Our next adventure on our East Coast tour with our German Exchange Student and our daughter… was New York City! A first for all of us… and what an AMAZING experience!!!
Our Host, Troy, took us to Union Station in Washington, DC, to catch the Bolt Bus to NYC! It was the first time for all of us to be in a major Train station, so that was another new experience! And for just $19 per person and a non-stop 4-hour ride…it was the best mode of transportation to get to Midtown Manhattan! (In another post, I’ll share our “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” vacation stories!)
From the bus station in Manhattan, we took a taxi to our hotel on the edge of New Jersey, just over the bay from lower Manhattan. For anyone who has never been there, the Courtyard Marriott Newport was a perfect spot to stay! All hotels in Manhattan were $500-$1000/night! OUCH!!! And many of them did not accommodate 4 people, only 2. So, the Courtyard, at $215/night was considered a bargain. Better yet… it was nice, clean, great service and right next to the Subway Terminal that had two trains that go right into Manhattan!
Once we got settled in… the girls couldn’t wait to get back into the city… and see all the glitz and glamour they’ve seen and heard about in Times Square…. not to mention the SHOPPING!!! We had to walk just a few blocks from the last subway stop and….. OH MY GOSH….when we turned the corner… there it was… Times Square!!! Lit up like the 4th of July! At night, it looked like it was the middle of the day! Electronic billboards flashing everywhere! Signs several stories high on the side of buildings! Tons of people walking along sidewalks like a bunch of little ants at a picnic!!! And, oh yes…. the sound of taxis honking at each other! It was crazy! And we felt so “comfortable”! Everyone in Times Square was from somewhere else and everyone was taking pictures of everything! We were laughing the whole time!!! (More photos below)
“Formerly named Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in April of 1904 after the Times Building (the onetime home of The New York Times) at 42nd Street and Broadway. Later that year the first electrified advertisements started to appear. With the advent of the new subway system the area grew as the city was rapidly expanding northward and Time Square found itself in the center of what was becoming a hub of entertainment and upscale institutions.
Sometimes known as the “Crossroads of the World,” it has become a focal point for tourists from all over the world and is renowned for its spectacular digital advertisements that line the main corridors along Broadway and Seventh Avenue. The former New York Times headquarters, now known as One Times Square, at 42nd St. and Broadway, is the staging area for the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. It is a tradition that began in 1908 and is visited every year by hundreds of thousands of spectators.”
Before we even left Arizona for our trip, Brittany and Lara had Googled Forever 21 in Times Square! They knew EXACTLY where the 4-story megastore was located. And…as you may have read in a past blog post from Washington DC… they were determined to scour this store too to see which one was REALLY bigger! The answer is… the Times Square store! And… according to me and Terry… this one was a ZOO!
We hung out on the main floor…while the girls disappeared quickly into the racks and racks of clothes. We “people watched”. So many different styles and people walking in and out! There were two security guards at the entrance, the music was blaring and there were no pictures allowed. Well… they weren’t allowed as long as the security guards were watching. Of course, Brittany and I snapped a few!
Interactive Forever 21 Screen
One way to attract attention in Time Square… have one of the biggest signs…and one that’s interactive! Check this out! Above the Forever 21 store, there is a huge screen and a camera takes a live picture of the crowd. So everyone is standing around, waving at the sign to see where they are. It’s pretty funny! See if you can find us! (I’ll tell you where we are at the end of the post!)
Toys R Us
Of course, there’s nothing like a Toys ‘R Us with a Ferris Wheel inside…so, we just had to go inside! The girls didn’t ride…they’re a little too old for that… but we did admire the whole concept of having an amusement ride inside a store. Only in New York City would we see something like this! One area we were fond of was the Barbie section! Look at all the pink in the pictures at the end of this post!!! The girls reminisced about playing Barbie’s when they were little! So cute!
Lara’s mom in Germany collects Mickey Mouse so the Disney Store, right by Toys R Us and Forever 21, was a must-see! Mickey everywhere! And so hard to make a decision on what to get Lara’s mom! I can’t tell you what she got because she reads the Blog and then it wouldn’t be a surprise!
More pictures below.
Tomorrow’s Post: Our visit to Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty!