Now for our trip! Back at Thanksgiving for my 30th birthday, my most fantastically amazing husband gave me a trip to my all time want to go to destination...New York City!!! He found a great deal on airline tickets, so he booked them for Feb. 23-27...right between the kid's birthdays and asked Mom and Dad if they could plan to come and stay with the kids. So it was all planned and I was shocked and so excited! It worked out so perfectly because we had a free night at a choice privaleges hotel (comfort inn) and there is one right in Times Square. We also had a lot of reward points racked up from our credit card...so we cashed in on those and got cash back for our trip. So God totally provided us an amazing trip for practically nothing out of pocket!!! And amazing it was!!!
It was so wonderful to get away and just hang out together...just the two of us (in the Big Apple, no less!!!) We did pretty much everything that we hoped to do, except go up the Empire State Building and ice skate (both because of the weather). They had a record snow storm while we were there, which was fine with us! We never mind a little snow (or a lot!) It made for some sloshy streets, but that was okay too!
We got there on Tuesday evening and took our shuttle to the hotel (interesting experience in itself!) We FINALLY arrived at our hotel and it was pouring down rain. We checked in, dumped our stuff in our room and headed out...to TIMES SQUARE (which was literally less than 50 steps from our hotel!) It was 8:00 at night, but it looked like 2:00 in the afternoon in times square! We went to one restaurant and ate dinner, then to another for dessert (with a great view of Times Square!) It was so much fun just to sit and take it all in. Then we ran in the rain (thankfully we brought our umbrellas...which we used pretty much everyday, whether for rain or snow) to Rockafeller Center to check that out. So many interesting and exciting sights to see every corner you turn!
On Wednesday, we went to a little corner pizzaria for lunch...it was DELICIOUS!!! Then we went back to Rockafeller Plaza to see about ice skating, since it wasn't raining anymore and the snow hadn't started. But they were grooming the ice and we didn't want to wait....and we had really decided to try and ice skate in Central Park anyways. We went into the huge M&M's store then we ran over to the Gershwin Theater, where the broadway show "Wicked" plays. They hold a "lottery", where you put your name in a drawing to get front row seats for $26 (there are like 30 tickets total). I had high hopes that we'd get them, but we didn't! We decided not to purchase tickets online before we left because they were just too expensive, so we were hoping to get tickets through the lottery (held 2 1/2 hours before each show.) So since we didn't get the tickets, we went the the famous TKTS booth to see what they had available for other shows (Wicked is never available there...always sold out!) One of the ladies told us about a comedy show called, "Newsical" that was funny and tickets were very reasonable. She gave us a brochure and we walked away to decide what to do and this guy randomly passes us on the street and sees our brochure and says, "Oh, you HAVE to see "Newsical"...it's hilarious!" So we bought tickets for the matinee show. We headed toward the theater and when we get there, I'm thinking it's a mistake b/c it's a tiny little building and the theater is no bigger than our living room and kitchen put together! Nobody mentioned to us that it was an "off-broadway show"!!! Oh well. It was pretty funny. But we left really wishing we had seen a real broadway production....we were in New York City, afterall! So we decided to go back to the TKTS booth and find some guys that sell "extra" tickets to the most popular shows on broadway. We knew they were legit because they had been there all day, everyday since we had been there. They work for a company who buys leftover seats at a group rate and sells them online, then sell the extras on the street. So we bought tickets for a pretty good price and were excited to get a real broadway experience that evening. Before the show, we went to Serendipity for dinner. It is famous from the movie, "Serendipity", where they have frozen hot chocolate! It was this tiny little place with a huge menu and amazing food. And obviously the frozen ho chocolate was to die for, served in a huge mug with 2 straws!!! Then we caught a taxi and headed back to the Gershwin theater for the show. "Wicked" is about the two witches from the Wizard of Oz, before they met Dorothy. It's the story of how they came to be who they are. It was a really great story and a fabulous show! I never considered seeing it when I was originally deciding on a show, just because of the name. I really didn't know what it was about, but wasn't interested either. Then 3 different people told me about it and how great it was and there were no spiritual connotations or anything and all highly recommended it. I'm so glad we ended up seeing it. We had GREAT seats too.
Thursday it started snowing...hard! We went to Macy's...it was HUGE. We went to the 7th floor and there were still more, I don't even know how many there were total. It took up an entire block! And that is A LOT for NYC! Then we went over to the Empire State Building. Because of the snow, there wasn't any visibility, so we couldn't go up to the top. We did this cool virtual helicopter ride though (called SkyRide), to fly over New York City. It was pretty cool and it was good to get a grasp on what all was really there and to see it all from above. Then we went to another pizzaria...it was in the Empire State Building. Again, fantastic pizza! Ryan pointed to a particlar "pie" and asked if it was italian sausage and the guy said, "No, it's eggplant...we're all kosher!" So we had kosher pizza in the Empire State Building! Then we ventured over to Central Park via subway. The subways were really interesting. Central Park was gorgeous with a fresh blanket of snow covering it! It was fairly empty too, just a few hardcore runners out! We didn't stay too long because there wasn't much more to see other than the snow covered park. From there, we took a taxi to a huge cathedral (St. John's, I think.) It's a good think we left Central Park when we did b/c by the time we went to the cathedral and stopped by the New York City Public Library (which was pretty cool, too) and back to our rom to get ready for dinner....the local news was reporting a death in Central Park! The snow was so wet and heavy that a tree limb fell on a man and killed him! Like I said, there weren't that many people in the park and it had to have been the same time we were there, or within minutes. That evening, we went to dinner then to a movie ("When in Rome"...cute movie), then dessert!!! At first we thought it was a sillly idea to go to a movie when you're in New York City, but after we thought about it...it's not something we get to do very often, so we took advantage of it!
Friday was our last full day there. We headed out to the World Trade Center to see Ground Zero. What a sight to see. It's incredible to see this big whole right in the middle of all these huge skyscrapers. On our way there, we both got a hot dog from a street vendor! It was all I hoped it would be...SO GOOD! Then we walked down to the Staten Island Ferry, which is a free ferry that passes right by the Statue of Liberty. It was foggy and snowy that day, but we still got a good look at Lady Liberty! She was so amazing to see up close and personal! After the ferry, we took the subway to Little Italy to go to the first pizza place that came to the United States! My friend told me about it and said it was delicious...and she was so right! It's called Lombardi's and they bake their pizza in a coal oven. It's a pretty famous place...they had an article in Rachael Ray's magazine framed where she said that it is her favorite place for take out pizza. We took the subway to Grand Central Station from there...very cool place to be! When we came up from the subway, before you actually get into Grand Central Station...there was a live band playing and this CRAZY lady dancing her heart out to the music (we actually got her on video!) It's amazing what all goes on underground in that city!!! We both could have sat there all day and just watched people, but there is far too much to do in NYC to sit for too long! We went back to Times Square and believe it or not went to McDonald's to eat dinner...haha! They have 4 seats that are perfectly prime to watch Times Square, so we did it! And I actually had a Big Mac, only my second time in my life to have one of those...I figured I might as well go all out in the Big Apple! Then we headed back to our rooom to get packed up.
Oh and our hotel could not have been more perfect!!! Perfect location, perfectly clean, comfortable and modern and perfectly priced...all that AND free breakfast (which is rare in NYC!!!) Our flight home was Saturday, late morning. So that day was just pack up, check out and leave.
What an incredible, unforgettable, magnificentally wonderful time we had....just me and my honey! What a way to celebrate 30 years of life (and 15 of those we've been together...i love that!!!) Thank you, Ryan, for being such a blessing to me. I love you beyond words and I'm so grateful for you. I love you.
~just outside our hotel...times square in the background~
(compliments of his wonderful in-laws)
~Empire State Building~
~Empire State Building Lobby~
~Central Park blanketed in snow~
~Central Park Entrance~
~behind this wall used to be the twin towers~
~the fire station that was first response~
~Ladder Co. 10~
~Staten Island Ferry~