Thursday, October 4, 2012

Leaving NYC—Rough Re-entry

Thursday doesn't really count as a day in NYC, since it was just a taxi ride to the airport, followed by hours of travel.

We landed around 4:30 p.m., and made it home by 5:00 p.m. There was about an hour of hugs and I-missed-you-so-much bliss. The souvenirs were a big hit, and it felt good to be home.

Then, at 6:00 p.m., Rob left for the Utah game (that's the whole reason we didn't stay for the weekend) and everything melted down. They all had homework they'd left until that night, there was unfinished piano practicing, and I had to scrounge up some dinner. No one was using their inside voices, and Ellie kept covering her ears and crying for everyone to be quiet. Soon it was obvious that her ears hurt, which almost certainly meant an ear infection. Because we have new insurance, I had to figure out where I could take her, tell all the other kids to put themselves to bed, and head to urgent care. Yep, an ear infection. By the time we stopped at the pharmacy, it was way past bed time for both of us. Long day.

Waking up to 14 loads of laundry didn't help. Plus I had a gospel doctrine lesson to prepare, court of honor to plan, PTA and room mom activities coming up, and a new calling as Relief Society secretary. Thank goodness at least for General Conference weekend!

I knew I needed to hurry and document our trip so I could remember that it was worth it, in spite of the trouble it is to get away and then recover from an adventure like that. And it was. Jane Austen nailed it though, when she said,
"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort!"
It was good to go, and even with a rough re-entry, it's good to be back home.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

NYC, day six

I got an unintentional early (5:00 a.m.) start, because I woke up with a very poorly timed infection. On my way down to the pharmacy I had my only celebrity sighting, through the windows of the Good Morning America studio. Although it's hard to see from here, Robin Roberts and George Stepanopoulos appear to be just as good looking in real life as they are on TV.

After a long morning involving a semi-comical visit to the doctor in order to get a prescription, I finally felt better and debated my options for our last afternoon there. I had hoped to spend the morning at Columbia and the afternoon at a Broadway matinee, followed by some neighborhood wandering. I had to pick one of the three, and ended up wandering, hoping to pick up some gifts to bring home. I went to the Chelsea Market:

And this is when I snuck back to Stand4 for a shake. I also went by The Strand bookstore for some souvenirs (book bags for the boys).

I had searched high and low for a Columbia sweatshirt, and was so excited when I serendipitously saw this store that we'd seen on our first evening wandering around (only couldn't remember where). Unfortunately, they weren't selling college gear, just hanging pennants to look preppy.

We had tickets to the 9/11 memorial that night. Being married to the genius behind this, I can't help noticing logos. I really like the 9/11 Memorial logo:

It was sobering to see the pools and the names of all the people who died on that tragic day. The museum isn't open yet, but there is a visitor's center with a film, photos, and displays of possessions found in the rubble.

Afterward we walked over to Trinity Church—here's Rob in front of Alexander Hamilton's grave.

Right in front of the church are the remains of the Occupy Wall Street protest. I made Rob stand here for a photo to try to catch them in the background. Let's just say we weren't really impressed with the caliber of the people camped out there. :)

We didn't do all we wanted to do here, even though we pretty much filled every minute. Guess that means we'll have to go back. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NYC, day five

Tuesday was museum day, a good choice for a rainy day. But I couldn't resist a couple of book-geek stops along the way. The famous Algonquin Hotel:

And, once again, the NY Public Library (only this time it was open). They have Lego versions of the iconic lions in the lobby.

I also went back to Macy's, thinking that in a store so huge surely I'd be able to find some 33" length pants for Rob. Um, no. Apparently he didn't get the memo about staying in the even numbers for sizing.

I loved The Frick. The size was perfect, plenty to see, but not overwhelming. The audio tour was great, and the mansion itself is worth seeing, even without the art.

Speaking of overwhelming...

The Met is just huge. By the time I got there it was just too much. I ate in the cafe and wandered aimlessly, mostly in the modern European painters wing.

I bought the girls' souvenirs at the American Girl store (matching NYC t-shirts for them and their dolls), and picked up some Legos for the boys (the architecture series—Empire State Building, Rockerfeller Plaza and The Guggenheim).

We had dinner at Trattoria Trecolori, for the second time. The food and service were both excellent, and as you can kind of see in the photo below, it was right next to the theater for Peter and the Starcatcher, which we saw that night. Of the shows we saw, it was the "indie," very creative and witty. I loved the Peter series (I highly recommend the audio version, it's read by the fabulous Jim Dale), and wanted to check out the show because it's coming to the Shakespearean Festival next year, and the kids loved the books too. I might take the boys, but I think most of it would go over the girls' heads.

Monday, October 1, 2012

NYC, day four

Monday turned out to be the perfect weather for the three hour tour around Manhattan. The views were great, and the tour guide was informative and fun.

I spent the afternoon shopping. The kids would have loved the Toys R Us store.

And Macy's was huge, seriously the size of a mall.

We went to Newsies, which was great.

I can't remember where we ate, I need to remember to take photos of the restaurant or menu or something on trips, just as a reminder. I'm probably forgetting other stops too, because I didn't take pictures. I am clearly too dependent on my camera as my memory. I do remember that it was a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

NYC, day three

It wasn't easy after a long, tiring day and late night to wake up early for church, but I'm glad we did. The chapel we went to is in the same building as the Manhattan Temple, which is cool. It was a pretty big congregation, although we couldn't tell how many were visitors, like us. If those who stood to bear their testimonies are any indication, the visitors outnumbered the ward members. 

After the counselor in the bishopric talked about the movie E.T. in his testimony, and the first visitor discussed the Broadway play Wicked in his, I turned to Rob and said, "It's a show need to work Spiderman Turn Off the Dark into your testimony." :)

Seriously though, I like seeing and hearing diverse people share their testimonies of the gospel and Christ; I don't think we need to be identical in order to be united in our faith. 

We broke our fast after church with blueberry muffins and cookies from Levain's, which was recommended by the blog post I'd read and at least two other people I knew who'd been there. It was delicious.

We walked back to the hotel, passing by the famous Dakota building, where John Lennon lived and was killed.

We had intended to take a three hour boat cruise around the island, but it was raining and we opted to take a three hour nap instead. We woke up ready for round two of our walking tour. We passed by the NY Public Library:

And Grand Central Station:

We actually went in there, check out the cool astronomical ceiling:

I love the beaux arts architectural style.

We passed the Helmsley building:

And made it to our destination, St. Patrick's Cathedral. We went to church a second time there, catching the end of Mass.

We also went inside FAO Schwartz, which was closed when we were there on Friday night.

There were a bunch of kids on the "Big" piano, so we didn't get photos on that, but texted this one to Ainsley, who loves all things HP. Rob says it looks like I'm posing for a photo with my new family. :)

We had tickets to the "Top of the Rock" here at the Rockerfeller Center.

We wandered around the plaza a bit while we waited for our time slot.

We didn't ever make it back to try to get on the Today show for Ainsley, but I quit watching when they fired Ann Curry anyway.

There's Radio City Hall:

And here we are at the top, in a rare (and not very good) photo of both of us. I did my best not to humiliate Rob too much with my touristy ways by asking complete strangers to take pictures of us. :)

It's crazy how high up it is. I could never do what these guys did:

Great views though, I'm glad we went up at night.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

NYC, day two

On Saturday we tried to cram in as much as possible, starting with a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. FYI, the ferry leaves from Battery Park, NOT the Staten Island Ferry building. Don't worry, we figured this out after only a few minutes there.

The downtown skyline as we headed over—you can see the progress on the two new World Trade Center towers:

When we texted Statue of Liberty photos to the kids, Ainsley kept asking us to get closer. I have to admit, I always imagined it as larger (not that we're super close in this picture).

At the entrance to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum:

We did the audio tour, which was fascinating, and kind of emotional, realizing what our ancestors went through.

I love the tile work on this ceiling. Apparently the craftsmanship was so good that they only had to replace about ten tiles when they renovated it.

It's a beautiful building, inside and out.

We spent some time walking around downtown. There were a lot of people lined up to take photos with the Wall Street bull, most of them on the other end of the bull...

The New York Stock Exchange building:

This is where Washington was sworn in as President:

A quick subway ride later...

...and we were at Washington Square Park, aka the "When Harry Met Sally" drop off spot.

I read a blog post that a friend sent me on restaurants in NY, and we knew we wanted to sample the roasted marshmallow shakes based on her recommendation:
"Oh man, roasted marshmallow shakes.  One of our favorite things EVER.  Not. to. be. missed.  Special trips just for the shakes are worth it.  We take all our out of town guests here.  And then before their trip is over, they always sneak back there on their own and get another one.  Every person has said it's like one of the best things they've ever eaten.  They really are THAT good!!  You have to trust me on this one.  (And that's from a girl who doesn't really have an affinity for marshmallows.)"
I can verify that this is no exaggeration. And yes, I did go back for a second one later in the week while Rob was in conference meetings. Someday he'll forgive me.

From there we walked over to the Strand, home to 18 miles of books. I have to admit, I came back here a second time as well, marshmallow shake in hand.

We walked through Chinatown...

...and back to the lower east side. Here's the Brooklyn Bridge.

We had a 4:15 tour at the Tenement Museum, where we saw the actual apartments and heard the stories of some immigrant families. It was really interesting, although I wish we'd been able to schedule it earlier in the day—we were both exhausted and sleepy right about then.

After a little falafel at Maoz, we went to see Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. The critics haven't loved it, but we're fans of the story and of U2, and liked it enough that Rob bought the soundtrack right after we saw it. Of the three shows we saw, this one was definitely the biggest budget. The scenery, stunts and cast were all (appropriately) amazing. 

The crowd in Times Square late on Saturday night was crazy.

We're on this jumbotron right above the DU in dunk.

Our hotel is right behind Rob. Good thing, we were wiped out. :)