Exploring New York: Intro, United p.s., and my first day

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated the blog, but I’m back and I’ll be talking about my trip to New York City.

A friend of mine who frequently travels to the east coast for work asked me about a month before 4th of July whether I would like to go to NYC over July 4th because he’ll be there for work. I was a little bit hesitant because this is going to be the first real vacation I’m taking after I started a new job, but luckily, my company also gave us July 5th off as well as the usual July 4th, so it wasn’t a super hard decision for me to decide to go.

For the flights, I booked a United BusinessFirst flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Newark (EWR) since United no longer flies to JFK and I wanted to try out their premium service (p.s.) flights, so I transferred about 40,000 miles from my Chase Ultimate Rewards account to United. I flew out on July 1st around 8 am and I got to Newark at around 7 pm. This flight is quite interesting because the weather around the Newark airport was really horrible, so they closed the airport down for landing/departing, and for an instance, they were even thinking of diverting flights to Albany airport, but fortunately, we got to land at Newark even though it took us a lot longer than the scheduled time. (Plus we were about an hour delayed already from San Francisco).

We checked in to Andaz 5th Avenue (I used points from my Hyatt Gold Passport for the room) around 7 PM. The service at the hotel was pretty good; however, the “front desk” people weren’t as enthusiastic as the Andaz Napa or the one in Tokyo.


After checking into the hotel, we went to have dinner at Tony’s di Napoli after I checked its Yelp ratings and realized that it’s pretty close to the hotel. When we first looked at the menu, I was shocked because the price of everything seems to be very high, but when our waitress (who was from California – yay!) came and explained to us that everything is supposed to be shared and the portion of each plate is huge, we understood why everything was expensive (though it’s still quite a bit more than I expect regardless). We’ve ordered the meatballs as our appetizer and the seafood squid ink pasta as our main course, and we got a small salad. The amount of food that arrived on our table was enormous. There was no way that 2 people can finish everything even if we didn’t order the appetizer and the salad. I thought the meatballs were pretty flavorful though it's pretty dense and I personally prefer a fluffier meatball (the fluffiest meatballs I’ve had was at Bund’s Shanghainese restaurant in Chinatown San Francisco). The Cesar salad was pretty generic, but the highlight of the meal was the pasta. It was a squid ink linguine, and it contains an abundant of seafood including squids, salmon, shrimps, clams, and mussels. The sauce was pretty good as well even though I thought it was a little bit sweet to my liking.

After the meal, we walked around Time Square for about 15 mins, and it was pretty late already so we decided to go back to the hotel.

Overall, I would say it’s an impressive meal, and it was a good first day to start my New York trip.