Birthday Trip, New York City, May 2015 (Overview)

Hi guys!!!!! This is my final entry on our New York City trip already!!!!!

As always, I will publish a final overview on my trip in case friends want to use whatever little information I can share for their own holiday! Sorry if this isn't interesting for you! Maybe you should go and read a book for entertainment.


Our Travel Dates

6 May 2015 to 14 May 2015

Flight Itinerary & Journey Duration

Singapore to New York
Singapore to Dubai: 7 hours 30 minutes
Transit in Dubai: 2 hours
Dubai to New York: 13 hours 35 minutes

New York to Singapore
Singapore to Dubai: 12 hours 50 minutes
Transit in Dubai: 8 hours
Dubai to New York: 7 hours 35 minutes

Time Difference

Exactly 12 hours behind Singapore local time

Weather During Our Stay

Super chilly for first 4 days, sunny with cold wind the next 3 days, then back to super chilly for last 2 days. I was expecting sunny weather throughout our trip since it was nearing summer but the chilly weather for the first few days and last 2 days was a pleasant surprise, especially for my polar bear Saliheen!

Why We Chose to Travel to New York City (And why we DIY-ed!)

We wanted to jejak United States together at least once before we start a family! Our initial plan was to go to Canada then Washington, Boston and New York City with a tour agency but since their NYC itinerary was limited, we decided to go to NYC on our own. NO FREAKING REGRETS. Probably because NYC is an English-speaking city and the transportation system is easy to understand and use. This is unlike our our Eastern Europe holiday last year which we went on via a travel agency - tak kuasa nyah nak berbual ayam itik.

Where did We Stay at in New York City

We considered ROW NYC, Yotel Hotel and Hotel Edison but Night Hotel Times Square was the one that caught our eyes and hearts. Mainly because it was the cheapest la HAHAHA. I'd like to stress that we stayed at Night Hotel Times Square eh, which is at 157 West 47th Street! Not Night Hotel, which is a DIFFERENT hotel located one street down.

Saliheen and I LOVE the hotel that we stayed at in NYC. The room is super small but cosy and the location was seriously the absolute best part!!! It is located right next to Times Square so it is less than 1 minute walking distance to the heart of everything, can you believe it!!!!! Explains why we were in Times Square almost every night hahaha. There was also a 24-hour deli beside our hotel, which we masuk everyday for breakfast and some suppers. 

Someone (who has been to NYC) warned me against taking a hotel near/in Times Square because of the traffic and human noise but honestly, Saliheen and I weren't bothered by it at all and slept like logs every night. You get used to the constant honking noises after 24 hours! Cheh wah, dah macam true New Yorker siol lolol.

We did not opt to stay in an AirBNB apartment because the ones we were interested in cost only slightly lesser than the cheapest hotel in the heart of Times Square + all of them were located away from the Times Square area so staying in an AirBNB in NYC just didn't interest us. (This is based on our own preference and requirements, of course!)

Which Attractions did We Visit in New York City

You can read my blog entries on the different activities that we did in NYC by clicking the links below:

Day 1 - Times Square, The Lion King on Broadway
Day 2 - Chelsea Market, The High Line, Soho, Flatiron Building & Henley Vaporium
Day 3Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM, Fifth Avenue, Apple Store, FAO Schwarz, Niketown, Momofuku Milk Bar
Day 4 - New York Water Taxi Ride, Jane's Carousel, Coney Island, Madame Tussauds NYC
Day 5 - Empire State Building, Green Fleamarket, Shake Shack, Central Park, American Museum of Natural History, Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Centre), Magnolia Bakery
Day 6 - Grand Central Terminal, Junior's Cheesecake, Liberty Helicopters, United Nations Headquarters
Day 7 - Museum of Modern Art, Little Italy, Chinatown and Soho Walking Tour
Day 8 - Liberty Island (Statue of Liberty), Ground Zero, 9/11 Tribute Center, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge
Day 9 - The Halal Guys foodcart, Dubai International Airport Hotel

Availability of Halal Food

AVAILABLE IN ABUNDANCE! On top of the famous The Halal Guys foodcart, there were tons of other Halal food-carts scattered all over the city, all trying to cash in on The Halal Guys fame haha. Most of them have sub-par standard though, but kalau dah nak makanan halal and you are not anywhere near The Halal Guys food-cart then jadi la kan. 

Unless of course, you are the sort who mati mati nak official certification from MUIS and tak nak percaya affirmation/the Halal signs hung up by fellow Muslims in other countries, then terpaksa la you makan sayur sahaje. Kalau sayur in other countries pun you nak insist on Halal certification by MUIS maka terpaksa la you kebulur atau duduk di rumah sahaje.....

Transportation Around New York City

We travelled all over the city via their subway! The system looks confusing and intimidating at first but after you figure it out, trust me - it is easy. Especially if you have the Metrocard on hand! We got the 7-day Metrocard with unlimited rides, just swipe and go. We used this guide as a starting point to understand NYC's subway system - please learn about the subway's Uptown/Downtown difference (If you get on the wrong train, NO such thing as dropping off and going to the train opposite to go back to where you came from... not like the train system in Singapore!) as well as the difference in express trains (white dots) or local trains (black dots). 

We also travelled via East River Ferry, New York Water Taxi and Statue Liberty Cruises to visit Brooklyn and Liberty Island. It was nice to see NYC via the rivers but not  necessary if you don't want to pay for it (There's always the free Staten Island Ferry!) Can walk down the Brooklyn Bridge if you want to see the Manhattan skyline instead.

As for our journeys to and fro the JFK airport and our hotel in Times Square, we opted to take cab and pay a flat rate of USD60 + USD10 tip per trip instead of taking the public bus or train because we didn't want too much hassle, especially after 23 hours of travelling! The cab rides took about 45 minutes, depending on traffic. 

There is also the NYC Airporter which travels to the city but you'll have to drop off at one of their designated spots and then walk to your hotel (Port Authority is the closest if you're staying in Times Square). It's cheaper at USD16.00 per pax for a 1-way trip though so if you don't mind a little bit of walking then this is a cheaper alternative. I don't know the cost for trains into the city since we didn't consider it but I'm assuming it'll be even cheaper than that.

Whether the New York Pass was Worth our Purchase

I am now 50/50 on this! Whether it will be worthwhile for you depends on how flexible you want your itinerary to be. We worked our itinerary around the New York Pass to make it worthwhile (It is restrictive in that sense) but if you want a very flexible itinerary without worrying on maximum utilization of your pass then you are better off without it. 

Here is a breakdown of our savings from using the New York Pass:

Cost of New York Pass with Shipping to Asia
S$255.00 PER PAX

Cost of Activities Redeemed under New York Pass
S$426.00 PER PAX

New York Water Taxi All-Day Access Pass
S$44.00

Madame Tussauds Entry Fee
S$42.00

Empire State Building Observation Deck Fee
S$45.00

American Museum of Natural History Entry Fee
S$30.00

Top of the Rock Observation Deck Fee
S$42.00

Grand Central Terminal Self-Guided Tour
S$13.00

Discount for Liberty Helicopters
S$45.00

Museum of Modern Art Entry Fee
S$35.00

Little Italy, Chinatown and Soho Walking Tour
S$49.00

Statue Cruise to Liberty Island (Statue of Liberty)
S$25.00

9/11 Tribute Center
S$21.00

Wall Street Walking Tour
S$35.00




COST SAVINGS:
S$171.00 PER PAX

We could have gotten more savings if we didn't screw up our Madison Square Garden tour and Yankee Stadium tour, of course! Some other pros of the New York Pass: You don't have to worry about entry fees throughout the trip and can fix your budget for activities + You can enter attractions via express lanes at some places.

Would We Return to New York City for Vacation

Yes, most definitely!!!!! I'm already very comfortable with the city which has so much culture and character to offer and would love a 2nd opportunity to have a more relaxed itinerary since we've done most of the major tourist attractions - perhaps more of Museum of Modern (MOMA), Central Park and Smorgasburg at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

NYC might seem like a big and scary and intimidating city but honestly, we did not feel threatened at any point of time. We read up about known scams before our trip (go Google the broken glass scam and CD scam in NYC), we kept close and remained alert everywhere we went, we steered clear of dark alleys, you know... pretty much common sense.

Saliheen jangan cakap la. He is lagi deep in love with NYC than me k. To the point that he almost accepted an opportunity from his company to work in their NYC office!!!!! It didn't make sense financially for us in the end (I won't be able to work because of some dependent pass requirements) so we both agreed that it was best for him to decline the offer. Bukan rezeki. Kalau tak, next month kita dah uproot and go live in NYC terus hehe.

The Total Expenditure

I usually share my travel expenditure details so I don't have to dig for scraps of information here and there every time someone asks me how much he/she will need for a similar trip so here is the cost breakdown for our NYC trip:

EXPENDITURE FOR 9D8N IN NEW YORK CITY (MAY 2015)

NO.
DESCRIPTION
COST (FOR 2 PAX)

1.
Round-trip Flight on Emirates
SGD1440 x 2 pax = SGD2880

2.
Hotel stay @ Night Hotel Times Square - Queen Room 
(With service charge, via Agoda with discount)

SGD1340 x 2 pax = SGD2680
3.
New York Pass

SGD255 x 2 pax = SGD510

4.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
(SGD20 per meal x 3 meals per day x 9 days)

SGD540 x 2 pax = SGD1080

5.
Cab fare from airport to hotel
(Flat rate USD60 + USD10 tip) 

SGD92
6.
Cab fare from hotel to airport
(Flat rate USD60 + USD10 tip)

SGD92

7.
Metrocard

SGD41 x 2 pax = SGD82
8.

Helicopter
(SGD347 – SGD45 New York Pass Discount)

SGD302 x 2 pax = SGD604
9.

The Lion King on Broadway

SGD205 x 2 pax = SGD410
10.

United Nations Headquarters Tour
SGD30 x 2 pax = SGD60
11.
Souveniers for Family & Friends
SGD420


Please note that this breakdown does not include shopping (since shopping is subjective and dependent on individuals). We also busted our budget for food hahaha because we are budak gemuk forevz and there were unbudgetted purchases like pizza slices on our way back to hotel, extra banana pudding tubs, food cart snacks, dessert trips, late night convenience store munchies, etc. The total costs can also be lesser if you're not into Broadway shows or helicopter rides (which are substantial in costs) or don't mind taking trains or buses to and fro the airport and the city.

Ok friends, that's all I have to blog pasal my NYC holiday! Till the next one! Adios amigos aku berambos!

2 comments

  1. woohoo love allll your nyc entries la! i see that countdown at your sidebar and is it krazy to say that I cant wait for you to share psl tokyo cos it has been in my to-go list since idk, like forever!!

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    1. Thank you babe!!!!! I am very excited too :D :D :D Hope you get the chance to visit Tokyo soon jugak, mesti best gila dapat pergi to a place that you've been wanting to go since foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

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