The following is a summary of Phil Snow’s trip to New York and Vancouver, hosted by Air Canada & NYCGO (www.nycgo.com), that he took in November 2016:
Air Canada were promoting their direct service from Brisbane to Vancouver on the new Dreamliner 787-900 series. I was fortunate to try their Business Class product between Brisbane & Vancouver - and use the Air NZ lounge in Brisbane (opposite the new Plaza Premium Lounge at Brisbane Airport). It is directly opposite your aircraft at Gate 78.
Air Canada seating in Business is configured 1- 2- 1 – so if you’re travelling as a couple there is a middle partition…it won’t move, so to talk/see, you have to make an effort to look over (might be a good thing too). The single seats angle towards the window, so you don’t really need to look or talk with anyone. Food was excellent. Whilst everything is very good with the seat (fully flat), entertainment, etc., when the main meal is finished and the lights go out – the Flight attendants place nibbles for you to come and get at any time – I’m not sure how everyone else grabs a chip packet, but the first thing they would do is crunch the bag and turn it over to see what it is – not so great if you want to try and get some sleep.
The big push by Air Canada travelling to the USA, is that you will not have to collect your bags in Vancouver, like LAX. Your bags are put thru to your destination from Brisbane or Sydney, and you will clear US Customs at Vancouver Airport…it’s a bit tedious, as are all lines at the airport, but it works reasonably well in the 2-hour transit time in Vancouver. Pretty much you walk onto the waiting aircraft for Newark. If you need to have your bag identified – the customs agent can show you a picture of your actual bag on the monitor, in which you will then identify it before you can move on – these are all bar coded, so they know whose bag is whose.
Now onto Newark – this time in Economy - 3 – 3 – 3 configuration – Warning…you have to buy food and headphones (unless you have your phone earphones). Economy – its fine, the seating is fine, what you would expect in Economy – everyone wants that extra space – so best to book aisle seating in middle 3 and hope that there isn’t anyone in the middle seat. Which it looked like plenty already do on this aircraft. On arrival into Newark, you just need to collect your bags and proceed to your transfer, no customs/immigration…It’s already done in Vancouver so that’s a good thing. We were transferred as a group by SUPER SHUTTLE – standard service - not the Execucar van that you can get for Private Transfers. It takes about 45mins to 1 hr to get to Manhattan…no real issues here.
2 nights at HOTEL METRO – which is located on 35th- 1 street from Empire State Building – and 5 mins walk to MACY’s – and Herald Square Station…which is important when using the SUBWAY.
I hadn’t stayed nor put too many clients in this area previously, but now I have changed my mind, and think it’s not a bad thing staying away from Times Square, and it’s only 15 mins walk to Times Square if you had to.
The rooms at HOTEL METRO are a good size BUT the bathrooms are very small – and I don’t see how it can work sometimes…but you can get over this – make sure you do some stretches before you enter. The Hotel Metro has a continental breakfast as part of the rate, it’s fair – but typical American start to the day...Bagels/Croissants (that’s French) – Danishes’ (that’s not American either) – Cereals are available with Hot Tea/Coffee (oil slick I say) & a range of juices. So I guess typical of Continental Breakfast. A great A la carte Breakfast I did on our free morning was at the Radisson Hotel Martinique – about 5 mins from this hotel (USD 17 for this).
The next hotel we stayed was the EDISON HOTEL - Located 228 W 47th St, New York – pretty much smack in the middle of Time Square. The area is extremely busy & noisy, so my gut feel was that this hotel is ok if you wanted to be close for Theatre/Broadway etc.
The rooms are compact, but bathrooms are much bigger in size. Décor – looks like a bloke designed it…not exciting at all (not that I am good with that stuff). You can’t hear street noise – BUT they have old Lifts and you can hear this if your room is close by…request away from the lifts.
Warning – the lifts here stop at all floors…so very frustrating.
Check in at the EDISON can be extremely busy as you mostly saw guests lined up in the waiting room waiting for check in. This is an extremely busy hotel – over 800 rooms and slow lifts…word was they were getting lifts from this century added to quicken up the process. Staff were always willing to help and recognise a lot of Australians will use this hotel, given its location.
The Wall Street Experience
The Wall Street Experience provides an exclusive and comprehensive experience to visitors of Wall Street. We did a private walking tour of Wall Street and Ground Zero – NB you can also arrange to get on the Stock Exchange Floor – contact them directly to enquire. Ground Zero experience was very moving, to hear about all the different stories from the guide and what they have done to never forget what happened on that day in 2001.
One World Observatory
One World Observatory 285 Fulton Street (between Vesey & Fulton Streets) New York NY 10007
Positioned on top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, on levels 100, 101, and 102 of the 1,776 foot tall One World Trade Centre building, One World Observatory provides unique, panoramic views of New York City, its most iconic sites, and surrounding waters. If you have a Group, contact them directly to obtain “FAST PASS” to the top, separate Lift for these VIP Groups.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum, 911 Greenwich Street New York NY 10007
The 9/11 Memorial Museum serves as the USA’s principal institution concerned with exploring the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting the impact of those events and exploring 9/11’s continuing significance. This is quite amazing, and still unbelievable.
FIT TOURS – CENTRAL PARK
Fit Tours NYC, Phone: +1 (646) 408 6453
This morning we met with Mr Michael Riordan from Fit Tours NYC, for a personalized tour through Central Park showcasing the company’s product offerings. Central Park tours with a fitness twist! The ultimate New York fitness experience combines sightseeing with exercise. Tours are led by Certified Fitness Professionals through courses designed by Licensed New York City Sightseeing Guides. Each tour lasts one hour and is perfect for time pressed travellers.
GRAND CENTRAL STATION TOUR
Grand Central Terminal 89 E 42nd Street New York NY 10017
Grand Central Tours at the Stationmaster’s Office – located near Track 35 and opposite Starbucks for your ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour of Grand Central Terminal. *** Note: Solid Shoes are a must; Expect to stay close, move fast, much standing, fast walking, crushed elevators, 110-foot high glass-enclosed elevations, and areas that are dark, dusty and little dirty. Take New York’s restless energy and inventiveness. Add its distinctive brand of brassy elegance, its delight in impressing visitors, and its flair for showmanship. You’ve got GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL. New Yorkers in the early 1900s saw their city as the new cultural and commercial capital, deserving a majestic landmark. The vibrant City Beautiful movement, meanwhile, promoted architectural excellence. Grand Central satisfied both desires, invigorating midtown Manhattan, transforming regional transportation, and shaping the city we know today.
CIRQUE du SOLEAIL PARAMOUR
Cirque du Soleil has dazzled audiences throughout the world, and now it’s finally on Broadway with a “jaw-dropping” (Variety) new spectacle! Cirque du Soleil Paramour spins the thrilling tale of a beautiful young actress forced to choose between love and art in the glamorous – and amorous --
world of Golden Age Hollywood. Lyric Theatre (Cirque du Soleil Paramour) 213 W 42nd Street (between 7th & 8th Avenues) New York NY 10036
Phone: +1 (212) 556 4700 12
STATEN ISLAND // NEW YORK WHEEL // SNUG HARBOUR
Travel to Staten Island is Free on the STATEN ISLAND FERRY – a great opportunity to escape the noise of Manhattan. Staten Island is building the NEW YORK WHEEL – here you can have lunch served whilst on the wheel, it will take 38 minutes to rotate. Completion date in 2018 - and great views of Manhattan and surrounding boroughs. Empire Outlets is a category-defining retail destination and New York City’s first and only shopping outlet. It will be the retail centerpiece for New York City’s newest entertainment district of 13 Staten Island’s waterfront. The world-class shopping destination is located at the base of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, a 20- minute free ferry ride from Manhattan. It will host approximately 100 shops of the finest brands array of waterfront food and beverage concepts and a 190 room boutique hotel with rooftop lounge offering unparalleled views of New York City. Empire Outlets’ grand opening is set for November 2017. Empire Outlets New York City Website: www.empireoutletsnyc.com
Sailors' Snug Harbor, also known as Sailors Snug Harbor or Snug Harbor Cultural Centre and Botanical Garden or, informally, Snug Harbor, is a collection of architecturally significant 19th-century buildings set in an 83-acre park along the Kill Van Kull on the north shore of Staten Island in New York City, United States. It was once a home for aged sailors. Some of the buildings and the grounds are used by arts organizations under the umbrella of the Snug Harbor
Cultural Centre and Botanical Garden. Not my cup of tea, but was worthwhile for about 15-20 mins – it is very quiet and peaceful here.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
103 Orchard Street (between Broome & Delancey Streets)
New York NY 10002 Phone: +1 (877) 975 3786
Join the guided tour ‘Hard Times’ (3:00pm - 4:00pm) at the Tenement Museum, following a walkthrough of the Information Center with Mr David Eng, Vice President, Marketing & Communications. We tell the stories of 97 Orchard Street. Built on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1863, this tenement apartment building was home to nearly 7000 working class immigrants. They faced challenges we understand today: making a new life, working for a better future, starting a family with limited means. In recognizing the importance of this seemingly ordinary building, the Tenement Museum has reimagined the role that museums can play in our lives.
Conrad New York City
102 North End Avenue (between Vesey & Murray Streets), New York NY 10282 Phone: +1 (646) 769 4176
The pinnacle of luxury in the heart of Lower Manhattan. Discover the culture, atmosphere and ambiance that is distinctively New York from a world-class hotel that is singularly Conrad. Indulge in plush, modern suites with high-end amenities and unparalleled service. Delight in exquisite culinary creations at ATRIO Wine Bar & 6 Restaurant, and relax with a handcrafted drink from atop our rooftop terrace. Never just stay, stay inspired. Mostly and All Suite Hotel – designed for Business only – no leisure here as It’s about 5-10 mins walk to Wall St & Financial Buildings. It’s nice, but not sure if your clients would get more out of being Uptown, rather than staying here…i.e. using the Subway.
InterContinental New York Barclay
111 East 48th Street (between Lexington & Park Avenues) New York NY 10017
Phone: +1 (212) 755 5900
Ms Allison Haggett, Director of Business Travel. Since first opening its doors in 1926, the InterContinental New York Barclay has welcomed countless guests to enjoy a luxurious residential-style experience in the heart of the city. Today, the InterContinental New York Barclay remains Manhattan’s preeminent luxury hotel after undergoing the most ambitious restoration in its history.
Combining sophistication and contemporary design, while staying true to its original Federalist style details.
Viceroy Central Park
124 W 57th Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues), New York NY 10019 Phone: +1 (212) 830 8000
Enjoy breakfast at the Kingside Restaurant at the Viceroy Central Park. Viceroy Central Park brings a new energy to West 57th Street. The hotel has a unique style and pulse that captures the spirit of Manhattan while invoking nostalgic feelings that echo back to the golden age of travel. Manhattan’s 57th Street, while not quite the geographical center of the island, is certainly the commercial and cultural heart of the city. This location is home to some of the world’s most glamorous shopping, some of the city’s most beautiful and important architecture, and unparalleled cultural institutions.
AKA United Nations
234 East 46th Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues), New York NY 10017 Phone: +1 (646) 291 4200
Mr Kivanc Ozdemir, Managing Director of AKA United Nations. AKA United Nations luxury serviced residences are superbly situated on East 46th Street, in Manhattan’s historic and residential Turtle Bay neighborhood. It is centered between the distinctive United Nations headquarters complex to the east and the vibrant midtown business district surrounding Grand Central Terminal to the west.
Long Stay arrangements can be made here.
The Marmara Park Avenue (THE PICK OF THEM ALL)
114 E 32 Street (between Lexington & Park Avenues), New York NY 10016 Phone: +1 (212) 603 9000
Mr Christopher Thomas, Senior Sales Manager. Evoking the feeling, spirit, and spontaneity of the world’s most storied metropolis, The Marmara Park Avenue is New York City, inside and out. Occupying a richly histories 21-story building that dates back to 1927, The Marmara Park Avenue is an up-and-coming landmark defined by a subtle elegance that uplifts the ordinary. By far the most talked about hotel/apartment of the whole group.
Tour of Stanley Park provided by The Vancouver Trolley Company
A Beautiful 1000-acre park (Vancouver's first- established in 1886) at the edge of the city's downtown core. Park features a majestic back drop of cedar, hemlock and fir trees plus a new salmon demonstration stream, totem pole visitor centre, bathing beaches, 17 tennis courts, playgrounds, seawall, refreshment stands and restaurants, miniature railway, horse & carriage rides, aquarium. The Vancouver Trolley Company offers hop-on, hop-off tours to Vancouver's top attractions in addition to private trolleys, highway coaches, minibuses, and van transportation. Their fleet of Trolleys provide summer service (April – September) every 30 minutes, and winter service (October – April) every 45 minutes. Guests will enjoy their seasonal tours such as the Evening Combo Tour including trips to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain, the Haunted
Vancouver Trolley Tour and the Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour!
Granville Island Market Tour with Foodie Tours
** Worthwhile doing **
Vancouver Foodie Tours offers food tasting and cultural walking tours. We introduce locals and visitors to one-of-a-kind dishes that define Vancouver's culinary scene. You will indulge in a feast for your eyes, belly and mind, tasting signature dishes at award winning Vancouver gourmet restaurants, food shops and food trucks. You will learn about the origin of ingredients, how dishes are prepared, as well as the history, culture and architecture of Vancouver. This is the best way to see and taste Vancouver!
VANCOUVER MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN
A 31 story, Four Diamond hotel, offering magnificent views of the city, water, and mountains from stylish guest rooms. 1 block from the waterfront, 2 blocks from the Convention Centre/Cruise Ship Terminal and steps to Robson Street and Stanley Park. Award winning Show Case Restaurant. Extensive recreation area with 52' pool, steam room, sauna, whirlpool and 1500 sq. foot fitness center.
Air Canada operated a good service. Aircraft is very modern naturally, so this works – Staff, nice enough. Food – Fair to reasonable, Business Class very good, Economy – PAR. Noting you have to pay for things once you get into North America/Canada.
Lounges – Brisbane – very good with Air NZ Lounge – Vancouver – quite busy and modern. Newark Airport – just new...expanding this.
Non-baggage collection in YVR is a bonus for travellers.
Transfers NYC: – Super Shuttle – they do the job. But a reminder…give yourself plenty of time to get out of NYC...can be delays with traffic.
Metro Hotel – 35th Street – I like this area, more than say Times Square…not the hordes of tourists. The hotel is fairly basic, but could be a good option for first timers and those who don’t want to spend more than $350 AUD per night.
Edison Hotel – 47th Street / Times Square – Very busy, possibly not my first choice to put clients…some work to do with how busy it is…i.e. Lifts/check in/check out.
Get your clients the City Pass to save.
Get a Metro Card for the Subway…USD 31.00 – work out Uptown/Downtown and the cross over streets and you should be able to get around quite easily. Everyone uses the Subway so your clients should too…it’s a great and convenient way to get around NYC quickly.
Theatre/Broadway – note from Broadway Inbound – representative here in Australia – Rebecca George. Her contact email address is Rebecca@broadwaytrade.com.au
Some information on Broadway Inbound which you might find interesting and helpful:
As you may know, the TKTS queue is generally long and slow moving with people queuing to get tickets to shows on Broadway. One of the common pieces of feedback received from Travel Agents is that many Australian’s are reluctant to book in advance because they think they can purchase cheap tickets once they are in NYC.
In response it is important to note: