Last week, A messaged me in Facebook saying she would be in New York with her family. Would I like to catch up? Sure! I missed her when I went to Australia a year ago so it was a great timing for both of us.
Yesterday, I woke up at 4 am. My scheduled Uber ride arrived at exactly 5.20 am, which I only found out when I randomly checked my Uber app since I didn’t get any notification. Since traffic was light, I arrived at Boston’s South Station where I was to catch my Lucky Star bus.
I’ve been to New York 4 times since last year and have tried different modes of transport: by plane (via La Guardia and JFK), by train (regular and Acela), by bus (always by Lucky Star), and by Limoliner. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. If I were to rank the modes in terms of comfort, speed, convenience, and price, I would probably rank the Limoliner at the top. It is pricey at $99 one way but I don’t have to go through security, I don’t have to hoist my bag, I get a wide seat for my small frame, and I get watered and fed. It’s not perfect. The head set control on my seat wasn’t working and the seats looked a bit worn, but they were still better than most plane seats.
While train travel has its pros, what I didn’t like was the mad dash to board the train, regardless of whether it was Acela or the regular service. The display showed the train track about 10 minutes before the train’s departure, which resulted in mad scrambles to get to the track and to get a seat. There were no queues and no order.
At any rate, I decided to use the Lucky Star bus since they were cheap at $25 one way. Their stop in New York was along Canal St, which was close to the subway. This time, the usual 4-hour trip turned to 5 hours due to the New York traffic.
I arrived in New York at a quarter to 12 and decided to check out the Bao Shoppe in Chinatown. It was a small place with bar style seating. The servings were small but they were filling. I accidentally ordered 3 baos instead of just two but they were enough to tide me over. I loved their Korean style Philly steak bao.
I’ve done most of the touristy things in New York in my previous visits, i.e. Times Square, Staten Island Ferry, Central Park, The Cloister, Food Tour at the Chelsea Market with a Walking tour of the Meat Packing District, so I wasn’t sure what to show A and her family.
Turned out, her husband, S,had the perfect idea. Do the Hop-on-Hop-Off bus. That way, with 2 very active kids in tow, we could sit down, check out the views and still have a chance to have a conversation. We took the Big Bus Tour (the other ticket sellers kept trying to dissuade us to go to Big Bus no matter how many times we told them we already had tickets), which was great because we had a tour guide who did a commentary on some of the sights, not all but better than the other bus tours where the people just sat and gazed at the passing buildings.
The bus tour could take about 3 hours to go around the touristy areas of the city without getting on and off but since I had to check-in at the bus stop, I decided to get off at Chinatown. A and S decided to join me and we had this amazing ice cream experience at Minus Celsius Ice Cream where they prepare the ice cream in front of you, they scrape and roll them, stick them in a cup and top them with ingredients of your choice. All at $7.
It was a great way to end the trip.