Sunday, May 31, 2009

New York, New York

Ok here it is and it will be really long... our trip to NYC (minus the pictures)!!!!

The trip started on Friday morning. My mom's flight should have landed around 10:30am which should have had her in NYC about 20 minutes before me. However, I missed my flight (drama, drama, drama) and was able to go standby on the Noon flight. Mom's flight was delayed. Then my flight was delayed. Both due to bad weather and we both made it into Laguardia by 2:30. After the bus ride to Manhattan I thought we could drop off our bags at Penn Station before playing around the city for a few hours. And I have to be honest, being in Penn Station was slightly scary. Not my favorite station. No other subway stop scared me, by the way. However we were not riding the Amtrak train so they would not hold our bags. By this time I am slightly frustrated with all the delays and changes in plan, however I would not allow this to deter me. Mom and I were still going to have fun.

I was uncomfortable with us carrying our luggage and purses every where around the city so we decided to have a drink at The Local and to watch the NYC life walk by our window. Ahh, I was now relaxed. I love NYC. After the Local, we were hungry for some dinner. The smart thing would have been to choose any restaurant besides TGIFriday, since we were in NYC. However we were slightly delirious from all the travel and stumbled in there. Most of the TGIFriday's have a great $5 menu. The menu at this place was horrible. The food was just as bad. However we did eat there and then walk by many, many restaurants that we thought would have been a better choice. Heck, a pretzel from a vendor would have been better and those are really just cardboard!

By 7:30pm we were standing in Times Square enjoying being a complete tourist. My mom took many pictures of me (which I will eventually receive and post) before we headed to 51st and 7th to catch our bus to New Jersey, where we were staying. It was definitely a new experience for my mom. The bus was more a large black van and inside I think we were the only ones who spoke English. Luckily we made it safely to the hotel and were in bed and mom was snoring by 9:30pm. We needed sleep. The next morning we made it out of bed sometime around 8:30am. Ahh, relaxed.

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we were back in NYC!!! My friend Kristen was also in NYC that Saturday so we had planned to meet up with here around 1pm at the Staten Island Ferry for our 'Island Hopping Cocktail Cruise.' So, Mom and I traveled directly to the financial district to check it out. She hadn't been there before so it was fun for her to see all the old buildings and Wall Street. Right in front of the Stock Exchange we were able to watch a commercial being filmed for a bank.

It was chilly so for lunch we stopped for soup at the Original Soup Man and also met another tourist from Michigan, he was wearing a Mackinac Island t-shirt so he was pretty easy to spot. After soup we walked around Battery Park and watched the Staten Island Ferry come and go a few times. It was fun and relaxing. When Kristen and her mom arrived we headed onto the ferry ourselves and had a blast. Unfortunately the weather was foggy so once at Staten Island we were not able to see the excellent view of Manhattan that we had hoped for however it was really nice.

Next Mom and I headed up to Canal Street for a new experience for both of us. I had never been to Canal Street because I am not one much for bartering. However my mom had a lot of fun and bought a few scarves.

After Canal Street, we walked thru Little Italy and realized we were hungry again, but wanted something a little less touristy (aka Price) so we walked up Broadway and ended up in Soho. And, found this quaint little bar called the Soho Room and shared a chicken wrap that we were both quite impressed with.

The next stop was West Village for Magnolia's Bakery!!! I was soooo excited for this stop. As we got off the subway in the West Village we happened upon a vintage street sale, which was freakin' awesome!! Unfortunately for me (or fortunately for my wallet), the vendors were closing up shop so we were not able to buy... just browse. But that was fun too! Next time I am in NYC I want to spend an entire day here. The shops looked like a ton of fun and the food looked amazing!!

We did stand in a short line for a cupcake but I believe it was worth it!! Fresh and tasty!! I had a white cake with white icing. My mom had white cake with chocolate icing (if I remember correctly). After getting our cupcakes we went to a little park across the street and ate. It felt like we were in a tiny little town. Behind us were children playing on a playground. There were no sounds of horns or cars or business. I loved it and realized that where I am meant to live (at least in the summers).

After Magnolia's we walked quite a few blocks to Union Square and enjoyed watching all of the students giving hugs to each other. Made a quick stop into Whole Foods and then back onto the subway to 51st & 7th to catch our bus back. We were a bit early so we made our way back to Times Square and people watched again. Since it was Saturday night it was much busier than the night before but it was still fun to see all the lights.

Since we were up later Saturday night we slept in longer on Sunday. After packing back up we ate breakfast and then took the 11am shuttle back to NYC and headed straight to the Salisbury Hotel, which would be our home for the next few days. We didn't have to wait too long for Aunt Dawn, Grandma, and June to arrive. Shortly after they arrived the taxi brought in Aunt Julie, Brittany, Brooke, and Vicki.

We were able to get into 1 of our rooms right away, and it was huge and on the 17th floor. Aunt Dawn and I had a lot of fun looking at the buildings across the street and guessing what they were for and who did what in them. We did the same thing last year and it is a blast!! And our rooms were HUGE!!! There was a kitchenette, a full living room, a full bedroom with 2 big beds and a bathroom. I was not expecting the rooms to be so nice and fancy. They were great!

Once we all had said our hellos we headed down to 5th Ave to do some retail therapy... except no one bought anything!!! We did do some looking though. Before shopping we stopped into the 53rd Street Deli for some lunch. We were going to eat at Hello Deli but they were closed because they were setting up the final episode for Survivor in the Ed Sullivan Theater.

As we were walking around we ran into Magnolia's Bakery at Rockefeller Center so of course everyone had to have one! I can always have a great cupcake!! Once we were done eating we walked back to the hotel to get the final two of our party... Aunt Sue and Alex!! We also got settled into all of our rooms and then headed out to Times Square. We played around for quite a while before eating at Rays on 8th Ave. Good food and you know its good when you walk in because it all locals. And they know what they want to eat. The 11 of us took forever to decide so the locals would squeeze in between. After eating we made it back to the hotel to chat and catch up.

Monday was tourist day. We started out by eating breakfast in the hotel. Because Aunt Sue, Alex and Vicki hadn't been to New York City before we went on the Grey Line Tourist Bus to see the city. The first trip was the uptown bus and it was fridged. Just freezing cold. I remember crying at times it was so cold. My mom did her best to help keep me warm but it was just down right ridiculously cold! However the man giving the tour was really good. He had a lot of great information for us.

Since it was so cold, we stopped back by our hotel to get more clothes and to clean up. Then we headed to Tavern On The Green for lunch. That place is magical!! It reminds me of 1940's decadence. I felt like I was inside a big wedding cake. I loved it!!! The food was good, the service was great, and I had a blast!! While we were there I went into the gift shop and found an I (heart) NY Christmas ornament that is all glittery. It is currently sitting on the shelf in my bedroom and will have a prominent spot on my next Christmas tree! I love it!!!

After lunch we headed back to the tour bus for the downtown tour. I had worn every bit of clothing that I owned. I had psyched myself up for the cold weather. And we were able to get a spot in the very front of the bus. It was still cold but I felt like I would at least live thru the ride. However the guide was HORRIBLE!! I was shocked at how bad he really was!! The only tidbit of information I was able to gather that I didn't know (or at least hadn't remembered) was that TriBeCa stands for Triangle Beneath Canal. Good to know at least.

After the ride we headed down to Times Square again. Do you see a pattern?? We really did go to Times Square every night ;) We were going to eat at Hard Rock however about 20 minutes after we were seated we all decided we were not hungry and that there wouldn't be anyone to take our order even if we were. No one had even come to take our drink order yet. At this point I decide I am too tired to go on and my mom agreed so she and I went home to eat her left overs from Tavern on the Green and the rest of the ladies went out to shop.

Once Mom and I were back to the hotel I moved my chair in front of the window to watch "It's Pat" across the street (after ample watching I did determine Pat is female). I dreamed of what life must be life if you own an apartment on 57th between 6th and 7th. Oh how glorious that must be. My mom, of course, sat down in front of the Weather Channel. We both did decide that the weather report from my phone was actually better.

Up and at 'em George McFaddem.

Bright and early the next day (5:45am to be exact) Mom, Aunt Sue, Alex, Dawn, Grandma, June and I got up and before 7am we headed to 49th and Rockefeller Center to watch the taping of the Today Show. We were in the weather report... Uncle Jerry and Wes verified the citing!! We also got to have our picture taken with Meredith Viera. It didn't take long for Grandma and June to have enough standing around in the cold so they headed to Dean & Deluca for breakfast. Once Alex had enough we all left and went to Astro Restaurant for our breakfast. I had been there before with my friend Edgar so I knew the food would be good. It was and it was fast. Before I even got to my second cup of coffee they had brought out the food. And there was a lot of it. Good thing Mom and I split every meal!!

After breakfast we planned for the day. Grandma, June, Mom and I headed down to Canal Street so Grandma and June could barter. June ended up with a very pretty scarf. We walked around a bit and then walked down to Ground Zero. After a little bit of searching we found a spot in the Burger King that we could overlook the site and see what they are doing. It still looks like a dirt patch to me.

Once we had spent enough time at Ground Zero we made our way to Battery Park where we did some more shopping around the street vendors and then sat on a bench and watched the boats. Eventually we met up with the rest of the ladies and took the Staten Island Ferry again (good thing it is free)!! This day was much prettier... the sun was shining and we had a great view of Manhattan (and New Jersey...).

Once back to Manhattan a few of us went back to the hotel to get ready and the rest did some last minute shopping. We had a big night ahead of us that I needed to be ready for!! Dinner and a show!! Our next stop was John's Pizzeria. We had dinner here last time this group was in NYC and we ate right before watching The Phantom Of The Opera. Dawn and Brittany were excited to make this a tradition. I remember really enjoying the food last time. However, this time I wasn't as impressed. Food was ok, the service we had was HORRIBLE. If given a choice, I wouldn't go back just because of the service. And its in a uber touristy part of town, which make the service on par to the places around it. However, I took the pasta that Mom and I got, added pizza topping (from the cheeseless pizza that Brittany had ordered) to it, and crushed red pepper flakes and it wasn't so bad. But at their prices I really shouldn't have to doctor my food that much... at least that is my thought.

Ok, back off of my soap box.

After dinner we walked a few block to see the musical WICKED!!!! It was awesome. Funny, amazing, engaging. Our three hours just flew right on by! It was soooooo fun!! I fell in love with the musical, would recommend it to anyone, and would love to see it again if ever given the opportunity. We all walked away very impressed!

Of course we had to go back to Times Square and since we were all dressed up we went up to the top of the Marriott Marquis and each had a drink. I forget what I drank but my mom, Aunt Dawn, Aunt Julie, and Brittany all had the same, very strong drink. And they were all pretty, um, happy afterwards. We were so loud and having so much fun I thought we may get kicked out! And, we had a blast celebrating Aunt Julie's birthday... she turned 3o I think?!?!? Right?!?!? :)

By the time we ended there I was exhausted and wanted to go to the hotel. Grandma also wanted to go and my Mom decided to join us. I have to say that was one of the most interesting walks I have every had... and I have had some good ones. Grandma and I did a great job keeping my Mom walking in a straight line (um, very strong drink... remember), then when we got to the subway Grandma and I got thru fine however my Mom couldn't get thru (in hindsight I should have made her go first) and she had to get someone who worked for the subway to let her thru. He could obviously tell she had been drinking so when he let her thru he told her to "be safe!" Hahah!! And then on the other end of the subway ride, there was an Asian women who spoke no English trying to get directions and Mom had to be helpful, and very loud and animated, trying to explain that yes 7th Avenue was right ahead and she had to make a left when she got there.

I finally got my dear mother into our room where I thought we were safe. However I am in the bathroom and I hear someone screaming hellos. And I could picture it from the bathroom. It's my mom, dangling out the window of our 14th story hotel suite, screaming hello to someone on the street. Mind you, this is the same woman who did not enjoy me opening the window a few days earlier to people watch. And luckily she was screaming hello to the rest of our crew.

We finished out the night by everyone coming into our room and finishing up all the food and drinks that people had purchased during their stay, since it was our last night there.

Wednesday morning after waking up we stopped by an amazing grocery store/restaurant for breakfast. Mom and I shared an egg/bagel sandwich with a large coffee. I needed the large coffee as I was in a fowl mood that A.M. I'm saying I was that way because it was our last day there, but really, who knows why! With breakfast in hand we had a long stroll thru Central Park. We managed to find the Zoo there which was crowded with little children.

Sadly, our next stop was back to the hotel to pack up and check out of our rooms. Once checked out we had some time to spend for lunch so we headed to a Halal street vendor that we had walked by many times and there had been a line up every time. Since the people always looked like locals (suit & tie types) we figured it had to be good. And we were right. Mom and I had Halal lamb and rice (everyone else had chicken) and it was amazing!! Loved it and I need to learn to make it myself.

After our last meal we did some touristy shopping and Mom got me a very cute NYC purple '80s style t-shirt, which I love. And then we hopped into our taxi and headed to the airport.

What a blast!! Thank you so much Brittany for graduating college so we could spend time in NYC!! Can't wait to go back again!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great comentary on the trip, Kristie!! Will always be a good reminder for me. It was such fun.
Love, Grandma