Trip Report: New York City Thanksgiving
I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to visit NYC for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With my mom along for the excursion, we were flown out to New York for an experience we’d never forget.
Arriving at JFK the day before Thanksgiving, we needed to make our way to Manhattan. There are a few different ways to get into the city from JFK or LaGuardia Airport. Taxi, car share, Shuttle, or subway are the most common. I chose a taxi since I know it’s a flat rate traveling into Manhattan and it’s easy to get right outside baggage claim. Something new I noticed since the last time I was there, is that the Port
Authority of NY & NJ gives out receipts to show the rate and cab number you’re getting into. No doubt this cuts down on drivers pocketing money or overcharging.
When you get into the cab they will ask for your destination and enter in code 2 into their meter which is the flat rate fee + any tolls or surcharges. Another new thing I noticed is the touch tv screen in the back seat where you can view your rate, city information, and payment options at the end of the ride.
We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Time Square, not actually in Time Square but right around the corner on 8th Ave between 48th & 49th St. I typically like to stay at Hilton properties because of their Honors reward program and the amenities they come with. If you like staying at hotels check which company will give you the best rewards based on your needs. They all tend to be really competitive to make you their loyal customer so you have some choices.
I enjoyed our stay at the Hilton Garden Inn TS, they have spacious clean rooms and friendly staff. Our view overlooked 8th Ave out towards the Hudson River. When I needed a few items for my new tattoo, there were two choices nearby, a Duane Reade (Walgreens company) and a Rite Aide. The nearest subway entrance is a block up on 50th St. a blue line, which was a bonus for us, as it had an elevator for my mom.
On Thanksgiving day we woke up at 4:30 am and hopped onto the subway going uptown towards our grandstand entrance. Our tickets stated they start letting in at 6 am, we got there at 5:30 am and there was already a line around the block. Once in, we were directed towards the bleachers that line Central Park West. We had amazing seats but definitely froze! A few things I wish we would have brought; seat pads, a blanket, and hand warmers. For some reason, I expected there to be music playing during the parade but there wasn’t.
After the parade, we went to the Top of The Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center. What an amazing view of Manhattan! You can purchase your tickets online in advance for a selected time slot
and arrive a few minutes before that designated time. There are 3 observation decks once up top and special tickets you can purchase to come back at sunset or night.
For Thanksgiving dinner, we were treated to a luxury buffet at The View Restaurant, which sits 48 stories above Time Square in the Marriott Marquis. The floor rotates giving spectacular city views, making a complete 360 during the hour. There were 3 or 4 stations with different offerings of a decadent food assortment. Add great company and red wine sangria and it made for a memorable evening.
We continued the next 5 days running around Manhattan in full tourist mode. Since this was my mom’s first time in NYC I didn’t want her to miss a thing. We hopped on the Big Bus Tour, which was brilliant since she can’t walk very well. They have 4 colored routes plus the night tour. The only ones that don’t have hop-off locations are the Brooklyn and the night tour. There are many different tickets available depending on whether we chose the 2-day bus tour with the night tour.