstop flight. Fortunately, I was able to travel first class with Delta. There is a first time for everything… And it was exquisite. If you can afford it. Definitely do. Let me just say… The Charlotte Airport leaves a lot to be desired. It is fine on the inside but that car pick up and drop off line is wild. But the Delta crew was nice. They offered to take our coats, I had plenty of drinks while we waited for take off.

We landed at LaGuardia Airport in NY and let me just say that it is huge. I should have been prepared or a least forewarned for all of the walking I was going to do. We took a cab from the airport to the Grand Hyatt on 42nd street. It was about a a 20 minute ride… and let me just tell you guys… With living in the south… It has been about a decade since I have seen a yellow cab and longer since I have seen them in such large numbers.

I will say that if you want to visit Manhattan and need a hotel check out either the Hyatt Grand Central or the Hyatt Centric in Times Square. Depends what you want to see. For me, I want to be close to MSG so I can see the Rangers play again or a least a concert.

It didn’t take much before we were back out on the street. The flight wasn’t long enough for us to have a whole meal so we were on the hunt for some food. The city that never sleeps didn’t disappoint. We stopped at Ben and Jack’s Steakhouse (since my mother is really allergic to fish and shellfish.) They had a a bit of variety on their menus from pasta, to burgers to of course steak. So we had a bit of each. I can vouch for their chicken parmesan. It was soooo good. Loved it. It was on the expensive side but if you get the chance to do it then do.

Afterwards we headed out to stretch our legs and look around the city. I have to tell you, people love Times Square. My sister loved the way it was so lit up at night. I think I was surprised by the number of people out even though it was raining. I have no idea why I wanted to walk from E. 42nd St to MSG but it was even odder that my sister was down to go in the rain. Times Square is always nice because the billboards are never the same. Nothing like being in the South.

We got to see Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game. I had forgotten that there were games on the schedule for the week I was there. I am still annoyed that I did not see a game. Basketball or Hockey. UGH next time. Totally could have taken advantage of the rain. SN: Check out the weather before you travel.

The next day we made our way out for breakfast. My family and I have an affinity for diners and diner food. So we went out on the hunt. We came across a small place near the hotel. We happened upon the Comfort Diner on 45th street. It looked really small on the outside but was pretty spacious on the inside. We got there just in time for bunch and we were able to get both waffles and hot sandwiches. A good time was had by all.

Then we headed around Manhattan to find a coat for our friend. Now… it was sunny… but the wind was serious. Sadly most places already has their spring and summer wardrobes out. We headed down to Times Square again… Mostly because everyone wanted to see it without the rain… And there were a lot of pictures taken.

We were told to head to Macy’s… it was about 10-12 blocks away… the lady said it was a 15 minute walk but I think that she had more faith in us than she should have. There were a lot of pictures taken along the way… so you know what that means…

I know I have been in the south too long. But for some reason I was thinking a store attached to a mall that was maybe two or 3 floors. But 34th street exceeded my expectations. I mean really… I should have known better. We arrive at Macy’s some 30 minutes later and when we got in there…. It did not disappoint. We nonchalantly asked where we can find the coats/outerwear section. The woman nonchalantly said… Floor 8/9. I remember looking at the building from the outside…. and I felt like I must have misheard her but we found the escalators anyway.

Let me first tell you, the lady was absolutely serious. There were many floors to climb or in our case escalators to take. Next, let me tell you that I was blown away by the original wooden escalators there.

I think we in the south have been jibbed though. There was play areas for the kids, several restaurants and sitting areas… We don’t get any of that for our Macy’s here. And I was wondering what could have filled up 9 floors of stuff with but alas… There was stuff wall to wall. It didn’t take no time to find a coat but getting out of there was another story. We has to abandon the elevators. Because even though they had a bunch on each floor they were always packed.

That was more fun than it should have been, but I like spending money while on trips. The next big thing we did was head over to Gershwin Theater to see Wicked on Broadway. My sister used to be into performing arts and said she wanted to see it. Me… I had no idea what it was about. I just followed her lead on it. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The show is told from the perspective of, and focuses on, the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy Gale arrives in Oz from Kansas. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (later Glinda the Good Witch). My sister loved it and without me knowing anything about it prior to… I loved every moment of it. If you get a chance. Definitely do it.

It was a fun night. Those girls could really sing. My sister knows how to pick a show. So thus far I have seen The Lion King and Wicked on Broadway. Definitely see it.

The next day we headed to was Kinokuniya. There is no way with all the anime lovers in the mix we could pass up going to that store. Of course, if you have read my last post about being in NY then you know I have been here before. But I was bringing both my sister and another new friend so we couldn’t pass it up.

It was then when we figured out that it that it has 3 floors. I was blown away. I loved it even more. I lost my sister in a matter of moments. Don’t worry we made it out without spending all our money and without having to send packages to our houses. Don’t worry you can order online and get stuff sent to your house. My sister got her a red yoshi plushie, which for her was a big deal. No way we head out to NYC and don’t stop there.

And finally, when Leah and I came to NYC this place did not exist. Sad for she didn’t get to come with me. I was not able to take in a Rangers game but that did not stop me from heading to the NHL Flagship store. I did see the NBA shop had a walk in store… (one of these days I will pick a team and see some games for basketball.) But this trip was all about hockey prior to the 2023 playoff run. I was scolded via facebook by Leah but we couldn’t have gone in 2020 since it wasn’t built yet. I had to make sure that I didn’t buy all the jerseys. But I really wanted to. I am not sure Leah would like it. They have every team in there… and various jerseys and memorabilia but the top floor is dedicated to the NY Rangers. So I am sure I got a lot out of it. Thank my sister for bearing with me while I wandered off. It did not disappoint.

It is located in Manhattan West. So it wasn’t close to where we were staying but we managed to get in and get out. The whole shopping center there seems brand new.

That is all I have for now. We know I will be back to see all of my sports teams play and I will be back for another Broadway play. I am already ready to be back there.


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