• Bruce

Day 6: New York

After a pretty packed day yesterday, we were going to take it easy today. We slept in and met up for brunch with a close friend from high school. It’s been a while since we hung out so it was really great catching up. Since we were living by K-Town, we went out for some Korean food at BCD Tofu House.

After lunch, I had my Marriott timeshare information session. I always pictured these timeshare things as a very enthusiastic presenter on a stage in front of a crowd of elderly couples. Instead, there was just a few glass offices, designed for 1:1 conversation. After checking in, the associate invited me into one of these rooms and started chatting. Obviously from my age, he knew it would be a hard sell, so he was honest right from the get-go and said that he knew I wasn’t buying. Instead, he asked me about my situation and I explained to him my hobby regarding credit card points and miles. Instead of going on a default sales pitch about Marriott Vacation Club, which he knew I wasn’t interested in, we had a great conversation around points and miles. He was also an enthusiast and showed me some of his redemptions at various hotels and airlines. I talked about my ANA Round the World trip earlier that year and he was pretty blown away. At one point, he was taking notes to learn about points and miles from me. Part way through, he even gave me an informal job offer. I’ve never had this deep of a conversation about credit cards and Marriott points with anyone, so I was really enjoying it. Ultimately, he had a job to do and needed to tie it in to this program that they were selling. Basically, he wasn’t selling timeshare properties like I thought, he was selling points. These vacation club points could transfer to Marriott and also come with Lifetime Platinum status. In the end, he sold the program to me as a way of getting a trip around the world in business class, every year, for life, with lifetime Marriott Platinum. I have to be honest, I was impressed. He really tailored this pitch to my exact trip this year, one that I thought was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and he was selling it to me for life. He knew that I knew what those points were truly worth and what I could do with them, unlike most people he talks to. Obviously, I wasn’t going to drop 50Gs that day - but, it definitely peaked my interest, such that maybe one day, in the distant future, if points and miles are still the way they are today, we could have this conversation again.

After that surprisedly very enjoyable session, I met up with my girlfriend and we headed out west. Along the way, we passed by the iconic Madison Square Garden at Penn Station.

From this vantage point, we got a nice look at the Empire State Building, mostly unobstructed.

Soon, we arrived at Hudson Yards - a brand new, massive development of offices, shopping, residences, and public spaces.

First, we explored the large luxury mall at the main plaza. I also picked up some mini chicken sandwiches from David Chang’s Fuku fast food stall.

The crown jewel of Hudson Yards is the iconic ‘Vessel’, which is a beautiful art installation made up of 154 interconnected stairs. While admission was free, you needed to make advance reservations due to capacity limits. We also weren’t too keen on climbing that many stairs today.

Connected to Hudson Yards was the High Line. This is a newly developed park on top of an old elevated railway. It runs from Hudson Yards down to the Chelsea District. This place was pretty cool and a great way to escape the crowds of New York while looking over the city. It is surrounded by new buildings, such as this apartment on the left, designed by my favorite architect, the late Zaha Hadid.

Chelsea is more of an industrial district that has been modernized to be kind of rustic and hip. We visited the Chelsea flea market that my girlfriend really enjoyed.

Afterwards, we took the subway back into Midtown for dinner at Sake Bar Hagi 46. This izakaya was predictably quite loud, but the food was pretty good. I had an omurice made with yakisoba, which was delicious.

After dinner, we walked to Broadway to go see the famous Lion King musical at Minskoff Theatre.

The theatre itself was huge and designed exclusively for the Lion King. We had a great view from the Mezzanine. The show itself was spectacular. Lion King is one of my favorite Disney movies and, like many, I love the music in it. The cast was fantastic and I can see why this remains one of the most popular shows after decades on Broadway.

The theatre also had these huge windows overlooking Times Square. During the first intermission, I almost thought the sun hadn’t set yet because of all the lights from outside. After the show, we headed back to our hotel which was just a short walk away. Only one more day left in New York.