Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Niagara and New York City

All of a sudden my husband decided to make a trip to Niagara and NYC on Memorial Day weekend this year. A long ago, before our marriage he was in Connecticut and at that time he made a trip to Niagara and NYC. However, I’ve never been to those places. My husband desperately wanted to show me Niagara and NYC, and he made a plan for us. In the months of March and April, he spent most weekends in front of his laptop planning for the trip. One Sunday in the month of March, he spent a whole day booking air ticket and hotels in Niagara and NYC. At the end of the day, he was totally exhausted but very much successful in finding good deals on air tickets and hotels. My husband took three days off from office to make a five-day trip. Honestly speaking this time I didn’t participate at all in the planning. I didn’t even know the hotels where we were going to stay. He made a very compact plan to visit the famous sites. After revising many times he made the final plan before our departure.
After doing many research he booked our air ticket through Expedia web site. The main advantage was that he could book the tickets in different airlines where it was convenient to us in monitory terms. We first went to Niagara and after spending one day there we went to NYC.
05/28/2011 (The journey to Buffalo)
In the trip our first place to visit was Niagara. On 28th May we departed for Buffalo in the early morning as time of our flight was at quarter past seven. Though we tried hard, still we were little let; we hurriedly went to board the flight. We were the last ones to board. The airline asked us to check our bigger suitcase. This time our son really annoyed us a lot. He was not listening to us at all. Everything was more-or-less in our favor when we the flight departed from San Jose airport to Denver. It was two and half hours’ journey. My son was enjoying before the flight became ready to take off. As the flight started taking off he held me tightly and had started sobbing out of fear. We had a tough time to make him sit on his place. He fell asleep out of fear and we relieved. We had a layover for two and a half hours at Denver airport. The next flight from there to Chicago was delayed by half hour. We worried that time, because we would have only half an hour in our hand to catch the flight from Chicago to Buffalo. Somehow we managed to catch our third flight. As usual my son panicked when both the flight had taken off. At last we reached buffalo around 9:30 at night. I waited for a long time near the luggage belt in vain to pick up our suitcase. It was the worst case when we found that our suitcase didn’t arrive. There was nothing to do but to lodge a complaint in the lost baggage section. We did the same and went to the hotel Comfort Suits.
The wooden walkways at American Falls
05/29/2011
We woke early in the morning to start for Niagara at eight to avoid the traffic to Niagara. We reached Niagara early, there was no queue at all, and so, we didn’t face any problem to enter the park , and to park our car. I didn’t know about our plan, so I simply follow my husband. He first redeemed our ticket at the counter, which he booked on-line. He decided to visit ‘Cave of the wind’ first. We were given water-proof ponchos and sandals for the tour. My son was not at all ready to wear the poncho. My husband really gave effort to convince him to wear that. However, he tried many times to put that off. An elevator took us to the 175 deep gorges. Clad in the special ponchos and sandals we went through the series of special wooden walkways to the Hurricane Deck which was merely 20 feet away from the billowing torrent of Bridal Veil Falls. When water started pouring over us, my son became too scared to do anything; he held my husband very tightly. The rushing water loomed above us, dousing us with generous spray as we could see the thundering falls head-on. It was a captivating experience. Drenching in water reminded me the rainy days of my childhood days. Though the name was ‘Cave of the wind’, there was no actual cave anymore.

American Falls

Originally there was a natural cave behind Bridal Veil Falls which was 130 feet high and 100 feet wide. The cave was discovered in 1834 and a guided tour was begun in 1841. The tour was stopped in 1920, on safety issue, when a huge rock fell down near the tour area. The cave was obliterated in a massive rock-fall in 1954 and subsequent dynamiting of a dangerous overhang. From 1924 the tour was opened in front of Bridal Veil Falls instead of the back. After finishing our tour there we walked towards Horse-shoe Falls. Weather-god favored us on that day. The sky was clear without the scorching sun. The majestic beauty of the falls left me breathless. The rushing torrents, spectacular scenery making my excitement flew like water. While we were coming from Buffalo my husband showed me the quiet Niagara River.

Furious Horse shoe Falls

The obervation tower near 'Maid of the Mist'
It was really hard to believe that such a calm river became a roaring beauty with gushing water within one mile. Anyway, after taking a walk around Horse-shoe falls we decided to take the ride of ‘Maid of the Mist’. We thought that we would walk to the observation tower of the ride. Instead of that we had to take the trolley, because our son wanted to ride ‘tram’. So, we waited for the trolley in long queue near ‘Cave of the wind’, because of some reasons only one trolley was in service. Anyway, the trolley-ride was a fun. We came to know one interesting fact that, every second 75,000 gallons of water was pouring from the falls into the river. We had our ticket with us, so we directly went to the queue of the journey. Though we had to wait for an hour, it was not so tiring, because weather was very comfortable. Moreover, we were enjoying the alternate warm and cold breeze. At last we rode the ferry cladded in blue color poncho. This time our son didn’t deny to wear the poncho, might be, because he we feeling sleepy. My husband told me to go quickly to the left side of the boat on the second story, to a better view. The journey started from the Observation tower near Rainbow Bridge, which connected the USA and Canada.

'Maid of the Mist'
Hotel Sheraton in Canada
 For more than 150 years, Maid of the Mist had taken visitors through the foaming water beneath the falls. Maid of the Mist took us to the base of American falls first. The furious but beautiful falls generously splashed water on us and drenched us completely. Then we were taken to the basin of Horse-shoe Falls. It seemed that, water was crushing from the top with full force and anguish. I couldn’t keep my eyes open in fear of losing my contact lenses. After coming back from the ride, my husband suggested that I take the trail to the top of Horse-shoe falls. I denied that, because I didn’t want to go alone. And it was not possible for him to climb up with a sleeping child on his shoulder. Then we went to have lunch in ‘Top of the Falls’ restaurant and went to watch the movie at IMAX theater. The movie was about the survivors who fell into the falls throughout the time. After that we came near ‘Cave of the wind’ by trolley. I was taken aback after seeing the unbelievable long queue to enter ‘Cave of the Wind’. I wondered when those people would get a chance to go down. Anyway, at that time we started feeling cold, so, took our jackets from our car. We decided to go to Goat Island to watch the Bridal Veil Falls from top. The nice little falls was roaring to show her strength beside the much larger American Falls. Again our son fell asleep. Anyway, we went to the museum by trolley. It was already six in the evening. We spent little time there. At that time everybody was exhausted. We again came back near ‘Cave of the Wind’ and had our evening snacks. I wanted to go back but my husband wanted to wait to see the fireworks and the lighting effect from Canadian side. We waited for a long time. At last at 9 o’clock we could see the beautiful lighting effect, but to our disappointment, there were no fireworks. Around 9:15 we decided to go back to hotel. As soon as we started from there it started down pouring. The wipers of the car seemed not working. It was too risky to increase the speed of the car on an unknown road. The GPS was not working properly; sometimes I was feeling that the situation was going out of control. My heart was beating very rapidly. I was counting every second. The twenty minutes driving took one and half hour. We reached our hotel at 10:30 at night. Also, we received our lost baggage in our hotel.
Bridal Veil Falls

5/30/2011
James Farley Post office
Penn 5 Plaza- home to the city's finest shopping, hotels, restaurants and theaters, as well as Madison Square Garden.
We woke up before six in the morning to catch the 9 o’clock flight from Buffalo airport to LaGuardia in NYC. First we returned the rental car, and then rushed to the airport. However, all our desperate effort became useless because US Airways rescheduled the flight at 10:30.  My husband started re-planning our NYC tour. At last our flight took off at 11:45 in the morning. Previously we decided to go to the hotel first, but when we reached in LaGuardia, it was too late to do that. Besides that, we had our luggage with us, so, we chose to rent a car. My husband booked car online, thanks to his iPhone, and we went to Budget office. After waiting for a long time we got the rental car.

The largest Macy's in the USA

 Then we found out a Subway restaurant to have some food. We literally gulped down some sandwiches rushed to the City Sight office for tour. That was the first time in my life in NYC. The city reminded my very own hometown Kolkata. The crowd, the congestion, honking of cars, and the crazy drivers all were very similar to my hometown. We went through dingy Jackson Heights, which was my husband’s favorite, because of the biryani shops.  Actually he wanted to have biryani there, but time didn’t permit us. The children were playing on the streets, like my own country. Anyway, we parked our car at Times square and rushed to find out the City Sight office. After much effort, we found their counter inside a shop. My husband redeemed our tickets and according to the direction we tried to find out the bus-stop. When we couldn’t succeed, we asked a person who was eventually an employee of Gary Line Tour Company. My husband wanted to go to the night tour, but the problem was the time.  
Memorial tiles at Manhattan
At that time it was 4:30 in the evening, but the tour would start-time was 6 o’clock. What should we do for one and half hours? I was too exhausted to walk around. So, we took the Downtown tour and went directly to the Battery Park. The city was a great example of harmonization of old historic building and high-tech new buildings. I really amazed to see that. We passed The James A. Farley Post Office Building, which was the main post-office building in New York City, built in 1912. Before going to NYC I heard that the largest Macy’s was there. I was interested to see that Macy’s in my own eye. I also came to know that this Macy’s was the oldest in the USA. Then we passed Empire State building and Engine 54 of NYFD. The firefighters who died on the fateful day of September 11, 2001 were from Engine 54. After getting down at Battery Park my husband took us to the financial district of New York on Wall Street. When we were busy to take photos in front of the famous bull there, the camera battery exhausted.


 I became angry because, I asked my husband to take spare batteries with us. Anyway, we walked around there, saw U.S. custom house, museum of American Indian art. We were too tired to go anywhere else and also it was the time for last tour bus to Times Square.

The famous bull at Walls street
I was extremely thirsty and my brain ceased to work. Moreover, our son started screaming for ice-cream. After reaching Time Square my husband first bought a bottle of water and a smoothie for our son. I got back a little energy after drinking some water. I suggested going to hotel. My husband agreed with me. We went to our hotel La Quinta, in Clifton, New Jersey.
Times Square
Empire State building
Flairton Building
United Methodist Church

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