THE JET BLUE EXPERIENCE BACK TO NEW YORK

I had flown on Jet Blue last year from Las Vegas to JFK .

This time I’m in Los Angeles on my way back to JFK .

What a difference a year actually makes.

Like Spirit airlines, you pay for checked baggage .

It’s $30 on Jet Blue and I would advise doing it on line.

On Jet Blue near the end of your flight, the flight attendants actually pass out warm towels, just like they do on International flights .

I have always liked Jet Blue, and as they’re based here at JFK , I fly them as often as I can to earn those True Blue Miles, as long as the price is great.

This time I got to see two movies that I wanted to see , Crazy Rich Asians and Bohemian Rhapsody (both of them I would see again, by the way.)

The seats were nice and comfy but I didn’t get to sleep .

I was too busy watching both movies .

I enjoyed myself on this airline and if the price is good, I’m going to take Jet Blue again and again and earn my miles.

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MEMORIES OF LOS ANGELES AND YES THEY DO HAVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION THERE.

When I first moved to Los Angeles from Boston in 1996 courtesy of Delta Airlines , I really didn’t know that much about the city,

People would give me all sorts of advice.

One especially I heard from everyone including family members, “It’s LA, you NEED a car,”

Being from New York City , you don’t miss what you don’t have.

I didn’t need a car, and I didn’t drive.

After seeing those infamous LA freeways, I’m glad I didn’t drive and I sure wasn’t about to learn, either.

I lived in one of the South Bay cities of Los Angeles called Torrance , California for 10 years and I never drove.

I took public transportation, either a bus or a train.

People are surprised when you mention that the city has a subway system,a very good one called the Metro.

You can get a day pass, which with fees comes out to $9.

We don’t even have that on the New York City subways and our trains run 24 hours, something the Metro in Los Angeles doesn’t do.

When I first lived here, there was the Blue Line that went from Los Angeles to Long Beach, the Red Line from Los Angeles to West Hollywood , and the Green Line that can get you to a shuttle bus that will take you to LAX, Los Angeles International Airport .

Not only are these train lines still around, but while I was there recently , I discovered that there’s an extention of the Blue Line that goes from DTLA all the way to the beach city of Santa Monica .

These trains can get you to the major tourists spots in town.

Union Station is the main terminal so the red and the blue lines can get you there, even if you’re coming from Santa Monica .

Want to see the famous Chinese Grauman Theater with the stars footprints or the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

The red line will get you there.

Since you are on a 30 Plus Teams Tour , you KNOW you want see some basketball or hockey action at Staples Center .

The Blue Line will get you there,just get off at the Pico/Chick Hearn Station.

If there’s a game, you won’t get lost .

Just follow the crowd.

Hold onto to your TAP card.

That’s how you get anywhere on the Metro in town.

Some of them are reloadable and there are machines at every station to guide you.

As I rode the train from Long Beach back to my hostel in DTLA, it brought back a few memories .

Good memories of a place where you wouldn’t expect to see a subway .

WALKING AROUND THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

While in Los Angeles since I had some time to kill before I checked into my hostel, I did what a lot of tourists who visit Los Angeles do.

I went to Hollywood and checked out not only Grauman’s Chinese Theater , I went to see how many stars I could see which make up the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

This happens to be number 127 on my bucket list , seeing as many stars as I can while walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

So many stars and it just isn’t actors who have their name on the street .

Politicians , sports announcers (the Sports Diva just had to find the stars of Los Angeles announcing legends , Chick Hearn and Bob Miller, who broadcasted games for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings . There’s even a subway station named for Chick Hearn in town. It’s where the Staples Center is, of course . ), singers and even cooking legends like Bobby Flay have their name on the sidewalk.

I don’t need to tell you that I lost count of how many stars that I counted.

But I sure had fun trying to do it.

A GREAT STAY AT THE FREEHAND HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES

The next part of my 30 Plus Teams Tour took me to the city that I called home for 10 years, Los Angeles, California .

I left LA in 2006, and this was the first time that I had been back since then.

(Ironically, I moved to Las Vegas after that.)

When I lived in town, I rarely went downtown .

The only time I got to what is now known DTLA or Downtown Los Angeles, was to go to, where else , Staples Center to see a Kings hockey game, and as I was a freelance hockey writer , to interview opposing hockey players .

This time, I looked on line and saw a place called The Freehand Hotel and Hostel .

If it sounds familiar , that’s because they have branches in New York City , Miami and Chicago .

I haven’t been to any of the others, but if they’re anything like the one in Los Angeles , I’m going to be staying there too, except for the New York City one.

This hostel looks NOTHING like a hostel.

It’s located in a former commercial building and you can see that as you go up to your room.

Even though it wasn’t that warm, they have a rooftop pool

The lobby here at the Freehand reminds me of the lobby of the Hostelling International in Boston , very spacious , and could be a living room in someone’s house .

It’s that big and spacious.

The hostel is very convenient to get to by public transportation if you are at Union Station.

(Yes, they have trains in Los Angeles and they’re very clean, but more about them in another post.)

You can also take a cab or Uber or Lyft to get there as well.

There’s restaurants in the place as well as a store .

How are the rooms?

Sorry,not sorry, my bed at home should be as comfy.

The beds have lighting , very good lighting at that , outlets, and padding so that you either don’t roll over or can store things on.

(My stuffed animals had a spot on the bed for themselves , don’t judge me , okay ? )

What I liked about this hostel , among other things , was not only how professional the staff was from the moment that I checked in, but you needed your key to get everywhere, even the lounge for eating,relaxing and to get to the laundry room .

In every room,there were lockers but not your average metal lockers thay you see in most hostels.

These lockers were made of wood.

Wow how classy is this place?!

You pay much more than you would for a regular type hostel, but hey, I’m from New York City , EVERYTHING is expensive , so I don’t mind paying a little bit more for great service and a great stay, which is exactly what I received at the Freehand Los Angeles .

You better believe , God willing , my next stay in the City of Angels is gonna be here.

Thank you, Freehand Los Angeles , ya did good!

LYFT PARK IN PICTURES

When people visit Las Vegas , they rarely visit Downtown Las Vegas.

That’s too bad.

One of the many things you would be missing , and it’s right across the street from where you pick up the Deuce bus back to the Las Vegas Strip, is Lyft Park.

It’s not a park like Central Park, but it’s a park, Vegas style with many futuristic things, and art work that makes you go, “hmm”.

You can also play a game of Cone Pone and

just to stimulate your brain, play a game of chess with some really big chess pieces .

Let the pictures show you just what Lyft Park is all about .

Of course you can get a Lyft car ride as well .

VISITING THE MOB MUSEUM

It’s official name is the National Museum of Crime and Law Enforcement but that takes much too long to say.

It’s better known by it’s shorter and more well known name, The Mob Museum.

It’s located in Downtown Las Vegas and visiting it was number 11 thing to do on my bucket list .

It’s open every day until about 5:30pm or so

If you’re a senior like me , admission is about $20 , if you aren’t, you pay $25.

There’s also a discount if you happen to be from Las Vegas.

This building, on Stewart Street, used to be the Las Vegas post office.

Before that , it was the building where the trials on Mob Activities in the United States took place.

You even get to visit the actual courtroom where real mobsters and their associates were grilled by United States Senators about their illegal activities .

There’s three floors in the museum , and when you pay your fee, they advise you to start on the third floor and work your way down so that you can understand just how this all began.

Guides also give you a crash course on the history of Las Vegas .

I’m sure most of you weren’t aware that the Las Vegas Strip isn’t actually in the city of Las Vegas , Nevada, but it’s located in the city of Paradise , Nevada.

Mobsters actually were interested in the Las Vegas Strip , not so much what is now Downtown Las Vegas.

One of the most popular exhibits in the museum is part of the wall from the St, Valentines Day Massacre in Chicago.

You’ll learn the events leading up to the massacre and the reason why it happened .

There are a lot of hands on exhibits, one

of which is standing in front of one of those lineup panels just like you see in all those crime shows.

People can see you, but you can’t see them.

In the basement , there’s a replica of an actual 1920’s speakeasy .

On the walls are pictures of the stars of that era like

Duke Ellington , Josephine Baker, and early actresses like Clara Bow and Anna May Wong.

There’s also an area in this speakeasy where you can taste moonshine .

(I declined doing that, so did my friend , )

All in all , I learned so many things that I didn’t know .

If you go to Las Vegas , make the Mob Museum a stop.

This also is a part of American history.

EATING AT MAGNOLIA’S RESTAURANT

As often as I come to Las Vegas and stay at the Four Queens Hotel and Casino which is in Downtown Las Vegas , I never get the chance to eat at any of the restaurants that are located inside the casino.

One of which is Magnolia’s, which seems to be popular with most of the locals and tourists that come to Downtown Las Vegas .

When you stay at the Four Queens , they give you a coupon book for alot of the things at the hotel.

Magnolia’s is one of them.

After being invited by one of the people in my Vegas Golden Knights hockey Facebook fan page for dinner while I was in town , I can see why this restaurant is popular.

(Don’t laugh, wouldn’t you expect the Sports Diva to be in a Facebook page that has to do with sports?)

The restaurant is open for breakfast , lunch and dinner .

It’s located right above the main casino floor and most people come for the $14.95 prime rib special.

My friend and I were no exception .

While she ordered her steak medium rare, I like my steak well done.

No red stuff peeking at me, cook that sucker .

The prime rib dinner came with soup or salad, veggies , and your choice of mashed potatoes , french fries or a baked potato .

We both choose the bake potato loaded with sour cream and of course what’s a prime rib without a little horseradish ?

It was so good and wasn’t even that hungry, but I finished it all .

This was the first time that I had eaten at Magnolia’s , and believe me , it’s not going to be the last.