Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kelley & Susan in the Big Apple

As I mentioned in my last post, after our anniversary celebration was over we had to buckle right down and get the apartment all cleaned up right away...because Kelley and Susan were coming to visit the next morning!

They arrived at JFK around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Eric went in to work late so he and I could ride the subway out there together to meet them. We helped them get subway cards and then all rode together back home, although Eric got off a couple of subway stops before us to go back to work. I took Kelley and Susan back to our apartment and gave them the grand tour, then we had a quick lunch before heading out for Day #1 of sightseeing.

I decided to start their visit with our usual Downtown Tour. I also invited my friend Amanda to join us - she is a travel nurse who is just starting a three-month assignment here in NYC. She and I used to work together at Calico Jack's, a bar in Gainesville. I knew she was excited to do some sightseeing so I figured since I was leading a tour anyway, why not have her tag along? So, Kelley, Susan and I all headed down to Battery Park and Amanda met up with us there.

Our Downtown Tour always starts in Battery Park for a view of the Statue of Liberty, then we make our way up past the Wall Street Bull (stopping for pictures with either the front end or back end of it - or, as in this case, both), on to the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street, past (or into) Trinity Church, then up to Ground Zero.

"The Sphere" - it originally stood at the World Trade Center as a symbol of world peace, but as damaged in the terrorist attacks.
Now it stands in Battery Park in front of an eternal flame as a temporary memorial to the September 11th victims.

Kelley and Susan with the Wall Street Bull - unfortunately, I only have the picture of them with the front end of it.

An optional add-on to the Downtown Tour is a walk up through Chinatown and Little Italy. We usually only do this if 1) the weather is nice and/or 2) we don't actually go over to the Statue of Liberty - if we do the Statue of Liberty, then adding on Chinatown/Little Italy makes for a LOT of extra walking on top of a long day. But, with Kelley and Susan we skipped going to the Statue, so we added on these extra sights. We were treated to the lovely sounds of Chinatown ("Handbag, handbag? You want handbag, Miss? Handbag? Gucci? Prada? Handbag, handbag?") and the smells of Little Italy. In Chinatown, the handbag salespeople are pushy. In Little Italy, the restaurant people are pushy!

Speaking of restaurants, while we were in Little Italy we made a stop (at Amanda's request) this time at Lombardi's Pizza, America's first pizzeria. I have heard some people say Lombardi's has the best pizza in New York, while others argue Grimaldi's Pizza (that place we always go to over the Brooklyn Bridge) is best. So, we stopped to try some! And it was delicious indeed. (Although I decided I'm officially a Grimaldi's girl!)

Kelley and Susan at Lombardi's

With Amanda and our Lombardi's pizza

After our pizza, we hopped back on the subway and went up to Union Square, where we took a quick walk around and a stop at Crumbs so Kelley could try a Grasshopper cupcake. Can you believe they were out of Grasshoppers? What a shame! We all had a snack anyway, then we headed home.

We relaxed around the apartment for a while, waiting for Eric to get home from work. That night we had planned to go do more walking around, but we were all exhausted. So, we just stayed in and cooked burgers and sweet potato fries. Amanda came back over for dinner then we all played some Rock Band. Good times!

Eric, Kelley, Susan and Amanda playing Rock Band

On Thursday, it was time for the East Side/Central Park Tour. We started with a walk down to Times Square, where Kelley and Susan generously treated me to lunch at Ruby Tuesday. Thanks, ladies!

Kelley and Susan being amazed at all there is to see in Times Square

After lunch we headed over to Sixth Avenue, past Radio City Music Hall and over to Rockefeller Center. We stopped in St. Patrick's Cathedral, then walked up Fifth Avenue to FAO Schwartz where we spent some time in the candy section and Kelley and Susan got to play the Big Piano.

Susan and Kelley on the Big Piano

From there we walked up into Central Park, stopping a couple times to sit and enjoy the pretty scenery. I hit all our usual Central Park sights (even though our tour only covers about the bottom quarter of the park, there's still lots to see!): the Bridge, Wollman Rink, the Literary Walk, the Bandshell, Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Mosaic. One of the places we stopped to sit was along the Literary Walk, which was so nice and peaceful. While we were walking along there, though, it started raining a bit while the sun was still shining at full force! That was weird and very Florida-esque. Other than that, the weather was just HOT the whole time.

Kelley and Susan in Central Park

After Central Park we were all pretty exhausted so we went back to the apartment to rest up until Eric got home from work. Once he arrived, we went out for an evening stroll through Times Square, which included stopping at the Hershey's Store, the M&M Store, and the Toys 'R Us. We also stopped by Junior's to pick up a cheesecake to go - you can't come to NYC and not try the cheesecake! After that, we went for dinner at El Centro, one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants. Mmmm.

Eric sporting a Reese's hat from the Hershey's store

Fun in the M&M store

Susan and Kelley in Times Square at night

Brother and sister! Eric and Kelley in Times Square

Now me and Eric - it was quite the photoshoot!

The four of us at El Centro after dinner

When we got home, we enjoyed our cheesecake then called it a night. Long day!

Friday, Kelley and Susan were taking the train to New Jersey. Eric's cousin Kimberly got married on Saturday in New Jersey, and Kelley and Susan went over early to attend the rehearsal dinner. So, Friday morning we just relaxed around the apartment before I got them on their way to Penn Station to catch the NJ Transit. Meanwhile, that night, Eric and I went to another Movie Night on the Intrepid with Amanda, this time to see "Apollo 13." The weather was pretty rainy, which delayed the start time of the movie, but it gave us plenty of time to eat some Daisy May's BBQ and enjoy an absolutely gorgeous sunset before the movie started. It was great fun!

Sunset at the Intrepid

Gorgeous sky

With Amanda, ready for the movie to start

All ready for the movie! Unfortunately, due to rain making the deck slippery, they couldn't show the movie on the ship deck as planned. So, they showed it on the pier alongside the ship. Close enough, I guess.

Saturday was Kimberly's wedding, but since this post is already a bit on the long side, I'll post about that separately later this week.

Sunday Eric, Kelley, Susan and I took the train back to NYC from New Jersey. When we got in to Penn Station, we stopped to show Kelley and Susan the Empire State Building and Macy's, and we picked up some Nathan's Hot Dogs for lunch.

Kelley and Susan and the Empire State Building

Eric is a great photographer!

After lunch Eric took Kelley and Susan back to the apartment to drop off their bags, while I continued on to Camp Canine to rescue Achilles from his evening away from home. Meanwhile, Eric took the girls on their last day of NYC sightseeing.

First things first, they started out back in Times Square for a photo-op with a very handsy Naked Cowboy!

Whoa, Naked Cowboy!

Maybe I should make this a regular stop on the tour?

They also walked over to Eric's office so Kelley could see where her brother works. They made a quick stop at another Crumbs in search of a Grasshopper cupcake (but they were out again! How is that possible?!), and stopped a Bryant Park. Then they went downtown and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, where they had ice cream and Grimaldi's Pizza (Kelley and Susan agreed with me that Grimaldi's is better than Lombardi's), then walked back again before coming back to the apartment.

On the Brooklyn Bridge

Still on the Brooklyn Bridge

At the front of the Grimaldi's line

Mmm, Grimaldi's pizza!

Later that evening we all (including Achilles) walked out to Hudson River Park right by our apartment to catch the tail end of the sunset, then ordered yet another pizza to snack on (in addition to cheesecake and leftover anniversary cake). We watched a couple Friends episodes, then it was time for bed!

Kelley, me, Susan and Achilles at Hudson River Park

The next morning we basically woke up, got ready and then it was time to take Kelley and Susan to Port Authority to catch their bus back to the airport. It was the end of a fun weekend!

Thanks for visiting, ladies! Hope you enjoyed your stay as much as we enjoyed having you. We'll have to do it again sometime!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We had such a great time. Glad to be in your blog!

And I didn't tell you but on our bus on the way back to the airport, the bus driver stopped to go to the bathroom at Bryant Park, we would have had plenty of time to run across the street and go get a grasshopper cupcake, but by the time we realized the driver was in the bathroom it was too late! Thanks again!!!