Monday, November 24, 2014


Wow! So much to catch up on...the last few weeks have been busy.  The day after my birthday my mom and I left for a long weekend trip to NYC.  A couple months ago my mom told me she wanted to take a trip for grad school graduation.  I was so surprised and excited!

We arrived in the afternoon, and after checking in to the hotel, just decided to walk around midtown.  Many of the building were decorated for Christmas with elaborate lights, greenery, and window displays.
I *think* the building with the Christmas lights is Trump Tower

Radio City

Our hotel, the Waldorf

We went to NBC and scheduled our Top of the Rock experience for the following evening. The tree was up but not  unveiled and the skating rink was busy with ice skaters.

Harry Winston

We made our way to Central Park right about dusk.  It was so incredibly pretty.  Exactly like it looks in the movies.

 It was starting to get dark so we headed to dinner.  Stephen had told me about a great Vietnamese place so we decided to try it.  It.was.delicious.  Really, really great food.

After dinner we walked through Times Square.  I don't think we planned to, I think we just happened up on.  It was...bright.  We stepped into the Toys R Us to see the ferris wheel (the kids would have loved that!).  It might be the Oklahoma girl in me, but Times Square was one of those "seen it once, wouldn't have to see it again" type of places.

Saturday morning we did a walking tour of Greenwich Village via Free Tours by Foot (a great resource if you're visiting NYC).   Even though it was freezing, this was one of my favorite things of the trip.  We got to hear the history of so many places in the village.
The Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the gay rights movement.

Twin Peaks building.  Once subsidized housing for artists including Cary Grant, Walt Disney
and Miles Davis.

Cherry Lane Theatre, NY's oldest running off-Broadway theatre. 

Friends apartment building

The Cosby Show house

The tour ended at Washington Square Park.

After that we went to Bleecker Street Pizza, consistently named the best pizza in NYC. So good!!

We couldn't miss out on fresh cannoli's from Rocco's.  Again, delicious!

We barely made it to our scheduled time for Top of the Rock.  Are some long lines and waiting (even though we had our tickets and appointment-they're so busy) we finally got to go up.  It was worth the wait!  The 360 degree views were incredible.

Central Park in the middle

Empire State

The sheer density of skyscrapers was unbelievable.  Don't know how it compares to the top of the Empire State building, but one or the other is definitely worth your time and money in you're in NYC.

For dinner we went to Eataly, an Italian market with 7 restaurants.  We ate at the seafood restaurant.  It was a bit of work but this fish was great.

I would really have loved to bring Rob a cheese wheel as a souvenir. 

On the way back to the hotel we walked by the library.  It was so pretty.  I would have loved to go inside but it was closed.

On Sunday we went to Chelsea Market, an indoor food market on the bottom floor of the Food Network studios.

We walked around a bit, ate breakfast, walked a bit of the High Line park (on the Hudson river so it was freezing), then took the subway to the 9/11 Memorial.

The 9/11 Memorial was neat.  I'm definitely glad we took the time to visit the memorial.

Freedom Tower

We took the subway back up the Central Park because I wanted to see it more in the daytime, since our first visit was at dusk and we barely scratched the surface of the park.

Had to try a street dog

This place is really incredible.  You would have to take an entire day to explore the whole park.  We walked around for an hour or two and still didn't see hardly any of it!!  We didn't make it by the castle, the zoo, the large pond, and so many of the bridges, tunnels, and greens.  But what we did see was beautiful, especially with the fall foliage (although I'm sure is gorgeous in spring and summer).  Definitely a place to visit over and over again.

We didn't have a plan for dinner that evening.  We were worn out from all the walking (10 miles/day!) and wanted to stay close to our hotel.  We ended up wandering around a bit (ran into Grand Central Station, so that was cool), finally finding the Park Avenue Tavern, which had good reviews on Yelp, so we went in.  It definitely didn't disappoint.  Like everything else we ate, it was really, really great.   The best crab cakes I have ever had.   No pictures-I think I was too hungry.

Monday was our last day in the city.  The forecast predicted rain so we had planned on that as our museum day.  We had tickets to the Met.
Steps to the Met

Nowhere near the expanse of the building, just all that would fit in the frame

The exhibits at the Met were absolutely incredible and the pictures do not do them justice.
Room from a (perhaps?) 16th century library, all inlaid wood.  All.inlaid.wood.
Think about that.

Bedroom from somewhere a long time ago

Arms and armor collection

Entrance to 19th Century American homes collection

Another reeeeeeally old bedroom

I'm not much of an art enthusiast, but the actual rooms from churches, libraries, and personal homes  hundreds of years old were truly incredible to see.  The magnitude of the collection was almost overwhelming.  We spent a good two hours there and did not come close to seeing everything.  Time was running out, though, so we took the subway to Carnegie Deli.  Wow!  I can honestly say it was the best cheesecake and pastrami sandwich I've ever had.  More things that I would have loved to take to Rob!

1/2 pastrami


After a bit of last minute shopping it was time to head to the airport.

A few things of note about NYC:

1. People in NYC are really friendly for the most part!  We had so many people ask us if we needed directions, help, and were just overall friendly.
2. The cliche of NY'ers walking tiny dogs with sweaters is totally accurate.  So many tiny dogs in coats and sweaters.
3. The subway system is pretty confusing.  A lot of people assured it me it was easy to navigate but it wasn't all that easy to me.  We figured it out with maps and the Metro app, but it was generally with quite a bit of uncertainty, although we never actually got lost.
4. The lobby at the Waldorf Astoria was beautiful but the rooms were just so-so.  Very dated and minimal amenities.  And a super musty smell.

What a great trip.  Such an experience!  I am so incredibly grateful to my mom for this opportunity.  Maybe we can go back again someday, or I can talk Rob into going!!  I think the kids would enjoy it when they're a bit older.