Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NYC / 15th Wedding Anniversary

As you've come to know through reading my trip posts, most of our vacations are spontaneous. This, of course, is not by my choice. I am much more of a planner.

Delon and I wanted to do something fun for our 15th. We talked about Australia, California, even going back up to the Pacific NW. But we always came back to the idea of New York.

New York was a destination for us that meant something a little out of the ordinary, becoming more familiar with a city where so many things are happening, a place made famous by TV shows or favorite films, and Broadway...oh, BROADWAY... and of course the culture of a people who are always busy and constantly moving.

When we arrived at JFK it was late in the evening, so the city lights welcomed us. I know it sounds juvenile, but I couldn't believe I was actually might say I was a little giddy. I took in as much as I could before we got to the hotel, located in the heart of Times Square. We settled into our room and prepared ourselves to indulge the next day in everything NYC offered. We were only there for 3 short days, so we wanted to make the best of our time.

 From our hotel...Times Square

 Good morning!!

Out the other side of the room...we had a 180 degree wall of windows. If you look closely you can see Central park. (Like the musical advertisement?)

With Spring just around the corner, NY had a chill in the air and snow fell the 2nd day we were there.

We got up that first morning and talked to the concierge. We wanted to see the things that NYC is known for, you know, the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Central Park...all of those things were amazing. But we also wanted to experience a little of the NYC life and have a taste of what the locals do and see every day. The people of NY are very friendly, I quickly sensed that in another life, this would have been a perfect place for me to live. Theater and entertainment everywhere, the ocean and Hudson River, the incredible food, busy and chaotic schedules...and then there is the walking. I love to walk and I walk fast, just ask my friends and husband. They always complain that I need to slow down or wait up. Of course it's not my intention to leave someone behind, but why waste time if I know where I'm going? Walking everywhere really forces you to see life differently and maybe react to things you would normally ignore. It's easy to hop in the car and pass it all by, but in NYC you are right there in the middle of it all...somewhat exhilarating, yet those who enjoy their personal space...well. If I were single and doing some of the things I dreamed about when I was younger, I could fit right in. Being as it was just Delon and I, we got a little taste of what it might be like to go from place to place, no one to worry about but ourselves. It was nice for a few days...

After having breakfast at Applebee's, we headed over to Pier 78 to board the Midtown Cruise and take in Manhattan's skyline. It was pretty amazing, but it was freezing up top the boat. After getting some good photo's we headed below where it was enclosed. From here we got to see the Statue of Liberty, although they were still doing repairs on everything along the water because of the damage from Hurricane Sandy, so the visitors center for the statue was closed until May. We saw the famous Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park, the new One World Trade Center, Ellis Island, and then turned back.
 Ready for our was really chilly.

One World Trade Center

 Staten Island Ferry :)

 Brooklyn Bridge

 Statue of Liberty

We tried outside, but got a little windblown.

We decided to head over to Rockefeller Center and check out the NBC Studio Tour...especially being as we are Today Show and Saturday Night Live fans and last but not least, Jimmy Fallon fans...ok, I am anyway. I have a crush.

We grabbed a bite to eat at a cafe just outside the studio before we headed in for the tour. It was surprising to me to see how small the studios actually are. It was a lot of fun to visit the SNL set and see the process they go through when filming. At the end of the tour Delon and I were chatting with one of the tour guides, who was literally half my age. As I opened the door to leave the tour, up walks Giada De Laurentiis! Those of you who watch the Food Network know exactly who she is, but for you others, she is a chef that has several of her own cooking shows and cookbooks, and is a regular on the Today Show. She is even littler in person than she is on TV...

 Radio City Music Hall...pretty sure that was obvious.

 Ice Skating :)

"Selfie's" are NOT my head looks massive. 

A little snow...

That evening we decided to hit one of the best steakhouses in NYC...Uncle Jack's. Let's just say that if you are independent, you may not have wanted to eat here. They do everything but wipe your mouth for you. The food was amazing though. And instead of catching a cab, we made our way back as the snow was falling...quiet and beautiful.


NYC is beautiful in the snow

The following day we headed to the 911 Memorial. It was chilly and wet outside, but fun to experience NYC in the rain. It was fascinating to see where the towers used to stand, the new One World Trade Center, and the memorial with the names of all the victims...very humbling. It was actually pretty spectacular. We also saw the "survivor" tree...the one solitary thing that survived the horrible attack. It was of course charred down to the stumps, but they have carefully nursed it back and it now is a shadow of what it once was.

The actual memorial building is located 7 stories underground where one of the steel beams is on display, never moved from it's original location. There will be photos of every victim and even a private corner dedicated to showing the films and footage from that awful day. I remember exactly where I was the moment it happened...and how I held my kids a little tighter that day and thanked my Heavenly Father for my blessings...

 This was really beautiful...

 Survivor tree

Delon really liked this bike located in the 911 memorial gift shop

After grabbing breakfast at a cute cafe a block away, we decided to hop on the subway, which was a whole new experience. I actually really loved it. Next stop Chinatown.  Being as neither Delon and I are big shoppers, we spent just enough time there to get gifts for the kids...hoodies for the boys and NYC totes for the girls.

After venturing through Chinatown and narrowly escaping all the NYC memorabilia, we headed back to Rockefeller Center and grabbed a pretzel...sooo good! Feeling better with a little something in our bellies, we took the elevator to the Top of the Rock.  BEST view EVER!  It was a little misty when we went up, but we got some amazing pics and took it ALL in. It's definitely fun to see NYC from that perspective. I'm always fascinated with these big cities...just buzzing with activity.

We were looking forward to "Phantom" that night, but we had a little extra time and decided to do some more walking. We made our way to one of Delon's favorite spots, Trump Tower, and stopped off at two of the cathedrals there. They were so beautiful inside. It's amazing to see what they built and designed so long ago. Makes me grateful to have our beautiful temples... And of course, we stopped at the bookstore to grab me a little something for the plane ride home.

 Central Park

 Top of the Rock

 These views were amazing!

 The New Year's "ball"

These cathedrals are so ornate inside 

Stain glass windows

After our little tour of the city we went to Quality Meats for an early dinner before the show. This place ended up being one of our favorites...although after what it cost to dine there, it should be impressive. One of my favorite details was the cute little bathroom at the bottom of the stairs with a wall full of folded hand towels. There had to be hundreds of them! And last but not least, hand lotions and perfumes. It was so charming. A far cry from your average commercial, motion-sensored hand towel dispenser.

Now I have seen Phantom of the Opera in SLC, and LA. My time in LA was incredible. The performance outstanding and the theater, massive. But I have to say, seeing Phantom in a small, time-worn, historical theater...that was the very best yet! I love the beginning of the show when the red velvet drapes are drawn and the lights are dimmed...and you can feel the anticipation in the audience. I must say, sitting in a theater like that is Home Sweet Home. I was in heaven, I have to give Delon credit for this. He knows how much I love the theater and he made sure we had good seats...bless his heart, he chose the seat that had the 6'5" man sitting in front. I felt bad, he had to do a lot of back and forth while watching, but he really loved it. That's a BIG deal people! He really loved it.

 Waiting for the show to start...

Best time...EVER.

After the show, we walked through Times Square and went through some of the small shops. Wanting a little treat before bed, we stopped at Pie Face. It was a cute little bakery serving individual pies. There had to be at least 20 different kinds. We grabbed our sweet treat and walked back to the hotel.

I went to bed with a smile on my face...
 Times Square

On our way back from Phantom 

 Notice the officer on the left...he was so irritated with Delon.
You'd think Delon's never seen a horse before.

Everyone was trying to get pictures with their face on the screen.

We shoved A LOT into our next day. We were headed home early that evening and had a few more things to check off our list before we left this amazing city.

Early, and I mean early, we got up and made our way to the Today Show. We were there the 1st and 2nd hour. Delon and I both made it on TV and we soon had several texts from friends saying they had seen our ugly mugs that morning while watching the news. We got a few pics of Savannah, Hoda and Natalie...Delon's secret crush. Giada was also on that morning doing a cooking segment. She is so tiny and cute. We were freezing though, being in the shadow of the city, so we popped into the little bakery right there on the plaza and had a breakfast sandwich with hot chocolate. I wanted to kiss the person who invented hot chocolate that morning...
 The plaza

 Can you tell we're's not as obvious in this picture, but our noses were bright red.


Natalie and Savannah competing in a flower arranging contest

Once we had feeling in our hands and feet again, we braved the NYC chill and hopped into a cab headed for Central Park. This was one place I HAD to see before we left. After stepping out of the cab we stepped right into a rickshaw with our tour guide, which of course was Indian, but his name was Jim or Steve. Anyway...he filled us in on all the important facts regarding the park, what's been filmed there, the girls that lay out in the summer time ;) and all the celebrities that call this place home. The ride was fun but my face was starting to freeze. We saw where John Lennon was shot, Tavern on the Green, the Ghost Buster building, the Friend's fountain, and lots of other spots made famous by movies and TV. When we had covered every inch of the park, we walked to the temple, just blocks from the Park. It was cool to see a little touch of heaven in the crazy big city. We went inside thinking there may be a visitor's center, only to find out they hold church there on the second floor. We talked to a member inside and saw the missionaries. It's nice that in the middle of it all there is a place to go to feel the peace and love of our Savior.
 Wanted to see this show, but couldn't get tickets before we left.

 Famous spots in Central Park

 I remember this spot in 27 Dresses...

 I swear our tour guide took several dozen pictures of us...

 Ghostbuster building

" Friends" it just me, or do Delon's arms look incredibly long in this picture?

 John Lennon memorial

 This is where Yoko Ono lives...very top floor. Everyone in this building has their own private entrance to the, money, money, muunayyyy!

LDS temple

On our walk back to the hotel to grab our bags, we spotted a large group of people dressed as rabbits. I'm assuming it was because Easter was so's to hoping....or hopping, whichever seems more appropriate.


We knew we had to go home, but wished we could stay just a little longer. This city was exciting, interesting, beautiful and all I knew it would be.  I "heart" NYC...


JW (just wondering) said...

Amy, thanks for sharing so many of your pics from the trip. So glad you had so much fun! I will comment here on all the other posts too. It is so very sweet of you to continue to post all of these events for the extended family to see. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Christine said...

It looks like you guys had a wonderful time! I wished we could have stayed longer in NYC there is so much to see. I'm glad you shared all your pictures, some things we saw, but there was a lot we didn't get to see so it was nice to see your trip. Happy Anniversary!!!

Aloha said...

I wanna go to NYC with you! We can just do a theatre tour and watch everything on broadway!
Julie (mortimer) Suazo