Monday, May 18, 2009

A Weekend With My Dad

My dad visited us this weekend! We had a wonderful time. The weather even actually held out, for the most part. I was nervous because the forecast was calling for rain/thunderstorms both Saturday and Sunday, and we have yet to have a full weekend of good weather for any visitor we have had in New York: When Ronnie and Tom visited last September to see a Yankees game, the game was rained out. When Heather visited in October, we walked to see a movie in a downpour. When my dad came the first time, it was dreary, cold and drizzly. When my mom came, we had the biggest snowstorm of the year. We really need to improve this track record! This weekend it rained during the night and before we left for our sightseeing on Saturday, and then we just had some dreariness. Not beautiful, but definitely tolerable!

Anyway, let's start at the beginning. I spent all day last Thursday getting ready for Dad's visit - running errands, cleaning the apartment, etc. Two of my preparations were particularly awesome, in my book. First, we always buy fresh flowers when visitors come, and this time we got some lilacs to put on the dining room table. Oh, the fragrance!

I can smell them just by looking at this picture.

The other good-smelling preparation was the dessert I made for us to snack on all weekend: Monkey Bread. I haven't had Monkey Bread since I was a kid, but it was just as amazing as I remembered. This Monkey Bread may be the death of me.

Farewell, healthy diet. Hello, Monkey Bread.

Dad's flight arrived around 11:00 on Friday morning. He took the bus from the airport to Port Authority, and Achilles and I met him there. Achilles gave him a proper joyful welcome, then we made our way back to the apartment to drop off Dad's bag. When Dad was here last time, we were still in the old apartment, so I was excited for him to see the new place (and guess what? I FINALLY took pictures of it, so look for those later this week!). We had lunch then set off for the afternoon.

Friday was our one really nice weather day: mid-70s and sunny! So we wanted to make the most of it. We started out with a walk over to the Hudson River. I showed him our little river park, then we walked south until we came to the Intrepid. We decided to check it out, and it was very cool. I had no idea my dad was so knowledgeable about ships and fighter planes!

The Intrepid (obviously)

Planes on the deck of the Intrepid

On the deck

The Concorde - wish I could take this bad boy to Europe this summer!

Once we finished touring the Intrepid, we walked over to Times Square to get in line at the TKTS booth. We waited in line for about an hour and finally walked away with tickets to see "Guys and Dolls." Then, we went back home to rest up for a bit.

We left the apartment again around 6:00 and went for dinner at 44 Southwest, an Italian restaurant that had enticed me with its smell earlier in the week. It was very tasty! Eric was able to meet us there after he got off work and done running a bunch of errands, so that was nice. After dinner, it was time for the show, which was great! We really enjoyed it.

"Guys and Dolls" at the Nederlander Theater (the same theater where we saw "Rent" in September)

Saturday was the rainy morning, so we got off to a leisurely start while waiting for it to clear up a little bit, which it did pretty quickly. The clouds stuck around, but at least the rain cleared out!

Dad and Achilles relaxing in the apartment

When we left, we started out down 9th Avenue towards the subway, and were able to enjoy the 9th Avenue Food Festival along the way. Many of the restaurants along 9th had moved tables out onto the street, and the rest of the street was filled with my favorite street festival stuff: craft booths, flowers and plants for sale, games, fair-type food, etc. Even a ShamWow booth! Oh, As Seen On TV stuff, how I love thee.

Dad and Eric at the street festival


After enjoying a few minutes of the street festival, we took the subway just into Brooklyn, right by the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked down to the little boardwalk under the Bridge and took some pictures. There were several wedding parties there doing the same thing! How fun. Too bad it wasn't a prettier day for them, though.

Brooklyn Bridge

Coolest Walk Signal ever - look, the little walking man is sporting an I Heart NYC t-shirt and carrying a pretzel!

Eric and me under the Bridge

With Dad on the boardwalk

From there we went for a great lunch at the well-known Grimaldi's Pizza. It was delicious! When we first got there, there was nobody else waiting for a table. But as we waited, the line behind us grew and grew! But seriously, the food is worth the wait. We really enjoyed it.

View of Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge. That's it with the green awning.

Closer view of Grimaldi's

Waiting in line for a table! The line was still pretty short at this point. It got MUCH longer than this.

Ooooh, so, so good.

After lunch we went back down to the water for a few minutes. The plan had been to get ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (also very well-known), but we were all pretty full from our pizza. Eric and I decided to split a cone anyway, and it was so good! We ate it as we walked back to the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Eric and the ice cream

Finally, it was time to walk off all that yummy food we just ate. We walked back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. I have to say, it was much nicer than when Eric and I did it the last time in the freezing cold weather (I have no idea why we thought that was such a good activity for that winter day).

Dad and me strolling across the Bridge

On the Bridge

Once we made it back to the Manhattan side of the Bridge, our walking continued. We walked through South Street Seaport and on to Battery Park, where we checked out Castle Clinton. My dad bought a handbook that used to be printed for immigrants making their start in America, which was pretty cool. Then we finally made our way back home, where Eric and I made chicken broccoli alfredo for dinner. We had some great conversation while we ate, then walked for some Tasti-D-Lite afterwards. The night continued with a showing of Wall-E (and we all know how I love Wall-E), then it was time for bed!

Sunday morning we all went to church together, then for hot dogs at Gray's Papaya. Then we took the "scenic route" back home through Central Park, which took us through Strawberry Fields and the Imagine mosaic, to the Bethesda Terrace, through the Lilac Walk, down the Mall and Literary Walk, past Wollman Rink and then finally on towards home. The Aids Walk was also going on, so it got a bit crowded at parts, but it was very nice.

Bethesda Fountain

With Dad in the Park

When we got back to the apartment we relaxed for a bit before walking Dad back to Port Authority to catch the bus back to the airport. And that was the end of our visit! We had such a great time. It was so nice to have Dad here. We just love having visitors! Thanks for coming, Dad!

On another visitor-related note, this weekend was Georgetown Law's graduation. Can you believe it has already been a year since Eric's graduation? Hard to believe it was a year ago that we had Eric's family in our D.C. home for the celebration. I actually go back and forth about this - I can't decide if I feel like the time flew by, or if I feel like much more than one year has passed since that weekend. It certainly has been an action-packed year!

Hope you all had a great weekend! And as I mentioned, stay tuned for pics of our apartment coming later this week!

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