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Our trip to New York

May 10, 2005 at 11:13 PM
Statue of Liberty

Well we've been home for almost two weeks and Iíve just now got the time and the energy to sit down and post about our trip to New York City. We did as many things we could in the five days we were in town and we took over a gigabyte of photos! I uploaded 266 photos to flickr and actually labeled and tagged them pretty well. I'll be sure to point out some of my favorites.

Neither of us had ever been to New York City. Iíve actually been to New York State several times. as a kid my family had made it up to Niagra Falls (all the way there and then to Toronto via car for Peteís sake!) but Iím pretty sure the city was an expensive hell hole back then, not exactly kid-friendly for us country folk from little old New Braunfels. Then in college I was a counselor at a National Leadership Camp near Albany, but again never really made it into New York City itself. We did drive through on the way to someone's house on Long Island but that's about it. So Iíve come close a bunch of times but never made it, while Christina's barely left the GGA (Greater Garland Area.)

Day one

Our flight was at 9:45 in the morning and we almost left early enough. We had a coupon for one of those off-site long term parking lots, but with Christina navigating and our departure time getting closer and closer we ended up giving up and just parking in the uber-expensive long-term lot at the airport.

For some odd reason, American Airlines flies out of both Terminal A and C, and since we didn't know which one our flight was at we just made a guess. Of course our guess was wrong. So it's about 50 minutes before our flight takes off and we're checking in at the wrong terminal. Fortunately the woman checking our bags we very helpful and let us know where to get on the TRAAIN to the correct terminal. We made it through security despite Christina being brown, got on the one mile per hour TRAAIN, and got to the gate right when our group was boarding.

I hate flying. With a passion. I don't really get airsick or anything, but Iím just scared to death during take off and landing. If anyone's seen Say Anything, Iím the same way as the female lead. I sit and try not to think any negative thoughts until the fasten seatbelts light dings and goes off. Once we're up in the air I do alright, I can usually find something to read or another way to pass the time. I played Lumines and Tiger Woods on my PSP all the way there. (The battery was still over half full after a three hour session.)

Me in the cab on the way from the airport

We took a cab from the airport to our hotel, all the starting and stopping made me pretty naseous but he got us their quickly and safely. It was my first cab ride and since in NYC you get to split a fare between riders, Christina and I took advantage of their convenience pretty often over the course of the trip. We stayed at the Ramada New Yorker. It's a pretty famous place and was a nice place, but the room was absolutely tiny. I imagine most of the historic (and old) hotels probably have rooms that size. They have to try to cram a room in every nook and cranny because of the lack of space.

After we got settled in and relaxed for a little bit, we got changed (it was 85 degrees in Dallas and 45 and wet in New York), had a late lunch at the fantastic Tick Tock Diner (strangely enough, home of CNN during the 2004 Republican National Convention), and headed out on the town. We didn't have any real plans except to just see all we could within walking distance of the hotel. Times Square was only a couple blocks away so that's where we headed.

Times Square

We wandered around for a little while checking out the sights. It wasn't nearly as bustling as I imagined it, perhaps because of the gloomy weather. We went into the MTV Store beneath the TRL studio and it was about as crappy as I expected it to be. There was a small throng of teenage girls hanging out beneath the studio window, but I've got no idea who they were trying to see. It was well after show airing.

We went to the TKTS booth to check out what was showing and for how much on Broadway. There were several interesting ones to choose from, but we ended up picking Twelve Angry Men. We went back to the hotel, had dinner and got ready for the play. It was absolutely fantastic, I am so glad we went. I wrote up a complete review a couple of days ago. Everyone should definitely hit up TKTS when they're in town and try to see a show.

Day two

The next morning we managed to roll out of bed by about 9. Friday had been a really long day and with the change in time zones it was pretty much impossible to get any earlier. We had breakfast and then headed back to Times Square to find something to do. We were going to Central Park and some stuff in that area after lunch, but I wanted to hit up the ESPNZone in Times Square and maybe watch a little of the NFL Draft while we ate.

So we're walking past the restaurant at about 10 a.m. and there's already a ton of people lined up outside waiting to get in. Christina talked me into standing in line and waiting for the draft that starts at noon, it honestly wasn't my idea. It was a pretty good time, but we were about fifteen people too late to sit up top where the massive screen was. They had about a 42" LCD up and the volume was jacked up so we could hear it nicely, but with a $10 minimum per hour and the draft moving along at a glacial pace it would've cost us a small fortune to stay longer than the two hours that we did.

Guy playing a saw in subway

After we left the restaurant we took our first trip on the subway over to the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park. The museum was really cool. Christina had never seen a dinosaur before and I hadn't since I was like in elementary school, so it was a neat experience for us both. We were both really exhausted by then, but we explored as much as we could in the couple of hours we were there. Central Park was just really peaceful and nice. Not very busy (again due to the overcast skies I'm sure) so we just walked around and enjoyed it.

NYC building rising into the fog

That night we had to dress up and head out for a nice, fancy dinner. I had made reservations at the 21 Club several weeks in advance, because I knew once we got there I'd be too tired/lazy to do something like that. I'm 24 years old and I ended up having to call my dad to help me with my tie. I've done it enough that I can handle it when I've got my trusty instructions in front of me, but since I don't do it everday I can't do it blind. The atmosphere was really great, a nice small, quiet dining room with just another five couples or so. The food was good but not great and the prices were high but not outrageous. The best part of the evening? The restroom attendant.

After dinner we walked down to Rockefeller Center, what a collosal disappointment that was. It's essentially a decently cool statue with a couple of strip mall looking restaurants and a big slab of concrete in between. It was so small. It would've been much cooler in the winter with a skating rink and some snow etc, but it was still so much smaller than I was expecting.

Day three

Randy Johnson throws a pitch

Sunday we spent the morning on foot. We walked all the way to Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building. Some jerk wouldn't even let me read the big History of the Chrysler Building thing they had set up, but Grand Central Station was nice. It was nothing but tourists, but I can imagine what it's like during a busy weekday.

After that we took the subway to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees play the Texas Rangers. As a kid my family visited nearly every Major League ballpark, but I had never seen either Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park in Boston. Well now I've just got one more to see. The stadium itself wasn't that great, it's just a big, old building. We got there too late to visit Monument Park which is one of the things you have to do when you go. Maybe I'll go just to take the stadium tour the next time I'm in New York.

That afternoon we breezed through The Met, went to dinner, and then off to the Comic Strip Live. We had bought the tickets off a guy in Times Square our very first afternoon in town, so I was a little worried they weren't legit. But I guess with all the different comic clubs there's a lot of competition and they can't afford to just hope people show up. Most of the comedians were pretty good, the drinks were nearly alcohol-free and nine bucks a pop, and the crowd was pretty dead. We had a really good time though and I wrote up a little more about it over here. I should really stop being lazy and make plans to go the Addison Improv here in town.

Day four

Circle Line cruise ship

Holy crap it was cold. We went out on a Circle Line Tour around Manhattan Island. It was in the low forties and the wind was blowing like crazy. The boat was a double decker with the second deck half open which was completely unbearable, of course this open section had by far the best view. We braved the cold for all the good parts and huddled inside for the crap. Another thing I'd definitely recommend to any first time visitors, you have a guide while you go all the way around the island and see all the major spots. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, all of downtown, the Brooklyn Bridge, and all the other random places. Certainly worth the twenty-eight bucks.

After the cruise we headed to 5th Avenue to see all the stores. I've wanted to dance on the big piano in FAO Schwarz since about 1988, but of course a bunch of punk five year olds beat me too it. The little bastards. A lot of the stuff I could've gotten at Wal-Mart, but the giant stuffed giraffes and $1,600 Etch-a-sketches. If I was twelve I'd have been in heaven, it was still fun though. We also checked out the Sony Qualia store and Tiffany and Co. They have diamonds bigger than your head in there.

Cross at WTC site

After that we took the subway downtown to Ground Zero to pay our respects and to see the other things in the area. We looked around and read the small memorials along the outer fencing at the World Trade Center site, but that's really all you can do. The barriers are so far back that you can't really see down and it's essentially a construction site now anyways. When the new memorial it should dramatically change the look and the feeling of the site.

We walked from there to Chinatown where Christina tried to by cheap crap and odd fruits for her mother. She almost bought forty dollar dresses that she thought were four dollars because she's freaking Asian but I understood what the woman said better than she did. All those little shops are such a scam. There's no price tags on anything, that way they can charge you whatever they think you're stupid enough to pay. Apparently they thought we were pretty dumb.

Christina wanted to eat in Chinatown but I wasn't feeling very brave, so we walked into Soho and past the Gap, Chipotle, and seventeen Starbucks and found a barbecue restaurant to eat it. It was pretty subpar, I don't know what two Texans were thinking eating at BBQ restaurant in freaking Soho.

After dinner we headed back uptown and to the Empire State Building. Which is essentially is just an expensive way to stand in lots of lines really high up in the air. It was just one line after another. When you weren't in line you were snaking your way through an endless maze of seatbelt barriers for no apparent reason, or crowding with twenty-five of your closest strangers into an elevator. What a miserable experience.

Once we finally got to the observation deck I realized that I officially have an intense case of acrophobia. I have been denying for a little while, but I was miserable the entire time I was up there. It's not like I'm frozen in fear or anything, but I definitely wanted to get the hell out of there. Part of the problem was probably that it was incredibly windy, but just in general I've decided falling from really tall things is nothing something I'm interested in.

Day five

Our flight wasn't till 1 p.m. so we slept in a little and then had one last meal at the Tick-Tock Diner. I found out about four minutes before we left that the hotel lobby had free Wi-fi, but I guess not knowing that was probably a good thing. We caught a cab to the airport and were on our way home.

We both had an amazing time, but I think I speak for both of us when I say we were really glad to be back home in Dallas. The trip was a blast and we got to see so many amazing things, but it wasn't an overly relaxing vacation. There's just so much to do and see, that you've got to be always moving in order to even do half of it. I needed a vacation from my vacation when we got back.

Posted in Personal | 5 Comments | Add yours

Comments and TrackBacks

1 Christina said...

I am impressed. That is quite a long post.

Posted on May 12, 2005 at 12:11 PM

2 Christina said...

We didn't do enough shopping in New York, I'd like to make a trip out there just for the shopping...

Posted on May 12, 2005 at 12:20 PM

3 Brian said...

We barely even went into any stores. I think Macy's, Sony, and Tiffany were the only ones and we weren't really shopping in any of those cases. I think we were just so exhausted most of the time that we didn't feel like wandering around a giant store.

Posted on May 12, 2005 at 12:27 PM

4 Steve said...

Hi...

I am from Houston and am taking my son to NYC for three Yankee games. We are going in mid May. I was wondering, from the pic, you were sitting in the upper deck? I need to know what kind of weather to expect while there in mid May.

Thanks!

Posted on February 17, 2006 at 12:49 AM

5 Brian said...

Yeah we were in the upper deck along the right field foul line. They weren't bad seats because we were in about 5 or 6 rows from the edge.

The weather was absolutely freezing!! It was late April and had been much warmer up there the week before and after we left, but there was a pretty decent cold front and we didn't really bring the clothes for it. It wasn't too bad in the enclosed stadium and in the sun, but walking the streets you'd come around a corner and the cold wind would hit you right in the teeth.

Posted on February 17, 2006 at 07:29 AM