Posts Tagged ‘virgin america’

NYC Travelogue Day One: Dance Club In The Sky, Thai Food, Citi Bike And A Selfie With Elmo

I’ve been home from my NYC trip for ten days. That means I’ve been home longer than I was gone and I am finally getting around to editing my photos. I have a lot of video too that I would love to make a little movie out of, but I cringe at the thought of video editing. Let’s get started, shall we? Day one is mostly a travel day, but I sort of had a pre-travel night. I hit the road for Los Angeles around 8pm the night before my flight. My good friends, Justin and Cassidy, let me park my car at their house while I was gone and Justin even woke up at 5:30 in the morning to drive me to the airport. That’s a friend, people. With a boarding time of 7am I avoided an insane line at security. I’m not one that travels regularly, but I’ve heard people can be in these lines for over an hour or more and I got through in about 12 minutes.

Unfortunately, I was “randomly selected” for an anal cavity search. Just kidding, but a TSA dude did “randomly select” me to rub a cloth on my hand that he then took to his little booth and held under a light. I’m sure that my wearing dark glasses and a hoodie probably had nothing to do with it. I must have passed because I was able to avoid all unwanted searches of any of my body parts. Thanks, TSA!

This digital boarding pass made me feel super fancy, as if I’m the only bloke on the planet with an iPhone. For some reason airport personnel are not allowed to touch your phone, so I had to wave my phone under the little laser to get scanned, which means I did half of their job for them and didn’t even get paid for it. I would have gladly accepted a free upgrade to first class. Hint hint, Virgin America. When it came to booking a flight my first thought was Jet Blue. No good reason why except that I had flown with them once before and it was fine, but then I came across Virgin and thought it would be awesome to fly in something that looked like a nightclub.

And I was right, it was awesome. There were pole dancers and midgets doing magic tricks. It was amazing. Slightly less amazing was the in-air internet.

I have now since learned that if you “buy before you fly” you can get the 24 hour pass for $16, which is way better, but I’m not totally sure I can justify that since you can’t stream Netflix with the service. On the other hand, is not being on the internet for five or six hours really something to be concerned about? I was totally happy to sit back in my leather seat, relax and read without any interruptions. When you have a four year old reading a book is utterly impossible during the hours they are awake. I guess this is a good time to mention that this was a solo trip. Yes, Coral stayed home and took care of three kids while I went gallivanting around the big city. She’s awesome. Thanks, honey! She also got me this New York themed book to read on the plane.

I guess free meals on planes are a thing of the past.

This Chicken Sandwich looked pretty tasty, but I saved my $9. Also, $4 for Chex Mix…yikes. On the plus side, I was able to drink all the ginger ale I wanted for free, which was great. I’m a sucker for ginger.

Tracking the flight is always fun. There was a bunch of stuff you could do on the touchscreen, like rent movies, listen to music and even join a chatroom with other passengers. I started a chat and nobody responded for the entire flight, so as much fun as it sounded I remained alone and friendless in the sky. Here are a couple of mandatory “look at me, I’m in a plane and you’re not!” photos.

It’s always nice to land without exploding.

I did not make any plans on how to get from JFK to my hotel, so once I got off the plane I had to wing it. I trusted that the city would take care of me and it did. There is a plethora of options that don’t require any pre-booking. Subway, taxi, Uber and my personal favorite, helicopter. Yeah, for about $1000 you can catch a helicopter into Manhattan. How baller is that? Once I walked out of the airport I saw a sign for a shuttle that was only $16. Like I said, I don’t travel much, so the idea of a shuttle hadn’t even crossed my mind. When I saw Uber was going to cost something in the $60+ range I couldn’t get on that shuttle fast enough. Thanks for the awesome deal, GoAir Link! I ended up using them to get back to the airport too and that was cool because they came right to my hotel. For the drive into the city they have set drop off spots, which worked fine for me because my only luggage was a backpack. I hopped off the shuttle, found a Citi Bike and rode to my hotel.

I found this cool artsy “boutique” hotel called The Pod. They have two places in New York. Pod 39 and Pod 51. I stayed at Pod 51 and it was great.

Hotel room selfie.

Next time I go to New York though, I’d like to stay somewhere in the West Village or Chelsea area. I kept finding myself in those neighborhoods so it would be cool to not have to bike 30+ blocks to get there. The hotel was awesome though. Super clean, free wi-fi, awesome little lobby/lounge area (with a foosball table) and even an outside patio that proved to be a great escape from the craziness of the city. Since I opted out of the $9 chicken sandwich on the plane I was sufficiently starving by the time I checked into The Pod and was so stoked to find a Thai restaurant just a few doors away called Sukhumvit 51.

Check out that Thai iced tea! It comes in a fancy ceramic mug! Fanciness and exclamation points aside I do not like drinking out of straws so, although the ceramic mug was a nice touch, it wasn’t for me. The food and Thai tea were incredibly delicious. I had the Pad See Ew with beef and loved it so much that I ate there two more times before I left town. The plan was that it would also be my last NYC meal, but I got sidetracked and missed out. And when I say “sidetracked” what I mean is that I fell asleep and woke up after they closed on my last night.

Anyway, after dinner and unpacking and all that stuff I ventured out. There was a Citi Bike station two blocks from The Pod and I had already signed up for a 7 day pass, so I chose bike riding as my main mode of transportation. Here’s the deal with Citi-Bike. A 7 day pass is $25. The bikes are available 24 hours a day. Every time you get a bike from a station it’s yours for 30 minutes. If you go over the time limit you get charged a couple bucks, but with 330 locations it’s usually pretty easy to return your bike to a station within the 30 minute time frame. There were plenty of times I would park a bike and then just unlock it again and keep cruising. The system makes you wait 2 minutes before you can take another bike, so you have to sit and wait, but it’s not that big a deal since people watching is so much fun. So, I biked around with no destination in mind and ended up in Times Square, where I saw one of the creepiest things that has ever creeped.

When I saw Elmo I knew Elliott (my 4 year old) would love this, which I’m sure is something Elmo hears all the time when he poses with tourists. He might hear it all the time, but since he didn’t appear to speak English he may not know what we’re saying.

Eventually, I made it back to The Pod where I took an extremely long shower and passed out.

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