Excitement washed over us as our plane flew over New York. Like children peering through the window of candy shop we attempted to pick out and locate everything. Landing at JFK was smooth and easy.
All we had to do next was grab a taxi and be on our way. Before heading to NYC we had considered getting a private car to pick us up at the airport. It would cost $25 more than a taxi, but we were informed that there are tons of taxis at JFK and it would not be necessary. We walked out the door of the airport and in the direction of the taxi queue and stopped in our tracks. The line for the wait for a taxi consisted of almost everyone that was on our flight as well as all of the other flights that had landed that day. Or at least it seemed so. We got in line and waited. Maybe it would go fast, as the taxis seemed to be lined up and moving quickly. Then the taxis ran out. A short while later more came, and the line moved up. Then those all left as well. After what seemed like forever it was finally our turn. We managed to get the last taxi before that group of them ran out as well. If you are in a hurry, and value your time, it may be worth the extra $25 to have a private car waiting for you upon your arrival. You can schedule them online. The taxi to Manhattan was a flat rate of $55 not including the tip.
The drive consisted of a lot of weaving and stop and go. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, a private car might be better, but with the traffic the way it is, you may be sitting in a lane for a long time. Luckily, there was much to see on our way to Manhattan.
A print out from Google maps to the location we would be staying at was enough to get our driver to there. Stepping out onto the street the first thing to greet us was a white bicycle chained to a pole.
These broken down bikes are Ghost Bikes
. They are painted white and left in locations in memory of bicycle riders who were struck and killed by reckless drivers. Sadly, they are all over the city. A haunting reminder of how quickly life can come an end.
Our Host from Airbnb met us at the bottom of the apartment complex that we would be staying in and brought us up to our room. After explaining the basics of everything and pointing out that there was a whole foods right across the street she was on her way. Before our arrival at the apartment, we had a few issues with Airbnb that caused us to pay more than we had agreed on for the listing. At the time of our arrival, the issue was still be dealt with, so we decided to update that in a separate post here.
The apartment was almost as we had seen it on Airbnb, however, it was not the exact apartment. The floorplan was a bit different and the "Verified" photos on Airbnb did not show an island in the kitchen. All of the furniture was the same, but the apartment itself was not. Our host confirmed this.
Luckily it did appear to be an upgrade more than a downgrade, as this apartment had a view! It was really neat to be able to look out onto the busy Houston street and see all of the city life moving along. The roofs across from us had chairs set out on them which, if we lived here, would be something we would be doing on a regular basis.
The location was across the street from a Whole foods market, allowing us to stock up on essentials and store them. There were also a ton of coffee shops in the area, however, we would soon learn that none of them open up early. We had to make the trek to Starbucks (gross) in order for an early morning cup of java. Our location didn’t have a coffee maker either, and we didn't go rooting around in the pantry to find out if they might have some coffee tucked away somewhere. After taking our pictures we began to unpack, which brought us to another small issue with the apartment. The host was obviously still here. His clothes at least. The drawers and closets were full of clothes. This was a first for an Airbnb entire house rental. Normally, at the other locations we have stayed at, our hosts clears a place for us to keep our clothes, as keeping your clothes in a backpack for a week isn't best for organization. While this could be easily overlooked, the price we were paying, we expected a bit more from the host.
After settling down and getting over the excitement of being in New York, we set out to explore the area and find some chow! Our stomachs pointed us in the direction of Chinatown, which was only a short walk away. We ended up at Prosperity Dumping, a small little shop that sells, you guessed it, dumplings!
The walk back to the apartment was delightful as the city was beginning to wake up for a busy night.
Back at the apartment we opened up our food and started to chow down. Not before snapping off a pic of the bounty.
Shrimp and chicken dumplings with Beef noodle soup, hot and Sour soup, and vegetable dumplings in soup.
The dumplings were edible. We suspect we made a mistake by not ordering the pan fried pork dumplings, but we tend to stay away from unknown cuts of pork so we skipped those. The Vegetable dumplings were the best of the three, the "soup" being cabbage flavored water. The Beef noodle soup was simple a fried beef "patty" of some short drowned in a water downed broth. The noodles were very soggy. The hot & sour soup was decent but nothing to write home about. All in all it was a big meal for a couple of bucks, but none of the dishes had much flavor.
We spent the rest of the night relaxing and watching the city life below. Stay tuned, as there is much more to come!
For our second day in New York City go here!