Feb 21

Courtyard Marriott Herald Square

In June I stayed at the brand new Courtyard Marriott Herald Square in New York City for one night when I had a night out on the town planned. My original reservation was for a city view room with two full sized beds.  When I checked in I was offered a non-city view room or an executive room (King Bed and Pull out sofa) with a city view. I’m usually not a fan of pull out beds in hotel rooms, but I figured in a hotel that was 2 weeks old the bed would be in good shape.

So up I went to room 911 with a view of the city (midtown). The room was obviously nice and fresh, being only 2 weeks old. When you walked in the room you’re in a hallway that has the bathroom at the end and the bedroom area to the right. The benefit to this design was that you can’t see the room from the hallway of the hotel.

The room had a king sized bed, a small couch (twin sized pull out bed), flat screen TV, coffee table, desk, small closet with THIN full length mirror, coffee maker and a mini fridge.  I found the bed and couch comfortable and although the closet was small, it was what I would expect in a hotel in New York City.

The room was quite spacious for 2 people (by New York City standards), but it would be tight with a third person in it for more than a day or two.  They layout was good for the space, my only complaint is that if you sit at the desk you block access to the rest of the room.

Also worth mentioning is that there is security at the entrance of the hotel, while the doors open automatically during daytime hours you need a room key to enter at night.  I like that extra bit of security.

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced hotel in midtown I would recommend staying here, it was clean, secure and the staff seemed to care.

May 16

World Trade Center Memorial

In March I finally had the chance to go to the September 11th Memorial.  Fortunately it was a nice day, but pretty windy, which can be a problem.

I arrived about 45 minutes before my ticketed time, even though they say not to arrive more then 30 minutes early and was let in.  The line moved pretty quickly and security was efficient, a marked difference from when I went to the Statue of Liberty last year.

You enter the memorial from the Southwest corner, straight ahead is the South Pool representing the South Tower or Tower 2.  This pool holds the names of the first responders as well as some of the flights, South Tower, and Pentagon losses.  Check out the 911Memorial website for more on how the names are arranged.

A Police Officer I had the pleasure of meeting about a month before the attack

When you enter, to your left is an open area with trees, beyond the trees is the North Pool.  On windy days it seems the North end of the North Pool has a water issue, the falling water being blown.  I was the only person I saw who walked along the North edge of the pool.  Actually, I went at more of a run and still got quite wet.  I did it to honor those who had died and whose names were on that wall.  But on a cold day, I wouldn’t suggest it.

I love the memorial, and I have seen some great memorials around the world.  There is a serenity here with the pools, waterfalls, trees.  The only problem is the tourists.  With so many people there it breaks the serenity of the environment.  No matter how hard people try to be courteous, a large number of people always seem to fail.  For that reason I think going early in the morning would be best.

The saddest names

 

The wind blowing the water

After you leave the memorial you are directed to walk in a path that takes you to the shop associated with the memorial.  They have a few items on display, they play some documentaries on TV’s and they sell a wide variety of books, videos, clothing and other touristy types of items.  It’s worth a stop in the shop even if you’re not looking to purchase anything.  The museum is scheduled to open later this year.