Jan 19th
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The Big Apple

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Postcards from you
Join Frank, Daniella and their three kids as they explore the Big Apple – New York City!

    Last August, two weeks before the World Trade Center disaster, we spent four days in Manhattan touring the sites with our three children. Felicia, age 7, Nicolas, age 9, and Daniel, age 12 recently, when planning our 2002 holiday, I asked Daniel if he would like to go back to New York City this summer. “Of course,” he said, “why not?”
    But I know the graphic images of the Twin Towers, and the heroic efforts of the emergency crews will no doubt haunt this generation of children. We will revisit New York City and we’ll visit the disaster site if possible. And we’ll again  stay at the Red Roof Inn on 32nd street between 6th and 7th Avenues in what is known as Korea-Town.
    Our train arrived at Penn Station at 10:30 a.m. and we walked east 4 blocks to the inn. Although we arrived before check-in time, the desk clerks allowed us to store our bags until our room was ready.
    Times Square is only 10 blocks north of the hotel and this 20-minute walk is particularly enjoyable at night when the street vendors set up their tables. Columbus Circle and Central Park are about 20 blocks north. We also walked south to Chinatown, Little Italy and the Brooklyn Bridge. The United Nations complex is five avenues to the east while the Intrepid Sea-Air Space Museum is seven avenues to the west.
    Although we walked to most of our destinations, we purchased an all day subway pass that allowed us to cover more territory. We would usually walk to our destination then subway back to the Inn.  
    We decided to focus on the sights and smells of New York City during this visit so we avoided museums, organized tours, and anything to do with long line-ups. We also ate our meals during the non-peak times. New York City is great for
quick food like fresh pizza, bagels, falafels, and noodles. Much to my surprise beverages for the children were reasonably priced.
    Our one exception to crowds and lines was our decision to visit the Empire State Building.  We visited at night to enjoy the nighttime lights of the city. But when we learned that the elevator wait would be two hours we decided to come back the next morning.  After our continental breakfast at red roof Inn we stopped at the travel desk in the lobby and discovered that we could buy our admission tickets to the Empire State Building. This allowed us to ride the elevator to the top floor, the 86th, without waiting in line. Although we didn’t see the glittery nighttime lights, the city views were marvelous.
    We all had our favorite experiences. Felicia, our youngest, enjoyed the 1-hour round trip on the Staten Island Ferry that offered excellent skyline views. The Ferry, which travels past the Statue of Liberty, provides an up close view of the famous lady. The bonus here is that the trip is free. The older ferries are the best since they have open windows that provide good photo snapping opportunities.
    For general information we relied on The Complete Idiots Travel Guide to New York City and New York City with Kids published by MacMillan Travel. We also purchased three helpful location and guide maps by Map Easy that sketch out city blocks detailing hotels, restaurants, retail shops and attractions. We used the Upper Manhattan, Midtown and Lower Manhattan maps.  
    With our careful pre-trip research, we found that we felt comfortable and safe at the Red Roof Inn. Walking out onto 32nd street here gave us an immediate “New York” feeling – the narrow streets, lines of yellow taxicabs, tall buildings, and the lively hustle-bustle that only New York can produce.

Frank Scarcelli and the family -- Ontario, Canada

Catch back up with Frank and his family as they share their return trip to New York City, since the September 11th disaster.                        


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