New York City Observations (Part II)

hotelGRAND PALACE HOTEL

A beautiful hotel in a beautiful location. Quiet and close to the action, the location in midtown Manhattan. I appreciate the daily NY Times newspaper to peruse the front page, business and sport’s section. The second floor of the Grand Palace is a lovely venue, albeit expensive place to host a wedding.

I realize real estate is extremely pricey in NYC, especially in Manhattan so it’s understandable that breakfast is not included. This especially applies to nice hotels such as the Grand Place. Having said that, it would be nice for this hotel to at least have free apples in the lobby, something that less hotels provide. What about a coffee maker in the room? You pay several hundreds of dollars per night and no hotel room coffee maker? If not a coffee maker, why not provide free coffee during the day somewhere in the lobby. The Grand Palace reminds me of certainly airlines, they find every conceivable way of charging guests for every service, even if some of these are very small.

hotel roomBlame it on my naivete, but I assumed in the latter part of 2015 that all hotels would have free Wi-Fi. However, I was mistaken when I tried to connect to the network without an additional cost with my laptop. Of course, the Grand Palace Hotel merely said it’s their policy whether they agreed with it or not. Again, I was reminded of the airlines, trying to find opportunities to maximize the average stay at the Grand Palace.

We arrived at the hotel at Noon so our room would not be ready for a few hours. However, the front office staff offered us a view of St. Patrick’s Cathedral for $35 and coincidentally, that room was ready. Imagine that. It took me a minute to register that the $35 was per night, so with taxes, the nice view of St. Patrick’s cost over $150. In retrospect, I wonder if staff members are instructed to first prepare those rooms that can secure a higher fee.

No premium channels, no free Wi-Fi, surprised you’re not charged $5 per hour of high definition TV?

Good news, there’s a small refrigerator in the room. The bad news, it’s packed very efficiently with bottles, liquor and candy. There’s no room for any personal items that may need to be refrigerator. So, if you have leftovers from one of the many fine restaurants in NYC, how do you keep it chilled? It would be nice to have a small compartment to save miscellaneous items while visiting here.

street vendorSTREET VENDORS

It goes without saying that NYC receives millions and millions of tourists each year, especially to Manhattan and Brooklyn. When you have tourists, you will find those vendors and brokers selling carriage rides, bike rentals, and bus tours to say just a few. These vendors will ask you if you’re interested, especially if you’re part of a couple. For the most part, if you say “no” they will move on to the next prospect. With many others to choose from, they will target other visitors. Two years ago, I spent 5 days in Paris. I will say that those brokers and vendors were not as polite as what I experienced in NYC. The Parisian vendors, especially on the Champs Elysees and Sacre Coeur were aggressive and often didn’t take no for an answer. Why the difference? Is NYC better policed? Is there more opportunity in NYC compared to Paris. Do the Gendarmarie in Paris enable these vendors to sometimes “get in your face” and refuse to accept “no” as a response?????????????????????????????????????

SYLVIA ON BROADWAY

We did take in one play during our NYC visit, Sylvia, the play with Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford. Our tickets were discounted and the price of $75 for two hours of theatre entertainment was acceptable. Matthew’s character begins to suffer from a midlife crisis until he finds an adorable dog (played by Annaleigh Ashford) and can’t get enough of his new furry friend. Once his wife realizes what he’s done and how he’s feeling, there’s the emotional struggle between two newly empty nesters who appear to have different needs at this stage of their life. It’s cute and funny with some laugh out loud moments.

VENDORSMETROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

A bright spot about the city. Of course, walking through Central Park is free and many visitors may spend hours strolling or taking in the sites. Off Central Park to the east is the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has many treasures to view and appreciate. On 5th avenue, it may be worth your while to stroll to or from Central Park. The recommended adult fare is $25, however, you are welcome to choose the amount to pay. We paid a portion of that as we were only going to spend about one hour in the museum. Visitors who don’t have much time may contribute part of the recommended fare if they’re simply going to pop in for a quick visit. I will say, I appreciate the fact they have special prices for seniors and students so that if you’re 12 or older, you don’t necessarily have to pay the full adult fare.

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STARBUCKS IN NYC

No bags to carry items in at Starbucks — my guess is that would not occur at McDonald’s. No recycling it appears at Starbucks on 51st and Madison Ave, just pitch empty milk and other containers into the garbage. What would Howard Schultz say? Overall, NYC does not appear to be eco-friendly with very few recycling contains as I spent 3 day walking 55,000 steps.

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Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

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