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Brief Trip to New York City

Thursday April 30,through Saturday May 2, 2015

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Intro

We take a lot of major trips - travel great distances and spend a week or so. But we found that we like brief trips also - when we find a cheap airfare and hotel, go for a couple days without having to make big plans for work and activities.

New York City is one of those brief trips, similar to the one a couple months later to Boston.

Getting There - April 30

Travel - usual American Airlines flights from Austin to Dallas and on to New York. But to get the ultra-cheap flights ($286.20 round trip) that are key to the quick trips, our departure from Austin was on the 5:15 am flight. And the New York City airport was Newark.

Normally we avoid Newark like the plague, or we have in the past. Newark (New Jersey) taxis can go to New York, but (since they are not licensed taxis in New York) have to come back empty, and vice versa, so the taxi fare has double mileage and tolls. But now there is a new option. Buy a train ticket to New York in the Newark terminal. Use the inter-terminal shuttle to take you to the train station, and get on the next train that stops, heading for New York. It will drop you at Penn Station, under Madison Square Garden, for $8 to 12. For the return trip, buy a ticket from a vending machine in Penn Station, and look for the little airplane logo on the departure board for the trains that stop at Newark airport.

Hotel - We like Hampton Inn as a sufficient 3 star hotel with good breakfast and WiFi. To our delight we found a Hampton Inn on 59 W 35th Street near the Empire State Building, not far from Times Square, on Booking.com for $190 per night with breakfast and all the taxes included. Don't believe the Hampton web site that guarantees the best price - we saved $70 by not booking with them, only giving up our HiltonHonors points.

We spent Thursday afternoon wandering New York, acting like tourists. St. Patrick's Cathedral is a must stop, but there is so much cleaning and restoration in progress that this time it was neither fun nor pretty.

Nearby is St. Thomas Episcopal church. I have a good friend who is an Episcopal priest, Fr. Austin, so I got a kick out of their sign (but it is not the same person):

We have recently traveled to the far east, including Singapore where it is illegal to chew gum in public - the streets are spotlessly clean. We couldn't help notice the contrast.   (But we still love New York.)

We enjoy "The Five" on Fox news channel weekdays at 5 pm with five co-hosts. Their studio is at street level (you can see out the windows during the show), so we thought we would peek in. We checked with one of the guards to confirm we had the right studio, and she suggested we hang out in the breezeway between buildings, since the stars often take an outdoor shortcut. The first was Juan Williams, the liberal on the panel, and frequent author and editorial writer in the print media.

Then came Kimberly Guilfoyle a former California prosecutor - "Yes, I have put a lot of really bad people on death row." She brings amazing legal expertise to the panel. She has a reputation of eating everything in sight (hard to believe), personally knowing people like the British Royal Family, and having experience as a Victoria's Secret model. She also always sits in the position at the table where her legs show prominently - what a coincidence.

Eric Bolling is pretty conservative and extremely astute economically. His fame and fortune came as a petroleum trader on the commodities exchange. His TV gimmick for "The Five" is to hold up 5 fingers in one hand and point to it with the other.

The panel varies, but often includes former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino (political expert) and former magazine editor, libertarian Greg Gutfield (who has thought provoking and discussion stimulating editorials on many of the day's topics). They did not take the shortcut through the breezeway.

On our way to dinner we just happened to wander through Jeweler's Row, and Jenny got a new pair of earrings from Atesh Inc, 55 W 47th St Unit 105. They were a pleasure to deal with, and far less expensive than I expected.

We had a very nice (not cheap) dinner at Arno Ristorantie at 141 West 38th Street .

Friday May 1

Neither of us had been to the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) so that became the primary activity for Friday. We enjoyed it so much that we spent most of the day there.

MOMA is the home of the famous Tomato Soup can painting

But not many people realize the collection includes all the flavors of Campbell's soups at the time, painted in the order of the popularity of the soup (Tomato is first). This picture only captures a few at the end of the list - the pictures went all the way around the gallery.

The museum not only has paintings but all sorts of design... for example there was a room full of radios over the decades. We were less impressed with the displays of unfinished projects.

One of my favorite designs of the future is a dress that was printed on a digital 3D printer. Yes, digital printing makes solid pieces, but you can make lots of pieces with hinges to give flexibility. And it is printed in the folded position so that it can be done on a modest size printer. This vendor's web site is well worth visiting to see someone wearing (and moving in) the dress.

By the time we visited the sculpture garden we realized we had very few pictures.

This modest rose sculpture was several stores tall.

The weather was nice and the garden was pretty. The sculpture was... interesting, but don't buy a copy for me.

We were subtly insulted by MoMA. The watch Jenny and I have both been wearing for years is on sale in the MoMA gift shop as an antique. We buy them for half the price from Amazon.

MOMA kept us interested for the entire day. Then we had nice dinner at the Hourglass Tavern, followed by the Broadway show "The Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder." We recommend both the play and the restaurant.

Saturday May 2

A leisurely morning being tourists, and a return to Austin in the afternoon.



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