Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Big Apple

When can I go back??

That was the first question I asked myself as soon as I got on the plane to fly home.

Seriously, such a good trip. That is one of the most fun cities I have ever visited. I am so glad I finally got to go.

I have so much to share, but I don't want this blog to be two million pages long. So I'll try and re-cap as much as possible. I just posted a ton o' pixs on facebook, so you can check those out if you want to see 'em.

Ok, so Amy and I set off for New York on a Thursday. I won't mention the 3 hours we had to wait for our Super Shuttle at JFK airport, but I WILL mention that the hotel we found from was perfect. Midtown East, two blocks from the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station and a bonus was an awesome view of the Empire State Building from our window (I love when it lit up at night!).

Our first full day will filled with fun times: Bryant Park, Times Square (they've blocked off two blocks for pedestrians and set up plastic lawn chairs - so fun!), double-decker tour bus to see the whole city (thanks for the idea, Tira!), Rockefeller Center, NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, top of the Empire State Building (woohoo!), dinner at Gallagher's Steakhouse (Mmmmm...), back to Times Square/Broadway area, etc. Whew! Full day.

One of my highlights was that night. We were walking by Shrek the Musical and the show had just gotten out. All the actors were coming out the stage doors to sign autographs. Amy and I saw Shrek (Brian d'Arcy James) come out and so we looked at each other and jumped into the line. We didn't have Playbills or anything for him to sign but we still tried to pretend we had seen the show. When he got to us with his Sharpie, we said, "Um, can we just take a picture with you?" He was so nice. As we took the pix, Amy turned to him and said, "You were great tonight." I could not stop laughing.

Our next day started off with brunch at a restaurant recommended to us by my friend Lacy. It was inside Le Parker Meridien, near Central Park. It was called "Norma's" and you can only get a seat there by reservation. SWANKY. We feasted and met the guys at he table next us. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention...we had made it a goal to meet as many people as possible on our trip. We took pictures with all of them. It was so fun!

After a quick stop at Carnegie Hall, we went to Central Park. Another highlight of the trip! We seriously spent the whole day there. There is so much to do and see. We sat and watched a softball game, walked by the Carousel, I danced and sang "That's How You Know" like Giselle (from the movie Enchanted) through the gingerbread house, took pictures of all the horse-drawn carriages, walked down the Mall, walked around the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, watched turtles swim in the pond next to all the people in their rowboats, visited the Hans Christian Anderson and Alice in Wonderland statues, went to the Belvedere Castle, the Delacorte Theater where Shakespeare in the Park happens (Anne Hathaway is doing Twelfth Night), and then my friend Kristen met us!

Kristen and I worked at camp for two summers when we were in college (her camp name was Willow and mine was Bouncer). She now lives in Manhattan and met us on the end of the Great Lawn where Amy and I were people-watching. It was a beautiful day, so tons of people were out sun-bathing, birthday parties, ultimate frisbee, reading, walking their dogs, ahhhh. The 3 of us walked around the Reservoir (when you're halfway around, you can look back and see the NY skyline - so pretty!) and then visited the Conservatory Gardens.

Kristen found us this yummy Cuban restaurant on the Upper West Side so off to the subway we headed. There was a wedding reception going on at the table next to us and our waiter snuck us some of their wedding cake! He put it in a bag and left it at our table with a whisper "Don't get me in trouble!" and a smile. It was so rad. I felt like little special things like that would happen to us all the time. After dinner, Kristen took us to her cute apartment. It's right by Times Square and you can see Radio City Music Hall from her window.

The next day after eating NY bagels and taking pictures with two policemen (who were so funny they should start their own comedy show - one of them took our picture with the other cop and then said, "Brian, you look fat in this picture. Lemme take another one...") we took the subway downtown. We walked around Wall Street and flashed our money in front of the NYSE. Trinity Church was near there so we popped in. Such a beautiful cathedral! We found out they housed injured people when the WTC fell back on 9/11. We then walked down to the water and took the ferry to see Lady Liberty. She is so regal! I loved seeing her in real life.

We went to Ground Zero which was really hard. They have barely built anything in 8 years, but maybe that's a good thing. We had heard about Lombardi's Pizzeria in the SoHo/Little Italy area from my friends Christy and Sarah so we went there for dinner. BEST PIZZA EVER! Oh my gosh, I was in heaven. Can you tell we ate a lot on this trip? Then we wanted to walk around Greenwich Village that evening. Can you tell we walked a lot on this trip? We hunted down Magnolia Bakery for their famous cupcakes (MMmmm...), took some pictures with NY firemen, and then toured the nearby neighborhoods where they filmed Carrie Bradshaw's apt. in Sex and the City.

Our first stop the next day was Grand Central Station. Have I mentioned yet how much I love the energy in the city? It is electric. The minute we stepped outside our hotel, it was contagious. Anything is possible, everything is exciting. In Grand Central Station, I enjoyed watching people walking all over the place. Places to go, people to see. Amy and I wanted to go back to our plastic lawn chairs in Times Square and eat NY hot dogs, so we did. Then we went to the Late Show with David Letterman theater and went to say hello to Rupert at the Hello Deli around the corner.

We headed to Serendipity's for their famous frrrrozen hot chocolates (we were told to go here by everyone we spoke to). While we waited for our table, we went to the corner candy store: Dylan's Candy Bar. Holy cow, I think I got three cavities just by walking inside. Serendipity's is so kitchy-cute. The frozen hot chocolates were bliss. I bought some mix so I can make them at home. We each bought necklaces from their little store to remember the experience.

We then went to FAO Schwarz and took pictures with the Lego statues (Harry Potter, Batman, Chewbacca, etc) and then tried to do chopsticks on the floor piano, like in the movie "Big". Across the street at the Plaza Hotel, there was a huge crowd and we found out Mariah Carey was shooting a new music video. Sweet!

Our last night we had tickets to see In The Heights on Broadway. YOU NEED TO SEE THIS SHOW! It was beyond what I imagined. The story, characters, singing, dancing, music, everything was phenomenal. A lot of the dancing was hip-hop so I was stoked. After the show, we went and met the cast by their stage door. I was so excited to take a picture with the main character Javier Muñoz (he played Usnavi). I think I have a bit of a crush on him. Tee hee! They were all so sweet and friendly, singing our Playbills, taking pictures, and patting my arm as they left. Cute.

We were so sad to fall asleep that night because we knew we had to leave the next morning. The Empire State Building shone blue and white our last night. Farewell wonderful city! Thanks for all the memories and special times. We flew home and I had to go to work the very next day. Booooo....

I am still recovering from the trip (you could probably tell we didn't sleep much). But it's been so fun looking at pictures and sharing stories with people. What a great vacay. Can't wait to go back and visit The Big Apple again. Thanks for reading!


Emily said...

How stinkin' fun!!! I'm glad you had such a great time. Thanks for the update and the little fun details. I love the way you made the most of everything.

New Branch said...

I LOVE IT!! love the photos, the stories and especially the final photo of you recreating In the Heights. you are hilarious. come see us soon! we missed you!

Lyds said...

is that you in the last pic?!?!?! UH-mazing! HAHA! i was going to ask! ps - LOVED all the pics on facebook and i'm a little jeals that you had way more fun than me, when i went years ago ;)

Jody said...

See that shimmery image in the background, kind of blurry? That's my spirit.