Day 3 in New York City before starting our road trip

It was our last day for sight seeing in New York before starting our road trip and we knew we had to make the most of it. Oh man oh man was it an interesting day.

We started off by catching the Subway to Times Square and walking to the Intrepid sea air & space museum. Make no mistake, it is not close so we stopped at the The Cake Boss cafe along the way for some coffee. It was exciting and overrated at the same time. Exciting because it’s Buddy’s shop but overrated because the baked goods are ridiculously overpriced (R100 for a pastry and R50 for a cupcake). For that kind of money I expected a mouth shattering experience but alas it tasted like any old fancy-ish cupcake to me. Maybe I am not the biggest food connoisseur that I thought I was but I really didn’t think it was the best cake ever!

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Visiting the Intrepid sea air & space museum

Oh my goodness was this a life altering visit or what? Firstly I have to mention that this was one of the attractions you could visit with the New York Pass and once again you can skip the lines and hit the fast track line. Exploring the ship, the aircraft and the Hubble Exhibit was something I have always wanted to do. These things fascinate us both and we throughly enjoyed it. There was so much to see and experience that you could literally just spend hours there. My highlight was definitely the Space Shuttle Pavilion which showcases the space shuttle Enterprise, the prototype NASA orbiter that paved the way for the space shuttle program.

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The aircrafts on board the Intrepid is incredible and will leave you in complete awe. From the Avenger torpedo bomber, a stalwart from Intrepid’s World War II service, to the A-12 Blackbird, the formidable spy plane from the Cold War, the collection reflects some of the greatest achievements in military aviation. If I had more time I would literally detail our entire visit, step by step, it was that exciting!

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As we left the Intrepid it began snowing. Very light snow started falling but it was still snow. I secretly hoped it would increase. My fingers were crossed throughout the rest of the day!

Next stop, The American Museum of Natural History

Our next stop was The American Museum of Natural History which is also included in the New York Pass. But before we got there we created some history for ourselves.

We were catching the Subway to the museum and Jacques made it onto the train just before the doors closed and I missed it. I wasn’t too fussed and I indicated to him that I would catch the next one and meet him there. So, I caught the next one only to discover that the subway line we were waiting for was going in the completely wrong direction. And off course my phone has no signal at this point. So basically after three subway rides and finally getting some signal, we found each other.

So, let’s get back to the museum. Because we only had 2 hours to spend there, we had to race through. There are 4 floors and each floor has about 10 sections of things to see. It really was one of the most greatest things to experience. I enjoyed the fossils and the meteorites the most! The museum is packed with so many artifacts and apparently only 2% of what they own is on display. If you’re a big fan of the movie Night in the Museum, you will fall in love with this place.

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Central Park

Exiting the museum was another highlight of my day. It was snowing! I could uncross my fingers at this stage! We took a long walk through Central Park to get to 5th Avenue. The park was completely covered in snow. It was beyond beautiful and I simply could not contain myself.

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iLove Apple

The next stop was the famous Apple Store. The store is actually underground with a huge glass building with the Apple logo above the ground. We didnt purchase anything (much to my despair) but walked around for ages and just took it all in. Walking into the New York Apple store as an avid Apple fan is like heaven!

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We then caught the Subway back to Parc Hotel where we were staying and physically and mentally prepared for the long journey that awaited us. New York is amazing. I just cannot get enough of it. I felt that way about Thailand a few years ago but this city just provides another kind of high all together. iLove NYC!

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What does New York City have to offer?

The last two days in New York City have been so amazing. This city is just full of life, lights and beauty. I have fallen completely in love. Some of the countries I have travelled to before have been “enough” for me. I was satisfied and knew I may not return. But New York has left the opposite effect on me, I have taken a bite out of this apple and I crave so much more!

Let’s start with day one. We met our New York Pass sponsors in Manhattan and collected our cards. Our first stop was Madame Tussauds. The lifelike wax sculptors completely blew my mind. From Kim Kardashian to Albert Einstein (not that you can put them on the same level), Madame Tussauds had it all.

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Second stop on day 2 was the Discovery Avengers exhibit. Marvel’s AVENGERS S.T.A.T.I.O.N. The Exhibition (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) is a completely immersive experience that brings visitors into the world of The AVENGERS. Visitors are granted S.H.I.E.L.D. access to the official S.T.A.T.I.O.N. headquarters and taken deep into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here visitors will have open access to a vast array of intelligence files, classified studies and experiments that explores the history and scientific origins of Marvel’s The Avengers. Visitors will also be given unprecedented access to some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most highly guarded artifacts such as Captain America’s Birth Pod, the Tesseract Portal Device, Loki’s Scepter, a hermetically sealed Chitauri and more, recovered after the Battle of New York. Need I say anymore?

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Third stop was Rockefeller Center. We did so much here including the Top of the Rock observation deck.

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All of these activities were made possible with the New York Pass. The pass grants you access to over 80 New York attractions and their fast track services allows you skip the long lines and head straight to the VIP line. We were so lucky to be seeing New York through this pass. If you ever visit New York City then you will be doing yourself the biggest favour by getting a New York Pass. It will literally save you thousands of $$$!

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The Rockefeller centre is also home to NBC studios. This means all our favourite talk shows take place here. We were incredibly lucky to get tickets to Late Night with Seth Meyers and was part of the live studio audience. The guest stars at the show was Rosario Dawson, Eugenio Derbez and Sturgill Simpson. It was surreal! I still cannot believe that it happened. Make sure you watch the full episode here.

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We did so much in-between as well. In a nutshell
– shopped at H & M
– visited Nintendo World
– had dinner at Bubba Gump
– walked around Times Square

New York is buzzing with Christmas spirit and Festive Cheer. Everyone is so friendly and they really know how to take customer service to another level. The remainder of the evening was spent outside the big tree watching the music show at Saks Fifth Avenue. The beauty of this city is visible everywhere; in its architecture, the food, the people and in the air.

Stayed tuned for more details on Day 2 in the Big Apple.

The Parc Hotel – first impressions do last

We arrived at The Parc Hotel and was immediately taken aback. This newly renovated hotel is easily spotted whilst driving down College Point, it’s grey architectural design is very hard to miss.

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We checked in rather early and had to wait for our room. We did not mind at all because of how conveniently located The Parc Hotel is. There are tons of shops and restaurants located nearby. So don’t be afraid of checking in early if you have no choice. Just leave your bags with reception and head down 1 block to the Sky View Centre.

Getting back to the hotel. The Parc Hotel has an incredibly friendly and helpful team at reception. Immediately upon checking in, we were given a map of Flushing and Manhattan. We were told how to use the Subway and were given some great New York Travel books.

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Staying at The Parc Hotel

Our room is amazing! The design is so crisp, fresh and clean. We are in love with it! The bathroom is modern and features a shower and a tub which we love! The bed is extremely comfortable and feels as soft as clouds (assuming clouds are indeed soft and fluffy). We were so excited about the room and it’s’ view that we immediately had to Face Time our family in South Africa to show them how awesome this hotel is.

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The rooms have an incredible view of Flushing. It also features an iPhone docking station and a Nespresso Machine. How amazing is that?

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parc hotel flushing review new york

parc hotel flushing review

Overall, our experience has been amazing. We definitely recommend visiting The Parc Hotel during your next visit to New York. It’s extremely good value for money and the main tourist attractions are only a subway ride away. Besides, Flushing has so much to offer as well.

The time has now come to rest as our jet lag has officially caught up with us! We are looking forward to breakfast at Parc Hotel tomorrow, we hear it’s Asian Inspired… nom nom!

Till tomorrow

Welcome to New York – Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of

We arrived in New York this morning at 7:30am. To my surprise the airport security was no hassle at all, actually one of the friendliest custom officials I have encountered in a while. Once we cleared passport control, we had a small waiting time for our luggage as the luggage door was frozen shut! Go figure! Nevertheless our luggage arrived and we cleared customs.

Getting out of the airport

We are staying at the beautiful Parc Hotel in Flushing. We had two options to leave the airport 1) use Uber or 2) take a cab. We decided to go with the cab and we were not disappointed. It cost us $35 (including a tip) to get to our hotel. The area is definitely very interesting. It is not Times Square but it’s incredibly enriched with culture. We had to wait a while for our room to be ready so we went exploring.

First stop was Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. 6 donuts = $3.99 and 2 large coffees = $4.50, not bad at all! The rest of the morning was spent wandering through the aisles of Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond and Marshalls. I literally could not contain myself and I swear I was having heart palpitations.

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Everything is on sale and everything is cheap. Wait! Did I mention that everything is stunning?! I could not get over the selection of items for sale. The thing that blew my mind the most was the baby clothes. It’s no secret I want kids soon, so not knowing what sex my kid would be was incredibly disappointing. I swear I could have bought every baby goodie in Target! But, alas, I held back and spoilt Jacques a little. We picked up two graphic Star Wars t shirts for $20! Bargain! Talking about Star Wars, check out these amazing Christmas Tree Decor.

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The selection of food was fascinating and so tempting. The selection of things to munch on would make your jaw drop and stomach grumble with greediness. If you are planning on giving up sugar, please do it after coming to USA.

 

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5 hours in USA and I am already certain that I will be coming back…many many times. Each time with higher credit card limit!

Christmas in New York

Having spent the festive season and Christmas more specifically on a beach for the last 25 years, I am really looking forward to a white one this year. What better place to experience the magic of Christmas other than New York City itself. I have heard that it is a once in a lifetime experience; not to be missed. Technically we will spend Christmas Day in Los Angeles but we definitely cannot wait to celebrate the festivities in New York as well.

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Ice skating in central park, taking pictures with the big tree, watching the lights and drinking hot cocoa in Santa Land are just some of the things I am planning on doing. Finding a dressed up Santa Clause waving his jingle bell asking for donations is on the top of my list too. I grew up with those images from famous Christmas movies and cannot wait to see it in reality, no matter how cliche it might be.

Have you spent Christmas Day in Los Angeles? I can only imagine that it might be very different to New York or is it the same? Let us know what we should not miss.

12 Amazing Sights we will see on our Road Trip

There are so many things we are looking forward to seeing on our road trip. I tried to narrow down one attraction for each of our pit stops. It was extremely difficult but here it is.

New York – Times Square

This is a famous New York attraction and looks incredibly exciting. It is the soul of NYC

Pittsburgh – Duquesne Incline

There is not that much that appeals to me in Pittsburgh; however this is cool

Indianapolis – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis is home to the Indi 500 and this is definitely not to be missed

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Nashville – Country Music Hall of Fame

What?! It is the home of Country Music

New Orleans – Mississippi River

Only because The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was my absolute favourite

Dallas – Mesquite Rodeo

We are looking forward to a real cowboy experience

Amarillo – Cadillac Ranch

Who doesn’t want to see a bunch of cars sticking out the ground?

Albuquerque – Sandia Peak Tramway

To be honest, Jacques is looking forward to this the most.

Flagstaff – Antelope Canyon

On route to Las Vegas, we plan on driving through Page to see Antelope Canyon

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Las Vegas – The famous Las Vegas sign

Call it cliche, but I am seriously looking forward to taking a picture with this sign

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Los Angeles – Universal Studios, Hollywood

Because this is just too damn cool to miss

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San Francisco – Alcatraz

I have a weird obsession with prisons and this is number 1 on my list

 

Luxury hotel opens in Flushing New York

With the economic boom in downtown Flushing, The Parc Hotel is one of the area’s newest hotels to come online and is scheduled to open in March 2014. The hotel represents a new standard in design, architecture, style, and service designed to appeal to international and domestic travelers and will bring a level of affluence to the area. The Hotel boasts floor to ceiling windows in each of the 96 guest rooms and suites, with high grade bath amenities from C.O. Bigelow, bathrobes in every room, complimentary wireless high speed internet, valet parking, concierge service, and even a Dog Spa Menu- pampering for our four-legged friends while guests enjoy the sights of the city.

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The 4 Star property offers that exclusive feel to all of its guests. And even better is the private rooftop lounge, 13 stories above street level. This modern, urban oasis rooftop offers up amazing views of Citi Field lit up by a panoramic Manhattan skyline.

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The ideal location of The Parc Hotel makes it the hottest venue in the area. Just 2 blocks up from the Main Street/Roosevelt Ave intersection, the 3rd busiest intersection in NY City and just a short walk to the Skyview Center mall. Guests will have access to the finest, authentic Asian food, some of the best shopping in Queens, easy access to the Subway and Long Island Railroad, and even easier access to some of Queens’ largest cultural arenas such as Citi Field, USTA Tennis Center, and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Take advantage of the preview savings for the Grand Opening month. The hotel is offering special introductory rates starting at $109 for stayed in March that are booked from now through February 28. The Parc Hotel is accepting reservations for stays beginning March 10, 2014. Please visit their site at www.theparchotel.com for more information.

Do you prefer Upper East Side or Brooklyn?

Anything I know about New York I probably learnt from watching Gossip Girl and Sex and the City. When deciding on visiting New York I instantly thought we would stay somewhere in Manhattan close to Times Square and Central Park. I mean who wouldn’t want to live the Serena Van Der Woodsen life in Upper East Side.

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After doing some research I realized that living the Dan Humphrey lonely boy life in Brooklyn wouldn’t be that bad either. A few miles from Manhattan, just over the bridge, is an amazing part of New York City. There is so much culture and the neighborhoods look great.

Have you visited New York? Are you more of an Upper East Side person or do you prefer Brooklyn? Let us know what your favourite places, restaurants and attractions are and we will be sure to visit them.

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