Originally posted: 2011/12/09
We absolutely loved our trip to NYC, but…
Here’s our review of the things that could have been better:
Our hotel does not provide free wireless internet (our blog posts were delayed).
They want $4.95/day for internet. Not that we couldn’t afford it, but we refused to pay on principle. The public library, airport, Starbucks, etc, all offer free Wi-Fi. But to make matters worse, these clowns want $4.95/day per device! We have two laptops and two phones, and there’s no way we would pay almost $20/day to have full connectivity, when other places (even hostels) offer it for free.
We love the location of this hotel, but when we return to NYC, we will not be staying here again. They lost customers over a trivial Wi-Fi fee. Yes, we left a review. We checked with the hotel around the corner (which I stayed in several years ago), and they offer free WiFi, so we’ll most likely stay there next time, and enjoy the same great location.
Excessive paranoia at the Empire State Building.
Although security was not rude in general, the security policies were overly restrictive, and a bit ridiculous. We first went there with Tom, to have him take some pictures of us. They rushed us as soon as we entered the lobby, and shut us down before we could take two steps down the hallway. We knew about tripods, etc, and asked if we could check that stuff in and just go up with the three of us. But they discriminated against Tom for having a ‘professional camera’ while several others were in line with cameras that were just as good, or better. What is a professional camera anyway? If they had seen the iPhone fashion shoot, they might not have even let Jenny take her iPhone up there!
To see how often photographers are treated as terrorists, visit these friendly pages:
The Empire State Building Security asked us why we were dressed the way we were, and I thought that was a bit odd. Then the following day, I saw on their website (see “What items are prohibited?“) that they don’t allow costumes or masks. They even asked if my goggles were ‘night vision goggles’. I should have said “Yes, but the batteries are dead!” They took my laser pointer (which I understand), and also took my “tripod” which was so small, that I forgot I had it with me. This I did not understand, but there was nothing I could do about it. It would have been better had we gone on the “Annual No-Hassle Suicide Day” because security basically takes the day off!
We also bought a City-Pass online, but they wouldn’t honor it unless it was printed out. I tried to explain that our phones (our only internet access) were not equipped with printers yet. There was one security attendant in the main lobby who was very accommodating, and even took a picture of us. (The picture was out of focus, but his effort was appreciated.)
Broken elevator at our hotel.
We thought staying on the 9th floor was really great, until we came home at 3:30am after getting married and being out all night, to find that the only elevator in the building was not working. Jenny’s feet were already killing her from the insanely long day, and going up 9 floors wasn’t quite what she had in mind to finish her day.
Lame tour guide on Grey Line bus tour.
This was Jenny’s first time to NYC, and I had been telling her how great the Grey Line tours were, because you not only get a good view of the city layout, but you learn so many interesting historical facts about the city. If you haven’t already, read NYC – Day 3.
I’ve been to NYC 4 times before this, and every time I go I take the Grey Line tour, because I love learning all of those facts. This was my 5th tour, and incredibly disappointing, because the guy kept rattling on about nothing in particular, and then he’d simply repeat himself. He talked, just to be talking, but never said anything of importance. No, we did not leave him a tip.
Inconsistent Airport Security screening.
On our way through security at JFK, we were stopped and they opened my suitcase. My belt was detected in the X-ray and they would not allow me to take it on the plane (even though it was in my suitcase). I explained that the ‘bullets’ were plastic, and I flew through SeaTac without any trouble. It was even meticulously examined by security at the Empire State Building, as they inspected each of the 33 plastic bullets before letting me wear it. Unlike the Empire State Building security, I would not get my belt back from the TSA agents at the airport.
This is unacceptable, since the TSA could very easily have a system in place for people to pay $20 or so to have their item(s) shipped to them. This has already been done at the Olympics. When someone realizes they can’t enter the gates at the Olympics with their pocket knife, they are given paperwork to fill out, and can pay $20 to have the item shipped to them.. Why not do it at the airport? Probably because the TSA employees get first pick of the ‘confiscated’ items. This is a policy that should be changed.
Since my belt was confiscated, I can’t show a picture of it, so here’s a nice picture of a fire on the runway as we were about to pull away from the gate. It didn’t make Jenny feel any better about flying, but we made it home safely, as usual.