Jared and I celebrated our eight year anniversary by taking a trip to New York City, New York.IT WAS GREAT! I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed myself. (Just a little back ground, when I was a child my family went on a trip to Las Vegas, we went inside the New York casino briefly, but it was enough to make me cry, I was so overwhelmed by the dark, noisy, smokey, sin filled atmosphere I could not take it, and I was sure I would never want to visit another big city, let alone New York.) Well since then I have been back to Las Vegas, loved it, and now New York, loved it even more! Just like any trip with Jared it was a whirlwind tour of the city. We took well over 300 pictures, but don't worry I will not put them all up. So here goes our travel log;
We flew into New York on Saturday, May 2 at 4:30 that gave us enough time to visit Grand Central Station(the station right by our hotel) and Times Square. We went to MandM World, and the Hershey store, as well as a few other stores, and then walked home.
We went to the Natural History Museum and loved the amazing animals, and the way they are so artfully displayed. We especially enjoyed the life size model of a blue whale, the largest living animal on earth today. It was huge!!! That night we went to Macy's, which was nothing more then a very big department store, if you don't like shopping, it isn't the place for you, and we don't, but we did get Brandon a few very affordable little outfits, just to say we bought something at Macy's.
We took the subway up to the Bronx Zoo, and had a great time. We practically had the zoo to ourselves. We were the only people in the jungle exhibit to hear the jaguar make his hunting call (which was very loud and impressive). We loved the award winning Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit which has okapi (one of Jared's favorites), and many gorillas (we counted nearly 18). The zoo in and of itself is beautiful, very green and lush, and the architecture is beautiful. That night we waited for a two hour rain delay so that we could watch the Yankee's play the Red Socks in their new stadium. It was a unique experience! One of the most exciting parts of the evening was when the ground crew came out to remove the plastic protecting the field which meant we were going to have a game, you should have heard the crowd cheer!! :) The two hour rain delay gave us time to explore the stadium, by a few souvenirs, and eat a few hot dogs. The game was a lot of fun, even though I heard more inappropriate language there then I have ever heard before (not exactly family friendly) but the cheering, and heckling, was admittedly a lot of fun. :) The game didn't end until 1:30 in the morning, but we didn't care, it was a very fun night.
We visited the MET, or the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. It was very big, with millions of artifacts and art to see. It was a little too much for us. We did enjoy the Armory, and the Art, I was able to see many painting from my favorite artist Monet, as well as many other impressionist paintings, and I of course loved the Old Pianos, but we were clearly not educated enough to appreciate what this museum had to offer, and it was a little overwhelming to try and take it all in. But it was a neat experience none the less. That night we met up with our friends, Nick and Jamie and we went to see Wicked. It was amazing, more wonderful then I had hoped for. I loved the story, music, costumes, and set. I was even more pleased with how well Jared liked it. We were singing the songs for the rest of the week. I wish I could see it again and again like a movie, Oh well.
Finally we were able to get some good weather (it had been raining since we arrived) so we decided to try and get as much outdoor sites in as possible. We went to the Statue of Liberty first, she is beautiful, and liberty island is lovely too. It was so cool to be right there. All this time she has simply been a statue that is special to our country, but now she was real not just a picture. I was touched and surprised to see so many people from other countries; being naive I never thought the Statue of Liberty would mean much to those who didn't enjoy the freedom that she represents, but we were very much in the minority being English speaking Americans, surrounded by many other nationalities. After the Statue of Liberty, we walked up to see the Bowling Green Bull, a symbol of Wall Street, and the New York Stock Exchange. Then we walked up to the Trinity Church, it was New York's first church, and at one time the tallest building in New York. We saw Alexander Hamilton's grave. (This is the church where the national treasure was found int he movie National Treasure) After Trinity Church we walked to Wall Street, and visited Federal Hall, the place where George Washington gave his inaugural address. The museum featured Abraham Lincoln, and many of his artifacts. I especially enjoyed the penny picture of him. :) So cleaver! Then we walked to the World Trade Center Site. There was nothing there. At first I was disappointed, where was the park, the memorial wall, the statues, and tributes to this day? It was just a big construction site. And then I realized, there was nothing there, I know I sound cheesy, but I was touched by the fact, that there was in fact nothing there because of the devastation of that day. I am sure that when the construction is finished and they have the parks, statues, and memorials, it will be wonderful, but until then it was and interesting place to realize the effect of that day. St Paul's Chapel was nearby, so we visited it as well. It is Manhattan's oldest public building still in continuous use. George Washington went to this church, and it is the church where the firefighters working at Ground Zero came to rest, and recover from their shifts. It was another beautiful church. Now as if this day had not been full enough we also walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved it! Thanks to those of you who suggested that we do it. I kind of have a weakness for bridges, I think they are beautiful. The represent a journey being made, that could not perhaps be made otherwise. the old ones have great architecture, they are works of art on their own. The Brooklyn Bridge is defiantly a new favorite! I loved the views of the city that it provided. Right under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side is Grimaldis Pizzeria. YUM! They serve very yummy coal, brick oven pizza. This place has been featured on travel shows, and it is a favorite for many celebrities. We loved our pizza!! Following dinner we walked back over the bridge, and took a subway to the Empire State Building. A mistake! I was told they would have long lines, but I thought that our city pass would let us by pass most of them, it didn't. By the time we got through the many long lines the weather had changed from clear and dry to overcast, windy, cold, and wet. The views were still amazing, and it was something to be that high looking down, but it was so miserably cold we didn't stay long, and then waited in more long lines to get back down, it was very disappointing, nothing like the Sleepless in Seattle experience I was hoping for. :) Whew - what a day
We were told that the weather would be good on Thursday as well so we went to Central Park. I love this park!! It had many bridges, and great flowers, and landscaping! I would happily live in the crazy city of New York if it meant I could spend 2-3 hours a day at this park. We went to the Central Park Zoo, small though it is we had a great time. We did the literary walk, which was lovely, and saw Bethesda Terrace. We saw the famous dog walkers, who walk ten dogs or more at a time, listened to a great cello/or bass player (I embarrassed that I didn't know which) and watch people canoe in the lake. We got lost walking through the Ramble, visited Belvedere Castle, and got lost again looking for the Swedish Cottage and Shakespeare Garden. We were never able to see both of those places, because while we were lost we got caught in a huge cloud burst, not one minute into it and we were drenched, our pour little compact travelers umbrella just didn't suffice! We hid under trees trying to stay dry, a fruitless attempt, and then finally decided it would be best just to run for it. Made it to safety under the awning of a hotel nearby, considered waiting the storm out under there, but after about ten minutes, decided to just run for the subway so we could get to our hotel and get dry. I thought for sure the stylish people of New York would care about what I looked like on this trip, but no one cares how you dress, or what you look like, it was very refreshing. But I thought surely I would get some strange looks, or looks of pity when I walked through Grand Central Station by myself (Jared went to Times Square to get Phantom tickets) but again no one cared, or even seemed to notice that I looked like I had walked through a car wash. It was great! After we got cleaned up and dry we stepped out of our hotel to a lovely clear evening (what happened to the rain storm?) We went to dinner at Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, the best Hard Rock I have ever been too!!! Then we saw Phantom of the Opera, and we were both surprised by how disappointed we were. I love the music in Phantom, I love the story, I love the movie, and I liked the musical when it came to SLC, so I thought for sure I would love it on Broadway, but it just didn't compare to Wicked. Perhaps that is because we didn't have great seats like we did for Wicked, it could be that the people sitting next to us were distracting, but it is probably just that our expectations were too high, don't get me wrong it was still great, and a lot of fun. I did really enjoy myself, just not as much as I did with Wicked. After the show we walked around Times Square again, we went to the Toy's R Us store and enjoyed the motion animated Dinosaur, and the Lego sculptures of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Chrysler Building. Then we walked over to Rockefeller Center, and enjoyed the flowers, fountains, and statues.
We debated which tour we should take; Radio City, Rockefeller, or NBC studio. We chose Radio City, and we were not disappointed. It is a very neat building, it was great to see the inspiration that went into designing that building and the ingenious stage. It was also fun to be able to meet a real Rockett. I just wish I could have seen this place in it's hay day. I would love to be able to visit New York in the winter to see the Christmas program, and actually see the Rocketts perform. Following the tour we went to the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum. The Intrepid is a large carrier ship which was used during WWII. I was amazed by the size of the ship! It was so fun to see many of the great planes. Jared's favorites were the F-14 Tomcat, and the A-12 Blackbird. the best part however was when we were able to see a graduation ceremony for a few Navy Officers. It was great to see so many men in uniform on a Navy ship. Right next to the Intrepid Museum were Sightseeing cruises. So we decided to take The Beast boat tour. It is a very fast jet boat, which zips down Hudson Bay, for a view of the city sky line, and the Statue of Liberty. It was a lot of fun, and something different from your typical New York trip. That night we did a session at the Manhattan Temple. It is a very beautiful temple. (aren't they all) I thought it was neat that they designed the door handles to look like the Statue of Liberty's torch. Wen enjoyed our very small session, and then took our first taxi ride to Serendipity. The restaurant is home to the Guinness Book of Records, most expensive ice cream - no we did not get it, that would have set us back $1,000. But we did enjoy their famous frozen hot chocolate, and Death by Chocolate Ice Cream Sunday. We also enjoyed the entertainment provided by a large group of Drag Queens, and the other large group of teenage girls observing them. And I gotta say- while I do not approve of the Drag Queen lifestyle, they do have great style!
We spent our last day doing a little last minute souvenir shopping, by going to FAO Schwartz, this was a great and very large toy store, we saw the large floor piano featured on the movie Big with Tom Hanks, I should have waited in line to play it, but I was tired of waiting in lines. We also a place where they make Muppet's, and some amazing Lego sculptures of Harry Potter and friends, Batman, and Darth Vader. After FAO Schwartz we went back to Central Park for one last leisurely, and hopefully dry walk around the pond. We were so surprised when Jared spotted a raccoon sleeping in a tree, and with a closer look, we found three other raccoons as well all sleeping in the same tree. It was so fun to watch the stretch and adjust, and we even watched one crawl into his hole in the tree. Our trip ended with a lively chat with our driver on the way to the airport. He was born in Pakistan, and moved here 19 years ago. He had made a hobby of memorizing all 50 states license plates, we enjoyed challenging him to see if he really knew all of them. It was also fascinating to hear him share his opinions on freedom, media, religion, life, and knowledge. I was ashamed to realize how many opportunities are afforded me that I do not take advantage of, and here was this man, who had to work for everything he had, and took great advantage of every opportunity that came his way. Mark Twain once said "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness." I certainly feel like our trip opened our eyes to a whole new world, some new ideas, and greater understanding. All in all it was a terrific trip!
Meet Taggart Davis Hill
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