Boston farewelled us with blue skies on the day that we were leaving it, which makes us even more sad to go! But without wasting a minute we got ready asap and went for one last stroll in the nearby streets. The shops weren’t even open yet but it didn’t matter too much because we wanted to get a good look of the area in daylight, on a good day. (Ok… managed to squeeze in a last bit of retail therapy in this tax-free state)
View from our room at Hotel140 in Back Bay – Apparently the above building is in the series, “Boston Legal”
Boston Public Library
Newbury Street, Back Bay
Newbury street looked beautiful in the dark when the street lights are on and the extra touch of fairy lights, it is even more beautiful in daylight as you can see the buildings clearly.
Back Bay Station
We pre-booked our train tickets well before we left for our America trip which got us pretty cheap tickets for peak season. We chose to take the train over flying because 1) it worked out cheaper 2) flying is faster but wanted to avoid air & airport delays 3) we stayed super close to the station so why not!
Back Bay station was no more than a 3min walk up the road from Hotel 140. There weren’t many obvious signs leading the way there so it did took us a little while to spot the side entrance to the station.
One thing I was anxious about was; being able to get on the train and manage to get 2 seats side by side. I read about their being “Red Caps” at stations who if you give them a little tip they can bring your bags down to the train and secure seats for you. Unfortunately we did not spot any of these guys dressed in red with a red cap that we could seek help from… so we had to rely on our luck.
It was holiday season so there were plenty of students making their trip back home, so you can imagine the platform got packed pretty quickly. Luckily the situation was nothing close to being like Japan where everyone runs for their life into a carriage phew! We did end up getting seats in the same carriage but not side by side, partially my fault because I wanted to walk further into the carriage and missed out on free rows! Oh well, it meant some quiet time (a few rows) apart for the 4hr train ride. My neighbour kept my nostrils and side vision amused by stuffing her face with slices of pizza that smells strongly of cheeeese.
However looking past my neighbour, I loved seeing the landscapes change every few minutes from small towns, fields, beaches. I’m glad we took the train just for the scenic ride.
The train we took wasn’t the express ‘Axela’ train, but was fairly new and overall a comfy ride. Most people just sleep or do their own things so it was definitely a quiet trip.
Philadelphia Station, New York
Nearing our arrival, I spotted familiar landmarks which built up my excitement even more. I won’t lie, the whole trip I looked forward to New York most. We did save the best till last 😉 ! After spending 2 days in less-busier Boston, we found ourselves amongst massive crowds of travellers, simply put – we felt like we’ve never seen so many people in a train station before (considering the stations are bigger than those in Japan!). So now the challenge is trying to ‘swim’ through them and find our way to the platform that took us to our hotel. We did get lost a few times.
Spotted a Red Cap!
We queued up to buy a Metro card which is the train ticket there. We were tossing up between getting a 7 day pass but because we were there for 9 days we decided to upgrade to this later on in the trip.
Can’t explain how relieved we were when we got above ground, fresh air! It seriously was chaotic down there – a very memorable first minutes in New York. We stayed at NYLO hotel which is located somewhere in between 72nd street and 77th street stations in the Upper West Side.
It was a lot colder in New York, so it was nice stepping into a toasty warm lobby which also felt nice and homely. Review on our stay at Nylo hotel to come soon !
Shake Shack, Columbus Ave
We headed out to discover whats nearby our hotel and to our surprise… a SHAKE SHACK down the road!
I went with the classic choice; the ShackBurger and Alfred got the SmokeShack with crinkle cut fries on the side. I’ll admit it was nice but our minds weren’t blown – maybe the hype had set our expectations too high. We had it again in Brooklyn though and it was definitely better than this!
Getting accustomed to NYC crowds in fast food chains
After dinner we took a really long stroll down to 5th Avenue to get started with ticking off the ‘to-see’ things on our list. All the glitzy, glamorous window displays by Swarovski at Bergdof Goodman were hard not to miss!
Hello THE Christmas Tree of New York!
The crowds that we swam through at Philadelphia station? Well it was 10x the amount of people here! It really is hard NOT to get photobombed by passing silhouettes when trying to take photos with the Christmas tree.
Made it to Times Square!
Times Square was exactly what people described it to be; BUSY… and it almost felt like daytime there with the amount of digital billboards – you could easily spot Times Square from far far away! It was a freezing 2 degrees that night (so cold that my phone died ;( ) but the buzz of it all kept us going 😎
It was about 10:30pm when we decided we should start making our way back, but to make our 30min walk to the hotel more bearable we stopped by at one of the many Starbucks to 1) get out of the cold and 2) to for a nice hot drink! Hot Chocolate for me… and an icy frappe for him…. I learnt that hot drinks don’t stay hot for long in 2degree temperatures, so best to enjoy it indoors!
That’s it for our first night in New York!
Come back soon for more of our adventures in New York!