With the announcement of our schedule to New York LaGuardia (LGA), we asked native New Yorker, Loretta Hohmann, for her thoughts on New York. Having been born in Manhattan and growing up in Queens (minutes from LGA), my Homecoming dream is coming true!! The red belly Southwest Airlines planes will soon be gracing the air of NYC!! Much of my childhood has been around LGA (perhaps that is why I have worked in the airline industry for over 25 years), from attending the Worlds Fair, to being seated in Shea Stadium watching the NY Mets, or at the U.S. Tennis Open listening to the planes fly overhead. I cannot wait for the opportunity to feel the pride and delight in seeing the Southwest aircraft flying overhead. Every year my family has a reunion by attending an event or Broadway show in NYC. Whether you are in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx or on Staten Island, there is nothing close to the feeling you have when you are in any of the five Boroughs that make up NYC!! There are so many places to go in NYC, I would just like to share a few of the things you can do in Manhattan, which by the way is only ten miles from LGA!! If you are on the Upper East Side (59th), perhaps just arriving from LGA over the 59th St. Bridge, you will be close to Central Park. A Central Park ride in the horse drawn carriage is always a very special treat. You can also ice skate in Central Park or check out the boat races on the pond. If you head to Midtown, Rockefeller Center is the central point for many activities. St. Patrick's Cathedral is a must for the cathedral lovers. NBC Studios is right around the corner from St. Pats. If you have not experienced Radio City Music Hall, this is a spectacular theater. The holiday shows are a must; where else could you see the Easter Bunny or Santa and the in famous Rockettes skating on the stage? Make sure you grab some cheap (we at Southwest luv this word--cheap) theater tickets at the TIX booth in Times Square. Grab an afternoon matinee. This will give you time to have dinner (get the price fixe--cheap!) and maybe some clubbing afterwards. A few great clubs are down in the old Meat Market area. NOT as in a meat market bar, but where the butchers used to distribute all the meats to the local stores years ago!! The warehouses have been turned into some exquisite bars. If you want a good place to eat in the Theater District, Joe Allen’s (always has some actors in it) you have probably seen the inside of it previously on Law and Order (just pick any series of L&O). How can you go to NY with out having some great Italian food? Be sure to visit Becco. The owner is Lidia of Lidia's Italy, her show on public TV. Be sure to visit the new and improved Grand Central Station with its wonderful restaurants and specialty food shops on the lower level. Grand Central is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, on 42nd Street and Park Avenue. Make sure you pick up some great Visitor maps there. Toward Fashion Ave. (7th) you have Macy's (34th St.) and their fabulous windows. Penn Station is right under Madison Square Garden, home to the New York Rangers and New York Knicks. If you head south toward Wall Street and the South Street Seaport, make sure you take the Staten Island Ferry. It gives you some fantastic views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. The cheapest (luv it) and best ride to see lower Manhattan. You can belt out the tune "Coming to America" as you see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and no one will even blink an eye! Perhaps some of your relatives (as mine did) sang the same song as they entered the harbor to get to Ellis Island on their first venture to the great United States! If you stay in the south end area, China town, Little Italy, and of course Greenwich Village are all areas of interest. Sometimes you are the interest to the locals as well as the locals being of interest to you! Some unique shops are in the Village. If you do not find it in the Village, a good chance it does not exist. Don't forget about Soho, just next door. There is no better way to end a visit to NYC then to catch the evening city lights at the Empire State building. Be sure to sing along with Frank Sinatra to "New York, New York." No one will mind!!! If you have your own special New York memories, please share them with us at our new Travel Guide.
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