I'm going to have to post about our trip to NYC in installments since I'm no where near equipped mentally to get it all in logical order in one post. Splitting them up will do both you and I a favor and I hope you'll enjoy it more.
Day 1 started early. I mean EARLY. As in a 3:30am wake-up call from the alarm clock while my sweet husband slept through it. I showered the night before to maximize my sleep time, but it didn't really matter at 3:30am. Luckily, it wasn't TOO hard to get up since my mind knew the plans and was ready for it. My mom and I left around 4am and went to pick up Brenda (the MIL) and Skye (the SIL). We headed to the airport in the early-morning darkness, parked, and checked in. There wasn't much time to wait before we boarded because we are such good planners (ha) and arrived not late, but not too early. It was perfect. We took off just after the sun had begun to rise and had a nice, easy, one hour flight to the Big Apple. We flew JetBlue, by the way and for the first time, and I give it two thumbs up. It was nice to have my own personal TV screen on which to watch Real Housewives and Forensic Files. I'd recommend this airline although they don't fly just anywhere! So we arrive, catch a cab, and take the one hour ride from JFK to our hotel on Manhattan. Brenda, Skye, and I squished our bottoms in the backseat of a Ford Escape taxi and my mom rode up front with the cabbie...who she proceeded to chat up the whole ride. He seemed to enjoy it and was actually a smart man who was a lawyer back in his home country of ... I can't remember.
We arrived at our hotel around 9am just as figured. We stayed at the Hilton New York on 53rd and 6th and it was very nice. Centrally located, clean and new rooms, and great pull-in covered driveway for cabs and the like. We couldn't check in just yet so we stashed our luggage in the luggage room (how clever) and hit the streets to find some breakfast. Lucky for us, exactly one tiny block away was the Astro Restaurant. One peek at the menu in the window, and we headed in and waited for a table. This place was the quintessential New York diner with it's tiny footprint and fast pace. We got lucky and were the first in line to be seated and got a nice booth in just a couple of minutes. We all filled up on good protein and got our plans straight for the day.
We decided to hit Central Park first and see what we could see. We headed down 5th Avenue stopping at Tiffany & Co. along the way. Mom bought herself a cute heart charm but otherwise, the rest of us just window-shopped and drooled at all the eye candy. When we got to the corner of Central Park near FAO Schwartz, we all spontaneously decided that we needed to take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Even at $50 a ride, there were 4 of us so it seemed reasonable. Our "driver" was an adorable Irishman who kept us informed and entertained along our one mile ride through Central Park. $50 for one mile - I can't imagine what they charge for a full tour! It was a fun way to see some of the park and get off our feet - which, honestly, had not even gotten the chance to be sore yet. Skye LOVED the velvet seats that rubbed against her milky-white, freckled skin(heehee). We also had a great horsie who scraped the ground with his hoof when we told him good-bye. Next up, I failed. At some point, I misread a map and got us in a cab and asked to be taken 30-40 blocks to the OTHER end of the park where I THOUGHT Bethesda Fountain was. Here's our fail cab - although we were 2 for 2 on the cabbies. This guy was a native Manhattan-ite(?) and was very nice and laid back. It wasn't until we got there that I realized my mistake. We walked a few blocks on 5th Avenue to enjoy the sites and get a little closer to the OTHER end of the park before we caught another cab. Maybe that was lucky because we happened upon the Conservatory Gardens.
It was quite lovely although we didn't go through the gates. We just admired from afar.
We finally caught a cab and made it to the part of the park I wanted to be in. The goal was to find Bethesda Terrace & Fountain and the Bow Bridge. Both have been shown in movies and television and I just wanted to see them. We found Bethesda Fountain which was...turned off, and wrapped in construction netting. Sheesh. I was so disappointed, I didn't even take a picture of the fountain. I did, however, take pictures of the...
gorgeous concrete walls leading down to the terrace:
and the "blowers" of gigantic bubbles:
and the really cute dog:
and let's not forget, the local crack:
Thanks New York! Your scenery is oh-so beautiful!
SO now for some drama. I got a Diet Peach Tea Snapple while we were at Bethesda. I put the tea in my large purse for later after I had taken one swallow of it. In my purse was a camera lens, my iPhone, DIGGLE, my wallet and you know - purse stuff. Well, somehow that stupid tea didn't close right and LEAKED all in my purse. Diggle was soaked in tea from the torso up, my wallet was soaked, my phone and lens had tea on them and I was PISSED. There was an inch of standing tea in the bottom of my purse, which wasn't even fully broken-in yet. Grr. Kelley = in instant bad mood and worried about having to replace and iPhone and camera lens.
We walked over to Bow Bridge after that which was adorable and I couldn't help but think of how many NY brides had posed for pictures on that bridge.
and then I wanted to row a boat with Seth under the beautiful skyline like these people were doing, but then I remembered he wasn't on the trip. And I cried. JK.
After walking through a good bit of Central Park, we took a cab back to our hotel to officially check in and rest a little bit. It was good to get off my feet and close my eyes for a bit since I had been awake since 3am. Our plan for the evening was to hit MOMA since you can get in FREE on Friday nights from 4-8pm (thanks to Target) and then grab some dinner. We went over to MOMA around 6pm and it was pretty mobbed. The 4 of us ended up splitting up and just wandering around on our own with the agreement to meet in the gift shop at a certain time.
While I was hoping to enjoy it with someone, I enjoyed it just as well solo. I took an Art History course my sophomore year of college and it was a joy to see some of the pieces we studied in real life! Here's a small sampling of some of my faves (in no particular order):
Who doesn't know this one. Starry Night by Van Gough Loooove Jackson Pollock. When I lived in NYC there was an entire Pollock exhibit at MOMA but I was too stupid to go. GAH. For some reason I can't explain, I've always loved Wassily Kandinsky. I think it's his use of color, but I loved this multi-piece display.And Jasper Johns is truly my favorite up there with Pollock. It was so wonderful to walk up close to this piece and see all the great detail. After MOMA we walked a few blocks to a pizzeria called Angelo's which was recommended by the concierge at the Hilton. Dinner was pretty good. Skye and I split a white pizza which was light and delicious and our moms shared a more festive pizza with all kinds of toppings. Other than the Diet Pepsi tasting insanely gross, dinner was good. Since we were so close to Times Square, we meandered down there after dinner. It proved to be a perfect time of night since the sun had set and the lights were glowing in full glory. This is the place I spent every day for a month as a 20 year old and it has changed quite a bit since my time. Part of the street is no longer accessible to cars and has lots of tables and chairs for people to sit and enjoy the scenery.
How could you not love this place? It's quite a spot in NYC and the very spot where I once realized how very small I was in the world and the spot that took my breath away that first night after work. It's nice to go back and feel in control and at ease.
On our way back to the hotel, we spotted this gem: Not THE Magnolia Bakery made famous by the SNL Digital Short, "The Chronicles of Narnia," but same store, same delicious cupcakes of which I just had to try the "Carrie" in honor of Sex and the City and being in New York. It was yuuuummy.
We wrapped up our first evening by having a chat in our hotel room eating our desserts and stretching and rubbing our tired feet and legs. We turned in semi-early to get rested up for day two...