Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New York City {Part 2}

We spent the majority of our Saturday in New York standing and walking around the city. To say that we were tired at the end of the day is an understatement! But we saw so much and had a wonderful time, so it's hard to complain.

Grand Central Station
We became experts at the subway system while we were there. Okay, maybe not so much. We had to ask some people for advice on how to get to such and such a place once or twice, but for our first time taking public transit on such a large scale, I think we did pretty well.

Immediately inside Grand Central.

There was a space like this to the left and right of the area in the picture above. I think you can rent this hall out for events. Can you imagine a wedding reception there? I don't know the price, but I'm sure it would be out of our budget!

And this is [a small part of] the main area of Grand Central. The terminals for all of the subways are off of the hallways and down a flight of stairs or two (or five!).
The subways had a variety of smells, none of them pleasant. Urine, fish, crotch...

After taking the subway down to Battery Park, we bought our tickets for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We didn't buy tickets ahead of time and saw on the website that they have a limited number of tickets to buy the day-of. We weren't sure we'd even be able to get tickets to get into the monument, but we did get there in time for those. We were informed, however, that tickets to climb up to the crown are sold out through September!

While in the [very long] security line for the Statue, we saw this memorial in the harbor for the Merchant Marines. Pop, my grandfather on my Dad's side, was in the Merchant Marines, so it was neat to see this.

The view of the Statue and Ellis Island across the harbor.

A view of the city as we took off to Liberty Island.

This is the security line we stood in to get onto the boat. We had to go through security once again when we entered the monument.

A view of the city. I've seen pictures of it and even looked at Manhattan on google maps, but you just can't get a feel for how BIG this city is until you're there. As I flew in on Friday, it was as if the pilot was doing his best to give me a great view of the city. Each block of the city has huge buildings right next to each other, and then the blocks just keep going on and on. It was incredible to see!

Lady Liberty herself. Something else I've seen tons of pictures of, but just did not realize the size of until I saw it in person.

A torch of years past. Retired in 1986 (I think??).

Her face is an entire story tall.

Looking up her robe from the top of the pedestal upon which she stands.

Us cheesin'.

I look like I'm about to fall.

My lunch. Southwest chicken panini with fries. Fries were good. Panini was good. Would have probably been better if it were fresh or at least hot.

Then we hopped on the boat and cruised over to Ellis Island. It was pretty incredible.
These are some of the trunks and luggage that were brought with some immigrants. Not sure if the immigrants just decided they didn't need them anymore or if they were donated or what. But anyway.

This cartoon cracks me up.
"You can't come in. The quota for 1620 is full." After a few years of having so many immigrants come in, there were limits put in place to control how many people came in and from where (some countries that weren't as friendly with ours had lower quotas).

Little shoes of some babies and children who passed through the Island. I think Kelly mentioned these shoes when she recapped her trip to NYC. They were adorable!
We read some journal entries and one of them talked about the voyage across the Atlantic. It mentioned a baby being born on the ship. I cannot even imagine! Some of these people were coming across in the dead of winter, so to deliver at that time in a place with no heat and and no clean hospital... it blows my mind and makes me grateful for modern healthcare, as expensive as it is!

A chart that shows the number of immigrants who settled in certain towns in the year 1903. Jacksonville had 15. Brunswick, GA had 1!

There were some documents that had the names of the immigrants, male or female, where they were coming from, etc. Not quite halfway down in this picture is someone who just went by "Marg!".
"How do you spell your name?"
"M-A-R-G-Exclamation point"

After Ellis Island we walked around the financial district for a bit. We may or may not have taken a wrong turn or two while we were there, but we just chalk it up to seeing more of the city.
This is Trinity Church, the one in National Treasure with the underground lair that contained lots of treasure. Remember it? I loved those movies. I've heard rumors of a third one coming out this Christmas!
Aren't these windows beautiful?!

We spent about ten minutes walking around the graveyard.
Some of the gravestones were marked in the 1700s. It was burned in the fire of 1776 when the British seized non-Anglican churches and used them as prisons and barracks. We think that's why some of the tombstones were brown and falling apart and others were just algaefied. Some of the ones that were burned looked like they would fall apart if they were touched. Source

Just down the street from Trinity Church is Ground Zero. This is going to be the new World Trade Center. The artists' renderings of it look amazing.

New York Stock Exchange. We were there on Saturday so it was closed. Otherwise we would have been in the thick of it yelling, "Buy! Sell!" We would have fit right in.

And this... this is the most wonderful place on earth! Tiffany & Co.!
This isn't the original store, it's the one on Wall Street. We weren't planning to go into this store, but we happened past it and the sparkles lured us (read: me) in. The architecture of the interior is just amazing! Marble staircase, beautiful columns... It was gorgeous! The displays and cabinets and things looked a little dated, but I think that's the modern look (that I'm not a huge fan of) they were going for. Do you see those things floating from the ceiling? They had sparkles and jewels all over them so when you walked into the store all you saw above you was bling. Even if you don't buy anything, it's such a fun place to wander through!

Cute side street.

After all the walking downtown we went to the hotel to change shoes. At least I did. Even my comfortable wedding day shoes were killing me by lunchtime. (Wedding day shoes are the most comfortable cute flats I can find that I wear when I'm coordinating a wedding. I haven't found a heel that's comfortable enough for me to wear all day and not be dying by the end of the night of a wedding.) We hopped on the subway and headed up to Central Park. One of the first things we saw was this bride.
Black feathers on her head with a gown that looks like lingerie with a poofy skirt. I know every person has their own style, but seriously?! This was just ridiculous. She had four photographers, a videographer, and a coordinator with her. This was the second of four brides we saw on Saturday. I'm guessing each of them had a huge budget to have a NYC wedding!

The Boat House in Central Park. Do you recognize this from 27 Dresses?

A castle in the middle of Central Park. Can you imagine a wedding there?! There was one going on but we weren't close enough for me to see any of the decor.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
The detail on the buildings is incredible. Faces and gargoyles looking down at you.

Where we got dinner on Saturday night. Good burgers!
RC Cola and Chocolate Soda! The chocolate soda tasted like carbonated Yoo-Hoo. Jared was a big fan!

And that was our Saturday! We were exhausted and wiped out, but again, it's kind of hard to complain when you're in NYC!

New York City {Part 1}

Jared had a conference in Jersey City last week and I flew up to New York City on Friday so we could have a weekend with just the two of us. Thanks to Toto & Auntie Mel and Grammy & Grampy who split the weekend watching the girls!

Be prepared because I took about 250 pictures and prepare to show you lots of them! If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have likely seen many of these pictures and some of my thoughts on the city, but for those who don't stalk me via all avenues of social media, I'm going to say it all again. It's going to be a sort of narration of the mind of Brittany... so Jared (who I doubt reads the blog) and Shannon might be the only ones who find any sort of humor in it.

Here we go!

The most pointless curtain ever. It's more of a psychological barrier between First Class and Steerage. In case there was any doubt, I was back with the steerage.

Snacks on a plane. Notice the ingredient and allergy warning. Peanuts. Processed in a plant that produces peanuts. Not sure how else they'd do it...

I saw three "I ♥ NY" within the first five minutes of being in New York. I'm pretty sure it's what the locals wear, so I made a mental note to get one before I left the city.

I flew into La Guardia and was on my way to the bus stop when I saw this fella!
Yeah, that's me and Timmy Tebow. Just another usual Friday, hanging with a Heisman Trophy winner. But I played it so cool. Here's how our conversation went...
Brittany: Hi Timmy... (because those close to him call him Timmy)
Timmy: Hi.
Brittany: I'm sorry to bother you, but my husband and I are huge fans!
Timmy: Oh, thank you! (genuinely sweet)
Brittany: We're both alumni and we just think you're great... Can I get a picture with you?
Timmy: Sure! (So maybe he didn't say this with an exclamation, but he made it seem as if I wasn't the bother that I likely was)
Then his brother or friend or someone who I'm sure has taken hundreds of pictures of strangers with Timmy snapped the picture with my phone. And I thanked him and was walking on Cloud 9 for hours as I tweeted and texted and called everyone to tell them about how cool I (thought I) was because I just saw a celebrity. Not a bad start to the New York weekend!

After taking a bus, I hopped on the 7. That's what the locals call the train that takes them from Flushing Queens (as in, the place where Fran Fine Sheffield is from. I looked for her and Doug Heffernan, but didn't see either of them. Bummer.) into Manhattan.
This is where the locals do their art apparently.

I finally made it to the sidewalks of the city and saw this street sign. I immediately wanted to start singing, "Tell all the gang at 42nd Street that I will soon be there!"
The fun of that quickly faded when I realized I didn't really know where I was. I mean, other than the obvious, at the corner of 42nd Street and Madison. I had the address for the hotel and my trusty iPhone with the directions. But the directions were something like, "Walk south towards..." and I couldn't get oriented with which direction I was facing. And don't forget that I had my luggage and was looking around in total awe of the city I was in. I knew it was just a wee bit obvious that I wasn't from around there so that made me prime mugging material so I was glaring at everyone walking by me like they had intent to take all of my possessions. It took me a minute but I figured out where I was going and made my way to the hotel where I met my knight in shining armor. I made it from the airport to the hotel, taking a bus and a subway, all by myself. I'm a big kid now!

We stayed at the Eastgate Tower Hotel in the Murray Hill area of Manhattan. I think this used to be a residential condo building because all of the rooms are suites with small kitchens. Though a little dated, our room was plenty big.

We bought some cereal and milk and had breakfast in the room while there (they have a few dishes and pans in the cabinets). It was nice to take our time getting ready in the mornings and not be starving.

Jared was excited to explain to me all of the material that they went over at the conference. He talked for a couple hours and I took a nap for a couple hours. :) Just kidding. He spared me all of that, knowing that my eyes would quickly roll to the back of my head.

We took about a 30 minute walk to the Laut, a Malaysian-Thai restaurant that I scouted out. I'm going to pretend to be Shannon and tell you what we ate...

Roti canai, the most delicious thing in the world. It's simple, an Indian pancake, but it's crispy in some parts, doughy in others, and you dip it in that wonderful curry sauce and it's a party for your mouth. But the thing about roti is it's tricky to make. At least we haven't figured out the secret. We can imitate the chicken and some other parts of this Malaysian meal, but the roti is a mystery. Dusty & Arin have tried several times, and they've even gotten one of the secret ingredients from the owner of a Malaysian restaurant in Atlanta, but I don't think they've been able to recreate it yet. So, as simple as this little ditty is, it's a rare treat for us to eat. The Laut did not disappoint!

Chicken satay

Every other time we've eaten it, we've had the peanut sauce on the side. They lathered it right on the chicken. Delicious!

And instead of a mint at the end of the meal, they gave us a piece of ginger candy. This was like a sticky burning delicious fire in my mouth. Not sure how else to describe it. It was a bit spicy but was pretty good.

After dinner, Jared and I walked around Union Square Park.

We saw Ghandi going for a walk, Andy Warhol doing some shopping, and George Washington riding a horse.

Red church doors were everywhere. Loved them.

Random cute side street. So charming.

As Jared and I walked around the city we kept asking each other, "How much do you think an apartment in that building costs?" I looked this one up on Zillow . It was built in 1898 and isn't currently on the market but has an estimated value of $3.98 Million. Whoa.

Empire State Building! We planned to go there on Sunday or Monday but it was rainy and foggy both days so we knew we wouldn't be able to see anything from up there.

Spikes on some stairs near our hotel. Not how we say "Welcome" in the South!

Monks in sneaks and flops... not something you see too often. Unless you're in New York City. I saw monks at the hotel, monks at the Statue of Liberty eating burgers, and several other places around town. Must have been a convention.

Thus concludes the first day of our trip. I will try to get the rest up tomorrow!