Saturday, May 31, 2008

New York City!

I think it has been quite a while since I have updated the ol' blog and the thought made me realize just how crazy life has been. I say crazy, but I mean a completely different kind of crazy than when I was in school. It's been very nice not having the craziness of homework or lesson planning this year, still, as strange as it may sound, I actually miss homework and tests and learning. But that's getting off topic. Life has just been busy as of late. But good busy.

The most recent event that happened was Kristin's wedding in Massachusett's. Em and I were both bridesmaids and so we flew out there on the 19th. We have always wanted to go and visit New York City and we thought that after Kristin's wedding would be the perfect time to do so. But then we thought Megan should come with us, and then of course Kristin had to come also as sort of a "last hurrah." So Em and I actually flew into New York on Tuesday and spent the whole day there then we met up with the Cooley's on Wednesday and then made our way to their house in Mass. that night.

New York was a blast, although in the first few hours I wasn't so sure it would be. I think we enjoyed taking the shuttle from JFK to our hotel near Central Park. It was so exciting to see the tall buildings and the adorable brownstones that we were so used to seeing in movies. The driver was very nice and took us right to the front of our hotel and helped us with our bags.

***As a side note.*** I had always heard that people in New York in general could be fairly rude and mean, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the exact opposite. Most of the people we met were very kind and helpful. We figured that about five different times when we were a bit lost and confused and verbally discussing it, a person would overhear and offer their help and would even walk a bit of the way with us. I loved hearing the New York accents too! Anyway, more on that later.

After we dropped off our bags we decided to hit up one of the many nearby Starbucks, formulate some sort of plan for the day, and then head over to Central Park, by foot. This little plan worked fine to begin with. We got to Central Park okay and we were overwhelmed by how beatiful it is. There's just a unique feeling of being surrounded by lush, green trees, and then seeing a bunch of skyscrapers rise up behind them.

We took a look at our map and decided to cut through the park and meet up with 70th street so that we could go see Cornell Medical Center, where my mom worked when she lived in New York. It didn't take long for us to realize that Central Park is much larger than we thought and the roads on the map were evidently only the LARGE roads in Central Park. We were lost, and it started to rain. After some wandering we came upon "the Pond". It was amazing! This huge pond with a fountain and little boats...and wow, that's not even the largest body of water in Central Park. I took out my camera to take a picture and to my utter dissapointment, found out that the battery had died. Unfortunately, I had left the rest of the batteries in my bag which was in the hotel. By this time we were getting pretty wet, we realized we had only about an hour to get over to 46th street to buy tickets for Phantom, and there was going to be no way that we could get to the hospital. We called our mom and regretfully told her that we wouldn't be able to see it. She graciously said that it would be okay and we started to make our way down 5th Avenue to the ticket line.

Now our plan was to hail a taxi and ride most of the way there, but let me tell ya, its not as easy as it looks, or as my mom said it would be. Most of the taxi's had people in them already and the ones that were empty seemed to not want to stop for us! So we walked along. On the way, a overly friendly local started walking with us and wouldn't leave us alone. Em is very good at giving the cold shoulder at times like these and so eventually he went away, but it did not in any help the mood we were beginning to fall into. We walked all the way from 70th Street to 46th Street and my pants were soaked up to my knees and my non walking shoes and stocking-type socks were filled with water. I just kept telling myself that it would eventually be over. We finally got there and I preceded to roll my pants up to my knees, wring out my socks, pour the water out of my shoes and put them back on without the socks. With my big coat I most likely looked very moronic. But I didn't care, it was much more comfortable. The enourmous line moved surprisingly quick....I would almost dare to say "lightning speed" and we made it up to the large mass of pushing, scrambling New Yorkers in front of the ticket booth. I could tell everyone was pushing so I thought I would just deal with it. But I heard a very funny conversation (in my mind) to my left between two angry women. Woman 1: "Stop PUSHING!" Woman 2: "I'm NOT pushing!" 1: "Yes! You are!" 2: "No! I'm NOT! I'm being PUSHED!" 1: Then push back THATAWAY!" Oh boy was it entertaining! We got our tickets and we headed back to our hotel for check-in time. Wonderful, beautiful check-in time! We got up to our room and pretty much collapsed on our bed...after we changed out of our soaked clothes of course.

The room was incredibly tiny, but cute and cozy. After we put our suitcases on the floor, their was pretty much no floor space left. I'm not exaggerating. We had to climb over the bed to get to the other side of the room. But I thought that was fun. After we watched a little bit of T.V., we got dressed up to go out.

It might sound crazy in the cold rain, but we wore dresses and I wore flip flops. My feet got wet but at least they dried quickly, and it really wasn't terribly cold.

We stopped at a pizza place on the way, since we had to try real New York pizza. :0) And we were already feeling much better with some rest and some food in our tummies.

We had pretty good seats for "The Phantom of the Opera" and we very much enjoyed it. We had planned to go to Times Square after the play even though it would be a little late. We were going to change our minds after our interesting afternoon, but when we got out, the sky was clear and the rain had dried up. We were in such good moods that we knew we could handle seeing Times Square. We were really glad we went! Again, we were overwhelmed. The tall buildings, the lights, the people! It was crazy, but fun. We went into this giant M&M store. Two stories full of M&M merchandise you would never even dream of. Crazy.

We bought I Heart New York shirts. We wore them to bed and the next morning Em pointed out that there was a giant hole in the armpit of my shirt! I thought, oh well, mom can sew that up, but when I took it off, my thumbs went right through the material! Oh well, I guess that's what you would expect for $2.50. :0)

The next morning was wonderful! The sky was blue and clear! The lady at the desk had told us that it would be easy to hail a taxi in the morning to Penn Station. We definitely wanted one this time because we had our luggage. I was a bit skeptical and sure enough, we began to run into the same problem. We had to meet up with the Cooley's by a certain time, so we started walking. Ever so often I would step a ways into the street and try to get one, but they were all ignoring me! However, after five blocks with our luggage, I was done and I tried again. I stepped into the street, stuck my hand in the air, and what do you know…a taxi put on its turn signal and started coming towards me! I told him Penn station and he agreed to take us! I know it sounds silly, but this was one of my highlights of New York. It just felt so New Yorkish, so movie-like…I don't care if you agree or not Hayley, it was without a doubt, pakish.

This is turning into a novel, so I'll sum up the rest. We met up with the Cooley's, then we took the subway to Ground Zero. We couldn't really see much because they are already working on the new building, the Freedom Tower. It looks like it will be pretty cool. Then we headed over to Battery Park area to see the Statue of Liberty from afar. Much smaller than I anticipated. Then we walked over to Wall Street. We snapped a picture of the two business girls in front of the New York Stock Exchange. :0) We also saw the Trump Building and Tiffany's down there. Wow, those diamonds sparkle like crazy! Then we took the Subway back up to Rockefeller Center. Em and I paid the 20 bucks to go see the view from the "Top of the Rock." I really think it was worth it. The view was amazing. I liked being able to see the whole of Central Park, realizing that we only made it about maybe, maybe half of the way up. We were able to see the Empire State building. It was just cool to really be able to see that Manhattan is an island. You really can see the whole thing up there.

After Rockefeller we walked over to Times Square again. Still very cool in the daytime. Then we walked down Fifth Avenue, headed over to Bloomingdale's, really a mall in my estimation. Then we eventually made it to our final destination, Serendipity. The place is very cute and the food was very good, just way overpriced. But it was fun seeing the place where the movie was filmed.

Four tired girls then made their way back to Penn station and waited for the train to Hartford, Connecticut. Oh, that was an interesting thing as well. They don't tell you what, I guess you would call it station or terminal, your train is arriving at until 10 minutes before it is supposed to leave. After watching the New Yorkers run like mad to the right station, we were a bit worried about making it in time. Thankfully, we wound up being relatively close to ours and we made it. God was just very good to us in general on the trip. No surprise of course. God is always good. He was so good in letting us spend a wonderful time with our dear friends in a fun city! :0)

Next blog feature: The Fish Wedding!

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