Saturday, September 24, 2011

NYC ( Part 3 )

We woke up Tuesday morning to stormy skies, thankful we had rearranged our plans the day before to enjoy some of New York's beautiful outdoor spaces.  Since it was sooo gloomy we decided to take a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( aka 'The Met' ).  It was a GINORMOUS and magnificent building.  We laughed at ourselves, because at first we were casually strolling around studying every artifact and reading many of their details and descriptions - then we checked out the map! HA!  We would still be there if we'd have kept that pace.  It was then we realized a museum of this magnitude was meant to cover in detail over many trips . . . probably years.  So we changed gears and tried to tackle points of interest from each area.  We had a pretty good time & got a few crazy looks, and realized that we aren't much of "museum people."  There were some really interesting and amazing things, and probably would have been even better if we'd have taken a guided tour so that we'd understand & appreciate for of it.  But after 3 hours we were about done.  It just kept going and going . . . and going.  :)  Here were a few things that made us smile!
Andrew was surprised that his armor had been brought here for display.
This is a VERY OLD Bible - I loved that it uses illustrations and was just incredible.
This artists understands motherhood . . .
Great representation of a husband & wife
this was the statue Andrew chose to have his picture taken beside. . . Of course
After the Met, we made our way to another famous museum - Madame Tassauds !!  hahaha We had such a great laugh at this wax museum.
After enjoying a quick rest back at the hotel and ordering dinner in, we headed off to Broadway to see THE LION KING!!  This was my "must-see" when we decided on a trip to New York.  And it did not disappoint!!!  Actually, if it were possible, I'd say it was better than I'd even hoped for. LOVE LOVE LOVE  A great way to end a soggy day ( actually we treated ourselves to some creamy Gelato before crashing for the evening - yum yum yum! )
Day 4:  
Woke up to rain . . . again.  So to cheer ourselves up we fought the craziness of morning rush hour and grabbed ourselves our first New York bagel, then headed for FAO Schwartz!  Who doesn't have a good time playing around in a huge toy store?  
 This would have been a magical for me as a child . . . Oh who am I kidding - a baby doll nursery, with a real nurse??  It was an amazing moment . . .
 Another awesome moment . . . an entire wall of Caillou !!  I laughed so hard at us later, because our excitement over this find was truly comical.  What can we say, we love our little man!  And what makes him happy, makes us happy!!  For the record, we didn't get the doll - we found a miniature Caillou with his toy Dino that fit into a few of Hunter's big trucks. And when we got home I'm not sure who was more excited between him receiving, or us giving the toy.   :)
Since the weather was still dreary we thought it might be fun to visit the Intrepid, an active air craft carrier for the US Navy, turned museum.  It was very interactive and quite interesting, a bit more our speed over the Met.  Once again, we could only stand "museum browsing" for so long, but it was a fun rainy day activity ( and of course I kept thinking about how much Hunter would enjoy this some day. )
Our next stops were all about the food!  We got a taste of real NYC pizza, which was our DEAL OF THE WEEK - $2 for a slice & a soda (the size of 2+ normal slices).  We ate just like true New Yorkers too, snuggled in a steamy corner of '2 Bros Pizza'.  Nothing better than some hot & cheesy pizza on a drizzly day.  Well, except for dessert maybe!  For this we, headed directly to 'Crumbs' - and decided on nothing else but their chocolate & peanut butter cupcake.  Ohhhh so so delicious!!
We couldn't go to New York without making a trip to Macy's Department Store ( on 34th street of course ).  Andrew and I loved that much of the original building was very well preserved, such as the gorgeous antique wooden escalators.  And it was actually MUCH bigger than either of us had anticipated . . . to the point that we both felt so overwhelmed after a bit of shoe shopping, ( searching for rain boots which of course were nowhere to be found ) we quickly agreed to move on.
That evening we decided to go to Dave & Buster's for a little dinner and ski-ball competition.  Not a typical NYC attraction but a perfect way to lift your mood on a rainy day.  Of course I'd won after all our tickets had been counted, and since ski-ball is the only game I ever get to beat Andrew at, I'd say we had a terrific time!  While eating dinner we decided we'd go watch a movie since that's not a typical activity we get to enjoy often, having a 2 year old at home.  I allowed my sweet husband to choose since it's been my turn the last couple times . . . so 'Planet of the Apes' it was.  Not bad, but not great.  So to end the night on a high, we headed to 'Serendipity."  This eclectic, little hole in the wall restaurant was recommended by many friends who know my passion for ice cream.  I really didn't know what to expect but even with HIGH expectations, I was still AMAZED!!  I ordered the Frozen Hot Chocolate which words can not describe it's awesomeness and Andrew ordered (after learning of their sweet minimum per person surprise) '3 scoops of ice cream with hot fudge.'  Typically, dessert descriptions sound better than what they actually are . . . oh no, not here . . . One word - Phenomenal.
Day 5:  WE SLEPT IN UNTIL 9:30 !! ( only 8:30 in Arkansas, but still )  Not that I wasn't missing my munchkin's morning snuggles and kisses, but it sure felt good to get a little extra sleep without somebody climbing all over me or twiddling my hair.  :)  So after we finally got up and around, we started the morning off right with bagels & PB at the gorgeous Washington Square Park.  We were thrilled to be blessed with beautifully sunny skies!!
Transportation by subway 'trains' is a work of art, though a new app on our phones helped tremendously.  Once you get the general idea ( or choose to follow your husbands lead ) it's pretty easy.  The most confusing part for us was deciding which direction to walk once we were street level again! HA!  
The first train that zoomed passed us, whipping my hair back, caught me off guard.  I had been on the subway in Paris before, but I wasn't ready for the speed at which these "express" trains traveled.   
I loved that each one was unique; some beautiful & artistic, others needing some tlc.
 China town & Little Italy
I scored an awesome pair of knock-off shades and an NYC tee while Andrew tried bargaining with several merchants for Hunter's souvenir NYC fire truck and taxi, but no one would play with him . . . so he bought them from a street vendor selling them the cheapest.  ( Hunter loves these even more than Caillou! )
We stopped at the largest Whole Foods Market in the world for a quick look around and samplings!  Shout out to Aunt Betsy & Uncle Roger!!
Lower East Side Food Tasting Tour
Each "area" in Manhattan clearly has its on vibe.  Graffiti in this area was definitely valued as artwork.  We loved going on these tours, as they gave us real insight and history to each particular area.  The LES had several treasured eateries that we were able to sample from - a WONDERFUL treat, since there wasn't even the slightest of chance we would have stopped or found any of these places on our own.
 We discovered Knishes, fried dumplings & sesame pancakes ( which I LOVED ), Dr. Brown's sodas, Katz's pastrami sandwiches  (made famous from "When Harry Met Sally"), straight out of the barrel pickles from 'The Pickle Guys', and GLORIOUS chunky peanut butter & jelly doughnuts fresh off the line!!  There wasn't a single bite, that wasn't absolutely delicious!!
 (neatest little antique water fountain)
Yes, I tried the pickled pineapple - Yes, it was delicious too!!
 We saw some other interesting sites long the route . . .
The restored chapel (Sarah Jessica Parker was married at)
Fun 'Street Art'
Community on the rise - 'Blue' beside old tenement housing
What's a trip to NYC without a trip to see the Statue of Liberty??  So after reading a few reviews we opted for the free trip on the Staten Island Ferry.  It was a nice little ride that gave us a pretty good view of the our Lady.
If we look tired and worn out . . . it's because WE WERE!!!
 The High Line
This beautiful park is such a great new addition to the city.  We took a stroll down it's gorgeously lit path that evening, enjoying a perfect fall evening and people watching during Fashion's Night Out.
Day 5
Our day started amidst the morning rush in Lower Manhattan, aka the financial district.  Wishing for 'good fortune & prosperity' we made sure we said hello to the Charging Bull.  
After the 1987 stock market crash, in an act of  "guerrilla art", it's creator placed the bull beneath a Christmas tree in the middle of Broad Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange.  The Charging Bull was meant to be a Christmas gift to the people of New York, symbolizing the "strength and power of the American people." ( Rubbing it's hmm...hmm... 'shiny orbs' is supposed to bring good luck ! )
Couldn't help but think of my little man splashing cheerfully in the fountains here . . .
Every direction we turned brought into view more and more tall, beautiful buildings both old and new.
After a wonderful and emotional tour around the tip of lower Manhattan, we changed our pace and settled into another tour through the winding ways of Greenwich Village. It's tree-lined streets, bohemian vibe, and against "the grid" way of living made it seem more inviting and homey than any other area we'd visited. It was a gorgeous neighborhood full of history and character.
My "Friends," Rachel and Monica lived here for many years . . . 
( $ Prime real estate $ ) An actual YARD!!!
Another family friend's home, the Huxtables . . .
After our tour, Andrew and I went on our own mini-Food on Foot tour around the West Village; trying a falafel (which we did not care for at all), Joe's Pizza (delicious!), real Italian gelato (amazing!), and an Amy's Bread chocolate chip cookie (possibly the best I've ever had).
On our way back through town I stole a kiss from "Melmo" for my little man !!
After an already incredible full day, we managed to squeeze in one more tour!!  We were extremely tired but were so so glad we didn't miss this twilight cruise around the harbor.  It was calming and incredibly peaceful.  The views were breath-taking and at such an amazing vantage point.  
Of course my husband found this massive driving range fascinating . . .
We were told that these $$$ buildings house some pretty famous faces.
Although we had to half drag our aching bodies there, we made a quick appearance at Pier 17 after the cruise.  This seemed to be a great place for 'evenings out,' and had spectacular views over the water.
Our last hoo-rah through the city at night!
met a few strange people on these streets & lots of stinky trash. . .
Our amazing view from Pier 17
Day 6:  Our Last Day
We saved Saturday morning for anything we didn't have time to get to or to revisit out favorite place.  So there was no hesitation from either of us when it came to deciding where we would go . . .  back to Central Park !!
The entrance we just so happen to come in at . . .   :)
No better spot for breakfast. . . (except across from my little man's high chair)
I love TREES !!
Tavern on the Green
Walk - Bike - Ride - Drive
'Sheep's Meadow' was just as the movies portray it . . .
Can't leave without our daily fix of ICE CREAM !!  Yummy yummy
Not much more I can say about this absolutely amazing 5 year anniversary trip to the Big Apple!  We had a terrific time exploring the sights of the city together and will be excited to go back some day (hopefully for a much more relaxing trip now that we've 'seen & done' a lot of it) !!

p.s.  Here is a tiny glimpse of Hunter's week, while we were "at work on an airplane" as he so sweetly referred to our absence.  He first spent a few days and (first overnight stay) with his Nanny Cheree & Papa Bob, playing at the park and looking for cows!!
Then Paw had him hard it work on the farm feeding the deer, riding the tractor, and hauling brush! What a fun day!!  
Then he spent the rest of the week with his Grandmommy and Pops! They even took him for his first trip to the zoo, where he was amazed with the penguins swimming and putting on a show for him!! It sure sounded like he had a wonderful visit!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 
Matthew 11:28