4 Perfect Days in New York City

Things to do in NYC if you only have 4 days

Times Square

Starting spreading the news….  I am leaving today…….. New York….  New York….

Sure!  I always listen to Sinatra the day before traveling to the Big Apple! We have been there countless times but any trip there is as exciting as if it was the first time.

We bought two coupons to go from Washington D.C. to New York City by bus (Vamoose bus).  The coupons would be valid till April 2012,  but we decided to use them as soon as 2012 began because it was our intention to be able to see the Christmas Decorations at the Big Apple’s stores.

On January, 4th, 2012,   we went by subway to Arlington in order to get the bus.  The bus stop is very close to Rosslyn Metro Station and we did not have any trouble finding it.   But…. we almost missed the Vamoose bus because there was some construction work on the Metro blue line and it took us  a long time to travel from Van Dorn Metro Station to Rosslyn Metro Station.   Accordingly to the sound  speakers inside the Metro, only one track was operating and that was the reason it took so long! We were lucky because I planned to arrive at the bus stop one hour before scheduled.  With the metro delay we arrived only five minutes before the bus departure!  So…. if you are going by bus to New York City allow plenty of time in case something happens on your way, so you don’t miss the bus!

Five minutes after our arrival at the bus stop,  the bus departed.   Right on time!  9.30AM

The Vamoose bus is very comfortable and  the check in process was very smooth!  I loved it!  I highly recommend this company if you want to travel between NYC and Washington D.C.  or vice-versa!

After Arlington the bus stopped in Bethesda to pick up more passengers.   The bus was almost “sold out”.  There were very few spots available.

It was an excellent trip and we got to NCY in  less than four hours!  I spent almost the entire journey reading, using my kindle.

The bus arrives in NYC at Seventh Avenue and from there we walked to our hotel.   It was quite a long walk (approximately 20 blocks)  but the blocks between the streets are not very lengthy.  The blocks between the avenues are much larger.

Yes…. it was cold!

Hilton New York City

@ Hilton as soon as we got there!

Our check in at  Hilton Av of Americas  was perfect.  As I had already prepaid  (as a Honor Member I received a promotion to have a better price if the staying was paid in advance).    Check in took less than 1 minute and our room was  already ready!

Hilton New York City

Our beautiful king size bed @ Hilton

Thanks Hilton,  that is the reason I love to stay at your hotels!  Service is perfect,  hotel room is perfect, everything works as a Swiss clock.

As soon as we dropped our luggage inside the room we went out to find a place to eat and also to buy tickets for a Broadway performance!

As we had only three nights in the Big Apple,  we were in a hurry to enjoy the most we could!

Lunch was at Friday’s near Times Square.   It was terrible!   The reason we went to Friday’s  was to spend two checks of USD 25.00 !  We received these  checks as a “compensation”   for a terrible staying at Radisson Blu Hotel in Paris.    Our staying there (Paris Radisson Blue)  was a nightmare and after complaining with Radisson Corporation they sent us a check to be used at one of their hotels or at Friday’s.   As I had promised to myself that I will never ever stay at a Radisson Hotel again,  we decided to use the checks at Friday’s.   It is not a surprise they are under the same company, because Friday’s  lunch was terrible and away too expensive for what was served.
Anyway, I got rid of the checks and rid of thinking about Radisson Blu  Hotel as well!

After lunch we went to TKTS at Times Square where we bought tickets to see Mamma Mia.   We got them with a 40%  discount.

Before show time we walked all way to Macy’s where I complained about a new coat.  I bought a new coat at  Macy’s Landmark Mall Alexandria  from  a famous brand.  It was made of a “fancy wool” and the wool was not good, so it looked like I had been carrying like “20 cats”   over my lap!  Even F’s  coat that was also new, and black,  became like old because it was full of  “furs”   from my coat!!!

When we arrived at Macy’s I went  directly  to the Manager of the Coat’s department and showed  how bad the product was!  My first time wearing it and it ruined my purse,  my husband’s coat, etc  because we became covered of “furs”  (colors were from light grey to graffiti,  just imagine this “flying”  all over the places!

The manager  was very helpful and although I hadn’t the receipt with me,  she managed to change for another model.

From Macy’s we went directly  to  Winter Garden Theatre  where Mamma Mia was on show.

Watching Mamma Mia

Watching Mamma Mia

I liked the play  but if I had to choose…… well…. I preferred the movie!   Meryl Streep is fantastic and it is tough to see another actress performing the same character already performed by Meryl Streep.

From the show we went directly to our comfortable bedroom at Hilton 6th Avenue.

On Thursday, 5th,   we went to “Pick a Bagel”  to have breakfast.   Where is Pick a Bagel????
We thought we might have  gone to the wrong place, but… we have been to that place so many times before that we could not be wrong!  I searched on the iPhone and….. there is NO “pick a bagel” anymore!  Pick a Bagel now is “Cafe Metro” .    Excellent as the old one.    We had breakfast there.

From Cafe Metro we went to Central Park as  the day was beautiful!   We took some pictures and enjoyed the beautiful views.

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Central Park during winter is a delight for the eyes and the soul.

We walked from the Central Park towards 5th Avenue  to admire the beautiful Christmas Decorations.  One of the prettiest ones was at Van Cleef Jewelry.  Their showcase was gorgeous!

Christmas Decor @ Van Cleef

Christmas Decor @ Van Cleef

We continued walking down 5th Avenue until  we saw a lot of people  from the press and a lot of policemen near a church.
The 5th Avenue was blocked to the traffic.
We didn’t know what was happening.   I googled the church on my cell phone and we were sad to know that what was going on,  inside the church,  was the service for three little girls that died during a fire just before Christmas in a Connecticut house.   It was very sad to remember the news we have been watching on TV  during the past few days.   There were three funeral cars and a  huge crowd.  I prayed for them while we were there.

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We continued walking to the Rockefeller Center in order to admire the Christmas Tree.

Rockefeller Center and the Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Center and the Christmas Tree

Me, at the Rockefeller Center Skating Ring

Me, at the Rockefeller Center Skating Ring

After taking a couple of pictures, we took the metro and went to have lunch at a Restaurant located near Soho. The metro station was  far from the place I wanted to go so,  we stopped at a Chinese Restaurant in Village Neighborhood that looked good.  In fact it was very good!  Attentive service and delicious food!

Chinese Restaurant at The Village District.  Very good!

Chinese Restaurant at The Village District. Very good!

After lunch we walked to Canal Street to see the “fake market”  shopping.  Many shops had been closed there!  Anyway, we were able to  buy some cheap souvenirs.

At night we went to Becco, an excellent Italian Restaurant at 46th St where we had dinner.

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Times Square

Times Square

As New York is a safe city to the tourists, we went walking from 46th St till our hotel on 53th Street.  On the way we crossed Times Square (again) and made this “happy pictures” with the iPhone after a whole bottle of an excellent white Italian wine….  🙂

After one bottle of wine...  time to return to the hotel!

After one bottle of wine… time to return to the hotel!


Nice “landing” at the hotel!

Time to  rest and have nice dreams!

On Friday 6th,  we woke up with a beautiful sunshine!

Those were the views from our room:

Room with a view at Hilton NYC

Room with a view at Hilton NYC

Room with a view (we were on the 14th floor)

Room with a view (we were on the 14th floor)

We had breakfast at Cafe Metro (again!) and from there we went to Soho.  We walked in several charming streets and also bought our hiking pants  (the model  with a zipper,  so it is a pant as well as a short,  because you can use  the zipper to  remove the pant’s legs)

We went to Canal Street again to buy some more cheap gifts.

We had lunch at a wonderful place called “The Wild Ginger” (380 Broome Street).   Excellent Asian food, excellent service and excellent decor!  We loved there and the prices are very reasonable as well!

The Wild Ginger, NYC

The Wild Ginger: Vegetarian Restaurant with delicious food and reasonable prices.

While visiting Manhattan we saw many beautiful Christmas decorations while we were walking around the city!

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New York is always beautiful but I guess it gets even more beautiful during Christmas time!

While we were walking along the Broadway I saw this bus, where it was written “Brazil is calling you

I hope Brazil is NOT calling me

I hope Brazil is NOT calling me

“Celebrate LIFE” ????  You almost got KILLED there MORE THAN ONCE due to violence. “Celebrate life” sounds like a (bad) joke for me.

I  REALLY HOPE  Brazil is is NOT calling me!!!

Why I hope Brazil is not calling me?

Here is a “sample”  of  our life there,  while living in the best and wealthiest part of Rio de Janeiro:

  • When I was 13 y old (ok… that was a LONG time ago), I returned home from school and my house had been robbed.   The burglars broke a door, entered into the house, took all jewelry plus my father’s registered gun  and other belongings.  They hit our dog badly and he was almost dead when we found him. This is  a trauma for a 13 years old  girl returning home from school.  Fortunately the thieves had already left when I arrived.  But… if not? Would they shot me? Would I have been able to survive and tell this story?
  • As soon as I got married, a thief pointed a gun to my husband’s face, to steal his car (in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro)
  • When my younger son was 7 years old, he was going to his tennis class and the thieves robbed his sneakers.  He returned home barefoot and crying, accompanied  by a crying nunny.
  • My husband had his car stolen when he was working.   When he finished his working day, he went to look to his car and…  it was gone!
  • When my daughter was 14 y old,  she was robbed at our street.  The robbers took her wallet, that was found minutes later. The police arrested the guy.  We had to go to the police station to identify the robber,  and that was an awful experience for both my daughter and myself.
  • My elder son had a gun on his face while leaving his work at Praia de Botafogo.  The robbers wanted his briefcase with all his documents, cell phone, etc
  • We had an intruder in our house but the three Rottweilers we kept there made him run away.  Things could have been worse if we did not have the brave dogs.
  • My husband was waiting for our daughter at the English Language School (IBEU Jardim Botanico).  A thief pointed a gun on his face and wanted his car.  My husband panicked at the moment,  and tried to hold the gun in order to point it to  another direction.   The guy FIRED.   Fortunately it was not “the day”   to my husband die and the bullet didn’t got in his body.  But made a HUGE hole in the car.
  • We were having dinner at a Japanese Restaurant in Barra da Tijuca (called “Japa” )  and my younger son (13 years old at that time) went with two friends to buy an ice cream.   It was less than 30 feet away from where we were sitting  (we were at a table outside).   Thieves appeared and took the watches of the three teenagers.
  • When my  younger son was studying at College (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) he was invited for an interview to be a trainee at Coca Cola Company.   The company was located in Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro.   When my son was driving there, a car  that was behind him hit his car on purpose, so my son  would be robbed when claiming for the damage.  As soon as my son  got out of his car, he noticed it was going to be an assault and went running back to his car and drove away.   Of course we found better if he would not attend a trainee program in such a violent place as Jacarepagua.
  • Once again,  this same son I have,  was leaving  College (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and two guys  put a gun on his face and asked him to enter in HIS own car  and lay down on the back seat.  The  burglars KIDNAPPED my son!  They  drove a long time with my son inside the car (almost laying down on the floor)  just to make sure that the car would continue running and would not be stop working  due to a burglar’s alarm.   At the end, they made a lot of threats to my son and released him BAREFOOT and without one single document or cash.   They released him near a dangerous slum at Avenida Brasil,   very close to ‘Favela da Maré”   and very close to the College Campus as well.   They took his car  (an Audi A3  that we had brought  new from the factory just a couple of months before).
  • Me and my husband were returning to our house at 7pm  and a car stopped at our side.  Two men went out with BIG GUNS.  They put a gun on my husband’s head and shouted “get out of the car!   “get out of the car” .   My husband does not know how to react in this type of situation  (although he had been through this before) and tried to  remain inside the car! I had to shout desperately “Please let’s obey him, we have children he will kill you”  .  So… my husband  who was white like a blank paper, left the car and gave it to the burglars.  The other guy,  the one that was “taking care”  of me,  took ALL  my jewelry and he took of  my necklace with such violence that he hurt  my neck.  They took our car and ALL our documents.  They also took a Vuitton knapsack that I loved, my eyeglasses and my “stability” .   After the scenes I saw, I could not live in peace of mind  anymore.  It is very tough to forget such violence.   This was so awful that until now, somedays I stay like “frozen”   just remembering  everything we went through.

Now, that I finally could escape of that SHIT of a city I learned that my bike was stolen.   Burglars entered in the building where we own an apartment in Rio (at Botanic Garden neighborhood) and they stole by bike.   So…. Rio is THE PLACE where you can be ROBBED  EVEN  if you are NOT there!!!

Thanks God my younger  son is working legally in the USA as an engineer and my two other children are in Brazil,  but I always ask them to look for jobs outside there.

I am very happy to be MILES AWAY  from Brazil and from Rio de Janeiro.

I could expect anything in New York but an outdoor saying  “Brazil is calling you” ….. was too much for me.  All my bad memories of Rio de Janeiro came back….

No way Brazil is calling me!!  I have been  robbed MANY TIMES  in Rio de Janeiro.  We almost lost our lives more than once.   ALL I want in my life is to be AWAY from  Rio de Janeiro and AWAY from Brazil.

In my opinion the Brazilian Government should STOP  spending public money trying to bring tourists there.  They should spend money with schools,  public transportation,  hospitals, etc.   I feel pity of people that spend money to go to Brazil on holidays.  There are many places around the world that are safer, cleaner,  cheaper….  all you have to do is some research before taking your holidays.

In Brazil  the politicians keep saying that Brazil has problems because it is a “young country” .   Bullshit.   The USA is almost the same age of Brazil and EVERYTHING  works fine there,  starting with the public schools,  the yellow buses that pick up children in the morning and delivers them in the afternoon;   excellent roads, tunnels,  sign posts;    lots of policemen  with good (and well kept ) cars.   Also the firefighters here in the USA are much better equipped and trained  than there.  Everything is better in the USA.  I can not think in one single thing that is worse in USA when compared to Brazil.

Why?   Because here  in the USA they have a strong Congress where the Congressmen have to show what they are doing to benefit the people.   In Brazil we are always reading about robbery,  public money being robbed by the politicians and NOTHING happens.  NOBODY goes to jail in Brazil after stealing public money.   That is the rule there.    In the USA there is a  strong press, and the press in the USA  is not committed with the Government  actions.  And, the most important of all:   In the USA they  have the people and the people know their rights.  The USA has a powerful and strong democracy and this is the biggest reason for an excellent country!

To my reader, I would like to apologize for changing subjects from “Perfect Days in New York City”  to the violence in Rio de Janeiro.    The problem was this add,  as it came like a “bad joke”. Enjoying my days in NYC and reading a billboard:  “Brazil is calling you” .

I hope Brazil  is not calling me!!!  As for my desire, I will NEVER  EVER live there again!

Bad advertisement

Brazil calling me? Isola!!! Pé de pato, mangalô três vezes!!!!
I do NOT want to go there!!!!

We continued our  “window shopping”  and after resting at the hotel  during ten minutes (yep, in NYC  nobody is allowed to more than 10 minutes rest,  there are plenty of things to see and to do there!),   we went to have dinner at  Radiance Tea House and Books (158W 55th St). It is an excellent place with Asian food, excellent teas and  peaceful atmosphere.

Radiance Tea House and Books:  Excellent in every aspect!

Radiance Tea House and Books: Excellent in every aspect!

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On Saturday 7th,  we had breakfast at Cafe Metro (we discovered that there are various Cafe Metro,  and there is one that is closest  to Hilton than the one we were used to go on 58th Street.  We went to the one at the corner of 54th St & 7th Avenue.

From there we took the subway  and went to see the new construction at  the World Trade Center site.  The new building is very beautiful and it is already very high on the sky, although I guess it is still missing 40% to reach the total length.

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Calatrava: I love the work of this architect and I have visited many sites around the world that have his signature.

In my opinion, the site of the WTC  is  a very sad place to go, because it is impossible to forget the moments  that many families had there.  I prayed for the souls of those who were gone and their families as well. I also prayed for the firemen, that were so brave loosing their lives while they were trying to save other people’s lives.  I wish that the American Government continues to track all terrorists and kill them all.

From the construction site we went to the Battery Park,  where we took a picture of the symbol of endurance:The Sphere.   The Sphere  was restored (it used to stay at the bottom of the twin towers) and it  is on display at the Battery Park.   This reminds people about  suffering,   and also that life goes on.

The Sphere, NYC

The Sphere, NYC

Memorial. NYC

Memorial. NYC

They will always be remembered.

They will always be remembered.

From Battery Park we went to Hilton to check out.  We placed our luggage at Hilton’s luggage storage room   (3.50 USD each piece) and went to MoMA.   This was very practical as MoMA entrance is on 53th St between 5th Av and 6th Av  and Hilton is on the corner of 53th St and 6th Av.   That is one of the many reasons I love to stay at Hilton:  Location, location, location!

MoMA was very crowded but everything there is so well organized that we had any trouble at all.

We visited the  temporary exhibitions first.  We have been to MoMA many times and we have seen the permanent collection many times as well.

de Kooning, at MoMA

de Kooning, at MoMA

After seeing Diego  Rivera  and De Kooning,  we went to visit some rooms of the Permanent Collection.

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Early stART

Early stART

We were going to have lunch at MoMA but there were more than 100 people on the line!  I guess it would take a long time to be seated, eat, etc and we had a bus to catch at 4pm!So,  we  left MoMA and went to Cafe Metro  (again!) in order to have a light lunch,  because at 4pm we would take the bus back to Washington D.C.. There, I  ate a delicious salad and F  ate a sandwich.  After lunch we picked up our luggage at Hilton and took the M20 bus on 7th Avenue.  We got off on 30th Street and went on the line (that was already big!)  to pick up the Vamoose Bus! We were very lucky with the weather, as we had sun everyday and although it was cold on the first day  the weather got warmer day by day,  and on the last day we were able to walk without coats! (although carrying them on the arm, just in case….). Our trip back home was excellent!  Good driver, very comfortable bus,  very polite customers and very clean bathroom (on the bus).   I give an “A Plus”   to Vamoose Bus.We arrived at Arlington bus stop around 8pm and from there we took the metro to Van Dorn Metro Station.   From the Metro Station we took the Dash Bus to  our front door.

Yep, we are lucky  enough because we have the Dash bus passing on our street, so it is very convenient! Resuming the post:   We had an excellent trip to New York City!!!!    Time flew! This is good  because we stayed with a taste of “I  want more”!!!  Next time! If you want to see more pictures I took while in New York City, please visit my Flickr Gallery clicking here


About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
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4 Responses to 4 Perfect Days in New York City

  1. Charles Bringer says:

    “Brazil is calling you“ is a lie!!
    Please don´t come to Brazil!!!
    Cecilia seu post sobre o Brasil é perfeito e os desgostos que passou aqui só refletem a atual situação, penso em pedir asilo ou me tornar um refugiado pela onda de violência que vivemos atualmente, Brasil é uma colônia regida por políticos e leis amadoras, arcaicas …
    Please help me to come out of Brazil!!


    • Faz muito bem em procurar um caminho da saída!
      Mas… lamento te informar que pedir asilo não adianta… eu enquanto estava no BR e antes de ter meu visto para o Canadá aprovado já tinha tentado “tudo” para sair, até escrevi para as instituições internacionais de asilo mas me responderam que isso só para refugiados políticos ou países em guerra. Como se a violência que sofremos no Brasil não seja muitas vezes pior do que guerras… Em guerras voce sabe que tem que se refugiar em casa…no Rio você sai de casa para ir à faculdade ou buscar sua filha no curso de inglês no bairro mais “VIP” da cidade e toma um revólver com um cano gigante encostado na cabeça….


  2. Melissa says:

    Oi Cecilia,
    Adoro seus posts sobre viagem! 🙂
    Estou de mudança para Vancouver, nem tanto pela violência, pois moro em uma cidade tranquila, mas por estar cansada de tanta corrupção, burocracia e falta de oportunidades.
    Todos falam que não irei me acostumar, por isso adoro ver seu blog e toda a positividade que vem com seus posts daí!


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