NYC “Daycation”

Back on January 21st, JT found out about a flash sale on JetBlue: “$32 flights to 32 destinations” from New York City – and Austin was one of them! After posting about it on JT’s Flight Deals (, JT messaged Katie about possibly taking advantage of this incredible sale. Part of the problem was that the sale was only valid for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through Feb 11th. There was exactly a 0% chance that JT would be able to get a day off from work in this time of the year. So, that left us only with the option of flying up Saturday and right back Saturday night – which was actually a decent option since JetBlue flies AUS-JFK 6:07a-10:30a Saturday mornings and JFK-AUS 8:59p-12:21a Saturday nights. After some debate, we decided “it would be an epic day”, so we would do it the only day we could: February 7th. After an hour fighting with the crashing JetBlue website and $127.96 later, we were booked!

Since Katie is taking the lead on planning South Africa and China, JT look the lead on planning this daytrip. He worked through many of the lists of the “best things to do” in NYC – striking the ones we had already done in our previous two NYC trips and most of the museums/art galleries/shows (not our cup of tea).

He settled on the following itinerary:
– Book of Mormon ticket lottery
– Tour Rockefeller Center
– Circle Line Cruises “Best of NYC Cruise”
– Walk the snowy Central Park

Items interested in, but unable to work in:
– ice skating in Bryant Park (or Central Park – which was more expensive)
– checking out Smorgasburg – a collection of up to 100 food vendors on Saturdays in Brooklyn
– Berry Park / Bohemian Hall – beer halls

For those interesting in our itinerary, here are the steps:
10:30 am Arrive JFK
Add $30 to our existing MTA MetroCard (should be $31.50 after bonus)
Take AirTrain towards Jamaica Station
10:53 am Take E train towards World Trade Center, exit 50th Street (12 stops)
11:26 am Arrive 50th Street. Exit station south (direction train traveling) towards 50th Street/8th Ave exit. Head south on 8th Avenue. Turn left on 49th Street. In ½ block, arrive at theater
11:30 am Sign up for Book of Mormon ticket lottery
12:00 pm Book of Mormon ticket lottery ($32pp tickets for the winners, up to 2 tickets per winner)
Walk west down 49th Street towards Rockefeller Center; buy tickets for 12:30 pm Rockefeller Center tour ($17pp)
12:30 pm Rockefeller Center tour begins
1:45 pm Rockefeller Center tour ends
Take an Uber from Rockefeller Center to Pier 83 (~$8)
2:00 pm Buy tickets for 2:30 pm Circle-Line Sightseeing “Best of NYC” boat tour ($40pp)
2:30 pm Boat ride begins
5:00 pm Boat ride ends
Take an Uber from Pier 83 to Wagner Cove in Central Park (~$15)
6:30 pm Leave Central Park, walk west towards Central Park West/81st (or 72nd/86th).
6:45 pm Take the C line towards Euclid Avenue, exit 50th Street (3 stops)
7:02 pm Transfer to E line, towards Jamaica Center, exit Sutphin Blvd / Jamaica Station (12 stops)
7:45 pm Take the AirTrain to the terminal

Unfortunately, everything didn’t work out as planned…
(1) Our flight arrived a bit late and we just missed an AirTrain. So, we didn’t get on an E line until 11:23 am. We arrived at the Book of Mormon theater around 12:05p – right as they were starting to call out the lottery winners. So, we were way too late! So, we headed past the theater down to Rockefeller Center.
(2) Uber’s app was malfunctioning and would not take either of JT’s credit cards, JT’s Google Wallet account, or JT’s PayPal account. So, we had to take a NYC taxi to Pier 83 for the boat ride.
(3) Central Park’s streets were blocked off. So, we were dropped off at 67th and Central Park West (instead of Wagner Cove). We walked in there to the Bethesda Fountain and Bow Bridge
(4) Construction on the C line tracks meant that the C line didn’t stop at 50th Street, so we transferred to the E line at 42nd Street.

After the highly-recommended Rockefeller Center tour ($17pp standard price, $14pp with AAA membership, every 30 minutes from 10 am to 4 pm), we grabbed pizza at Harry’s Italian Pizza Parlor, right there in Rockefeller Center. We grabbed 3 slices of pizza (~$15) and ate in the underground food court, watching the ice skaters. Three slices was more than enough pizza for us to split – we would have probably be satisfied with two slices.

We arrived at JFK around 7:30, so we decided to kill some time by riding the AirTrain around the airport. We got on in Jamaica Station and rode from there past Terminal 1 all the way to Terminal 8, got out and walked around the terminal a bit before heading back to JetBlue’s Terminal 5. We easily cleared security (TSA Pre FTW!) and tackled the food court. We were tempted by the sushi at Deep Blue, but the prices sobered up our temptations. We headed over to the general food court. JT grabbed Sesame Chicken at Lucy’s Asian Kitchen ($10 entree + $1.50 eggroll) and Katie grabbed a large chicken noodle soup (~$6).

Google’s AutoStory:

The TVs in row 20 were broken, so we took row 25 – the back of the plane
Sunrise on the flight up to NYC
Our “bird” from AUS-JFK (N583JB)

The Book of Mormon ticket lottery

It’s snowing! (with Times Square in the background)

Radio City Music Hall – during our tour of Rockefeller Center

The entrance to “30 Rock” in Rockefeller Center

Atlas and St. Patrick’s Cathedral

On Circle Line Cruise’s boat tour

Panorama of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, and Katie 

Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges with the Statue of Liberty

White “Sheep’s Meadow” in Central Park

Enjoying a very snowy Central Park

At the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park (starting line of Amazing Race season 1)

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park

Rambling over the Ramble Stone Arch

Looking out over the frozen Central Park Lake

JetBlue’s Terminal 5 in JFK Airport

Goodbye NYC (for 67 days!)

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