Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My first visit to New York, USA

Last year in December, I was surprised yet excited when Baby told me that he was planning to go to New York in April. He went about doing his research and kept a lookout for cheap airfare. To be honest, Baby did most of the planning for this trip,  and all I did was to tell him where I wanted to go to, and what I wanted to do in New York. In short, he did all the work himself, which I love him for!

We purchased our air tickets from Delta Airlines which had a transit stop at Narita Airport in Japan. In all, we paid SGD1288 per pax for our return tickets to new York which was pretty reasonable.

After 7 hours of flight, we touched down at Narita Airport, Tokyo, around local time 2-ish in the afternoon. Due to our connecting flight arriving earlier than expected, our lay time became shorter! This was a good news for us, as we waited for less than 1.5hrs to board our flight to New York.

My flight journey to JFK Airport was about 13plus hours, and I literally felt that I was spending the whole day flying in the sky.

During the US bound flight, we were well taken care  of by the flight attendants, and the selection on food and drinks are wider as compared to our earlier flight to Japan. They even served Starbucks coffee and tea!

On my entire return flight, apart from hibernating, I watched a total of 7 in-flight movies which I missed out on, while they were being screened in theatres previously. Among the 7 movies I watched, I enjoyed mostly were Baymax, Maleficient and the Book of Life.

There is a USB port at every passenger's seat, and this made it easier for us to charge our phones before leaving the aircraft. It was lovely indeed! After what seemed like an eternity, my seat-screen said that I was less than 2 hours flight time away from New York! I was so happy to see that!

We landed at JFK Airport at about 5pm local time, and do note New York is 24 hours (1 day) behind us, which means we earned a day there! After clearing the US customs, Baby purchased a monthly Data SIM Card at AT&T Mobile at USD80. Although it was pretty hefty in price we got some shopping benefits through our local (USA) mobile phone numbers. (I will share more of this by the end of this post!). I tagged Baby's wi-fi by hotspotting LOL!

Baby arranged the return transfer online from the airport which was pleasant and hassle-free. The shuttle bus took an hour to reach Manhattan where our hotel was located.

Avalon Hotel New York is a classic boutique hotel which is centrally located in the heart of Midtown of Manhattan. Just 2 blocks away from the Empire State Building and walking distance to Times Square, Broadway and even Fifth Avenue. 

 In New York, hotels located in Manhattan are expensive, and we paid a total of USD2100 for our stay. I love their Thymes Bath Amenities, and I brought a few sets home!

For me, I prefer to dress light and comfortably when boarding a plane, especially for long-haul flight as nothing beats comfort when you have to spend long hours at your seat.The temperature is cold (around 7-9C) in New York, and my gear is definitely a big no-no for the weather. I changed into a proper gear upon checking in at our hotel before heading out shortly for Times Square!

We admired the nightlife in Manhattan, as we walked down the streets.

Macy's Department Store is located nearby the hotel that we were staying, and we went in to do some shopping as they were having Easter and Up to 70% Clearance sales.

I bought a Coach Spring Heart Wristlet at only USD49 against USD75.

Charm Bracelet from Jones New York at USD15 against USD25.

Charter Club Bangles at USD12 against USD25.

Only in Macy's Herald Square, all tourists were entitled to an additional 10% off the entire purchase, upon showing any foreign international passport, which allowed me to access greater savings!

My dream is to visit and be at Times Square was accomplished, yet I could not  believe that it was real when I was there! Times Square is REALLY very beautiful at night.

Times Square is known as 'The Crossroads of the World' and is one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections. It is also a hub of the Broadway Theatre district, and one of the world's most visited tourist attractions.

Say hi to the world! #LOVEISON


Both Baby and I are big fans of Tsum Tsum, so we went to the Disney Store at Times Square which was opened daily till about 1am! New York is a city that never sleeps...

I got the Limited Easter Edition Piglet Tsum Tsum and Marie Cat Tsum Tsum, while Baby got a Dumbo Tsum Tsum and huggable Stitch Tsum Tsum for me to hug when i'm in the car. Lastly, both of us picked up the Vinylmation Figure of Minnie X Liberty!

Entering the M&M World...

I took a random selfie at the store! *Vainpot me*

That pretty much summed up my first night in New York. I end my post with my supper at a random Deli place which served pizza and pasta.

[Add on] The benefits for getting a local Data SIM card is that we got a physical reward card for Walgreens and Duane Reade by signing up with the local mobile numbers.

Walgreens and Duane Reade are chains of convenience stores and pharmacies which are open 24 hours. With the card, we got to purchase items at discounted prices and special buys.

I picked up some skincare products from Burt's Bees, lip care items, make-up items and even Easter Theme chocolates for friends and colleagues.

There is no tourist transportation pass, and all subway commuters have to purchase a MetroCard and topped up cash in order to use it to travel around. In New York, they charge per ride for their subway and not by per station. It costs USD2.75 + tax per ride, so it is pretty pricey if you are only taking 1 or 2 stops. 

It is good for tourists to walk to their destinations and it helps to save money and you can see many things along the way before you reach the place you want to go. Like what we did, we walked almost everyday to our destinations and we only took the subway when the locations are beyond walking distance (4 stops and above)

Thanks for reading and do stay tune for my next post on my New York trip!

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