The General Public Can Only Enter This Place Once A Year, For Just One Hour, And The Time Is Almost Here

Many people seem to enjoy the excitement in going into places where they’re generally or usually not allowed to go. They may be abandoned sites, like Discovery Island and River County at Walt Disney World. Maybe it’s the old City Hall station of the NYC subway system.  Perhaps it’s “forbidden” countries like Cuba (we went to Cuba for my last birthday that “ended with a zero” simply “because I could.” Granted, at the time we could go there legally and relatively easily, but it was right after 50+ years of not being able to).

So when I discovered that Gramercy Park in NYC is locked up tight and closed to the public almost all the time, but is open for just one hour, just one night a year, it got me very interested.

Why do they open it once a year?

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All About Broadway’s Rewards Program

Did you know there’s a rewards program for Broadway? One of Sharon and my favorite trips is going to New York to see Broadway shows. We have our favorites, like Hamilton, The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q, but we also try to see some new shows as much as possible. While we love seeing any productions, I also make sure we earn points every time we go to the theater.

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Audience Rewards is a loyalty program for Broadway. When you buy tickets for most Broadway shows, you just need to include your Audience Rewards number on the reservation and you’ll receive your points after you’ve seen the show. You can enroll in the program for free at the Audience Rewards website.

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How We Went To The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade With Miles & Points (and $22.40)

Last December, when we were putting up Christmas decorations at the house, Sharon and I were talking about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Despite living in the area for most of our lives, I had never been to see the parade and Sharon last went to see it when she was three. We had a crazy idea that this would be the year we’d head to New York in November.

The first thing I needed to check was if I could get the time off of work over the holiday. Amazingly, space was there so I put in for the time off and it was quickly approved. Then it hit me. I’d need to make hotel and flight reservations during one of the busiest travel times of the year. The one thing working for me was that I had plenty of notice and I smartly took the Monday after the holiday off so we didn’t need to fly home on Sunday.

I’m always up for a challenge, so I started looking to see what was available (and for how much).

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Here’s How To Never End Up With A Balance On Your New York MetroCard

We visit New York regularly and when we do, we eventually end up taking the subway  to get around town when it’s more convenient than getting an Uber or taxi, or walking. Because it’s not on my packing list, I’ll occasionally forget to bring our old MetroCards with us and after a while, I end up with a collection of cards that looks like this.

MTA Metrocard

The MTA doesn’t it make it easy to end up with an empty MetroCard. First of all, the subway doesn’t accept contactless payments like other cities such as Chicago do, so you’re forced to buy a card. The fare machines are set to offer you a set amount when purchasing a card, like $10. However, the subway fare is $2.75 per ride. It doesn’t take a genius to find out those amounts aren’t evenly divisible so if you don’t know better, you’re going to have a leftover balance on your card.

Just to make the math harder, the MTA adds a bonus when you reload your card for more than $5.50.

Put $5.50 or more on your card and receive a 5 percent bonus. For example, a $20 purchase gives you $21.00 on your card. Refill your card to use the balance.

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How Do You Rebuild A Hotel Around A Historic Landmark?

New York City, and specifically the Manhattan/Times Square area, is the place we visit more often than anywhere else. We have a list of hotels where we like to stay and will choose from those, depending on the reason for our stay. There are the hotels good for a quick weekend of seeing shows. Other hotels are better for longer stays because they have larger rooms and are less expensive, even if they’re a bit further away from the theater district.

We have one hotel we save for a particular type of stay; one where we’re traveling with friends and are willing to split a room to save some money. At this hotel, every room is a two room suite with a main bedroom and and a large sofa bed in the living room. I was sad when I read this hotel is set to close as part of a massive redevelopment project.

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