Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Big Apple

Nicole, Erin, and I just returned from our trip to New York City. I really liked it. Here is what our week looked like, in words and pictures...

Day 1: After landing at La Guardia, I found Nicole a
nd Erin with much difficulty, but nonetheless, I found them. A man told us that he would take us and an older couple all with him to our hotels. We were wondering how that would work, seeing as how there were 5 of us, at least 2 bags for each person, plus purses/briefcases, as well as the driver. He assured us we had room. "I have a limo!" He repeated that phrase a lot. We found out how much it would cost and then we followed him. This was our limo, awaiting us like a chariot:

This wasn't actually the one, I didn't have time to take a picture of it. But it was an Expedition and he definitely called it a limo more than 4 times. Funny.

Once we got to our hotel, we couldn't check in for a few hours, so we checked our bags, ate lunch, and walked around Times Square. I didn't have my camera at this point (it was in my carry-on bag at the hotel), but I really think that Ted Danson was sitting at the table next to us. I kept thinking the guy looked like a really old Ted Danson, and when I got home and looked up what he really looked like, I realized that it turns out Ted Danson is really old. So I think it might have been him. Or someone that looked a lot like him.

We walked around some more, taking in the chaos that is Times Square like the tourists we were. Then we stumbled upon a TKTS booth (half price Broadway tickets), that happened to be on the same street as our hotel, and we decided to wait in line to see a show that night. We got tickets for Hairspray, and it was great! It was my first Broadway show ever. We were up in the way back, far left balcony, but we could still see well and really enjoy it. We waited around to watch the cast come out after the show, and I got my picture taken with ... drumroll please ... Jerry Mathers. Aka, "The Beaver" from Leave it to Beaver! I love meeting famous people! Especially ones that were in shows I watched growing up. After we were finished posing with the Beav, we were hungry so we walked around for about an hour to figure out where we wanted to eat dinner. We were so tired we ended up just going to McDonald's in Times Square because it was so close to our hotel. Those were the best chicken nuggets ever.

Day 2: We started our morning at 9:30 with a Dean and Deluca bagel. Afterwards, we made our way to the Hudson River to get on the Circle Line Boat tour. We got to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, where the World Trade Center was, the harbor where the Titanic would have docked, the Empire State Building, and a lot of other historical things. I bought a commemorative mug on the boat, because it was the only place in NYC where you could get free refills if you bought it. I was thirsty. Afterward, we decided to wait in line again for another Broadway show. Erin walked around the corner and bought us some pizza and some drinks and we ate in the line. We decided to see Rent. We got our tickets and then walked around some more, before going back to the room to get ready. We saw that our tickets said "Orchestar R," and we just thought we were probably in row R. Since the tickets were half priced again, we thought that was fine. At least we were on the floor this time. As Erin looked more closely though, we realized we were actually sitting in Orchestra Right and we would be in the 2nd row. Crazy! We called to make sure that was right, and it was. We were about 5 feet from the stage and from the performers. Sometimes you could smile at them and they would smile back. That was a fun, but slightly awkward game. Afterward, we again went to Times Square to walk around.

Day 3: We ate at this place called Roxy's Delicatessen on Broadway. I wasn't a big fan, and it was super expensive. But then again, everything in NYC is. We went on from there to go on our NBC studio tour. That was pretty neat. We went into Conan O'Brien's studio, and also the SNL studio. It was a Saturday though, and the summer, so no famous folks were milling around. Afterwards, we began the Rockefeller Center tour. Note that I said began. We had the worst tour guide ever. We had to wear headphones on our head to listen to him, and he smacked his mouth and made noises like that a lot. Not only that, but he would say something and be completely silent for about 4 seconds, and then look at us like he was mad, and thrust his arms out toward us, as if to say, "Are you telling me you didn't know that?" He did this about 15 times in the first 5 minutes of our tour. Oh, and he was a heavy breather. Two girls handed him their headphones and said, "We have to go back to our rooms." That tipped us off that it wasn't just us. This guy truly was an awful tour guide. We hung around about 10 more minutes, and then when the group went around a corner, we took off in the other direction. After we returned our headphones and breathed HUGE sighs of thankfulness that we didn't have to endure an hour of his tour-giving, we bought hotdogs from a vendor. After that, Nicole and Erin graciously walked back to the room with me, since I had forgotten my camera that morning. On our way back, we ran into the naked cowboy. That was funny. He was pretty creepy, actually. I only took his picture from afar. After that, we bought tickets to get on the double decker touring bus (we were straight-up unashamed tourists on this trip). That day we took the uptown tour (Central Park, Harlem, 5th Avenue). We saw where John Lennon was shot (the picture to the right).

Here are some of my favorite
pictures from that tour:

After the tour, we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We went to a revolving restaurant on top of the Mariott Marquis. It was good food, and the view was incredible. You could see the Hudson, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and we went at sunset so it was extra nice. Afterward, we walked across the street to watch people come out of the Beauty and the Beast show. There was a girl there who was a bit too enthusiastic about the show. She definitely wore her yellow Belle ballgown to the show. She was probably about 15 years old. We got a kick out of that. Then we walked back to the hotel and witnessed a drug deal. Well, kind of. A guy had poured out pills from an empty bottle and was holding them out to a girl saying, in an angry Donald Trump accent, "Take whatevah ya want!"

Day 4: We took the downtown bus tour this time (Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Ground Zero). We had our day planned out perfectly, but then we missed our first stop because the tour guide was talking SO fast. So we got off in Chinatown at 9:30 am. The only place to get breakfast was Starbucks so we headed that direction. We shopped for a while, bought a few things, and then got back on the bus. The next stop was Ground Zero. In front of that is St. Paul's Chapel, which is where relief workers would rest and eat between shifts. The building was untouched, even though it sat right across the street from the building. It was so neat to be there, and to be able to thank God for preserving the building, so that there could be such a close place for the workers to go. It is literally right across the street. We went to see the actual site after that, but for me, seeing it from the plane was the real moment of shock. Seeing the buildings all around it, and the hole where it once was, and all the people that died that day. It's very difficult to process and grasp the terror of it.

When we left Ground Zero, we got back on the bus and went back to our hotel to change, since it was SO hot that day. We decided to try to find John's Pizzeria, a place that Dan and Casey told us about that's in Greenwich Village. It was about 2:00 when we decided to try to get there. After 2 hours of getting on buses and creeping along with tour guides that stopped every 5 seconds, we finally decided to get off and just buy a metro card and ride the subway there. We got lost in the maze of the system, but we finally made it there around 5 pm. So much for lunch! The picture of Nicole waiting on the subway (to the right) accurately portrays our feelings on being hungry and lost. When we finally got there, the food was super. We were so hungry, and it was such a great meal. Afterward, we walked around and found the cutest little neighborhood where all the apartments looked like the Cosby Show house.

Here are some of my favorite downtown tour pictures:

After the pizza fiasco, we went to Serendipity to have some frozen hot chocolate. SO GOOD. If you're ever going to NYC, make reservations a couple of weeks in advance, and go get some.

Day 5: Our last day! We started by waking up at 4:45 am and going to stand in line for Good Morning America. Little did we know, that once we were inside, with our tickets in hand, we would still be standing. There are no seats! I did not know that. None of us did. It's a good thing. We probably wouldn't have gone if we would have known. Diane Sawyer wasn't there, she was interviewing John Edwards in New Orleans via live feed. Strike One. We stood for 2 hours not counting waiting in line. Strike Two. That's all the strikes. The rest of it was kind of fun. The audience coordinator was really funny, and she cracked jokes about the show being number 2 and not having enough money to buy chairs. There was a funny kid there who held up a sign for his grandma who is "83 years young" according to his sign. The most intriguing part came in the beginning when we were in the line when they took the people with no tickets out and made them stand outside. This one particular kind of "thug life" kid had to be a "stand outsider," and it clearly upset him. He was so sad. At the end of the show, I saw him leaning over a rail, looking so dejected and depressed. I took his picture (he didn't know). Erin, Nicole and I went to Starbucks and had been gone at least 10 or 15 minutes, and when we walked back that way, he was still there, still looking sad! We don't know what his story was, but it must have been a sad one.

After our GMA adventure, we went back to our hotel, checked out, did some more sightseeing, and then went to the airport.

Good bye New York!
I want to come back soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Laughter, the Best Medicine

I recently found several quotes I like by this comedian, Demetri Martin. Turns out, he's very funny, and I thought you all should be able to laugh. So read on, and enjoy yourselves.

“I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. Like if you put on flipflops, you’re saying: ‘Hope I don’t get chased today.’"

“I saw a guy at a party wearing a leather jacket and I thought, ‘That is cool.’ But then I saw another guy wearing a leather vest and I thought, ‘That is not cool’. Then I figured it out: ‘Cool’ is all about leather sleeves.”

"I was in a store and I saw a pocket dictionary and that made me laugh because it’s such…a specific item. I don’t know that many words and I’m going out…and I have pants. Perfect!”

“I wanna make a jigsaw puzzle that’s 40,000 pieces. And when you finish it, it says ‘go outside.’”

“The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.”

“I like when good things happen to me, but I wait two weeks to tell anyone because I like to use the word ‘fortnight.’”

"Employee of the month is a good example of how somebody can be both a winner and a loser at the same time."

"I got some new pajamas with pockets in 'em. Which is great, because before that, I used to have to hold stuff when I slept. But now I'm like, 'Where's my planner? There it is. Keep sleeping. All right, perfect.'"

"A lot of people don't like bumper stickers. I don't mind bumper stickers. To me a bumper sticker is a shortcut. It's like a little sign that says 'Hey, let's never hang out.'"

"I keep a lighter in my back pocket all the time. I'm not a smoker, I just really like certain songs."

“I like video games, but they’re really violent. I’d like to play a video game where you help the people who were shot in all the other games. It’d be called ‘Really Busy Hospital.’”

“I think vests are all about protection. You know what I mean? Like a lifevest protects you from drowning and bulletproof vests protect you from getting shot and the sweatervest protects you from pretty girls. ‘Leave me alone. Can’t you see I’m cold just right here?’”

“I like the beach. I like to get there really early before everyone else shows up and take like thirty bottles with notes in them and throw them into the water. Then I wait for everyone to come to the beach and when someone goes to pick up one of the bottles, I go up behind them because when they open it there’s a note saying ‘I’m standing right behind you.’”

“I used to play sports. Then I realized you can buy trophies. Now I’m good at everything.”

“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.”

"Graffiti’s the most passionate literature there is, you know? It’s always like 'Bush sucks!', 'U2 Rocks!' I want to make indifferent graffiti. 'Toy Story 2 was okay!' 'I like Sheryl as a friend, but I’m not sure about taking things further.' 'This is a bridge!'"

"A quick way to start a conversation is to say something like “What’s your favorite color?” A quick way to end a conversation is to say something like “What’s your favorite color…person?”