NYC - Day 2

The plans for day 2 were semi up in the air. We knew we wanted to go to Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, but other than that, we weren't positive.

First, we stopped in at the Astro Restaurant for breakfast again and after that headed to 30 Rock. It was really windy that morning and looked like it might rain so we didn't waste much time. I'd been to the top of the Empire State Building twice so I was excited to see a different view of NYC from above. Other than it being overcast and hazy, the view didn't disappoint.

Here's a view of Central Park:
A view of the Empire State Building:
and my mom, Brenda and me in the indoor part of Top of the Rock:
As we were leaving 30 Rock, we stopped in the Swarovski store and drooled over all the jewels. Most notable was this gorgeous bench in the back of the store covered in millions of crystals. It was amazing. Then we decided to head south to see what we could see. We stopped in at Fishs Eddy where I was so overwhelmed with wanting EVERYTHING in there, I bought absolutely nothing. Still, it was a glorious store and I wish we had one in North Carolina. As we walked outside the store, we crossed the street to a Starbucks looking for a restroom. After seeing that the line was too long, we left Starbucks but paused for a second on the sidewalk to figure our plans. Skye spotted "Pete Hornburger" from 30 Rock and made eye-contact with him, but I only got a glimpse of the back of his bald head. This would be our only celebrity sighting of the trip. Lucky Skye!

We hopped back in a cab and went to Ground Zero. At first we weren't sure we were going to make the trip down there, but I decided that everyone should see it. I'd seen it several years ago, but it's sort of a don't miss when visiting NYC. You just have to experience it and see what's left and...remember.

We went to St. Paul's Chapel first. It's the most glorious place. It's this gorgeous little chapel right next to where the towers fell and somehow it survived. Its little cemetery and all, still standing, still providing a place of worship for all kinds. I just think this little place is amazing. Here it is post-9/11: I had never been inside so it was nice to take time to go in and look around. This tiny chapel was a refuge for the workers of 9-11 and is now full of children's art work, police badges from around the world, and signs of encouragement from across the nation. Outside, I captured this Sailor paying her respects. It was Fleet Week in NYC so there were Sailors and military folks everywhere! There's this beautiful little headstone for all those who died on 9/11 right in front of the door to the chapel. The one simple phrase says enough, "They are in Peace."

After Ground Zero, we stopped at a little deli, grabbed some lunch and took it to a nice and shady area in Battery Park. I took a stroll down by the water. I'd never been down there before and it was gorgeous. I wanted to sit on a bench and watch the water for hours.

I saw Miss Thang off in the distance: and found this quiet memorial for the fallen NYPD Officers nearby:

Then we got on board our ride......and then I woke up from my dream.

We caught a CRAZY cab back to our hotel and rested for a couple of hours before our exciting dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill that evening. Sorry for these next pics - they are blurry because it was QUITE dark in the restaurant and I couldn't see if I was focused or not! I've been wanting to go to a Bobby Flay restaurant forEVER so finally, we made it happen. Dinner was SO GOOD. We started off by sharing an appetizer, Goat Cheese "Queso Fundido" with rajas and blue corn tortilla chips. Two words. SO. GOOD. Seriously, never had better cheese dip in my life. The rajas made it. The goat cheese added this insanely good tang. It was just awesome. I was eating so much, I didn't take a picture.

For my entree I ordered the "New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Chile Sauce and Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan Butter." OMG. Also, SOOOO GOOD. The thing about eating at nice restaurants is that while you're paying a lot, they actually serve you a proper portion. Not too much so as to get stuffed and hate yourself and perhaps the restaurant, but just the right amount leaving you wanting to come back again. Dinner was great. Everyone had good food, no complaints and we all shared a slice of Bobby's Toasted Coconut Layer Cake which beat out a South Carolina competitor on Throwdown. I don't care for raw coconut, but even I liked this cake.

After dinner, we walked across the street to Anthropologie and shut the place down. We walked a few more blocks before we caught a cab and saw beautiful twilight views of the Empire State Building all dressed up for Memorial Day:
And one of my all-time favorite buildings, the Flatiron.

Then we caught a cab, went back to our hotel and snuggled in for the night. We had big plans to "sleep in" the next morning in preparation for Day 3, our last full day in the city...

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