Monday, June 04, 2007

Our New York Vacation

This may be the longest post in history, but there is a lot to blog about! Matt and I had the greatest time last week in New York City . We flew into Newark Airport Monday morning and caught a cab to our hotel. We cleaned up a bit and then headed into the city. The shuttle from the hotel dropped us off every morning in Times Square! It was perfect. The first morning we walked around the city, amazed at how big it is, and then took a tour of Madame Tussaudes wax museum. This is me working out a movie deal with Steven Speilberg, and Matt as the hottest member of N'Sync.I got to make a wax mold of my hand after the tour, and it turned out really good. We were supposed to go home and fill it with cement, but we must have accidentally left it in the sun because it melted.... :( At least we got a picture of it before its tragic end! After the museum, and a really good lunch at a restaurant called the Heartland Brewery, we walked over to Bryant Park which is my favorite place in the city. I used to hang out there a lot when I lived in New York, and it is just the nicest place to relax. The park is behind the New York Public Library where Ghost Busters was filmed.
Tuesday morning we caught the subway up to the Bronx Zoo. The weather was so perfect and the zoo was great. It is a really old zoo, so the buildings are awesome. Most of the animals were out too, so we got to see everything that we wanted.
This is a beautiful fountain at the entrance to the park. On our subway ride home, we were waiting in a terminal full of people (this picture only shows 1/5 of them) when Matt noticed I was the ONLY WHITE GIRL! So, I had to represent. Gotta love New York.
When we got back to the city, we had to take advantage of the beautiful day and head up to the top of the Empire State Building. There was practically no line to get up there and the top was not crowded at all. It was perfect! The views were amazing and we got lots of really great pictures.

Matt was not afraid to stick his head over the building to see better.
Mmmm...New York Cheesecake!!
After a busy day, I was surprised to have the energy to head into Times Square to see all the lights and billboards. It was so cool! My favorite thing about was seeing Matt's reaction to seeing the city at night for the first time. He was so cute!Wednesday morning we got in line at TKTS to get tickets to see Wicked, only to be laughed at by the agent. "The show sells out 4 months in advance! You can try the Marriott hotel, sometimes they have a few for guests, but good luck!" Disappointed, we headed up to the hotel. The lady at the desk laughed at us also, but told us that she would see what she could do. She got on the phone, told us there was a cancellation and then asked the agent where the seats were. All we heard her say was "Wow, wow, wow." over and over again. When she got off the phone she said, "This only happens once in a blue moon, and it looks like its a blue moon tonight." She wouldn't tell us where we were sitting, because she wanted it to be a surprise.
And surprised we were! The seats we dead center and only 7 rows back! Any closer and we would have to turn our heads to see everything! It also turns out we only paid half of what those tickets go for! The show was spectacular beyond description, and we were so thankful for the seats, we went and bought the lady from the Marriott some pretty flowers.Wicked was the highlight of New York for me. It couldn't have been more amazing. On the way out of the Gershwin Theater, we ran into Daryl Hammond from SNL. He was just as excited that we recognized him, as we were to see a star. After that we went up to Columbus Circle to go to attend a session at the Temple. We took this funny picture of Matt on the way.The Manhattan temple is in the same building that I used to attend church in. So it was really neat for me to be able to go there because I left New York before its completion. Its a small temple, but absolutely beautiful. We couldn't believe how quiet and peaceful it was considering its in the middle of one of the biggest cities. It was such a contrast.
We went to the Museum of Natural History on Thursday, and spent a lot of time there. It is such a huge place and there is so much to see and do. I had the greatest time, and I think that Matt really enjoyed himself also.
His favorite part was the Frog Exhibit. He spent probably an hour in there just watching all the frogs and reading about them. He was like a kid!
I really liked the dinosaurs and the minerals. They had big diamonds and pretty stones, so of course I was entertained :)

When the museum closed, we walked across the street to Central park. After walking around for a few hours, we thought a row boat sounded like a nice way to relax. It was so beautiful and really romantic at the park.
There are also great views of the city. This rock hill looks over the Ice Skating rink and Carnival.
On our way back to Times Square to catch the shuttle back to our hotel, we walked through Rockefeller Center.
Friday we took a train down to Battery Park to catch the Circle Line to The Statue of Liberty. During our walk through the park we saw a guy fishing Horse Shoe Crabs. I guess they eat them in China town. First off, I wouldn't imagine these things to taste very good. There is not a lot of meat, and they are so weird looking. Second, I don't think you could pay me a million dollars to eat something out of the Hudson River. Although it was sad to see them dying on the sidewalk, it was cool to see them. They are the oldest living creature on the earth!
I never had the chance to go to the Statue of Liberty when I lived in the city, so it was great to go for the first time with Matty. The boat was really crowded, and it was a muggy day, but it was so great to be up next to our symbol of freedom.
We spent about an hour out on the island, and then got back on the boat to the park.
Matt really wanted to see Wall Street, so we walked over there after the boat ride.It was amazing to see the old office buildings and one that amazed me was the JP Morgan building. There was a terrorist attack there in the 1920's and there are still pock marks in the stone from the dynamite explosion that killed 30 people. We were also lucky to be able to stand on the streets in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
No New York vacation is complete without bargaining in China Town and eating in Little Italy. Matt and I both bought cheap souvenirs from the street vendors and had a fun time walking through the Asian community.
Little Italy was also great. The atmosphere there is so fun, and there are dozens of real Italian restaurants there. We chose "Angelo's" and after our first bite, we knew we had chosen wisely! The food was great, and the restaurant was really romantic.
Speaking of romance, after dinner we headed uptown to Grand Central Station, and then back to Bryant Park. Nothing says "lets kiss" like the park at night!
On Saturday we only had the morning to spend in the City, and we decided to spend it at Ground Zero. It was so neat to be there, but very saddening. Its hard to imagine what happened there on Sept. 11th.
There was an amazing museum near the site, and they had some really amazing things found after the attacks. Here is a window from one of the planes that hit the WTC. After walking 12 hours every day for 7 days, Matt and I were ready to go home and sleep in our own bed. Our flight left Saturday night, and a 5 hour sunset was a perfect ending to an amazing vacation. I am thankful for Matt, for being so supportive of my dream to go back, and for making it one of the greatest weeks of my life. I am so thankful for his parents who helped us get to New York and for Shauna, who watched my kids for me while we were away.

But most of all I am thankful for the freedom that we have in this country that allows us to live how we want, go where we want and believe what we believe. I am so blessed not only to have the opportunity to travel, but to have someone so great to travel with.

1 comment:

Loni said...

I've wondered where you were and why you hadn't posted anything lately. Sounds like a fun trip. If Danny and I ever go we will need a travel guide so you guys should come!