Sunday, April 19, 2009

back from NYC

Apparently, we brought good weather to NYC. It was supposed to be raining all day the first day, but by the time we got to our hotel, it was 65 degrees and overcast: perfect walking-around weather.

Day 1: Learning our surroundings + Broadway

Arrive at LaGuardia (my first time in this airport and I was surprised how fast we got our luggage and how easy the airport was to navigate). We took a taxi to our hotel and our luck continued. We were told it would cost $45 for the ride, and it only cost $38 with the tip!

We checked into our hotel on Times Square, and as luck would have it again, we ended up on the 42nd floor (of 43). Here is the view out our window and looking down. Sadly, I didn't take a ton of photos, and I wish I could show you that looking up Broadway (the vertical street in this photo), we could see Central Park.

By the way, I highly recommend our hotel (linked above). I was able to book it using my Hilton Honors points, so we stayed entirely free, but I definitely think that the location saved us a ton of money on this trip. We were close to Grand Central, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, 5th Ave, and there was a subway stop 5 feet from the entrance that took us just about anywhere we wanted to go with no transfers.
Just around the corner from our hotel, we walked to Rockefeller Center and stopped for a photo op along the way.
Later that night, we saw Mary Poppins. I've been lucky enough to see quite a few Broadway plays in my day, and this one has taken top position. We had wonderful seats (pure luck, since we bought them about 6 hours before showtime), the music and acting were fabulous, the set was beyond amazing. I rank this musical a smidget above Lion King and a step ahead of Wicked. LOVED IT! I think that it was just so much happier than the others, plus Greg was singing Chim-chimmer-ree for the next three days, so that added to the fun.

Day 2: Subway, Brooklyn, Dave
We took a trip to Brooklyn and although I had ridden the subway before, I had completely forgotten about it. Our concierge told us about HopStop and in no time, I had the system figured out and we were able to go so many places. All you do is put in your starting address and ending address (or major landmark) and the site tells you walking directions AND which train to ride.
So, we bought a Jamba Juice for breakfast and hopped on the N train to Brooklyn where we met this fabulous guy from Ireland.

Don't know him? I'll have more on this later, but I don't want to spoil a souvenir surprise for a couple of my blog readers.

After we met the elusive character above, we took a walk by some shops in the area on our way to Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge.

I would be posting photos of the coal oven and pizza chef at Grimaldi's instead of these boring photos of me outside a shop and a subway sign, but I was told, very matter-of-factly by a big, and very mafia-type guy, "NO PICTURES!!!" And, since I valued my life, I put the camera down and did as he said. I may have even replied, "Yes, sir" and even though I'm from the south, "sir" isn't a part of my normal vocabulary, so you know I was trying extra nice to appease. I felt like Jerry Seinfeld with the soup nazi.

After eating their fabulous pizza, we had planned to walk the bridge, but time prohibited us because we had to make it to the Late Show by 2:30. We took a cab back to Times Square and dropped off our gear took the short walk (well, it would have been short if I hadn't taken us a block out of the way), to the David Letterman show. I had applied for tickets about 6 months ago, thinking we might go to NYC this week and never heard anything back, until about a week ago when I had just been called back to my dentist appointment and it was Jack from the Late Show asking me a trivia question, "What type of restaurant does Rupert own?" I knew the answer, not because I watch the show, but because I had been to NYC on a high school trip and the kids I was with made a huge deal about visiting his deli. Even though, we had tickets, we had to stand in line and be numbered, then come back at 3:45 to be seated. The seats were horrible, but since we didn't pay anything for them, I couldn't complain, but the guests were great: Matthew Perry, Elisha Cuthbert (Kim Bauer from 24), and Rascal Flatts. Suh-weet!

By the time the show was over, we were zonked, so we ate dinner and called it an early night.

Day 3: The cheap way to see NYC

We had absolutely nothing planned, so we decided to do a ton of free stuff:
  • Central Park in the morning
  • A walk down 5th Avenue
  • A walk to Grand Central Station
  • A subway ride to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge (okay, you caught me, that cost $3.50)
  • A walk across the bridge
  • Another subway ride to the Staten Island Ferry (another $3.50)
  • A ride on the ferry where Greg saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time
  • A subway ride back to Times Square
So, other than food, we spent a whopping $7 for entertainment on Day 3.

Now for the food portion of Day 3: We discovered Magnolia Bakery, known for it's cupcakes. There's a location just a short walk from Times Square (the Rockefeller Center location), and it was the only place we visited twice the whole time we were in the city. YUMMY!
This is what the line looked like at all times in this bakery. We noticed several tourists who saw the line and immediately walked out of the store, but not us...we knew there was a line for a reason.

Day 4: Soho and home
I have absolutely no photos to share from our last day, simply because I didn't take any.
We began the day by taking the R train to SoHo (meaning South of Houston St for silly-heads like me, who just thought that was the name and there was no reason for it). We ate brunch at Cafe Bari at the corner of Prince and Broadway. I highly recommend it. Then, we walked and shopped (didn't buy anything, but it was fun to look), and ate lunch at Boom. I recommend this place even more.

I do have a Typical Greg Moment to share from today, but it's getting late and this post is getting long, so I'll share it tomorrow.


Jenni said...

What a fun trip!!! I hear such great things about sis in law raves about it! You are adorable in all your cute NY outfits...welcome back!

Jennifer.T said...

If I'm ever in the states again and I want to know how can do a tonne of stuff for free/cheap, I know who to ask!!

Hannah said...

looks like you guys had a ton of fun!

Houston said...

I am lovin' your run down! My husband and I keep talking about a trip there, I think we'll bookmark this for future planning:)

Anna Sigga said...

What a fun trip - love all the pics and the "mafia" experience must have been quite something!

Kimber-Leigh said...

so glad you had a good time...i love nyc!

and i'm intrigued about your irish friend! can't wait to hear more!

Tina said...

looks like you had a fabulous time! I'm so jealous.

Erin said...

Sounds like a fun trip! I'm totally jealous about Magnolia, I've heard so much about it!

Lauren said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time!

Davinie Fiero said...

Very cool! I'll be calling you years down the road for tips. NYC is on my bucket list. This looks like a lot of fun. Maybe when the kids are older and we can leave them with Grandma and Grandpa. :)

Kimberly said...

Ohhhh...what FUN photographs! LOVE the one of you too...and he mafia guy too! hehehe...good move! SO glad you had so much fun! xoxo
Now I can't wait to hear more!
Lots of love and blessings,

nicole said...

magnolia bakery rocks. glad you had fun in nyc. there are a lot of good places there to visit.

*reyanna* said...

Thank you SO much for the trip run-down and the great photos! LOVE posts like this. :)

And I totally noticed your Anthro top in the first photo of you. LOVE that top. One of my favorites (did you notice it on me in the photo we took at our Waco SC-get-together crop?! LOL).

Can't wait to see more photos! You took more, right?!

Emily Pitts said...

great pictures, great synopsis, and i can totally hear you saying all of this, i love the "no sir" part of it :) glad you had a good time!

caroline said...

mmm...magnolia cupcakes. i've never been (still waiting to go to nyc!), but my neighbor went there and gave me a cupcake and it was delicious! that frosting = YUM!

Anonymous said...

um ... his name wouldn't happen to be oliver, would it? ;o)

lisa truesdell said...

lovelovelove the photos and recap - can't wait to see them scrapped. =)

cilla said...

Love NYC!!! Sounds like a great trip :)