Hello New York!

Hello New York!

Sy @ | 8 minutes | #new-york #nyc #city #travel

Those of you who follow us on our new Instagram page (@WayOfClouds) will already know that we were recently in New York.
When we were still living in Hungary, we had the idea of "Christmas in New York" - free after Kevin.
I asked for (and got) a quote when it turned out that if all went well, we would move to the US!
The move was made, but New York was a long time coming! We never thought we'd get to California first, twice.
By the time we wanted to go, the stupid COVID had kicked in, and New York was a destination with special conditions around that time. And we didn't meet those conditions.

But now it was our time. So many say New York is a must-see during the Christmas season (and all seasons 😄)!
I sent my sis some photos, and she simply wrote that New York doesn't suit us! (Because it's not warm and seaside.) In a way, she's right because we've also concluded that when it's cold, we'll only travel to someplace which is warm; this cold is not for us.
Even my students, I always tell them that if they scold me, send me to a warmer climate!

We only spent three days here because the primary goal was really to get into the Christmas spirit.
Other than Christmas, we discovered a surprising amount of things in those 2.5 net days. We had mixed feelings at first, but 2.5 days was enough to fall in love with the city (apart from particular things).
We will be back because we still missed a lot. But next time, not in winter!

Now, let's get to the details!!

We bought our flight on 12 October ($265/person). Again, we chose Delta for the third time in a row because they had a cheaper ticket (which was still not cheap). But given that we went relatively close to Christmas, we factored that in. The flight was to JFK, but we were departing from LaGuardia airport on the way home.

Our accommodation was in Manhattan because we wanted to be able to get to many places easily on foot. This time we found a better price on Booking.com, not on the hotel's own site. We chose the 3* SpringHill Suites New York Manhattan/Times Square South on 36th Street. For two nights, it costs $675. It wasn't cheap, but for what we had here, it was reasonable, all things considered.


Our flight from Charlotte left at 6 AM on 13 December. Again, we took a very early flight because we wanted to make the most of our time. We ordered an Uber for 4 o'clock, which was $46 because of the early time. (The airport is only 13-15 minutes away…) We tried to get to the airport on time because they are developing and expanding the airport here in Charlotte, so in addition to the usual craziness, many things are closed. There are supposed to be significant traffic jams. I don't know if it was the early time or something else, but luckily we didn't hit any traffic jams and got out without any problems.


We printed out our boarding pass, quickly passed through the screening (a bit busier this time - probably due to the festive season), bought a coffee, and then we were ready to board.
Some passengers had their bags taken away because we were flying with the small airplane again. Unfortunately, they took ours too, which was not so good, because we had to wait a long time for our luggage to be picked up at JFK (because the plane arrived a little earlier and the staff was not there yet).
But that should be the biggest problem, right?
The flight was smooth; we traveled and arrived in nice weather.

Travel - New York, NY

So we landed at JFK airport.
As I mentioned, our bags were taken in Charlotte, and we had to wait a relatively long time to get them back.
We wanted to view the city like Kevin did in episode 2 of Home Alone. But obviously, we couldn't. Kevin arrives on an American Airlines plane, and you can see the city from that terminal, but it could just be in the movie… So it didn't work out!

Travel - New York, NY

At the airport, we saw two surprising (to us) things: one was the SIM card machine, and the other was the fresh cut flowers machine. 😀

JFK - New York, NY

But then we searched for the metro train called the AirTrain.
We decided to take public transport to the accommodation (Uber would have cost almost $70).
The AirTrain JFK is an 8.1-mile-long rail link that operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
It's free to use between airport terminals, but if you go to or from Jamaica or Howard Beach stations, the fare is $8, which you pay with a MetroCard.

MetroCard - New York, NY

In our case, it looked like we boarded at the airport and went to Jamaica station - from there, you have to pay to get out. There are a lot of ticket machines. The basic ticket is $8+2.75 - that's what you have to buy, 8 for the AirTrain and 2.75 for a metro ticket. We put $20 on our card (+$1 for the new card). (By the way, you can also use a contactless debit/credit card to pay for a metro ticket. I didn't want to use it, but I would definitely use it next time because we also had some troubles here. We didn't like public transport here either…)

MetroCard - New York, NY

The bottom line is we bought the ticket/pass. No 3-day passes, only one-week passes. However, what's cool is that you pay up to $33 (using the same payment method), and then you don't have to pay more for the rest of the week (at least according to OMNY).

We took the blue E subway from Jamaica Station to Penn Station (34th Street), and it was just a walk to the hotel. So it was relatively easy to get there. However, if you're carrying a suitcase, be careful because it takes a lot of work to get through that cramped little entrance. I, for example, had to swipe my card twice, and they deducted the fare twice… So that's something to watch out for if you're traveling with a suitcase on public transport. We have seen others lift their suitcases afterward or do it more cleverly. 😄

Anyway, it was a relatively long ride to Penn Station, about 40-45 minutes. There was a smaller crowd on the subway than I had previously imagined. What was shocking to me was that you can actually walk between trains. Very scary! Csibi tried it once at one of the terminals. The other shocking thing is how many metro lines there are, with how many transfers. (And there is a metro station on every corner, and you can hear and feel the subway rumbling below you as you walk on the sidewalk.)

Subway - New York, NY

When we got off the metro, the first thing we saw was the Empire State Building. Impressive!

Empire State Building - New York, NY

Penn Station (Pennsylvania Station) is the busiest railway station in North America. It is used by 300,000 passengers a day. We wanted to take a peek but ended up in the historic Post Office building opposite. In this building is the Moynihan Train Hall, the new home of Amtrak in New York. It is a world-class station with state-of-the-art technology.
We did a little tour here and then continued to our hotel, as we wanted to get on the road as soon as possible, just without our suitcases!

Moynihan Hall Amtrak Lounge - New York, NY

We found the hotel very quickly, because as I said we had to walk about 2 streets. Because of the early arrival, we did not think we would have a room (we arrived at the hotel around 10 AM anyway).
But they had already prepared the key, and the guy told us that since it was breakfast until 11, we could go and have breakfast in peace. This was the first positive surprise, as breakfast is only usually served after the first night.
The hotel is barely noticeable from the outside and looks great from the inside. The lobby is vast, all decked out in Christmas splendor, and Last Christmas was playing when we arrived.
The breakfast room is also huge. We didn't really go around much. There was coffee and pastries at the door where we entered. We figured that was enough for breakfast.
We grabbed some coffee, orange juice, and a cookie or two. Then we found some fruit, which we took with us for later.
Together we chose a giant orange and blueberry muffin. This muffin was Christmas: orangey, crumbly, soft. It was delicious!

Muffin - New York, NY

The biggest problem was that we didn't have any water (and it took us a long time to get to the shop).

Our room was on the 4th floor, room 402. It is a tiny room, but it has a cute layout, and the time we spent there was just enough. It had a bed, a tiny couch, a desk, a TV, a fridge, a microwave, a closet, and a bathroom.
You couldn't really dance in it… 😄 Its windows look out onto the street.
We quickly unpacked and took in the city.
The first destination is the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, but since Times Square is on the way, we'll start there!

Come with us to the New York hustle and bustle too!

Map - Hotel - New York, NY