The Beastie Boys certainly had the right idea when they came up with their song “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, a song that definitely set the tone for this most recent Pantone 294 trip to New York.
The night before the trip, yes I procrastinated, I began filling my carry on and my new Pantone 294 duffle bag with everything I would need for the trip including my P294 essentials (flag, drawstring backpack, koozie, shirts, etc.), Dodger gear, and of course plenty of sunscreen! I had been checking the weather all week so I knew very early on that New York was going to be hot and extremely humid, so packing light clothing was a must! Being that shorts and tank tops are not necessarily bulky items, this gave me so much more space in my luggage.
- Roll your clothes instead of folding to give yourself more space for other items.
- Opt for the carry on instead of the full size, check in luggage. The 25+ dollars you’ll be saving could buy you an extra souvenir or a ticket to an attraction around the city.
- Remember to bring a plastic bag to keep your dirty laundry separate while on your trip and a few Ziploc baggies to keep TSA approved items such as shampoo, toothpaste, lotion etc. from leaking inside your luggage.
- Leave half of the stuff you initially wanted to pack home. I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog but believe me, you wont need it nor use it!
LOS ANGELES TO NEW YORK
On September 9th, 2016, at 8:15pm, I boarded one of the 7 chartered planes Pantone 294 arranged for their 1,311 trip goers. Being a frequent flyer of Jet Blue and American Airlines, this was my first time flying United Airlines and I have to say that I was not left disappointed. After putting my carry-on and duffel bag in the overhead compartment, I was pleasantly surprised to see that every seat had a small pillow and blanket which was definitely everything I needed in order to get comfortable for my 5 hour flight.
I had been at work since 8am that morning so after watching Me Before You, one of the awesome selection of movies available free of charge, I took the opportunity to sleep through the remainder of the flight with the occasional turbulence wake up call. But somehow being surrounded by fellow Dodger fans on the plane made me a little more at ease during those moments.
WELCOME TO NEW YORK
My plane landed about 4:00am eastern time. I was first in line to catch a bus that had been arranged to help transport us to one of the hotels P294 had booked. However, being first to step outside the airport also meant that I was the first to experience the sauna of what was New York’s humidity.
THE HOLLAND HOTEL
175 12th St.
New Jersey City, NJ. 07310
Phone: (201) 963-6200
- Offers Free WiFi.
- Free Parking.
- Budget Friendly option conveniently located on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel
- Offers free continental breakfast daily in the lobby from 6am-10am.
- No elevators, however it is wheelchair accessible.
- Shares a lot with a 24 hour Burger King which is perfect for those late night cravings. ( Big shout out to Anthony who works there. He allowed us to walk straight up to the window and order at 3am.)
- Hands down, the best customer service I have ever received when staying at a hotel. Staff is friendly and helpful!
Being that we arrived so early in the morning, we knew that our rooms would not be ready. Luckily the Holland Hotel was very accommodating and allowed our bags to be checked in, thus, freeing us up to explore the city without the inconvenience of carrying around all of our luggage.
After leaving the hotel, myself, along with about 20 other P294 members made our way into the city, but not without first stopping to purchase a subway card.
If you have ever taken the subway to get around New York City, you know how confusing it can be if you are not familiar with it. Luckily, we came across many New Yorker’s who were kind enough to lead us in the right direction.
Looking for a place to eat so early in the morning can sometimes leave you wandering aimlessly for hours. Fortunately, we stumbled across a rather uniquely famous 24hour Mc. Donald’s located at 160 Broadway, NY, NY.
Yes, I can hear you guys already saying “I can’t believe you flew all the way to New York just to eat at Mc. Donald’s!”, but let me stop you there. This location visually surpasses every single Mc. D’s in Los Angeles, hell, in California hands down. I can’t even begin to describe to you how awesome the interior design was but let me just say that there was no playground attached here. Its two story location had a very artsy and upscale feel to it. It was like dining at a five star restaurant minus the food, the food was average. I even hear they occasionally have live music but unfortunately that was not the case when we visited. Nonetheless, it was a perfect place to regroup and have a bite to eat before our first touristy adventure.
NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL AND M– USEUM
180 Greenwich St.
New York, NY. 10007
I was getting ready for school when the first plane hit the the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Initially, like most people, I assumed it was a tragic accident as I sat there and watched the news… but when then second plane hit I immediately knew that we were under attack.
Being able to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum the day before the 15th anniversary was truly a touching and reflecting experience, one I will surely never forget. And while words can not describe this experience, I will try my best to do so.
Walking in to the museum we were all smiles, joking here and there, but as we began to explore the museum in it’s entirety, a somber feeling washed upon us as we revisited emotions that some of us had not felt in years.
The museum is filled with powerful exhibits and artifacts that transport you to that day, just minutes before the first plane hit, to the rebuild of the city using first hand audio and visual accounts from first responders, victims, survivors and people observing it throughout the world.
For the most part, you are able to take pictures, however, there were certain exhibits that didn’t allow it and I can totally understand why. There is a portion of the museum that is very hard to watch and even hear. In this exhibit there are tissue boxes for those who are moved to tears as they watch powerful video documentation and chilling audio. The victims have names, voices, friends and family in this exhibit, and are not just refereed to as one of the 2,977 lives lost that day. It depicts every heartbreaking detail from phone calls made to their families, eyewitness accounts and pictures that capture the exact moment someone realized they had no other option but to jump to their death.
Outside the Museum you will find two twin memorial pools, the South Pool and the North Pool, in the exact location where the twin towers once stood. 2,983 names are inscribed on 76 bronze plates as a memorial to the 2,977 lives lost during the 9/11 attacks and the 6 killed during the 1993 WTC bombing.
- The memorial pools are free and do not require a ticket like the museum.
- Reflections of the surrounding buildings can be seen in their waterfalls periodically throughout the day when the lighting is just right.
- There is a callery pear tree that was found under the rubble, badly burned and not expected to survive. Years later, it is alive and well and known as the “Survivor Tree”, a symbol of hope and rebirth.
- Each morning the 9/11 Memorial commemorates the birthdays of the victims by placing a single white rose on their name.
- Every 9/11 anniversary, there is a light tribute that showcases two large light beams symbolizing the two towers that once stood.
While the museum can be seen as a place to pay respect, grieve and relive the tragic moments of 9/11, it is also a place to celebrate the strength, perseverance, and rebirth of the survivors and the city. The people in New York are strong and this is a great representation of just how strong they are.
New York, NY
- Opened to the public in 1883.
- Is a New York top tourist attraction.
- Connects Manhattan to Brooklyn.
- It was the first steel-wire suspension bridge and at the time of its completion, it was deemed the largest bridge in the world.
- It’s 5,989 feet long.
- At least 20 people died during it’s construction and another 12 a week after the bridge’s opening when they were crushed to death by a stampede of people who panicked when they feared the bridge was about to collapse.
- After the deadly stampede, in efforts to assure the public that the bridge wouldn’t collapse, the city got 21 elephants, yes elephants, to walk across the bridge.
- The bridge has been in many TV shows and movies such as Godzilla and Spider-Man.
- Offers amazing views of the city and surrounding area.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was absolutely amazing. The bridge in itself is a work of art and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It offers beautiful scenic views of the city and water, a pedestrian walkway located in the middle of the bridge that also includes a bike lane, and tons of photo opportunities at every step. When we were there, it was pretty hot and the sun was directly above us but I would bet money that this is THE place to be right around sunset. I can only imagine how breathtaking it would be to watch the sun set over the city.
JACKIE ROBINSON’S GRAVE
Cyprus Hill Cemetery
New York, NY
- On April 15, 1947, he made his MLB debut at Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers making him the first African American player to play in the MLB. He stayed with the team until October 10th, 1956.
- Won Rookie of the Year in 1947.
- He was the National League Batting and Stolen Base Champion in 1949.
- He also won the National Leagues Most valuable Player Award in 1949.
- In 1962, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- He was the first African American TV Sports Analyst.
- His jersey number 42 was retired by all MLB teams in 1997.
I never imagined that a cemetery would be at the top of my list while visiting New York but who can turn down the opportunity to visit the resting site of one of the most iconic and legendary players in MLB!
Finding his grave is not easy or even close to the entrance but if you YouTube it like we did and ask for the assistance of the people that work there, you’ll be able to find it too.
I’m not sure what I was expecting to see when we reached his grave but I was blown away by the outpouring of love and respect shown by people who had placed signed baseballs, bats and other mementos atop his headstone. It was definitely a touching site to see.
His headstone, simply marked as “Robinson” is followed with his own quote that reads “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” This quote couldn’t be more accurate for his life. Not only was he an outstanding ball player, but he was a role model, a businessman, and a civil rights pioneer who never stopped lobbying for greater integration in sports.
Brooklyn, New York
- MLB Stadium that opened in 1913.
- Closed in 1957.
- Demolished in 1960 and replaced by apartment buildings.
- Home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
- Named after the Dodgers owner Charlie Ebbets after he bought it in 1908.
- Sat 35,000 people and was considered to be the smallest ballpark in the National League.
- Stadium where great players like Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Don Newcombe played at.
I have mixed feelings about visiting Ebbets Field. On one hand, there’s so much amazing history behind it that just visiting this Dodgers landmark gives me all the feels. However, on the other hand, there’s nothing left but a huge apartment complex in it’s place. I can’t help but think that they could have at least salvaged a small portion of it, you know, just so that when us die hard Dodger Fans visit, it actually feels like a piece of baseball history.
On a happy note, across the street, I came across some pretty cool street art on the side of one of the buildings.
- Coney Island is not an island, it’s actually a peninsula.
- Home of Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park.
- Three rides at Coney Island (The Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone, and Parachute Jump, which was closed in 1968) are designated New York City landmarks.
- People come from all over to grab a hotdog at the infamous Nathan’s.
- Coney Island’s beaches were once private.
- It’s the birthplace of frozen custard.
- There once was an elephant shaped hotel turned brothel located in Coney Island.
While the boardwalk and amusement parks might be the focal point for many tourists visiting, my favorite part about Coney Island would have to be eating at White Castle. Coming from a place where the only White Castle burgers you’ll find are located down the frozen food section, it was a treat to be able to taste the mini burgers freshly made and let me just say, I’ll never eat another frozen one again! If you’re not a burger fan, there are plenty of other eateries around the boardwalk and within the amusement parks including plenty of junk food stands that cater straight to your sweet tooth.
After stuffing our face, we walked around the boardwalk and explored the amusement parks. The rides were amazing ranging from small children’s rides to thrill seeking, adrenaline rushing ones. My favorite would definitely have to be the Fun Wheel. There’s something awesome about a giant Ferris Wheel that gives you amazing views of the beach and boardwalk.
1 Times Sq,
New York, NY 10036
- In 2011, Times Square became totally smoke free!
- The first official New Years Eve celebration was in 1903.
- It’s home to MTV and ABC’s Good Morning America.
- It is also home to people dressed in cartoon and super hero costumes, very similar to those found on Southern California’s Hollywood Blvd.
- Time Square is known as the “Crossroads of the World” because so many people pass through it throughout the day.
- Approximately 335,000 people pass through Times Square daily making it the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection.
- Most of the stores are open past midnight, this includes, American Eagle, Forever 21 and many more.
I can finally cross Times Square off my bucket list!
After heading back to the hotel to officially check in, shower and change, we all managed to stay awake long enough for one last venture into the city.
There’s something magical, and slightly chaotic, about Times Square at night. From the diverse crowd of people wandering around aimlessly snapping pictures, the many food vendors selling hot dogs and roasted nuts on the street corners, panhandlers trying to earn tips by performing for you, and billboards galore lighting up the night sky, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
Whether you want to see a popular Broadway show, shop at one of the many stores opened late, people watch or just try the cheesecake at the famous Junior’s Restaurant, you won’t be disappointed. There’s something here for everyone.
After walking up and down Times Square and getting a bite to eat at one of the many pizza places located in this area, we decided to finally call it a night and head back to the hotel. To say we were exhausted was an understatement, but I’m sure no one would change a thing if we had to do it all over again. Staying up for 36 hours straight was definitely a challenge, but we accepted that challenge victoriously.
NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN!
I hope you enjoyed this post.
Stay tuned for more Pantone 294 ultimate fan experiences.
Day 2 of the trip is next!