The Eldorado as Seen from Central Park

Short NYC Trip

Travel

Despite having lived in Philadelphia for 45 out of my 49 years, my travel to New York City, which is a mere 100 miles away, has been rather limited. When I lived out west, I routinely made the 280-mile trek between Las Vegas, NV and Long Beach, CA so, clearly, the distance isn’t the issue.

Prior to a short overnight stay earlier this month, I had been to New York City three times before. Twice nearly 20 years ago when my ex was involved with a travel abroad program. She helped arrange the itineraries for visiting European students which included a day trip to our neighbor to the north. I don’t recall much about those trips. We did typical touristy things: Ellis Island, Empire State Building and such. I wasn’t particularly impressed at the time. I found the city to be very crowded with a lot of concrete save for Central Park. As far as cities go, Philadelphia is fairly green so I was a little surprised that New York was not equally green. Of course, my impression could have been tainted by the fact that the work with the travel abroad program was not something I was interested in and traveling around with a dozen or more teenagers was not my ideal way of visiting a new place.

My other trip was likewise very brief. About a decade ago, I had a job interview at Hofstra University. I took the train to Penn Station and had some time before my connecting train to Long Island so I popped out of the train station for an exceedingly brief sightseeing walk.

So 45 years of close proximity has yielded probably 20 hours of time in New York City.

Our recent trip was also brief but much more pleasant and interesting.

Friends of Holly’s from California were there over the Fourth of July weekend. The husband (D) of the couple was attending the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) conference. His wife (E) and daughter (e) came along as for a vacation. They were able to get tickets for a Mets game (coincidentally against the Phillies) and invited us up for it.

We looked into our options for getting there and opted to take a MegaBus for the first time. The ride up was quite nice. We reserved seats at the front of the second level so had a great view the entire time. The ride home, however, was not as nice because the seat in front of Holly was broken and stuck in the reclined position. As bad as it was for her, it was worse for the woman in that seat not only because her seat was stuck but also because it started to rain and there was a leak right above her.

View from Bus on the Way to NYC
View from Bus on the Way to NYC

We arrived around 11:30. D was busy with the conference so we didn’t see much of him. We did get to their hotel just as E and e were finishing brunch, and we joined them for our own brunch. We dropped our bags off in their room. We thought our tickets for the game also included some pre-game activities and thought we would be pretty occupied the entire time. As it turned out, the pre-game events were only for the conference attendees so we had a free afternoon which turned out to be a fortuitous turn of events.

Since we had a free afternoon, we were looking for something to do. E suggested going to the Guggenheim, a museum I had long been interested in going to. I was thrilled that I was finally getting a chance to go. The museum was all I hoped it would be. I had seen plenty of pictures of the buildings but pictures don’t convey the experience. And the collection mainly covers early- to mid-Twentieth Century works which is a period I am really interested in.

After the museum, we walked around Central Park which was plenty scenic but also plenty hot. We stopped for a cold drink before heading to the baseball game.

Citi Field was completed in 2009 so it has the amenities of many newer ballparks, most importantly, interesting food and drink options. We had David Chang’s Fuku spicy chicken sandwiches and Mosaic Session IPAs by Blue Point Brewing Company out of Patchogue on Long Island.

In 2017, it may go without saying that the Phillies lost, but we enjoyed our visit to the ballpark. I have now been to eight baseball stadiums: Veterans Stadium and Citizen’s Bank Park here in Philadelphia, Rogers Centre (née The Skydome) in Toronto, Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards in Baltimore, and Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. I have also been on a tour of Fenway Park in Boston but haven’t seen a game there.

I took more photos during the trip, and I have them all compiled in a flickr album.

The next morning, we had breakfast with E and e and then returned home.

Despite the inconvenience of the broken seat on the way home, we found MegaBus overall to be a good and inexpensive way to get the New York City. Now that we have that first trip under our belts, I can see us making future trips to the Big Apple.