Big Bus Tour

Let me start off by saying I’m a corny, nerdy woman. Core. Knee. Okay? I’ve always known it, it’s who I am, I’ve made peace with it. It’s all right. One of the things on my bucket list was being real touristy and take a trip on one of those bus tours to see the sights. Recently, I was able to cross that off my list and make it happen hence my blog post today.

Patience and Fortitude

The tour takes you to various landmarks around the city. You can choose the route (Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, and Brooklyn). I chose the Downtown route.

I saw various neighborhoods I haven’t spent time in like SoHo and the Lower East Side.

With Big Bus you have the option to hop on and off, leaving the bus to stroll the neighborhood or visit a site like the 9/11 Memorial and then hopping on to continue the bus tour on another bus when it arrives at several designated pick up sites along the way.

Wall Street

The buses are all double decker style with an open top and an enclosed bottom. Naturally everyone crowded to the top for the best view. In the spring and summer this may be great but I wouldn’t want to be up there when it’s raining or cold.

My favorite neighborhood on the tour was the Lower East Side. There was an abundance of street art and murals. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take pics of them all because I was seated in a funky place.

As the tour came to a close we headed back to 42nd Street and I saw The Seated Ballerina for the first time.

We reached 42nd Street and everybody didn’t have to go home but they had to get off the bus. With that, the tour ended and a nerdy woman did something she’s always wanted to do. This is a great thing!

On the last post I did my version of pros and cons and I think I will continue that trend.

Miley, What’s Good!

See the sights without spending too much time. If you don’t get off the bus the tour is about an hour and a half to two hours.

Learn quick little facts about the city from the tour guide. Did you know the lions in front of the New York Public Library are named Patience and Fortitude? See…I didn’t either.

This tour is family friendly and appropriate for all ages.

The app has the location of all stops for all routes and that helped.

Ooh, That Was Bad!

Nobody really got off so new passengers were all forced to sit at the bottom or wait for another bus.

Views from under the canopy on top and on the bottom are extremely limited.

Lines can be long get there as early as you can.

My tour guide went on and on about rent control and gentrification. I get it but…next topic please.

Prices. A little over hundred for two people. Not cheap especially when you can’t control where you are seated and what you can see.

The Big Bus website has more information on the routes and pricing.

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Prospect Park Zoo

On a recent sunny, hot day I decided I wanted to have a little zoo with my park. Enter The Prospect Park Zoo in the Children’s Corner area of Prospect Park.

This is a small zoo with no lions, tigers, and bears (Oh my! I’m sorry I had to do it.) but it’s still enjoyable.

The zoo is split into five different sections. Discovery Trail, Sea Lion Court, Hall of Animals, Animal Lifestyles, and the Barn.

I like that the zoo was beautifully landscaped with lots of green foliage and different flowers. I think it would be a good spot for an upcoming senior to take senior pictures.

My favorite section of the zoo was the barn. I was able to feed the sheep and goats and as you see they were not shy about wanting their food. For fifty cents you get a few food pellets to feed the animals. Little kids were crazy for it.

One thing I found very cool was the peacocks strolling the grounds. I didn’t see one as closely as I would like. He was a little shy that day. I’m not sure how many walk around on a regular basis. I saw three.

Another highlight was the swans and ducks. I’m low-key obsessed with both. You can feed them as well.

More pics. I wish I had kept a tally of the names of each animal but I didn’t.

What I Liked:

  • The zoo is small and walkable.
  • It’s a good spot for small children. I would say from two to five.
  • A zoo where you can feed the animals is always fun.
  • The price was excellent. Eight bucks for adults and five for kids. The Central Park Zoo was shockingly much higher.

That’s That Ish I Don’t Like:

  • There’s really no food at this zoo and what little they do have is grossly overpriced.
  • Due to the amount of small children it was like attack of the strollers at all times.
  • Another thing I didn’t like was the smaller pathways to certain exhibits. If a family is coming through with strollers you have to stop and slide to get out the way.

For more on the zoo check out their website here. Tickets and be purchased at the zoo or online. You can drive or take the B, Q, and S to Prospect Park stop or the 2, 3, and 4 to the Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum stop.

MTA Adopt A Station Plan

I’m writing way more about the MTA than I expected but as stated in a previous post I’m a daily train rider and what the state decides to do with it affects my daily life. So let’s go. Happy Friday!

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo gave a speech in the city about his plans to improve subway service. One idea is having private businesses and organizations “adopt” a station who would then be responsible for upkeep and the overall look of that station.

Part of me is like oh okay Cuomo, look at you thinking of ideas and what not! Another part of me is like…now how is this gon’ work?

Already as a rider you can see the clear difference of the look and maintenance of some of the stations based on location. I see stations in the city getting top priority even though the governor says an outer borough station must be upgraded for each one in the city.

Even if that in the case, I suspect the stations in the more popular and gentrifying areas of Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx getting love first over a station in poorer areas.

It’s yet to be determined if businesses will be down for this. I’m just glad to hear officials publicly on the issues and working to get it resolved.

NYC Subway Rescue

Over five million people take the subway every day to work, school, or for play. I am one of those millions. I have a license and a vehicle but rarely drive. It’s just more convenient for me to take the train.

Unfortunately, subway service in New York has been in the news a lot for all the wrong reasons: derailments, track fires, violence, and overcrowding.

Recently, Govenor Cuomo announced a state of emergency for the subway system and appointed a new MTA chairman, Joseph Lhota, to oversee the system. Yesterday, Lhota revealed his plan publicly.

There’s been quite a stir about some of these fixes. Now I’m just a regular shmegular rider but I don’t mind sharing what I think should happen. So…like to hear it? Here it goes!

  1. Upgrade signals on the busiest lines. I’ve read the current signals are ancient and they’re pretty much using sticky tape and bubblegum to hold all the old parts together. The parts and system are obsolete and should have been replaced decades ago. Work on that first.
  2. More trains running. Preferably every three minutes.
  3. I wish the people holding the doors for their friends and family received an electric shock. Nothing fatal but enough to let them know to stop that. I’m pretty sure that’s not legal or humane. Some way to prevent people from doing this would be great. This is definitely a problem on many of the lines during the morning and evening rush.
  4. Unpopular opinion but the subway should completely shut down from midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends. There’s no way to properly clean or maintenance the entire system with it being open 24 hours daily.
  5. This is on Lhota’s list and also on mine. Clean the stations and trains up. The platforms and tracks are filthy, wet, and all around gross no matter the weather or time of year. Trains can be the same. There needs to be a greater emphasis on cleanliness for the MTA. It’s just shameful.
  6. I said I would stop at five so this one is my bonus. New trains on the lines with old ones. The style and seating on these trains is awkward and space consuming.

Anyway like I said, I’m just a regular train rider and I don’t have all the answers. I could go on and on but I think my suggestions could help.

Sugar Factory 

Shame on me, it’s been a long time! Anyway, I’m back and hope to blog on a consistent basis about life in New York, the things I see, and do. 

Last Sunday was a perfect day weather wise so I decided to visit the Sugar Factory restaurant in the Meatpacking District in the city. The last time I was there the location was literally about the size of a stamp, tight and cramped. If I wanted to I could have stretched in a fake yawn and dipped my hand in the chocolate fondue of the people sitting to my left. I mean I didn’t do it but I thought about it. 

I was surprised to find the restaurant moved right around the corner to a larger two story building. The tables are still way too close together but that’s how they do it here. 

See that big globe of goodness? This is the reason I went there. Pretty to look at, delicious to drink, fun to fish out the candy, and that’s where the fun ended. I contemplated if it was even safe to drink but you only live once! This was $36 and shared with my partner but the downside is the dry ice or whatever is put in there to make it bubble freezes this drink solid. Talk  about a disappointment. For a drink at that price, I want to drink to the last drop.  Save yourself the money and just search Instagram.

Food was good. Not great but good. It’s a step above Applebee’s, Friday’s type of food. I got the banana split waffles.  There were bits of crunchy chocolate candies mixed in there along with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. All this sounds heavy but it wasn’t. 

As for the vibe, lots of children and teens and very few adults who weren’t parents. Maybe this changes at night but it made me feel a little out of place. 

I will likely go back but it will probably be during the week and with friends and family from out of town. 

There are several locations open now in the NYC area. Check it out here.

New Year’s Day in the City

I planned to visit all kinds of places and take pictures during the holidays but clearly that didn’t happen.  This past weekend the sun, temperature (almost fifty), and free time made me venture out. 

First, I went to Bryant Park to check out the shops and food. Ice skating was completely out of the question because one, I can’t. Two, the line was long and three, I can’t. The next step was to find some food. I ended up with truffle fries and chimney cake which seemed like a huge deep fried churro with a filling of your choice. Pretend there’s no such thing as calories. At least that’s what I did. 

After that I went to check out the huge tree at The Rockefeller. Sadly it looked like an overgrown Charlie Brown tree. The branches were sparse and drooping.  That didn’t stop the crowd. There were hundreds of people out there as well as heavily armed NYPD officers.

Walked around a bit more and took these pics. 

Here’s to 2017 being a wonderful year!

Weekend Outing: Prospect Park 

Yesterday was the perfect day to walk around Prospect Park. The air was crisp and there was a slight chill but it was bright and sunny. I intended to visit during the peak of the leaf color change but I was too late. Most of the trees are bare, colors are fading, and there are more leaves on the ground than on branches.

I spent a few hours strolling the park and taking pics. I traveled an familiar route but didn’t feel bored.

My favorite part of yesterday’s visit was finally getting a decent pic of the beautiful swans. I spied at least four different ones this time. The geese send ducks weren’t shy either and I snapped a few pics of them as well.

The day at the park was the highlight of my weekend. I’m sure I will be there again before the year ends.

If traveling by car come early. Parking is a beast in this area. By train take the Q train to the Prospect Park stop. Check out my previous post about the park here.