Arrived in New York City

So far the trip is going great.  Flight from Tokyo to New York was early and I had an entire row to myself to sleep, caught the subway to my hotel without getting lost, the hotel is better than expected, and the jet lag isn’t bad.

Below are some photos with commentary.

I took the bus from Yokohama to Tokyo on what is called the YCAT. It really is the most comfortable, relaxing, reasonably priced and quickest way to get to the airport from Yokohama.

Flight is on time!

In the terminal waiting for my flight. I took American Airlines, and although not my favorites airlines by far, got a great deal on frequent flier miles. Actually, it worked out well, the plane was about 25% full, so I had an entire row to lay out on and actually get some sleep.

One I arrived, I zipped through customs since I had no checked baggage and was on the Airtrain from JFK to the subway in about 20 minutes after exiting the plane. Pretty impressed with the ease of getting out of JFK. If you ever arrive at JFK and are looking for quick and cheap transportation, you really can't beat the subway/rail system.

The Verve Hotel. It is a small boutique located on Long Island City. Although not in Manhatten, it is a short 5 or 10 minute subway ride away. There are three subway stations close by and all will take you into the city. I'm saving a small fortune by staying in Queens instead of Manhatten. I got my room for about $141/night, which includes all the taxes. Staying in Manhatten would have easily cost me double or triple this amount. Although the hotel is not high end, you get a heck of a lot for your money -- free breakfast with a decent spread, wi-fi, Wall Street Journal, fitness center, laundry room, 24-hour coffee/cocoa machine, etc. They also handed me a bottle of Poland Spring water when I checked in. The hotel staff seems pretty attentive and friendly too. The area where the hotel is located is not in the most attractive part of town, but walking around I feel pretty safe. I would highly recommend this place if you plan to visit New York and are on a budget.

My room.

You see police cars all over the place. No wonder New York City is now considered one of the safest big cities.

Bought a 7-Day Metro Card for $29 (cash only). It is great, I was able to jump on and off the subway at will. Highly recommended.

First stop was Times Square. Walked around a bit and visited the International Center of Photography ($12 entrance fee). I enjoy photography and thought this would be a great place to see some art. The museum was a little disappointing, only two floors of photographs and three exhibits.

Times Square

After finishing the photography museum, I headed down to Wall Street. I signed up for a tour with "The Wall Street Experience" (cost $35 for a hour and 15 minute tour). Great tour, amazing amount of history in a few blocks. A guy named "Tom" was our tour guide and he really knew his stuff.


New York Stock Exchange

Wall Street

Wall Street Charging Bull

Federal Hall National Memorial. From what I understand, this area was blocked off for weeks due to the "Occupy Wall Street " protests. Today was the first day of took down the barricades. In fact a newspaper reporter from the New York Post interviewed my tour guide on the effect of taking down the barricades, which I guess was hurting a lot of local small businesses in the area.

Inside Federal Hall

From the top of the stairs at Federal Hall.

India House, where they used to trade cotton.

Stone Street, one of the first paved roads in New York .

Former Goldman (Government) Sachs Building

Trinity Church

Alexander Hamilton's (a Founder Father and First Treasury Secretary) gravesite.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York building. Said to have 10% of the world's official gold reserve in the basement.

Lunch - pasta, salmon, veggies, fried rice, and tofu - not bad (about $7).

Random Art

Protester in the park "Occupying Wall Street." Not really sure I agree with or quite understand their logic, but they were still out in full force. I think we can all agree that there is too much greed, inequality and selfishness in the world, but I'm certain these folks don't have the solution. Regardless, it made for some interesting pictures.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street neighborhood rules.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

Random Photo

Random Photo

Construction on the One World Trade Center.

St Paul's Chapel

Inside St Paul's Chapel.

Random photo.

Random photo.

First Uniqlo clothing retail (Japanese version of GAP) store in the U.S. Company started in Japan and are beginning to expand internationally.

Back in Queens.

Hit a deli for dinner. New York has the best delis.

Got a veggie wrap, it was delicious (about $6).

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