Our Final full day in New York, and our Final day with the Pass. However, our flight is not till late tomorrow and we don’t need to leave Manhattan until 5 Pm So it’s almost a full day. Yesterday’s rain had now passed and left behind a beautiful crisp day, however, the temperature had fallen drastically over the last few days. We now had temps down in the mid to low 30’s and a hellish wind which cut to the bone. Nothing a few layers can’t solve, however.
Today’s plan was to make use of the pass as much as possible and sign off in style. We had a lot planned for the day and had 4 attractions planned from our Pass, However, as we watched the morning news with our Breakfast we got a pleasant little Suprise!
We had spent the majority of this trip a bit disappointed we had come probably a week too early and Christmas was not quite in full swing, in fact, it was bearly swinging at all. There were promises of things to come but it was going to be getting going the week after. The Lack of The Rockefeller Christmas Tree was the focal point of this disappointment.
As we watched the news to keep up with current events we were delighted to hear a local report on the imminent arrival of the Rockefeller Tree! It was arriving by truck and being erected during the morning. We had planned to spend the entire morning in the area so would get to see it arrive and be erected! This made us very happy. And of Course, I confirmed to Kate I had known this all along and it was a surprise treat, despite that not being true…don’t worry she was having none of it!
So we headed to Radio City Hall to grab some tickets for the first tour of the day and then went to watch the tree arrive before the 9:30 tour began. We arrived just in time to see it lifted from the truck.
Radio City Hall Tour
After attending the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular opening show last night we were excited to do the tour of the Radio City Music Hall and see Behind the scenes of the show. The Tour was really interesting as we explored the guts of the building.
After the tour, we popped back round to the tree which was now erect but still wrapped up. After hanging around a bit we decided nothing was happening and moved on to the MOMA. Kate studied Art at school and was always interested in Modern Art. So the MOMA is always high up on out to do lists.
The MOMA Houses some really important and recognizable pieces. Unlike the Met, it is very much based on paintings. While there are sculptures and other forms of art the focus is definitely on paintings. But this is no bad thing. The museum is far more compact than the Met. Spread out on several floors of gallery space it’s easy to wander around and take in the works by many world-famous artists.
Even someone as uneducated in art as myself was pretty much blown away by the collection. Highlights for us were Henri Matisse the Dance, Claude Monets Water Lillies, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, An number of Jackson Pollock’s works, and a whole load of paintings and sculptures of Picasso’s. However, we both agreed it was hard to look past Stary Night By Van Gough as the number one piece.
We really love the MOMA, It is considered the best Modern Art Museum in the world and it’s really not hard to see why.
Following this, we headed back down to Rockefeller to see the Tree now unwrapped in all its glory! It will still be a few weeks until it’s fully decorated in its 50,000 Led Lights and Swarovski Star on top, but it’s great we got to see it before we left, and before the scaffolding is erected to allow the workers to hang the lights!
Lunch was a simple Hotdog from one of the famous hot dog carts. One of the things we love about New York is how something so simple as grabbing a hot dog is actually an event of cultural significance! We then Headed to Time Square we had Tickets for the Ride and needed to kill some time before our slot. So we used the Pass to try out Madame Tussauds.
Madame Tussauds is a place that can really divide opinion. This is a very highly rated attraction in New York and also in many other Citys where the Wax-Work models of famous celebs have enthralled and captivated people for years. Coming from England we have visited the original London Tussauds on numerous occasions and always love it.
However, we had not tried the NYC Branch before we thought we would give it a go. With around 3000 Excellent or Very good reviews in TripAdvisor, It is an attraction that certainly appeals to many people. We, however, were incredibly disappointed!
There were 4 Floors (apparently) of models and we breezed through the displays in a little over 30mins, and this included the queueing for tickets and to get in. The Wax Works were, on the whole, a lot less detailed and lifelike than the London’s collection and for a number of statues the only way to tell who they were was the plaque or due to costume ques!
There several that were FAR better than the others and showed just how good these models can be but on the whole, it was pretty low quality. There was a fun Ghostbusters set, with a few mild scares, but really this was the highlight along with maybe the world leaders gallery of what was a short and unimpressive experience. Overall at $37 each, we would have been outraged. As it was it’s a great advantage of the pass that we just shrugged it off as we hadn’t actually paid for it!
As we said other people attending and the myriad of positive reviews confirm many people love this attraction, just not for us. It did, however, kill time before the Ride!
We have been meaning take the Ride for a While. It has generated a lot of buzz in the States and we were keen to experience what it was all about, as TBH we really didn’t know what to expect. With a Ticket price of $74, it had a lot to live up to!
We assembled in a queue on 42nd Street just off Times Square and awaited the Arrival of Our Ride Bus. Once arrived we all piled on and tried to grab some good seats. If you don’t know the ride has stadium style seating with floor to ceiling windows and a glass roof, so you are facing sideways out the big windows as you travel around the City, a very unique experience.
The Ride is hosted by two VERY enthusiastic and Eager guides/hosts who talk you through the tour of the city. Pointing out the highlights of the tour. It’s a pretty short loop taking in the highlights of midtown, so Times Square, The Empire State The Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Columbus Circle and Central Park. It’s a basic tour and not worth close to $74 But the ride is more than just a tour.
It is however very hard to explain what it really is. The Hosts use music, effects, lights, singing and dancing along with Audience and Onlooker Participation to make the whole thing a fun and entertaining experience. One of the highlights is where the Hosts berate and entice the Bewildered public into waving, singing, dancing or even kissing for our entertainment.
On top of this, there are several Staged entertainers dotted about the City whose job it is to hang around the City and Jump into song and dance when the Ride approaches. So you have break dancing, Ballet, Rap Artists, and a Vocalist plus saxophonist all performing right on the street. These guys are al very talented and we really did enjoy the performances but the best part was watching the public interactions with them as for the most part they had no idea what was going on.
The tour lasts for around 75 mins and really we thoroughly enjoyed it. We both agreed that had it not been on the pass we would not have paid $74 for it but as always this is one of the pass’s strengths that you can do these things and not worry about being ripped off. We can understand the Price tag however as there are a lot of people who are part of this tour that need to get paid!
Following our Ride, we headed back to the Hotel to get changed not for dinner but to get bundled up as we were heading to Brooklyn for the evening, and it was COLD!
The Purpose of our Brooklyn expedition was two-fold, one to hit Shake Shake out favorite Fast food Burger Joint (forget In’n’Out and Five Guys!) and to grab some shots of the bridge and the Manhattan Skyline at night. We had originally intended to walk the bridge too but the wind was up and it was freezing cold so out on the bridge is the full wind it would be miserably bitter. So we just caught the Subway in and out of Brooklyn.
We really love Shake Shack and while we are aware there are several locations in Manhattan, included right on Times Square near the hotel, we just like the Dumbo Branch, it’s a fantastic location overlooking the skyline and the bridge. The perfect place for Burgers, Cheesy Fries and a Beer! Unfortunately, the weather had put us off a Concrete! These are definitely a must try but when it’s so cold out we just couldn’t face Frozen Custard!
After Shake Shake, we headed down to the waterfront for some serious photography. Unfortunately, the pier along Empire Fulton Ferry Park was fenced off pretty much ruining one of the prime spots but we still got some nice shots along Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pebble Beach.
After that we headed back to the Hotel, taking a Detour to Juniors to grab the Cheesecake we missed yesterday after Dinner! Juniors Cheesecake is pretty incredible, but be warned their slices are pretty gigantic and we were both unable to take one down each!
It was then an early night ready for our last day tomorrow, where we planned to check out a few of New Yorks best Free Attractions. However, another Breakfast news item Changed our plans significantly!
New York Pass Running Total:
Thur 8th Nov:
- Attractions Visited – 4
- Face Value – $170
Fri 9th Nov:
- Attractions Visited – 2
- Face Value – $48
Sat 10th Nov:
- Attractions Visited – 4
- Face Value – $161
- Total – $379
- Pass Cost – $199
- TOTAL SAVINGS $180 – 47% Saving over Gate Prices
With the Pass now complete we can take a look at the savings and how it performed. As you can see the total gate price of all the attractions we did was $379! That would have been $758 for both of us. Instead, we paid $398 for us both and got to see everything we wanted to. Really we could have used the pass so much more aggressively, there were numerous attractions and opportunities where we could have easily snuck another attraction in. On day 2 we only visited two attractions, and other times we just chose to take in the surroundings or take some photos.
Even with this lapse approach we still nearly got 50% savings. We honestly wholeheartedly recommend the New York Pass. But not just this pass. There are a number of different passes available and they all have their pro’s and cons. There isn’t really a bad pass for New York and we think most people would benefit from one of them Check out our Guide to which New York Pass is Best!