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Published: June 11th 2014
The thought of a New Year's Eve celebration conjures images of ball drops, ridiculous glasses, confetti, Dick Clark, and a song that everyone is familiar with but no one knows the artist; over the years, New Year's and New York City have become synonymous and that's why for our first trip together, I decided to take Kristina to Times Square, the epicenter of the world for ringing in a new year.
Due to the last minute nature of our trip, flights from Washington D.C. to NYC were scarce, but we luckily had a friend in Long Island who was willing to pick us up from the local airport (Long Island MacArthur, ISP), which helped us save some mula by not needing a hotel in Manhattan--a money abyss for booking rooms--and more flights were available for ISP than JFK or LaGuardia. There has been a long-standing myth that last-minute bookings are more expensive, which may be somewhat true. However, if you truly wait until the last minute, about 1 week out from date of departure, you can find great deals if you put in some elbow grease. My favorite site for low-cost carriers to obscure airports is cheapoair.com. I entered the
Best Buy Theater
This is the same venue for the NFL Draft every year.
same searches into big name engines like kayak, expedia, orbitz, and travelocity, which all came up with the exact same flights at a higher cost. It may have been sheer luck that I found my flight for as cheap as I did, but you won't catch any luck if you don't put in some effort.
As for the trip itself, we spent 2 nights in Islip on Long Island at a Marriott Courtyard Hotel. This was a very decently priced lodging (considering it was New Year's Eve), had a great location, was very clean, and had a modern decor. We then took the Long Island Train into Manhattan for that night's celebrations for about $20 roundtrip per person, allowing us to avoid the city traffic and a cheaper travel option than taxis around Manhattan. If you want to join the festivities in Times Square but want to avoid the crowds and a day-long wait on the streets for the ball-drop at midnight, you can go the countless bars and clubs up and down the block. Note that reservations are a must if you want to gain access to these clubs. Simply go to newyearsevecentral.com and search for events around
town based on criteria such as price and event type. We decided to go to the Best Buy Theater (1515 Broadway) due to good reviews and prime location. An advantage to these reservations is that you don't have to wait in line to get into these events, but make sure to get the tickets mailed home rather than selecting will-call and having to pick up the tickets in person; this will save you several hours of waiting on the cold streets of Manhattan. We didn't have an option and needed to do will-call because it was so last minute we didn't have time to receive them by mail. .
After the night in the city, we left Manhattan via the Long Island Train, slept for about an hour before waking up very early to catch a flight back to D.C. The early morning flight was miserable due to the lack of sleep and hint of alcohol still left from the previous night, but that's the price you pay if you wish to save some money when booking a red-eye fare. After a chaotic 2 nights in the City that Never Sleeps, 3 hours waiting in line to pick up our tickets, and a 3 a.m. train ride back to Long Island to catch our morning flight, we were finally back home. I guess if we could make it here, we could make it anywhere. In a way, this set the stage for all of our trips--speedy, hectic, but definitely worth it!
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