Monday, December 12, 2016

Epic Fall Road Trip - Part IX: New York City

Saturday, November 5th:

We woke up in Milford, Connecticut, got the oil changed in my moms SUV, and headed to The Big Apple!

As we approached Manhattan I told Josh to be careful because those taxi drivers can be a little aggressive! No problem! He did great!

We got to the main entrance of the hotel and I jumped out of the SUV while Josh circled the block. I talked to the valet guy and asked him what we should do with our SUV for the next four nights days.

He came up with this elaborate plan which involved parking on the street for two nights, then valeting for one night and then moving it back to the street for the final night. "Um... that seems really complicated."

"No! No! No problem! I take care of you! You give me $20 and I save you $250!"

Well, who can argue with that logic, especially since it cost $80 to valet every night?!

The guy told me to go stand in a spot on the other side of the road and to direct Josh to park there. A few minutes later, Josh came down the street and I had to yell at drivers to stay back as he parallel parked the SUV. Good times!

After parking we headed inside the gorgeous hotel to get our room.

[Main Lobby]

I booked us a "balcony, skyline king suite" but the room wasn't ready when we arrived. Instead of making us wait for our room they gave us an upgrade and put us on the top floor in a skyline king suite!

[Living room]


[View out our window! 36th floor!]

[Master room bathroom]

The room was incredible! We had a great view of the skyline, a huge bed, a living room, and TWO bathrooms!

After unpacking we went back down to the lobby to explore the hotel.

[Rock & Reilly's - the hotels restaurant and bar]

[View from the restaurant]

[Lobby bar]

After exploring our hotel, and me telling Josh to never ask how much our room cost, we headed out into the city! Our first stop was the Macy's on 34th to get information from the visitor center. After getting a few maps we headed to The Village so I could see the "Friends Apartment".

[Our hotel is right down the street from the Empire State Building] 

[Josh was excited!]

[Madison Square Garden]


[I love Friends!]

After getting our pictures at the Friends Apartment, we walked to Artichoke Basille's to get some authentic New York City pizza pie! 

After lunch we continued on and eventually found ourselves at the One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.

[I call this the "Jenga Building"]

Last time I was in NYC, it was 2008, this area was still under construction. I was anxious to see the memorial and get up close to the new One World Trade Center. 

[One World Trade Center]

[9/11 Memorial]

The memorials are beautiful! Each fountain is located where the Twin Towers once stood and the names of the victims are engraved on the parapets surrounding the waterfalls.

After paying our respect to the fallen, we headed south to Trinity Church, Wall Street, the Charging Bull and Battery Park.

[Trinity Church]

[For some reason The Charging Bull was REALLY crowded, so we weren't able to get pictures. So here's one from the internet]

[Where Broadway Ends]

By the time we reached Battery Park it was almost dark and we didn't feel like walking the 3.8 miles back to the hotel in the cold, so we thought we'd try out the Subway. I've only been on the NYC subway once before, so I wasn't too confident in my ability to navigate it successfully. After checking and re-checking the maps we hopped on a train. A few minutes later I had the feeling that we had gone the wrong way, but since we were underground my phone didn't work so I couldn't be sure. We decided to get off the subway so we could figure out where we were. And sure enough, we had taken the wrong train! We were in Brooklyn! 

Eek! Usually I would have been okay that we had made this minor mistake but it was getting dark and we were in a town I wasn't familiar with. We got lost and couldn't figure out how to get on the right platform in the subway so we ended up walking in circles for about 20 minutes.

Finally we found the right train, bought our passes (thanks to a super nice lady who helped us), and we were off!

As we sat on the train planning out our next adventure, these guys turned up some loud dance music and started bustin-a-move! They were pretty entertaining, and according to the locals, it was a very common thing to experience. 

We found our stop and made it back to the hotel just before dinner time. We headed to the hotel restaurant: Rock & Reilly's. After a delicious dinner, we ventured out into the city again. This time we headed uptown to Times Square!


[Times Square!]

After experiencing the crazyness of Times Square I took Josh to Junior's so he could experience what the BEST CHEESECAKE IN THE WORLD taste like!

[I think he liked it!]

[Another great day!] 

Sunday, November 6th:

I told Josh to get his walking shoes on because today I was taking him on an awesome walking tour of Manhattan!

We started by walking down 34th to the Empire State Building.

Then we walked up Lexington Ave to the Chrysler Building,

Grand Central Terminal,

and the New York Public Library.

[Josh was running away from the ghost who haunts the library! He's such a good sport!]

After a long morning of walking I took Josh to one of my favorite NYC restaurants, John's of Times Square, so he could get some good quality pizza and cheesecake!

[John's is across the street from the Majestic! I love Phantom!]

[Best pizza pie ever!]

After eating lunch we walked through Times Square (where we saw David Spade!) and up Broadway to see where The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is taped. I have been of fan of Colbert ever since he was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

We then walked up to the famous Carnegie Deli, which is closing soon. We didn't get anything since we had just eaten.

We then walked over to the Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center so we could buy our tickets for the Top of the Rock!

[Radio City]

[Rockefeller Center]

[I know where we are going for Election Day!]

After getting our tickets for that night we walked up 6th Ave to Central Park.

We arrived at Central Park to see a ton of people running and other cheering them on! We had stumbled upon the New York City Marathon!

We took a few pictures, walked a block, and turned to head down 5th Ave.

I knew we had to go see what was going on at Trump Tower, since it was only a few days before the election.

[Trump Tower]

In front of the main entrance there were a ton of people, police officers, security guards, protesters, and the Naked Cowboy!

After snatching a few selfies, we continued down 5th Ave.

[St Patrick's Cathedral] 

Two miles, and a Starbucks hot chocolate, later we made it to the Flatiron Building.

We then went back to Rockefeller Center and made it to the Top of the Rock right at sunset! 


[As the sun set it got colder and colder but we didn't care! The view was amazing!]



After sunset we went back to Junior's in Times Square for dinner and, of course, more cheesecake!

[Along with Rockefeller Center, we will also be in Times Square on Election Night]

[Chicken Salad Sandwich]

[Red velvet cheesecake!]

[Come on, I deserved that cheesecake, right?! And I got more then 70 minutes of sleep the night before. My Fitbit died in the night]

Monday, November 7th:

We jumped on the Subway (since we are pros now, right?!) and headed to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

We went inside and the first thing we saw was the flag that the first responders hoisted up at Ground Zero right after the attacks happened. And that's when I started crying, and I didn't stop until we left.

After seeing the flag we went into a small theatre to watch a movie about the 9/11 Attacks and the aftermath.

We then walked down the stairs and deeper into the museum.

[Love Virgil]

[This piece was where one of the planes hit]

[Foundation of the Twin Towers]

The museum was built underground and on the foundations of the Twin Towers. I felt very humbled to walk around this amazing museum. There is so much to see and it just brought back so many memories. One of the strangest things to me was when we came across a tour group of 7 year olds. It was so weird to hear the tour guide telling these kids about this event that happened before they were born. The museum was so well done and I was sad to leave, but we had to a boat to Jersey to catch!

After leaving the museum, we walked to Battery Park, got our tickets for the Statue of Liberty, went through security, and hopped on the boat.

[Isn't she beautiful?!]


After walking around Liberty Island we got back on the boat and went to Ellis Island.

[Ellis Island and Jersey City]



Since I had been here before, and Josh wasn't too interested in the island, we decided to forego the audio tour. Instead we walked around and I told Josh facts that I had remembered from the audio tour I had taken eight years ago.

After a quick walkthrough of Ellis Island we got back on the boat, went back to New York, hopped on the Subway (with the help of a nice local man), and went back to the hotel to put on some warmer clothes. 

We then walked to the Chrysler Building where we met up with my friend Heidi and her fiance, Steve!

[Heidi and I]

[Steve, Heidi, Courtney and Josh]

From the Chrysler building we jumped on the subway (took two traines) and headed to Brooklyn. Heidi and Steve took us to a pier at sunset so we could see the beautiful NYC skyline.

After gazing at the beautiful city, we headed to a local restaurant where we got delicious food and spent hours catching up!

After dinner Heidi and Steve walked us back to the subway (where I saw two rats!) and took the first train with us back to the city so we wouldn't get lost! They are the BEST!

Tuesday, November 8th:

For our last day in NYC, we decided to do three things that I haven't done before: The Natural History Museum, The MET, and the top of the Empire State Building!

We started our day by walking to Times Square where we got some delicious hot dogs at a small vender. We then continued up Broadway to Central Park.

[See, I love Colbert!]

[Central Park]

We walked through Central Park for a few minutes before we arrived at the American Museum of Natural History! Since we had purchased a "City Pass" we were able to, not only get into the museum for a discount but, get tickets to see "Dark Universe," which is a movie in the Hayden Planetarium AND it's narrated by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

[I love dinosaurs!] 

What a super cool museum! There is so much to see!

After exploring the museum and seeing the movie, we walked across Central Park to The MET!

We spent a lot more time here then we did at the Natural History Museum and for good reason: there is so much to see! Ancient Egypt, Medieval Art, Greek and Roman Art, Arts of Africa, European Sculptures and Paintings, Ancient Near East artifacts, Asian Art, and more!

We were walking by a room when I saw this painting out of the corner of my eye. I stop, grabbed Josh, and said, "Hey! That's a Monet!"

We had a great time walking around the museum and stayed until The MET closed. We then headed down 5th Ave towards the Empire State Building so we could go to the roof at night.

[The Plaza Hotel]

At Trump Tower there were even more protesters, people and police officers out and a block later we saw Ben Carson!

I was shocked but there was no line at the Empire State Building and we got to the top very quickly!

[The view from the 88th floor!] 

I love this city at night!

After getting our pictures we went back to our hotel. We turned on the news and watched the Election Coverage until the results started coming in. We then went to get a bite to eat before heading to Times Square to see what ABC was doing to cover the election.

We couldn't get into the area that we wanted to (the security guards told us we had to get in from the north), so we left Times Square and headed to Rockefeller Center.

After hanging out at The Rock for a little bit we headed back to Times Square where things were getting a little crazy and there were people EVERYWHERE!

[ESPN Commentator LZ Granderson and ABC's Michael Strahan]

Times Square and Rockefeller Center really were not as bad as I thought they would be on Election Night. Turns out, most of Manhattan voted for Hilary so when Trump pulled ahead (and it looked like he was going to win) the whole city got really quiet and all the energy was gone.

We went back to the hotel after a couple of hours and watched the rest of the election at our room (while enjoying some cheesecake, of course). 

[Another killer day!]

Wednesday, November 9th:

We got up late, checked out of our gorgeous hotel, and left NYC through the Lincoln Tunnel.

I can't get enough of this city! I've already been here twice but I would come back in a heartbeat! Thanks Heidi and Steve for meeting up with us! It was so great to catch up!

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