Our last day in New York was a mad rush. There was much we wanted to do, but little time to do it all. So, after our early morning visit to Momofuku Milk Bar, we headed to Papaya King.
You can’t go to New York without having a hot dog, right? We already had New York utility pizza the other day, so a hot dog was a must. And, while who makes the best hot dog in New York is highly debatable, Bourdain recommends Papaya King. Being that we were already across Central Park from one, this is where we went.
Papaya King 86th Street
It was a cold, gloomy morning on our final day, but the walk across the park was a nice one. Of course, Papaya King was easy to find once we got in the general vicinity too, thanks to its bright colors.
We weren’t hungry, so we kept things simple here. We order just a single Number One and split it.
Neither of us are care for papayas, so the drink wasn’t really our thing. That’s even with us ordering the mango papaya drink. The hot dogs, however, were fantastic! Easily some of the best, cheap hot dogs we’ve had anywhere. I’d like to try Criff Dog too, but we’ll have to save that for another visit.
Last Minute Shopping
The Papaya King on 86th Street is near a Whole Foods and Trader Joes. We like to check out Whole Foods wherever we go to see what kind of unique, local stuff they carry. Unfortunately, the one near Papaya King is really small and didn’t have much in the way of local exclusive merchandise. Trader Joe’s is pretty standard across the board, but my grandfather loves some of their stuff, so I had to stop there. And they do have location specific reusable bags, which made great gift bags for us.
At the last minute, I decided to have a final meal in The City. With little over an hour before we had to head to the airport, we jumped on the Metro back down to Chelsea Market. There, we grabbed one final lobster roll and a blue crab roll. Mrs. Island Miler doesn’t like lobster, so the crab was her’s. Both were delicious and made for a great, light final NYC bite.
Renaissance New York Midtown Private Car Service
After our rolls, we got back to the hotel with just 15 minutes to spare. Unfortunately I forgot my key in the room and had to request a new one! After clearing that up, we headed up to the room to pack up a few last things, and rushed back down. Not wanting to deal with transportation, I had the bell staff setup an airport transfer for us.
So, for our ride to Newark Liberty International Airport, the hotel arranged a private car for us. The Crown Victoria private car set us back $95, all fees and tolls included. Of course a 20% tip is customary, so altogether the ride set us back about $115 cash. Perhaps next time I’ll suck it up and just take an Uber or Cab… At least that way I can earn 3x Ultimate Reward points with my Sapphire Reserve.
Newark Liberty International Airport
At EWR Alaska Air shares its terminal with American. Their check-in area is small, but it was deserted when we arrived, so we were through quickly. The customer service agents didn’t even say anything about our bags being overweight! Unlike the check-in desk, though, the security check line was horrendously long. Thank goodness for TSA Pre-Check! We were through security within about 10 minutes.
After we cleared security, we trudged down the super narrow corridor to the American Air terminal. No Alaska Air lounge here, so we had to slum it in the cramped, overcrowded terminal. And despite all the Alaska and American flights seemingly being operated by 737s, there were so many people in the terminal that a many had to stand. I think this airport really needs some expansion/improvements. I was so irritated with the crowding and just the general behavior of the crowd that I didn’t take any pictures in the terminal.
Alaska Air EWR-SEA
Our flight to SEA, Alaska Flight 11, was operated by a Boeing 737-700. Boarding commenced on-time, however, over half the flight consisted of Alaska MVPs. We were warned that there wouldn’t be enough overhead bin space, so we voluntarily gate checked our carryon bags.
Despite the crowds, boarding was completely quickly and efficiently. And at 5:21 pm, we began our pushback, 4 minutes ahead of schedule. Then, after a 20 minute taxi to the runway and queuing behind the building traffic, we finally began our takeoff roll at 5:42 pm.
Though our aircraft had the old livery, we had a jet with the newer Boeing Sky Interior. What puzzled me, though, is the fact that Alaska still insist passengers lay their bags down in the bin… Even though these bins are designed to have bags stood on their sides. A lot more bags could have fit in the bins if this was done… Oh well.
For the most part, though, this flight was rather uneventful. It was a full flight, so no free space next to us again. But, we made the most of it by watching pre-loaded Netflix and Amazon shows, and napping. We skipped the meal service, instead opting to snack on a Levain Bakery cookie, since we planed on getting dinner once we landed.
And soon enough we were on final into SEA. We landed at 8:20 pm local time, slightly ahead of schedule despite some strong headwinds. What’s more, the wife and I got to experience another first for us… Falling snow!
Upon deplaning, we collected our bags, hopped on an Uber, and headed over to our hotel.
Papaya King + Alaska Air EWR-SEA Final Thoughts
Our final day in New York was CRAZY. It really emphasized the fact that we simply didn’t have enough time in The City. And despite some bumps along the way (like the rest of this trip), things ended well. We were hoping for snow in NYC, and while that didn’t happen, we got a rare dusting in SEA. But more on that later…
A BIG APPLE HOLIDAY ADVENTURE
- Alaska Airlines HNL-SEA
- Alaska Air N Terminal Lounge + SEA-JFK
- Renaissance New York Midtown
- Getting Around in New York
- Restaurant Review: Noreetuh
- CityPass New York City
- Big Apple Day 2: Rockefeller, Central Park, Times Square
- Review: Michale White’s Marea
- Review: Sushi Nakazawa
- Review: Jane Restaurant
- Big Apple Day 3: Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge
- Shake Shack
- Review: Ivan Ramen New York
- Review: Amtrak Northeast Regional NYC-DC
- DC Day Trip: National Zoo, Natural History, Aviation
- Big Apple Day 5: World Trade Center Sites
- Big Apple: Artichoke Pizza and American Museum of Natural History
- Review: Mentoku Ramen
- Review: My Belly’s Playlist (Renaissance Midtown Room Service)
- Review: Chelsea Market New York
- Review: Le Bernardin
- New York Sweets & Treats
- Papaya King + Alaska Air EWR-SEA
Crif Dogs > every other hot dog anywhere
Island Miler says
Jake, I don’t doubt that at all! I, sadly, wasn’t able to make it there this time… Hopefully next time.
Coincidentally, I just went on a similar adventure, except in a slightly accelerated fashion lol. I booked a ticket from JFK-LGB on March 1st to go visit a friend, but had to make it back to JFK by the 7th since I had a same-day return mini mileage run flight from JFK-SEA on Alaska for $198. On the night of the 4th, I booked 2 flights for the following day – LAX-PDX for $80 and PDX-OGG for $219. I actually managed to clear upgrades for both flights, though my original goal for the first flight was just to same-day flight change for free via status. I was tired and couldn’t think straight so i just booked the closes marriott for the late checkout. There was no way I wouldve made it back to JFK 7th in the morning without paying an arm and a leg, so I called Alaska Airlines, and was able to cancel my first JFK-SEA segment. That freed me up to buy a $212 on United from OGG-HNL-SFO-SEA that left around 6:30pm. The OGG-HNL flight was operated by Hawaiian Airlines, which I had managed to status match earlier, so I was able to upgrade on my short puddle jumper flight to HNL. I also managed to clear an upgraded from HNL-SFO on United with Platinum status (got so lucky)! I got into SEA around 10:30am and my flight wasn’t until that night so I had a solid 10+hours to kill. I actually managed to pull an upgrade on the SEA-JFK nonstop leg too, and arrived back in NYC at 6am.
That was my adventure. Promise I’m not trying to brag, but sort of looking for validation that I did a decent job on the fly? My family thinks I’m crazy because status is useless unless its a Companion Pass (but they forget that I am companionless =\). Any thoughts, comments, critiques?
I apologize for the rambling, I just feel like I’m so close to having a cathartic moment by reading bloggers of like minded people?
Island Miler says
That’s some adventure, Nam! Though, I’d probably do the same if I had time and funds available. My wife would most definitely think I’m NUTS doing something like that, though. She already thinks I’m nuts when I use Marriott’s Rewarding Events to book a 1 hour event simply to maintain status lol. But if I could, I’d probably go bouncing around all over the place on cheap fares… Sounds like fun to me!