Day 1 – Traveling to NYC

The first day of our trip to Manhattan always begins with a trip on the Northeast Regional Amtrak train from Richmond’s Staples Mill Station up the East Coast to Washington’s Union Station (where the locomotive is switched from diesel to electric) then to Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and finally a glorious view of Manhattan across the Hudson and going down through the Hudson tunnels and emerging into the frantic busy-ness of Pennsylvania Station.

The sightseeing highlights of the trip are passing through Ashland’s Randolph-Macon University campus, where Barbara went to college, and then Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania campus, where John attended. After leaving Philly’s Pennsylvania Station, there are beautiful views of the Philadelphia Art Museum and the boathouses along the Schuylkill River. Soon there is the quirky “Trenton Makes … The World Takes” slogan on the bridge across the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We’ve posted a short video on YouTube highlighting these sights, with an audio track from James Taylor: “We Are Riding on a Railroad.”

After arriving at Penn Station, we take a taxi to the Algonquin Hotel on West 44th Street. The taxis nearly always take the same route, so we have created a short video using the Apple Maps “look around” feature of the trip, with an audio commentary about two of the often overlooked sights on Sixth Avenue. [You can find more details here.] The background song is the jazz tune “Call Me a Taxi” recorded by Bob Crosby and the Bob Cats. (Yes, he was Bing’s brother.)

After checking in at the Algonquin, we enjoy a scotch while unpacking, and then we always take a walk west on 44th Street to Times Square and then to Rockefeller Center and a late dinner at the restaurant adjacent to the ice skating rink. We have recorded another short Apple Maps video and added a favorite New York song by Bobby Short: “My Personal Property.” On the walk, we always gaze up at the historic Lambs Club on 44th Street and the I. Miller shoe store on 46th Street because of their Fred Astaire connection. [You can learn more about those bits of history here.]

Today’s NY Drink: Scotch (while unpacking at the Algonquin)

Today’s NY Dish: Hebrew National Hot Dogs (our usual Amtrak lunch)

Tonight’s NY Movie: “The Clock” starring Judy Garland with scenes at the original Penn Station