Sunday, July 20, 2008

I heart NY

Yep, just like the cheap $2.00 t-shirts you'll find in Times Square. What a fabulous city.

Our trip started at the Newark airport, where we stood for almost an hour and a half at baggage claim waiting for our luggage. There were multiple "apology" announcements for the delay, which was caused by "several flights coming in at once." Like you didn't plan for that??? WTF, it's not like planes just show up at random! Anyway, luggage finally came, we took an uber-expensive cab ride to Times Square (I so do not remember it costing that much last time), and finally checked into the Renaissance at close to 3:00 a.m. BTW, our hotel was fabulous. The location is convenient but I don't think we'll stay in Times Square again. The hoards of tourists who will come to a complete halt in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture of the M&M store sign and carrying shopping bags from the Gap and Hard Rock Cafe (seriously, you go all the way to NYC to eat at Hard Rock and shop at the Gap??) are too much for me.

We were barely crawling out of bed on Friday in time to meet my friend Katy and her husband Jason for a late lunch at Stage Deli. I grew up with Katy, and we were BFFs all through junior high school. This is only the second time I've seen her in the last 18 years. Lunch was mediocre, but the company was wonderful. We had a lot of fun catching up.

Afterwards, we wandered over to Junior's for their famous NY cheesecake. We took slices to go and dropped them off at the hotel before heading out for the day. Che wanted to see the New York Aquarium, which is on the Boardwalk at Coney Island.

Little did we know that the masses were all going to Coney Island for the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Yikes - the crowds, the crowds! And no, we didn't see the hot dog contest. Probably good, since I started feeling nauseous from the heat at the aquarium, which was not all that impressive. We walked along the Boardwalk, then took the subway back to Manhattan. We had an early dinner at Tisserie, then decided to brave the even bigger crowds forming at FDR Drive for the Macy's fireworks display over the East River. We arrived at a spot near 20th Street about two hours before the show was to start. We chatted with the people around us and basically just sat/stood around (in the rain) and were finally rewarded with an awesome fireworks show. It was totally worth it.

But then the rain started coming down harder, and we were soaked by the time we made it back to the hotel, booking it the whole way on foot. It helped that we knew there was cheesecake and coffee waiting for us there, which we enjoyed while watching August Rush.

Saturday was on-and-off rainy, which didn't stop us from walking our feet off. We started with brunch at Boom Restaurant in SoHo, a spot we enjoyed last year. Afterwards, we meandered through SoHo, TriBeCa, down to the WTC site (which made my heart stop), back up through Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park, the West Village, etc., darting in and out of cafes, bookstores, and funky shops, boutiques, and markets along the way. What a blast. We made it back to the hotel in time to clean up for dinner with our friends Laura & Greg at Koi Restaurant in the Bryant Park Hotel. Gorgeous restaurant, amazing food, wonderful company. Afterwards, the four of us walked to the Music Box Theater for August: Osage County (which won the 2008 Best Play Tony among others), which was phenomenal. We scored awesome seats (center orchestra aisle, SECOND row) online a few months ago, and even though the show was almost 3 1/2 hours long, the time flew by. I could have watched it all night. Watching the stories unfold among this extraordinarily dysfunctional family was like watching a tragic yet hilarious trainwreck. I highly HIGHLY recommend this show.

Sigh, our last day in New York. The weekend just flew by. We got up early to venture north into Central Park:

We made an obligatory stop at Strawberry Fields and John Lennon's memorial:

then made our way along Central Park West to the Natural History Museum for a few hours. We then wandered through Upper West Side neighborhoods, took a break for lunch at Arte Cafe, picked up cupcakes to go from Magnolia Bakery, and eventually made our way back down through Hell's Kitchen before saying goodbye to Manhattan and returning to our hum-drum suburban lives.

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