Friday, June 15, 2018

New York City Adventures

Briley's big birthday surprise this year was a trip to New York, and we were off last Thursday morning bright and early.  We got to New York around 11:30, and made our way to the taxi.  Her first taxi ride was an eventful one with a man starting to cross in front of us with a dolly.  Our cabdriver gunned it like he was going to hit the man to teach him a lesson that he should use the crosswalk.  They yelled back and forth for a bit with Briley big eyed in the back seat.  Welcome to New York;)
Once we got to our hotel, we dropped our stuff off and went to Shake Shack for lunch.  Next was the subway to downtown.  We then made our way to the Staten Island Ferry to go by the Statue of Liberty.  We didn't plan the trip early enough to get the Statue of Liberty tickets, and we knew that Briley wouldn't care too much about going to Ellis Island so we opted for the free ferry.  Once we got off back in Manhattan we stopped by Elizabeth Ann Seton's shrine directly across the street from the ferry.  Unfortunately it was closed for some reason.  There was a priest with a group of people trying to get in too.  We aren't really sure why it was closed, but I got a picture out front.  Next was Wall Street, Trinity Church(closed for renovations, but we saw Alexander Hamilton's tombstone), and then stopped by St. Paul's Chapel that was where Washington went to Church.  It has had a big renovation that looks like it is still in progress since we were there last.  It was the headquarters for the firefighters, police, emts during 9/11, and had been beaten up.  The pews were worn from all the firefighters sleeping on them with their equipment, the floors were worn, and there were 9/11 missing posters along the walls.  After almost twenty years the Church is ready to become a Church again, and they have made it beautiful.  There was a little room off to the side where they kept one pew and some memorabilia from that day.  Next we walked through Tribeca to Ghostbusters headquarters.  We kept on walking to the West Village for dinner at Joe's Pizza.  We hopped back on the subway to our hotel, and got a drink on the roof top bar before taking her to Time Square that night.  We stopped at the M&M store for her first candy shop experience and then back to the hotel for bed.
Our second day was an early morning trip back downtown to the One World Observatory.  By far this is the best top of the building experience in New York in our opinion.  There was a presentation about to start up there so we sat down to listen.  The guy introduced himself as Fontaine, and I told Andy that he looked a lot like Fontaine Piper.  He then mentioned his son living in Missouri so we knew it was him.  We talked to him about life after retirement before leaving for the 9/11 museum.  Such a small world it is sometimes.
The 9/11 Museum is a must for anyone traveling to New York, and Briley really finds this part of our history interesting.  She has read a lot prior to our trip, and  I think it was the first museum that I have taken her to that she really took it all in, and didn't want to hurry through it.
We walked across to a food court afterwards and then it was time for the Brooklyn Bridge.  We took the subway to the Brooklyn side and checked out the Dumbo area.  Very neat spot that we hadn't gone to our last trip.  We had already eaten but it looked like it had great food options.  We then began the walk back to Manhattan.  By this point Briley was starting to wear down so we went to the hotel, and she took a little nap before MOMA that night.
We took her to the Museum of Modern Art, to show her the highlights.  One floor contains Van Goh, Picasso, Pollak, Seurat, Warhol, Matisse, and a few others that have escaped my memory.  Next was something she had been looking forward to, and Andy and I had not.  Ellen's Stardust Diner.  You have stand outside in a line for about an hour before making it inside this little diner.  This is the place where your waiters sing broadway songs as you eat.  It is where those trying to make it in broadway work in the hopes of getting onto a real show.  The food was surprisingly pretty good, and the entertainment was entertaining.  Our waiter sang New York New York while throwing straws at me from his apron so I guess that was fun for Briley.  There was also a girl singing Let it Go while one of the other waiters used a little leaf blower to blow confetti in the air around her( all over our table).  Briley was laughing as we left because I had confetti stuck all over me.  Next up was Rockefeller Center.  The tree is of course not there, but the area is pretty.  Briley really liked this area, and it was the place she asked to go back to on our last day before heading to the airport.  We had hopes of banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery but they were sold out.  We walked through the theatre district and I found a bakery called Schmackerys so we got cookies instead.  After that it was off to bed.
Day three started off with the Tenement Museum in the East Village.  I would recommend this tour to anyone going.  They have taken an old building that had not had tenants since the 1930s.  Some areas of the building had been rented out here in there until the 80's when it was closed up.  This group went in and began to bring it back to life.  So neat to see how our immigrants lived when they moved to America.  The building was built in the 1800s, and there was a lot of original things still in there.  We learned a lot.  We then walked through East Village, Chinatown, and the Little Italy where we stopped for lunch.  It was a beautiful day to sit in a little cafe to people watch.  Briley also made it to candy store number 2, Economy Candy.  We continued on to Soho, and then the Flat Iron Building.  This was on her list to see. Next we walked by the Empire State Building.  We showed her Grand Central Station, and she asked why we were there if we weren't taking a train.  "Because Briley, it is so cool inside."  She didn't seem that impressed.  I then said we needed to go by the library.  Again, what it the point if we aren't checking out books.  She did decide it wasn't like any library she had been to, and she loved seeing the original Winnie the Pooh characters that inspired the books.  Next was a nap before our broadway show.
The show was at 8 and we had a late lunch so we decided not to eat dinner beforehand.  The show was School of Rock, and we all agree it was even better than the movie.  The music was catchy and those kids were really playing their instruments.  Mind was blown at their talent.  Briley was tired afterwards and so we just went back to the hotel.  On our way back a fight broke out near a the subway station, and we turned Briley around and hightailed it back the other way until we could cross to the other side of the street.  We couldn't seem to move fast enough as they followed us fighting.  We made it across the street, and the police showed up shortly.  Andy and I truly thought a gun was going to come out at any moment.  Note to self, don't walk by the Port Authority later at night.   Andy stopped at a hole in the wall pizza place called Kiss My Slice by our hotel for a snack, and then it was to bed.
Sunday was a rainy day and honestly things were not going as well as I had in my head.  We got our banana pudding before going to St. Patrick's Cathedral for mass.  Cardinal Dolan gave the homily so that was very cool.  We walked around the Church a little bit after mass.  So many details to look at.  The Puerto Rican parade was literally right out the door, and Andy said that it is usually a mess.  It kind of ruined some of my plans because a lot of stores were closed, Plaza Hotel was closed unless you were a guest, and half of Central Park.  We walked the other half of the park, and then went to the upper westside for lunch.  We checked out that area for a little while and then the rain was getting heavier so we made our way back to the hotel.  That night we ate at Bill's Burgers and it just so happens to be next to Radio City Music Hall where the Tony's were going on.  We got a window seat, and watched as the winners were taken across the street to another building for interviews and pictures.  I could have stayed all night, but Andy could care less.  We did see Spider Man(Andrew Garfield), and Laurie Metcalf(Roseanne's sister on the show).  Briley wanted to see the Trump Tower so we did that, and then it was back to the hotel.
Monday we walked the High Line to Chelsea Market for breakfast at Sarabeth's.  She was actually there, and we got a seat by the kitchen window to watch them cooking.  They have the best lemon ricotta pancakes ever!  After that we took Briley to Washington Square Park, and then as we were walking along we ran into the filming of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  Love this show so much and was excited to run into it.  We then went to Pommes Frites for lunch.  From here we decided to head back to the Plaza Hotel so Briley could see that, the part of Central Park that was closed the day before, and then Dylan's Candy Store.  Out of all the candy stores this one was the best.  Very cool inside with candy samples, and a wall of favorites from celebrities.  Next on our list was the Roosevelt Island Tram.  On our way we passed Serendipity, and there was no line!  We walked right in to get our yummy frozen hot chocolates.  The tram over to the island is such a fun little thing to do off the beaten path.  This island has an interesting history of being the place that sick people were sent.  There was the small pox hospital, and a mental hospital.  The small pox hospital was closed in the 1950s and the mental hospital was turned into apartments.  Beautiful views of the city from this island, and we thought it would be especially neat at night time or early morning.  We then took the tram back over to get dinner at John's Pizza.  As we were finishing dinner we found out Jared was in town.  Andy texted him and about 15 minutes later he was there.  We had a drink together and walked back to our hotels.  He wasn't too far from us.
Tuesday we had breakfast at Bryant Park, walked around a little more, and then it was time to say goodbye to New York.  Briley said her highlights were 9/11, One World, Flat Iron building, and filming of the show, she did not like creepy people dressed up, the smell, and taxis.  I hope that this trip was packed full of memories for her, I know it was for me.

First taxi and subway ride

You have in your head how things will look when you see them, and then there is this crowd...

Meeting up to exchange Knuffle Bunnies;)

Skip It was always displayed so cute when we returned to the hotel each day.