Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New York City! WOOHOO!

We arrived at Penn station on Wednesday afternoon. It was quite easy to get a taxi and head to our hotel. The city was alive, as it usually is, and smelled just like I remembered. Awesome! :) I rolled down the window to take it all in.
When we arrived at the hilton of the america's, we got checked in... although our room wasn't ready. The front desk guy gave us some breakfast coupons, some bottles of water and a room on the same floor as his parents. Which was great for us. Up we went to their room for a cocktail and a visit. Bobbie's conferences had started so Jack, Jason and I went out for a wander.

We walked over to Rockefeller center and had to take a picture, of course.

The ice skating rink was already in full use and we stopped to watch the skaters. How fun! I love this guys face... you just know he's the coolest of the bunch.

Several of my friends that I worked with on ships all live in NYC now. I knew that my dear friend, Ferry, had gone to work at the Waldorf Astoria but I didn't necessarily know what he was doing. He didn't know I was coming in... so I decided to surprise him. When we arrived on Wednesday, Jason and I wandered down to see him. After some asking around, I found him managing the Bull and Bear Restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria. How prestigious!
They film Fox's Happy Hour every day in their bar... and they were doing that when we stopped by. We got to see that while we had a cocktail and quickly caught up. Ferry asked us if we wanted to come in for dinner... we figured out that we didn't have plans on thursday night and Jason's parents were going to a function with the College Board. Ferry was working so... it was a plan.

On the way back to the hotel we passed this waterfall and garden. I just thought it was pretty.

Bobbie was done with her afternoon conference so we headed out for Times Square and dinner. We found the cutest restaurant near times square that was Italian. It looked like a hole in the wall, but they had live music and lots of patrons and OMGoodness, yummy Italian food.

After dinner, while walking around Times Square and found some Obama Condoms... only in New York.

On Thursday morning, Bobbie had her presentation and Jack and Jason wanted to go see the Intrepid. And I wanted to accomplish my goal of running in Central Park. I had the best time. I set out walking toward the park... with my ipod on... enjoying music and the smells and sounds of NYC. When I got to the park, I took a nice couple's picture and then just headed out. I probably spent two hours running/jogging/walking through the park. I loved it. I saw nannies with bugaboo's and adorable little babies. I saw people with dogs, (offleash) romping and playing. I saw couples strolling hand in hand through the tree lined paths. I followed other joggers as they huffed and puffed around the park.

When I got the jogging track, (the actual jogging track) I decided one lap around and then I would walk back. It's 1.5 miles around the lake and the weather was perfect. The sun was out, the breeze was blowing. I can't even tell you enough how much I loved this morning.

I took more pictures but unfortunately, my phone deleted them. :(

I got back to the hotel, took a shower and headed off for lunch with Brooke. Brooke is a dear friend of mine from my Marine Max days. She is now married and expecting dear Charlie any day now. She and her husband live in Gramercy Park in NYC... and although I keep saying I would love it, she hates it. She's ready to get back to some normal part of the suburbs.
It was such a great visit with her. And seeing her glowing with pregnancy... awhhh... so sweet.

We met back up with jason, (her work is next door to our hotel)... and Jason and I set off for our walking tour with a photographer. I love taking pictures as most of you know... but I am rarely IN them. So, we hired a walking tour of NYC with a photographer.

What fun it was. We did Times Square, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and So ho. He gave us all kinds of tips and a good commentary.

LOVE the zebra print car.
After our tour, we had a cocktail in the village while discussing our day. His parents were done with what they were doing and we had checked on Joe. We jumped on the subway and got back to our hotel. Go to rest before going to dinner.

When I tell you that it was the meal of a lifetime, I am not even kidding. We actually arrived early and went to the bar for a drink. Jason might or might not have already had a whiskey or two beforehand. Alas, we ordered and I went to move my chair in and accidentally crushed my finger in the chair. I must have yelped because the waiter told us that the drink was on him. I assured him that was not necessary as it was completely my fault. But he wouldn't hear anything of it. We had a delightful chat with him and some others in the bar before we headed down to the Bull and Bear.
We were quickly seated at our perfect window table. The very attentive waiter came over and informed us that the dinner was on Ferry. That we should order anything we want. Can we start with a cocktail. :) While we were purusing the menu, Ferry came over and told us he was ordering us an appetizer.
OH MY GOODNESS! it came out with Crablegs, oysters, clams, shrimp, crabmeat, King crablegs and the tastiest cocktail sauce ever. It was seriously NUMMY! Oh and of course, served with a glass of champagne.
We were already full but of course had to order our entrees. I got the surf and turf (at Ferry's suggestion) and Jason had the prime rib. The steak was melt in your mouth tender, the lobster was buttery, warm yumminess and the prime rib was filled with juicy flavor. We even had sauteed mushrooms, au gratin potatoes and some hash brown potatoes.

I'm quite sure you could have rolled me out of the restaurant at this point. But Ferry, not to be deterred... sent us over a dessert that had a sampling of all of the desserts. Creme brulee, rice pudding, chocolate souffle. We had some coffee and some almond cookies.

The best of all was getting to visit what limited time we had with Ferry. When I tell you he was one of the most special people I met on board ships, I would not be exaggerating. We would hang out when he was maitre'd and talk about all the goings on on the ship. He would always pick the tables I had to host with the utmost care. If I was hosting the captains table, he would pick the most fun people to join us. And usually between courses, I would sneak out and have a cigarette in his office. (back when I smoked). He has blessed my life in so many ways and I am just so glad we have remained in touch.

We had planned in advance to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was a rather cold and somewhat overcast morning. But we headed out to the subway and down towards the Brooklyn Bridge.

I had seen the Statue of Liberty before... but it had been a very long time and it had definitely been before the 9-11 attacks. The symbol of our liberty... our freedom... is even more poignant than it was before.

We got off at Ellis Island and wandered around. Man, the history... the magnitude of what all transpired there... it's really awe inspiring. I went outside to the wall of remembrance and found my ancestors.

Then in wandering around, I realized how many of the Holland America ships had been instrumental in bringing so many immigrants to the United States. The manifests that state where they are from, what their occupation was and where they were going to live was so cool.

This was the room where they held the immigrants. They set it up where it almost looked like cattle, partitioned off with wooden benches for them to sit on until they could get processed. Can you imagine the dreams that were formulated here?

Ground Zero... a somber site. You can't really see anything for the construction going on... it's really really REALLY hard to believe it's been 8 years. I can't wait to see the memorial done!

Little Italy... where we had an outstanding lunch! Wine, beer, pasta! Good company! What more can you ask for?

Grand Central Station

The New York Public Library. Impressive, huh?

We all rested a bit and met up at the taxi stand to head to the Met for South Pacific. I was super excited. I love broadway shows and this one had great reviews. The taxi line was HUGE though because of the rain and we are SO lucky we made it in time for the curtain to go up. but JUST by the skin of our noses. I wish we had had a little bit more time to read through the playbill and get situated... alas, we didn't and at least we made it.
I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. The music was good, the voices impressive. I even enjoyed the romantic storyline. Jason, however, was bored out of his mind. It was too old fashioned for his taste and in hindsight, West Side Story probably would have been a better pick. Ah well!

After the show, it was still raining, in fact it was raining harder. We ran to the subway and after a fight with the turnstile got to the right platform. Jason and I were heading to meet some of my ship friends for a late dinner and drinks. Bobbie and Jack were heading back to the hotel, as it was quite late.

Melissa and Nate and I had many fun and adventurous times... some I can even talk about. Mel was a singer/dancer and Nate ran lights. In fact, Nate was one of the best stage managers I ever worked with. So very talented! And Mel, well she comes from a long line of entertainers. She was born into the circus. She sings, she dances, she reads tarot cards... she is an all around performer/entertainer. She makes people smile. Right now, she works with the actors equity and gets to vote on which shows get nominated for the Tony Awards. What fun!

On Saturday morning, we awoke to rainy weather. However, we still had much to do! We went to breakfast with Jack at the Stardust Diner where the waiters are all waiting to break into broadway. So, as they wait on you, they pop up on tables, walk around and sing songs. They really are VERY good.

After breakfast... I went off to meet Rick. He is an old cruise director friend of mine from Holland America Past. He is now living in Hell's Kitchen and loving it. We talked about our lives in six words (which is where I got the name for this blog... and his was something about... finally living where I belong!
It was a great visit over coffee and then we walked to Times Square to see if I could get tickets to any of the matinees that day with Bobbie. He had some great suggestions (as he goes to a different show every day practically). When we got there, we met up with Jason... they talked while I went up to get tickets. I ended up with tickets to Ragtime which was BRAND new revival, in fact it was their second performance. I was nervous as the seats weren't great... but eh. What're you to do?

I am SOOOO glad that I got those tickets. Bobbie and I went without much expectation and it far and away blew South Pacific away! It brought tears to our eyes and we jumped to our feet. The voices, the costumes, the choreography, the actors! Oh my goodness! I would have gone to see it again that night! I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone!

After the show, we wandered through this street fair and made some last minute purchases. I searched and searched and searched for this scarf I had gotten the day before in China town but alas... could not find it! I was so sad... I wanted to buy them as gifts! The rain really started to come down at this point so we went back to the hotel to meet up with the guys, have a drink and talk about dinner. We all wanted to eat rather early so that we could get back, pack and head to bed rather early. And we all agreed that we wanted another Italian place like the first night.

We found an outstanding place right by Central Park. It wasn't exactly what I was thinking of but man, oh man, was it good. I had a Pappardelle Pasta with a Truffle cream sauce and asparagus. MMMM MMMM NUMMY!

We made it back in the rain and packed up and all headed to bed after one last night cap together. What a trip it has been!

On the platform in Philadelphia... heading to the airport to fly home. What a fun vacation it was! We managed to do so much in such a short time! :) Can't wait to go back!


Meg said...

OH MY Goodness! This post brought tears to my eyes more than once! Now I know I have to go- (and preferably with you, Ms. Know Everyone and Where to GO and Get Free Dinners!!!)
I am so glad it was such an awesome trip for you guys---talk about a downer to come home!...well except for seeing your bubba :)

Lawfrog said...

There is nothing like meeting up with old friends who made a big impression on your life. And to do it in NYC? Even better.