Technically, our first day in New York was Wednesday night when we flew in, but we didn’t get into the hotel (Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station) from JFK until midnight or so. Dominic enjoyed some late night cookies before we hit the sack for our first real day in New York.
I’ve been to the big apple about 10 times for work, but never for play. This is Dominic’s first trip to the city.
After getting in so late, we slept in a little bit but managed to get going and over to Grand Central Station which was on the same block as our hotel, the Grand Hyatt. Grand Central has been in so many movies I we had to check it out. I liked the Grand Central Market and Dom liked the constellations in the ceiling.
After Grand Central, we walked over to Bryant Park a few blocks away to meet Matt M. for lunch. I know Matt through the conferences I speak at and thought it would be good for Dom to meet a few New Yorker friends of mine while we were here. As a native New Yorker, Matt provided a number of great suggestions for things to do.
After lunch we headed over to Times Square where we got on one of the touristy City Sights buses. For a first time look at New York, sitting on the top of one of these double decker buses is a quick way to see some of the city. We got off at the Empire State Building and bought express tickets for the 102nd floor. That was nice not having to wait in line, although the ticket line was about 20 min. Not bad.
The view from the 86th floor is great because you’re outside but it’s packed with people. The view from the very top at floor 102 is pretty cool because few people pay the extra $15 but it’s in a room with windows that are smudged and marked up so photos are not so great.
We got on the City Sights bus for a while going through Soho and Greenwich Village finally getting off in China Town. I had been there before, but it seemed so different this time. We walked around a bit looking for Little Italy and decided not to have a late lunch there in favor of a walk back to our hotel on 42nd street, about 40 blocks.
On the way, we passed by Union Square where a number of chess games were going on. We watched one where they used a timer and it was pretty intense at the end. I’d not seen that kind of play before and as a chess fan, Dominic followed right along.
In Grammercy we came upon a Lowes Theater and decided to take a break and see “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. Armed with popcorn and nachos, we watched with different perspectives. I’d seen all of the Indiana Jones movies previous and this one was pretty much a repeat with a modified story angle. Dominic might have seen one other Indiana Jones movie and thought it was fantastic. I’m glad he had fun.
Nachos and a movie were followed by a strong urge to walk the calories off. Fortunate for us, we had 20 blocks to go to our hotel. It was dark and a nice way to see part of the city. We ended up at the Grand Hyatt around 10:30 pm and decided to catch a late dinner at one of the hotel restaurants, “The Commodore Grill” which was a gross disappointment. They took my order and Dominic’s then claimed he didn’t order anything. When we “re-ordered” his grilled cheese, it took 25 minutes. They didn’t charge for the grilled cheese, which was sub-par by the Dominator’s standards, but it was lame all the same.
A spot of TV and we were soon asleep. That concluded day one of the Dominator Birthday trip to New York. For Day Two, we planned some time in Central Park, the zoo, lunch with another New Yorker friend and possibly some time in a museum and FAO Schwartz.