Archive for the 'New York' category

Hotel Review – New York DoubleTree Hilton Times Square

| June 26, 2011 9:28 am

Our time in New York was considerable fun and during our entire stay, we stayed at the DoubleTree Hilton Times Square and the hotel was great.   It is located right on time square close to shopping, restaurants, the gray line buses and broadway shows.

Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square 1568 Broadway (at 47th Street), New York, NY 10036 (212) 719-1600

The hotel does have a few quirks:

First, you take two elevators to get up to your room.  The main entry way has a guard and you need to show your hotel room key to get up the first elevator which takes you up to the lobby.    From the lobby, you take a second bank of elevators that take you up to your room.   We were on the 27th floor and Marge complained of headaches while we stayed there until another guest mentioned opening the windows to let fresh air in which seemed to do the trick.    There *may* be some type of mold in the recirculated air so my advice is to OPEN THE WINDOW when you get there periodically to clean the air out.

The biggest con of course is the cost of the hotel.   The room rate was $421.52 per night.   Add State Sales tax of $37.41 and a city sales tax of $24.76 per night in additional to an occupancy tax of $4.00 and Javits Center tax of $1.50 and you’re looking at a real night rate of $489.19 PER NIGHT!

Of course, it all depends on how you look at it because if you stay at a hotel further away from Times Square and you’re taking taxis back and forth then the rate quickly becomes comparable to other potential expenses.

I’d also add that this hotel included a separate living room and bedroom and had a sofa bed so having two rooms was a benefit as well.   The room also had a fridge to keep drinks cool.   Our final bill here was close to $2500 for a five night stay.

New York, NY – Day 4

| June 19, 2011 5:44 pm

Essentially our last day in New York as we head over to Washington D.C. tomorrow morning.   Given my back problems we started the day with me going over to a massage spa to relieve the pressure on my back muscles.   The massage worked pretty well as I am mobile again and not walking crooked.

Meanwhile, the kids took a walk about around time square to take it all in before we leave.

Of course, the kids did horse around while waiting for the broadway show, The Lion King today….

After all the horse play, we headed to the Minksoff theatre to watch The Lion King.    Because of my back injury, I didn’t know if I would be going but because I felt better I went to the standby booth to try to get a ticket for the sold out show.   Fortunately I found a seat but it wasn’t in the box seats with the rest of the family so I really lucked out!

I thought the show would be for the little kiddies but it ended up being a pretty good show and one of the few shows on Broadway that is appropriate for young kids, most are adult oriented and not family friendly which is why I think it sells out fairly frequently.

We’ve had a great time in New York taking in a couple of Broadway shows, shopping, fun and relaxation but the kids thought the city was a bit too busy and you can see what they mean with the photo below.

We’ll need to come back some day to catch up on some more Broadway Shows.  I wanted to see the Book of Mormon but that was sold out for the entire time we were here as well.

We will be back!

New York, NY – Day 3

| June 18, 2011 4:50 pm

After a late start this morning, we split into two groups.  I headed over to Canal Street for the infamous cheap knock offs and to buy a suitcase for all the stuff we bought since we were out of capacity.

I managed to pick up a small suitcase for $15 after haggling with the chinese lady about the recession.   I then ended up haggling with some Indian woman about the recession and got some concessions on some NY t-shirts.   Finally, some Nigerian (maybe Ghanan) convinced me to overpay for a knock off Rolex that was a cheap as a dime store watch but hey…they all got families to feed in this recession and I didn’t feel bad about it since at least they’re working for their money.

Meanwhile….   the kids and Marge went over to the Empire State building.

We’ve taken in a whole lot of New York so far: broadway show, shopping, monuments and more!  But unfortunately, I hurt my back boarding one of the Gray Line Buses so tomorrow, I won’t be joining the kids for The Lion King.  I’ll be heading to the Spa to get a massage and fix my twisted muscles in my lower back.

While I was interned at the hotel bed tonight, the kids and Marge went shopping in the Times Square area.  They came back with buckets of candy from the M&M store and a few momentous from the trip.

New York, NY – Day 2

| June 17, 2011 8:20 pm

We started late in the morning and headed to our usual gray line red bus to go uptown and check out the museum district and central park.

Notably absent from the bus ride was Marge who was back at the hotel room feeling a bit sick.    She eventually caught up with us but we headed out to our first stop the American Museum of Natural History.

This museum was the one that was used as a basis for the movie “A Night at the Museum” and yes we did get to go see the “dum dum” statue as it’s now known at the museum.   We were disappointed to find out that they don’t actually have a Roman diorama or cowboys and indians fighting at night 🙁

After meeting up with Marge at the museum, we decided to split the team.  Marge & Lisa headed out to Central Park while Bart and I headed over to see Grant’s Tomb.  Trivia:  Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?    Trivia:  Which Tomb is the largest in North America?

After leaving Grant’s Tomb and the nearby Riverside Church, we hooked up again with Marge and Lisa at Central Park.

After having an overpriced lunch and horrible food in Central Park, we headed over to the Metropolitan Museum where we got caught in a rain storm and totally soaked.

We all got thoroughly soaked so the kids and Marge opted to head back to the hotel to change into some dry clothes while I toughed it out and saw the magnificent works of art and captured quite a few good ones for the background on my ipad.


Oddly enough, the sculpture above was like staring in a mirror….


After a quick visit to the Met’s gift shop and picking up a few mementos, I headed back to the hotel where Marge had already purchased some tickets for a broadway show.    Much to my surprise it was Priscilla but an entertaining show nonetheless.

It was a pretty long day so it’s time to go to bed!

New York, NY – Day 1

| June 16, 2011 7:54 pm

We arrived last night and the limo driver was at the wrong terminal.   He was at Terminal A while we were waiting on Terminal C.  After waiting a few minutes he finally showed up and we were off to downtown Manhattan!  The kids had a good time in the limo.

Upon arriving our hotel and checking in, we dropped our bags off and took a quick walk about at Times Square.

On our first full day in New York, we boarded the Gray Line bus and headed to the Statue of Liberty!  While we were there we got a bird’s eye view of many of New York’s landmarks, many of which we plan on visiting later!

After arriving at Battery Park, we bought our tickets and were warned that it would take up to 90 minutes to get to Liberty Island but we managed to get there in about 40 minutes despite the long lines!


We spent quite a bit of time on the island checking out the Statue of Liberty!

After leaving Liberty Island, we headed over to the World Trade Center on this historic 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

We also checked out the new Freedom Tower which will be 1776 ft high.

It wouldn’t be America if we didn’t do some shopping after visiting the memorial; remember if you stop shopping the terrorist win so we stopped at  Century 21 to load up on some bargains.     Homer picked up 10 shirts at low, low prices…

After resting a bit, we headed out to dinner at a nearby restaurant (Olive Garden) and used some gift cards from Christmas that we hadn’t happen to lose.   We then headed back to the hotel to get some rest….we’ll have a full day tomorrow.