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Marriot Bonvoy to Compete with AirBnB

I wonder if you would be able to book through points, and how they'd deal with all the categories

April 29, 2019, 10:42:20 AM
Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure
May 19, 2019, 02:52:22 PM
Re: wesson canola oil 128 oz free on
June 20, 2019, 07:57:26 PM
Re: wesson canola oil 128 oz free on
June 23, 2019, 01:24:26 AM
Re: wesson canola oil 128 oz free on
Dont order if you know you wont use or it is unrealistic to have so much of.

Exactly. We're a family of 2, and basically every free item would most likely be rarely used in my house. So as much as I desperately wanted to use this deal, I passed on it. There's just no way we're gonna use more than one bottle of canola oil.

June 25, 2019, 08:22:40 PM
Athens Riviera - A 3 Day Trip, Off the Beaten Path Athens is a great city to visit on a stopover to or from Israel.

My wife and I were going to Israel for Pesach and we wanted to find a city to see on the way. Luckily, Dan posted the Delta One flash sale to Europe just about the time we were going to book. We were going to be travelling to Israel in style!
The only two cities that had availability were Athens and Frankfurt, both of which were unfortunately serviced by A330s, not A350s. The next day, the Frankfurt flight was gone, so the decision was made.
I discovered (with help from Kayak) that Delta bills an open jaw as a round trip, so we booked our "round trip" JFK-ATH and TLV-JFK on Delta, purchasing a one way ATH-TLV for cheap from El Al. The flight home to JFK wasn't eligible for the Delta One sale, but all in all, we got tickets for Yom Tov for about 100k Delta skymiles plus $130 for the El Al flight.

Delta flies once daily to Athens. Yom Tov started Friday night, so we booked a Tuesday evening (landing Wednesday morning) flight to Athens and a Thursday night (bedikas chametz night) flight to Tel Aviv. We thought two days would be perfect, but Delta later cancelled our Tuesday flight, so we had to go a day early. (They refused to compensate, as it was just a "schedule change".)
We contacted Chabad beforehand and they said that the grocery would have limited stock and the restaurant would have a limited menu due to it being right before Pesach. They recommended placing an order for any essentials so we were guaranteed they weren't sold out. Most of the basics were already out of stock, so our order was small and we had to pack a little more than expected.
We brought along Pomegranate meals, which were good even though they were kosher l'pesach. My wife wasn't so into the Chabad restaurant menu so we planned on eating there only one night. I emailed the hotel about warming up kosher food, and they said it would not be a problem.

The Athens flight leaves at 5:05PM. This was the first trip we've had that we didn't have to worry about baggage weight, and boy, was it a relief not to have to weigh the bags, repack, weigh again, and end up going to the airport seven pounds overweight. Check-in was super smooth, because that's what happens when you fly first class! We made sure to come early enough to stop by the lounge. It was pretty cool, although it was mostly full of businesspeople speaking loudly on their phones as if it was their private office. In the lounge, we ate dinner from Crawford's that we had brought along. Soon enough, it was time for the flight.
I had expected to be among the first to board, but I soon discovered that there was one group that had priority: wheelchairs. I've never seen so many wheelchairs on a single flight my entire life. I would say about half the flight needed assistance. There were only three or four employees assisting, so this took quite a bit of time. I'm only exaggerating a little bit. It truly was one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen.
Finally, it was our turn to board. We settled in to our middle seats, loving every second. Even when the flight was delayed due to heavy winds and a closed runway, we didn't care. I watched an entire movie before takeoff. There is no place better to be delayed than in first class.
The food was the same nastiness they serve in economy except it's served on real plates. I loved the Tumi bag that had a toothbrush and toothpaste, among other things. I slept a full night of sleep on the lay-flat bed, though my wife twisted and turned the whole night. She said it felt more like sleeping on a couch.

Exiting the airplane in Athens, we were greeted by an army of wheelchair assist people. They literally had ninety employees, each standing by his or her own wheelchair. That's how you to do it, JFK.
We sped through passport control and reached baggage within five minutes. The bags, however, took forever to arrive.
Once we had our bags, we ordered a Beat Taxi, the equivalent of Uber in Athens. They're just regular cabs, but it lets you pay with credit card. It's probably more like Gett. We used Beat throughout the whole trip, which was quite a help. Overall, we used credit card basically everywhere, and only took out 50 Euro in cash.
I had bought a Pixel with the Fi Gift Card deal, and had previously planned on selling it, but by the time April came around, I decided to keep it. Fi was super helpful in Greece and Israel, and the total bill was 13 dollars. Because we had Fi, we could use Beat Taxi without an issue. As an added perk, the pictures came out amazing.
Taxis between Athens and the airport are set at 38 Euro. On the way to the hotel, we called ahead to see if they could have a room ready for us at 12, to which they were happy to oblige.
We stayed in the NJV Athens Plaza Hotel, paying $220 a night for a deluxe room and a Syntagma Square view. The hotel is part of a strip of three connected hotels facing Syntagma Square. The first, the Grand Bretagne, is the nicest. The King George is the second. The third is the Plaza, and is the worst of the three. The King George and Grand Bretagne are both Marriot Bonvoy Hotels (Category 7).
The hotel is certainly nice, but nothing special. It was perfect for what we needed.

View from the Hotel of Syntagma Square

After settling into the room and eating lunch, we were ready to go. The front desk offered us a map of the city and helped us plan our day. We ordered a Beat to our starting point, Hadrianís Arch.
Going around Athens, you see an odd mix of grandiose archaeological sites and run-down buildings in desperate need of a face lift. The first thought I had coming into the city was, "Wow, this place is disgusting!" Most buildings are old and in obvious states of disrepair. The streets are a mess. Mopeds rule the road. Homeless people and dogs are everywhere. But the historic sites are well maintained and are quite impressive.
We arrived at Hadrianís Arch after a short taxi ride. We were approached by a tour guide who said he was about to start his free tour of the city, but we declined. We were not interested in listening to a tour guide ramble all afternoon. As it is, we really arenít too interested in history. Museums really arenít our thing. We visited the sights, but didnít stay long. It seemed kind of funny, as history is basically everything in Athens, but we were able to appreciate the beauty, if not the backstory.
Behind Hadrianís Arch is Temple of Zues. We paid 30 Euro for entry for 7 sights in the city. We wouldíve saved money if we paid for each sight individually, because the only other sight we ended up visiting was the Acropolis. However, it sure was worth 4 Euro not to wait in the Acropolis ticket line.

Temple of Zues

We then walked to the South Entrance of the Acropolis. On the way, people tried stuffing roses into our hands and telling me how beautiful my wife is. Donít take the roses and keep on walking, and yes, I know 😊. It was a nice hike up to the Parthenon, and we were sweating by the time we reached the top. There were really stunning views from the top. There seems to be some sort of restoration project going on. Again, we werenít so interested in the history, so we just spent some time there walking around and enjoying the views.

View from the Acropolis (Can you spot the Temple of Zues?)

We went down on the North side. We needed a bathroom, and even there were signs for one, we couldnít find it. As we left the Acropolis and the houses start again, we were met by an even more aggressive group of tourist chasers pushing necklaces and beads on us. They told us to come that night to the Monastiraki, where they would be performing. Moving on, the next group tried offering us weed. We sure were passing up on their goods. We continued down the hill until we reached the Monastiraki, an open-air market. Fresh fruit vendors set up right in the middle, outside a train station. Numerous narrow side streets lined with other vendors lead away from the main square.
We followed one of the streets, making our way towards Chabad. Gostijo is the name of the attached restaurant and grocery store. The grocery could not find our order, so we just shopped around what they had. We picked up instant soups, snacks, and drinks. We met Rabbi Mendel Hendel, the Chabad Rabbi who El Al made famous, and then headed out. On the way back, we passed by the equivalent of Machane Yehuda. On the street, there were vendors selling spices. On the inside, there was one section selling fish and one section selling meat. All I could manage was a quick peek to take a picture. Then we headed back to the hotel.

Right across from Syntagma Square is the Old Royal Palace and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Every hour, on the hour, there is a changing of the guard. On Sundays, the guards are more dressed up and perform more elaborately. Even though it wasnít Sunday when we went, it was still enjoyable. It's definitely worth the visit, especially since it's in great location and it's so often.

Changing of the Guards

Right next door to the palace is the Botanical Gardens. We had a little more energy before retiring for the night, so we walked around in the gardens. Itís pretty but definitely not a required attraction. The only place we wanted to go but we didnít have time was Lycabettus Hill, which has cable car access and the best views of the city.
Arriving back in the hotel, we stopped at the front desk to inquire about heating up our meals. They said that whenever we were ready, room service would pick it up from our room. My wife went back to the room, and I took a cab to mincha. It was about a fifteen minute walk, but I was exhausted. It turned out to be a bad idea, as traffic was at a standstill. I caught the tail end of mincha, which took place upstairs from the restaurant. They said maariv would be another fifteen minutes later, but after waiting for a half hour and nothing was happening, I went back to the hotel.
We called room service and gave them very specific instructions not to open up the food. Five minutes later, the chef called us to find out what temperature and how long the food should be heated for. ďAre you sure,Ē he asked. ďThatíll burn the food!Ē We shortened it a little, but we learned for the next night to cook it less. The food was very solid, even though it was kosher for Pesach. After a long day, we were exhausted, and we fell asleep quickly.

We woke up late the next day. We had booked a Volkswagen Polo for $30 on (despite the bad reviews) through Keddy by Europcar. I called Europcar to let them know that we were still coming and took a quick cab over. When we arrived, to our dismay, the agent informed us that they had just returned the car to their other location. They claimed that they had held it for too long, despite the fact that I gave them ample notice of the new time. We had to wait for them to return the car, an extra half hour, which we spent in a nearby supermarket. Finally, the car came, and it was a Nissan Micra. Bummer. I didnít think it was in the same class as a Volkswagen Polo, which I ordered, but I wasnít going to complain at that point. To add insult to injury, however, the car came with an 1/8 tank of gas, and they said I should fill it up and leave it with the same amount of gas. I didnít really have a choice at this point, so I had to scramble to fill up gas (and of course I ended up paying for too much gas).
Driving in Athens was at first scary, even for a New Yorker like me. Mopeds rule the road and many drivers bribe their way to get driving licenses. One website I read recommended assuming that no one else on the road besides for you knows how to drive. I had driven in Israel before, so this was only slightly worse. Just mind your own way, and the mopeds will take care of themselves.
Todayís plan was to drive the Athens Riviera coastal highway. After driving Croatiaís coastal highway on our trip last year, I knew I wanted to do many more coastal drives. We first stopped in Lake Vouliagmeni, a lake-turned-spa with naturally warm year-round waters, the fish that nibble on feet, and leads into a huge underwater cave system which divers frequent. The area has a 12 Euro entrance fee and has bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms. We actually found the water to be slightly chilly, but it was stunning nonetheless.

The Margi, a Small Luxury Hotel which has recently begun accepting World of Hyatt points, is in the immediate area. (We almost stayed there but instead opted to stay in the city of Athens.) There was a nearby hike with beautiful views which we couldnít find. Instead, after swimming in the lake, we found a boardwalk along the ocean just across the main road. We then drove south to the southernmost tip of the Athens Riviera, Cape Sounion, home of the Temple of Poseidon. (Sounio also has a nice luxury hotel.) We paid the small entrance fee to see the ruins and enjoy the incredible views. At the bar/gift shop, we found Arizona tea with an OU!

View from the temple, photo credits to my wife

We then drove back up the same road. On the way back, it started pouring. Apparently, afternoon rain is common on a Greek April day. On the way back, I saw signs for the old airport. The old Athens airport was abandoned in 2004 after the new one opened for the Olympics. A number of planes have been left to rot in the airport. Researching before the trip, I had no luck finding out if there was a way to visit the airport or if it was locked up. Recent articles of the airportís sale to a developer implied that it is especially hard to explore. Nevertheless, I was curious to check it out.
I put the old airport in the GPS and followed signs. Nearing the airport, we saw many building projects that had been started and then abandoned after the financial crash. One building frame had been converted into a skateboard park. Itís truly amazing to see the impact of the bankruptcy that followed the Olympics.

Old Athens Airport

Arriving at the airport, we encountered an unlocked gate. A whole line of vehicles were parked in front of the airport. In the pouring rain, I opened the front door to the airport. It was basically a huge empty room, kind of impressive when you know what was there. Walking around a little, I saw two men at the opposite end of the hall. Thinking they were developers, I quickly went back to the car. It was a really cool site, but I was kind of disappointed that I didnít get to see any airplanes. When trying to leave the airport, we ran into overgrown bushes and roadblocks everywhere we went. After many failed attempts to leave, we finally turned around and left the way we came.
We took the road north along the perimeter of the airport. As we neared the end, we finally saw the airplanes! I jumped out of the car to look. There they were, quite a few planes, just sitting there. There was even an Olympics Air 747! It truly was a site. We went around the corner so I could get another view. Finally satisfied, I went back to the car sopping wet.

The 747. Note the flat tires

That evening, we returned the car and went back to the hotel. This time, I walked to mincha, yet by the time I got there, they had finished. Apparently, they had started 15 minutes earlier. This time, there was a group of ten waiting around for maariv and we started exactly on time. Before I started walking, I told my wife to call room service to get our food ready. This time, the food was less burned, and again it was really solid.
After eating, we walked two doors down to the Grand Bretagne. I wanted to go to the rooftop bar with views of the acropolis, which had been highly recommended. Sadly, they did not have any available outdoor seating. Instead, we toured the hotel. In the gift shop, we stumbled across quite an interesting find. There was a silver case, about the size of an esrog case, which had engraved in it the bracha for eating matza. We asked about it, but the store owner couldnít really give us much information about it.

That night, we packed up, as we had to check out of the hotel room before leaving for our trip the next day.
The next morning, Chabad didn't have a minyan, so I went to daven by the local shul. I had to bring my passport to enter. It was a sfardi davening, had no mechitza (yes, there were women), and they skipped laining.

Today's activity was a boat snorkeling tour with Extreme Divers Greece ( We had wanted to do scuba diving, but my wife was expecting. George picked us up from the hotel, and right from the start, we knew we were going to have a great day. He was super friendly and double checked that we had everything we needed before leaving. Driving to his store at the edge of the city, George was our acting tour guide. He knew all about the history and the economy, and even offered to take us to the old airport when I mentioned it. He had petitioned the government to sink a plane in the sea for diving, but they denied his request. My wife expressed concern about snorkeling while pregnant (her doctor said no, for some reason), but George was quick to calm her fears. He even told us about all the benefits of pregnant woman and young babies being in the water. Whatever topic we discussed, he seemed to know everything about it.
We stopped briefly at the store to swap cars (only one of them was legal to drive in the city), pay, and sign some forms. We then drove to a dock where the boat and skipper, also named George, were waiting. He had brought along fruits and vegetables because he knew about kosher. He even ran to wash them well with soap, because he said that it was important for pregnant women.
He knew all the nice snorkeling spots in the area, even teaching us how to spot a hidden octopus. As an expert boater, he was continually tracking the weather, and brought us back a few minutes early when he sensed the impending thunderstorm. We made it back to shore right before the rainfall. On the way back, he recommended a nice seafood restaurant with beautiful views, to which we politely declined. Overall, George went above and beyond, seizing every opportunity to please his customers. It was a little pricey, and the snorkeling was not necessarily better than anywhere else in the world. But I would recommend it for diving, and spending a day with George is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The hotel wanted to charge us 60 Euro to use a room to shower, so we passed. The flight from Athens to Tel Aviv is short, and we were willing to endure the discomfort. We changed in a bathroom and hung out in the lobby. We ate dinner at Gostijo, where I ate from the buffet while my wife took an instant soup. It was finally time to say good-bye to Athens. We walked back to the hotel and tried to call a Beat Taxi, but every time we tried, there was no one available. I asked the hotel if they could try and find me a taxi to the airport that I could use a credit card to pay, but even they had trouble finding someone to stop for us. At that point, we were getting a little nervous, but after a little more perseverance, we got a Beat. After hearing about all the troubles we went through until we found him, the taxi driver remarked, ďItís because you had to get me!Ē He hit 160 km/hr on the highway, and in no time, we were in the airport.

The El Al security in Athens was even more tight than in New York. The agent asked us quite interesting questions, although I wonder if she was more curious about our culture more than anything. She asked us why I wasnít wearing a ring while my wife was. She asked what we each did in Israel while we were there in school for so long studying Judaic studies. She then cornered us directly into revealing that we had left our bags with the hotel for the day and then made us go through every bag in front of her. After a grueling interrogation and search, we finally proceeded to check in our bags.
The El Al website did not let us pay for the bags before we got to the airport, so they wanted us to pay the airport rate, double the price. I argued with them, even showing the confirmation request (I had requested a bag but was never able to pay for it), but nothing worked. I asked for the supervisor, and then another supervisor, until there was no one of higher rank in the airport. The final answer was: We cannot do anything for you, so pay now and complain to customer service. Right, El AL customer service. (To my great astonishment, they actually ended up reimbursing us!)
To close the trip, of course the flight was delayed a few hours and the plane was over 20 years old and super cramped. There was a sign at the front of the airplane that the plane was checked for chametz, although after taking off at 1 am, they turned the lights on and began serving pastrami sandwiches. You really canít make these things up.
In the end of the day, it was a classic Welcome to Israel.

July 29, 2019, 10:14:39 PM
Re: 8ų2(2+2) = ? 1. Basic order of pemdas
July 31, 2019, 11:15:40 AM
Re: $25 0ff $25 at Tons of glitches on the website, but got an order through! Thanks
July 31, 2019, 11:22:35 PM
Re: Chase wipes out debt for Canadian Credit cards Woohoo! HT number 2 :)
August 08, 2019, 05:23:46 PM
Re: Need to physically check in at Hyatt? Perhaps consider sponsoring a vacation for a lucky friend. I'd happily vouch for that. :)
August 12, 2019, 03:55:47 PM
Greenwich, CT - 2 days This week, we went on a spontaneous staycation in Greenwich, Connecticut. Greenwich has a Category 2 Hyatt Regency, so for only 8,000 points (less with the current promos), we had a beautiful place to stay. In addition, both Stamford and Scarsdale are within a twenty minute drive, so there was no shortage of kosher food available.

We set out for the hour long drive at about 2 on Tuesday afternoon. It was supposed to pour, but in the end, it was totally clear. Our first impression of the hotel was "wow." The hotel was centered on a huge indoor forest, with trees reaching to the top of the four-story building, which was roofed with a pointed skylight. I'd seen this before in the Embassy Suites in Parsippany, but I hadn't really looked at pictures of the Hyatt before booking, so it was a really nice surprise.

Hyatt Regency Greenwich by Jury Duty, on Flickr

Check-in was smooth, and since it was an award night, they waived the parking fee. There was no upgrade available, but she put us on the top floor with a view of the lobby/forest. We brought our stuff upstairs, down the really long corriders. (why do hotels have carpet which makes wheeling your luggage so difficult?)
The room was nice and normal, nothing special. We had free waters with status. There was a beautiful view of the lobby. The only downside was that the windows didn't open, and it kind of felt a little closed in. In addition, the only way to make it cool was to have the AC pumping at 65, the lowest possible temperature. In the end, it did get cool, so we didn't feel a need to complain it.
The hotel recently introduced the option to open your door with your phone on the Hyatt app. It's a super cool function and makes life much easier. I wish they had it in the Hyatt Ziva Cancun which we visited in June, because not having to take a key to the pool would've been super convenient.
We checked out the indoor pool, which apparently is a saltwater pool, even though it smelled very much like chlorine. It was packed. That was fine, because the weather had held up and we had no problem exploring Greenwich.

Our original plan was to visit Greenwich Point. Before leaving, we stopped at the front desk for more information about the city. We were happy that we did, because they sell Park Passes in the hotel, which counted as a Hyatt purchase for the Hyatt credit card. The pass costed 7 dollars a person and is required for many parks in Greenwich. The other place they sell it is in the Civic Center. There is one center a short drive from the hotel, and we stopped there anyway to find out about the ferry schedule for tomorrow. We learned that Greenwich Point does not require park passes after 5 PM, but still charges the 35 dollar parking fee. We were going to return to the hotel and either get on the shuttle, which the hotel has for free pending availability, or grab an Uber for the short ride. If it sounds like there are tons of rules, regulations, and random fees in Greenwich, it's because there are. Everywhere we went, it seemed like there was something else. After two days, we pretty much got the hang of it, though.

We decided to drive around the area first, scouting out for our day tomorrow and in search of some impressive architecture. We drove up until the gate at the entrance of Greenwich Point and decided not to enter then. There are some really nice houses in that area. We then went to Greenwich Avenue, the main shopping area, and drove down the street. We saw some really interesting stores and put it on the list for tomorrow. We found the spot where the ferry left from on Arch Street, and I stopped in to get some more clarification on ferry times. We then found a nice pier on Steamboat Road where there was a nice crowd fishing.

By that time, it was nearly 6 and we headed to Stamford for dinner. We ate in Six Thirteen, a meat restaurant which came highly recommended. We sat outside, which was pleasant. They have a huge menu, with tons of food options that looked really good. (Who knows, maybe we'll go there for dinner again - it's only an hour drive after all.) The food is really awesome, definitely get the crab cakes appetizer.
We sat next to the Chabad Rabbi and Rebbetzin, who were happy to give us recommendations of places to see the next day. They were super friendly and helpful.
After dinner, I ran to mincha in Congregation Agudath Sholom. After that, we went to Avon Theatre, which shows indie films. The show that was playing that night was Tel Aviv on Fire. It was absolutely hilarious, one of the best movies I've seen recently. I'd say it was worth it to come to Connecticut just for that movie. I highly recommend it to everyone!

That's all for the first day, I'll try to complete the trip report of Day 2 soon.

August 15, 2019, 11:56:22 PM
Re: Greenwich, CT - 2 days Wednesday morning, we woke up and packed our bags. The hotel offered breakfast with a club pass, but we passed on that. We brought our bags to the car and I went back to the front desk to check out. There was a huge line, so I just checked out on the app and handed my keys off. We then headed out for breakfast to Scarsdale, which was a 25 minute drive due to the heavy traffic caused by construction.

We were running a little late, so we nixed the sit-down meal in favor of one handed eating while driving. I was a little disappointed when I saw it was Chalav Stam, but they had enough pareve food, like lox, tuna, and whitefish. The staff are knowledgeable about how to avoid dairy contamination. We each got 2 bagels, one for breakfast and one for lunch. We also grabbed a Sammy Stick (a bagel stick) and an accompanying container of tuna. We also added 2 muffins, which were pareve. The food was very solid, everything one could ask for from a bagel store.

We then headed back to Greenwich, which was only 15 minutes on the return. We went straight to the ferry which is located on Arch Street (google Roger Sherman Baldwin Park). There is a parking lot across the street from the ferry with permit parking and paid parking. We parked and then walked to the pay station, where a town employee was standing. He informed us that there was another section they had set up in the parking lot for free if you were using the ferry! That was a huge relief, because I read somewhere that the cost was 35 dollars.
Crossing the street was pretty cool, as the light will go for minutes if you don't press the button to cross, but it will change literally the second after you press the button.

Paying for the ferry is cash only, 13 dollars per person. You need to have a park pass already (7 dollars each) because they don't sell them there. (Again, they can be bought in one of the Civic Centers or the hotel). So for a round trip ride, it's 20 dollars a person.
Ferries to the Island Beach run on the hour and return every hour on the half hour. The ride is about 20 minutes each way.

Island Beach, with another private island

Ferries to Great Captain Island depend on the tide and do not run every day. There is also a 2 hour boat ride to nowhere, which also depends on the day. More information can be found here:
Today, there was no Great Captain Island ferry and the 2 hour ride was only in the evening. That left only Island Beach, which supposedly is the better option because they have a concession stand.

View from the ferry by Jury Duty, on Flickr

The ferry left on time and had only a handful of people on board. The ride is short and scenic. Island Beach is really small, and you can explore the whole thing in about four minutes. There's a beach with lifeguards along one side. There's also a nice playground. When we got there, there was a whole camp there. I'm not sure if they go there everyday or if it was a special outing. Aside for the camp, there were probably 15 people on the island.
After sitting on the beach for an hour, we took the return ferry. We changed back into regular clothes in the bathroom by the pier and then drove to the top of Greenwich Avenue.

Greenwich Avenue is the shopping center of the town. There are many upscale stores on the .7 mile strip. We parked at the top and walked down, leaving the option for Ubering to the top of we got tired. There are some really cool shops, including a Steinway and Sons piano store. Make sure to venture down some side roads also. I found a Suit Supply store backing Greenwich Avenue.

 There's also an Indochino, which actually might be more convenient than the one in Manhattan if traffic conditions are right. At the very bottom of the street, turning onto Railroad Avenue, there was a really neat vintage and upscale car dealership, Carriage House Motor Cars. Also, the train stops there, if that method of transportation makes sense for you.

Vintage Car Dealership

By the time we got to the bottom, I was pretty much wiped. My wife still had some energy, so we agreed to drive around the area some more. The Chabad couple we met yesterday had recommended Cos Cob park, and the views did not disappoint. We also drove to Indian Head and found some nice houses. Sadly, there are way too many private roads so extensive exploring is limited. On the way back, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a 2 dollar latte and chanced upon an Aston Martin dealership next door.  This town really is something else. After a really nice day, we headed back home.

Aston Martin Dealership

All in all, it was a beautiful vacation. It's super convenient from New York, and a Category 2 Hyatt Regency is super amazing. Greenwich is a great place to walk around, explore, and find something really special. I looked into houses but sadly, 35 million is way out of my starting house price range. Also, shout out to Dan for the pictures, they've gone to the next level since I got the Pixel from the Google Fi deal.
Thanks for reading!!

August 16, 2019, 06:34:05 PM
Vote on the new NY State Licence Plate

To be released April 2020, there are 5 options to vote on.

You must be a New York State resident to vote and you may only vote once.

Voting closes on Monday, September 2nd, at 11:59 P.M.

Plate 1 is my choice, what's yours?

August 19, 2019, 06:41:44 PM
Re: Vote on the new NY State Licence Plate
@JuryDuty add this into your post..
Code: [Select]

Done, thanks

August 19, 2019, 08:36:05 PM
Re: Vote on the new NY State Licence Plate

Of course, they announced the wrong winner

September 08, 2019, 09:24:52 PM
Bank deposits extra money in bank account, customer charged with theft

Interesting read. I think a theft charge is a bit harsh. How about you?

September 08, 2019, 10:57:58 PM
Re: Pictures of a country or state license plate Master thread! How about we start again, using pictures only taken after this thread was started
September 12, 2019, 10:19:23 PM
Re: Calala Island - 40k Hyatt points for private island hotel Also, just because this is post 250!
November 24, 2019, 07:15:10 PM
Re: Avatars
We are waiting.  :)

Gonna get around to it... Just had a baby so some more important things, you know

November 25, 2019, 10:40:50 PM
Aquaphor Baby Advanced Therapy Healing 7 oz. $5.30-6.23 First post as a dad on a baby product :)
Love this stuff!

December 05, 2019, 10:53:06 PM
Re: Verizon Up Week of Bonus Rewards- 12/3-12/9 Guys, get your code to plant a tree!!
December 06, 2019, 09:58:17 AM
Vote on the next Sunday Featured TR The past few weeks, DDMS has featured one ddfer's TR a week. Let's hear your favorite TRs!

My personal favorite: AJK's surprise

December 12, 2019, 12:30:45 AM
Snapple by the case?? Anyone know where I can get a good deal on 64oz Snapple bottles by the case? Or otherwise good deals on individual bottles that I can buy in bulk. I can't find anywhere online. Located in Far Rockaway
December 16, 2019, 06:51:28 PM
Re: Avatars
So itís not a yeshiva bochur vacuuming ?

Have you ever seen a yeshiva bochur vacuum?

December 17, 2019, 02:23:11 PM
Virgin upgrading oldest passenger on every flight thru Jan 1st
December 24, 2019, 01:16:11 PM
Re: Sunday Roundup Suggestions I assume this took precedence:

December 30, 2019, 09:29:08 PM
Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
1. Why do I get the feeling that OP had a Taavah and is trying to use Avodas Hashem as an excuse to justify it?

Because that's what we're trained to think about any divergence from standard orthodox views

Two additional posts in this thread, are from other first time posters who are supposedly subject matter experts on the topic writing in support of the OP. Highly suspicious in my eyes.

That's quite an accusation, can anyone prove that they're real? It would be a letdown to discover that an expert on the forum is actually not who he says he is.

January 16, 2020, 09:45:52 AM
Re: Meir Key should take down the homosexual video and issue an apology Funny to think I would actually accomplish anything by posting here.
Yup, learned my lesson, let everyone else do the fighting.

February 22, 2020, 11:32:03 PM
Re: Meir Key should take down the homosexual video and issue an apology
(and I would think that a homosexual Jew is off the derech no matter if he keeps shabbos and wears a yarmulkeh).

That's quite polarizing. If anyone violates one aveirah, even bemaizid, is otd?

February 28, 2020, 12:35:53 PM
Re: Meir Key should take down the homosexual video and issue an apology
He didn't say hate them, he said hate the behavior.

Torah didn't say hate

February 28, 2020, 01:24:56 PM
Re: Important: Check your no rush credits, many are expiring on Friday 11/2 Tried before the month ended and they said they'll refund a purchase after they expire. I tried again on the 1st (the day it expires) because I had more expiring on the 15th so I'd try and kill two birds with one stone. First rep said that even though the previous rep said I would be able to apply the credits, he was mistaken and it was impossible. He gave me a 5$ credit for the miscommunication.
The next rep said purchase something (even now, on the 1st) and both the credits expiring today and the credits expiring on the 15th would be able to be used for a refund. I made him send an email to confirm, because I didn't want any more "miscommunications".
That purchase arrived today, and a rep was happy to refund it. All in all, I got all the credits expiring on the 1st and the 15th, plus an additional 5$.
Was it worth the time spent? I keep on telling myself no, but then here I am, doing it again.

March 02, 2020, 09:29:25 PM
What are we going to do Chol Hamoed??
March 11, 2020, 01:00:09 PM
Re: Places that have necessities still in stock Can we make this the central thread specific for household essentials in stock? We can make an online thread and an in store thread if that helps
March 12, 2020, 12:23:15 PM
Re: Missing Puzzle Piece
Thought this thread was some sort of metaphor

There's nothing like spending a week on a 1000 piece puzzle, only to discover you're missing one piece, to realize this is all one big metaphor.

April 06, 2020, 12:01:48 AM
Re: Dan's Deals Magazine? I also wouldn't want to have a magazine which is just DDF or DDMS in print. A lot of the ideas listed above are really good, and a magazine would need to offer something unique from what's available online. (The purpose of a magazine is not to help out people without internet).

every week or every 2nd week.

There's no way that you're going to have quality, unique material that often. I would say monthly is a good goal to aim for eventually.

April 07, 2020, 09:27:25 AM
Re: Is your Shul Secretly Open Right Now?
Please stay out of this discussion. You'll never understand. Thank you.

Wow, that was disgusting.

From a Jew: shuls are not essential. Keep them closed.

April 12, 2020, 06:25:08 PM
Re: Is your Shul Secretly Open Right Now? And to clarify what doesn't need to be said, don't go to the grocery if you don't need to. But you will die if you don't have food, so groceries should stay open. But use your brain.
April 12, 2020, 06:26:25 PM
Let's churn out those TRs! Nothing to do but dream about vacation now.

There's no time like the present to be writing the TRs that have been pushed off for a while.

Special mention:
@Something Fishy is certainly taking advantage :)

April 26, 2020, 03:08:53 PM
Re: Zoom DO Due to the current situation I can't believe someone pulled that trick. Again.
April 30, 2020, 04:38:37 PM
Re: Areivim USA - Coronavirus
The number one reason?
There's actually no reason not to get LI.

You're preaching to the choir. There's a reason why not everyone owns it, though.

Yes, it advirtises as not needing to make a collection, the exact same reason to get LI. It is very argueable that LI is not for the family to have money, they would have money from collections anyway. But it is to save them from the shame of having their names plastered all over the city. And from having the yesomims friends seeing pictures of their friends crying by their fathers levaya, asking for money. And from those same friends comparing how much each of their fathers gave torwards the campaign. Etc. Etc.

And so that a person don't have to make their own family dependent on others, not to make their own family need tzedaka. It's a tircha on the tzibur, and it's irresponsible.

May 01, 2020, 03:02:45 PM
Re: 5 Towns/Rockaway Master Thread
Topic split.
Please keep 5 towns COVID discussion here:

Best thing that ever happened to this thread.

May 05, 2020, 12:13:08 PM
Doona - $399 - 5 colors
Colors available: beige, green, blue, pink, red.

May 18, 2020, 11:31:08 AM
Re: What is your favorite Biden gaffe?
May 20, 2020, 01:38:52 PM
Re: Indochino - starting at 269 per suit!! Cleveland store is open. Another reason to move there
May 25, 2020, 06:45:57 PM
Re: Arlington Hotel (kosher), NH For what it's worth, the alleged sender of the email, Garry Fowler, checks out on LinkedIn as general manager of the hotel.

June 10, 2020, 12:17:41 PM
Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, and Big Indian: A Covid Road Trip After staying at home for months, all we wanted was to get out for a few days. In addition, with all the riots, we wanted to get out of the city. We decided on a road trip because it was much easier, realistic, and safer. In addition, we decided to stay in New York State, as many surrounding states had confusing and limiting Covid laws. I had a week off before summer semester began and my wife currently sees one or two clients in the morning. She planned to continue seeing them on our trip. We decided on a four day, three night, Tuesday-Friday trip.
I did minimal planning for the trip. As most activities would be closed, the most we could really do was enjoy the outdoors. Also, we've been working hard on getting the baby on a good sleeping schedule and wanted to maintain that. My wife would see her clients during the baby's morning nap. We planned to drive approximately 2 hours a day during the baby's afternoon nap.
This trip report might not be of so much benefit for others, as we didn't do that much, but it could give people ideas of what's feasible these days. In addition, some of what we did with our baby might be helpful. If nothing else, DDF needs some trip reports for Covid times.

Looking for destinations 2 hours apart from each other, we settled on Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, and Big Indian. We also really wanted to avoid sleeping in the same room as the baby so we could get some sleep. And of course, we needed a crib or a pack n play. I only have Hyatt points, so I looked into Hyatts near these destinations. Poughkeepsie has two Hyatts. One was a more ideal location (closer to the walk on the Hudson) but the other had two bedroom suites. Hyatt Saratoga Springs had a one bedroom suite, but it was really one big room. We opted to stay in Airbnbs instead for the second (Saratoga) and third night (Big Indian). (Most of the reason we picked these three locations was because of the lodging, so this is a little backwards.)

Birds on Hyatt House Fishkill/Poughkeepsie by Jury Duty

I called up Hyatt House Fishkill/Poughkeepsie and asked what it would take to get an upgrade to a two bedroom suite. After a little convincing, he said he could guarantee it for an additional $30. After booking the room the next morning, however, I called back and they were able to upgrade us for free. 8k Hyatt points for a two bedroom suite - I'm definitely coming back to this hotel!
For Saratoga Springs, we booked an Airbnb for $85 a night. It was in Porters Corners, NY, fifteen minutes outside Saratoga. Unfortunately, we discovered that the Airbnb was really one big room and not a living area and a bedroom.
In Big Indian, we stayed at Cold Spring Lodge. I actually originally found them on Airbnb and then found it on their own website for cheaper. ( We booked a two bedroom cabin for $154.

We really only decided to go on this trip the day before. The morning of the trip, my wife went to Gourmet Glatt to pick up food, including sushi for dinner that night and chicken and sides, double wrapped, from Chap-a-Nosh for the next two nights. We headed out Tuesday afternoon, and just under two hours later, we arrived in Hyatt Fishkill. The front doors are automatic, so we didn't have to touch anything. There was tape on the floor to mark where to stand. The clerk did have to swipe my credit card for incidentals, but in addition to handing off the room keys, that was about as much contact we had. The room was on the first floor, so we didn't deal with any stairs or elevators. The room was amazing, anything a family could wish for. It was kind of funny, I actually felt luxurious here. It wasn't super fancy, but it was spacious, comfortable, and my baby had her own room! There was a full fridge, a table, three TVs, two bathrooms (one shower, one bath), a microwave and stovetop. I honestly don't know why people don't talk about Hyatt House more.

Baby's got her own room by Jury Duty

We really didn't do anything in Fishkill. There's a lake next to the hotel that we walked to, and there's a Walmart across the street where we got bread. (We only bought one loaf before, and we went through it really quickly. Oh, and we needed a broom back home.) Walmart was great, except for huge lines to check out (half of the check-out counters were closed for distancing).

Wednesday: The hotel offered boxed breakfast at the check-in counter. The three options of "mains" were oatmeal, Trix or Cheerios. Everything in the box was at least OUD, but the muffins tasted extremely processed. Also, there was clearly poor planning involved, as they had an orange and orange juice. It was perfect for our needs, though.

boxed breakfast by Jury Duty

At 12, we headed out. On impulse, we stopped in Wappingers Falls, where there's a really nice waterfall on the main road. We later discovered that, ironically, we had stopped in the location of one of the craziest stories of racial friction in modern history. (You can Google "Tawana Brawley".) We then moved onto Poughkeepsie.
My wife has been wanting to visit the Walk over the Hudson for a while, and that's the real reason we first though of Poughkeepsie. It's an old rail bridge converted to a pedestrian bridge, and you can walk over the Hudson River. We really enjoyed it, but only walked a half hour. Bathrooms were open.

Walk over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY by Jury Duty

At 2 PM we headed up north. We didn't quite make it, as baby started screeching and we had to find a rest stop on the Turnpike. Again, bathrooms were open there. After the baby ate and played a little, we continued on.

Of course we see other Jews... Caption this! by Jury Duty

We drove through Saratoga Springs on the way to the Airbnb but didn't stop. The place was nice, but nothing to write home about. We had to do some strategic planning to put the crib in a quiet and dark spot, but it worked out alright. WiFi was reliable enough for my wife's client meeting the next morning.

Thursday: While the baby usually sleeps two hours in the morning and 1-2 hours in the afternoon, the previous day had taught us not to rely on two hours in the afternoon. So after an hour nap in the morning (when my wife worked), we woke up the baby and headed out. The plan was for her to sleep less in the morning and sleep through the long afternoon drive. We left at 11 and walked around Saratoga Springs. We bought the obligatory souvenir from a shop that was ecstatic to have customers. None of the stores had bathrooms open. We then went to the racetrack, but it was closed. Instead, we went to Congress Park, which is a nice park in the middle of town. The Holiday Inn adjacent to the park had open bathrooms. I never thought it would be such a challenge to find a bathroom, but it's a surprising obstacle for Covid trips.
Next stop was Lake Saratoga. We drove the long way around for a nice scenic drive. At the SE corner of the lake, there's a public beach ($3 entrance, cash only). They were giving out masks, but most people didn't wear them. There were also benches and picnic tables (outside of the paid entrance) along the water. We then headed southwest to Big Indian.

Once we got off the Thruway, the drive was beautiful but we lost service. We drove through Woodstock, but didn't stop.
Cold Spring Lodge has six cabins with two or three bedrooms each. They have a pool for the summer (read: not yet), a swing set, a huge empty yard with the Esopus Creek meandering through it. They sell firewood and starter bricks for campfires and have a collection of games in the check-in cabin. Check-in was smooth, and the only contact we had was picking up the (physical) key. Aside for the lack of an eruv, I can see how this is a perfect getaway for a weekend.

Swimming the Esopus Creek by Jury Duty

Cold Spring Lodge, Big Indian, NY by Jury Duty

There was no AC, but it seemed pretty cool with the windows open and fans going. The real issue we had was that one of the windows was taped shut and another had a ripped screen. If we could have opened those, it would have been amazing. Without it, it was a little warm.

Friday: We checked out at 9:15 and headed out on our 2:45 hr drive. There were a couple of gas stations even before the main highway, so we were able to fill up. The baby fell asleep at 10 and woke up at 12, just as we were pulling up at home, the best drive she went through.
All in all, we enjoyed the time out of the city and the fresh air. We didn't do anything amazing, but it was very enjoyable.

June 11, 2020, 08:50:37 PM
Re: Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park
1) Are there any shabbos options anywhere in the vicinity? (traveler718 commented about a Chabad that is currently closed).

Maybe look into chabad of bozeman montana.
That might also warrant a switch in direction, meaning starting in teton and ending in montana

June 24, 2020, 12:02:24 PM
Re: DO: Online Catan (Settlers) I can probably do it in a half hour
July 23, 2020, 03:23:34 PM
7 for all mankind code Does anyone have a code they got from the cancelled order?
August 02, 2020, 05:06:47 PM
Re: DO: Online Catan (Settlers) I can do it in 5
August 20, 2020, 03:12:54 PM