New York City

I recently went on a business trip to New York City with two co-workers for a youth event called “Serve Your Youth 2014” in support of the Israel Tennis Centers Foundation.  This was the first year I’ve attended and it was really great to see so many people come together in an evening where you gather and network with other like-minded youth as well as supporting a great cause. It was held at the Bowery Hotel, a beautiful venue in the Lower East Side. Speeches were made alongside a silent auction. I’m really glad I went.

I flew with Porter Airlines, a Toronto based airline that flies to major cities along the Canada/USA boarder and the east coast. It was my first time and a great experience: easy online check-in and security check, nice lounge with free beverages and snacks, wi-fi throughout, boarding was easy and fast. The on-board crew and service provided was excellent. One and a half hour flight, you land at Newark Airport. Same experience on the way back.

From Newark Airport, you can take the NJ Transit train into Penn Station – New York. It’s a 30 minute train ride that will cost $12.50 USD compared to a cab ride that will put you back by at least $60. However, the only setback about taking the train is that you have to get to them from your terminal and that takes time so the entire journey took about an hour.

Once in New York City, the walk to my hotel was about 10-15 minutes. I stayed at the New York Marriott Marquis with a room overlooking Times Square. It was crazy because of the Super Bowl weekend where festivities were set-up. We even got woken at 6:30am by cheerleaders because that’s how close we were! The elevator system was interesting since you had to type your desired floor and go to the assigned elevator rather than pressing a floor button. The elevators then go to only the floors assigned. I really wanted to stay the weekend but with rates at $465 USD (+taxes) a night, it wasn’t financially sound. It came out to ~$630 CAD for one night.

Cabs were pretty cheap to take since the base fare started at $2.50 USD ($2.75 CAD) compared to the rates in Toronto where it’s $4.00 once you get in the door. Also, the cabbies were really nice – I met a Mexican who had moved to NYC 20 years ago and considers himself more of a New Yorker than Mexican, another where I’m sure he was high or something because the things he said did not make sense – we just went with it. If taking cabs are too much, there was always the option to walk. Manhattan is set-up as a grid with the street names are mostly numbered so you can’t get lost. We walked to Central Park and FAO Schwarz after a meeting. It was too cold to walk around the park (an incentive to come back during warmer weather) so we went to the toy store, home of the Big Piano!

Food, I’m very sad I didn’t get any foods that are famous to New York except pizza and it was delicious. Next time I come back, I’m going for it: hotdogs, cheesecake, cocktails, Pastrami sandwiches, and goodies from Magnolia Bakery.

I can’t wait to go back, probably in the summer time because there are so many more places that I want to explore!

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