Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Now It's the Moms' Turn

I had a great time with my mom and Aunt Debbie this past weekend! Forgive my delay in posting about it - things have been busy. I have actually had some work to do with a local jury consultant, which has been excellent. I worked with her before Molly and Heather visited and she loved my work, so she called me again to help with another project this week. Even though I'm still in need of a full-time job, it has been nice to be doing something in my field again, and having a little income. So that was what I was doing Monday. Yesterday I was doing some celebrity stalking, as I have been known to do these days, but we'll get to that later. But now, on to the weekend!

Mom and Aunt Debbie were scheduled to arrive around 2:30 p.m. on Friday, but their flight was delayed for two hours. What is going on with my mom flying in and out of New York? The first time she came to visit, her flight home was delayed because of a March blizzard. Then we had the whole mess when she and Heather tried to fly into JFK before going on to Budapest. Now this. I think maybe Mom should take the train next time!

Anyway, they ended up getting in around 4:30. I met them at JFK airport and we took the subway back to my apartment. The silver lining of their delay was that they did not miss a beautiful day for sightseeing in New York - it was chilly and rainy all day. The downside of this was that our evening plans fell through. We had planned to go to the top of Rockefeller Center for some nighttime city views, including a red, white and blue Empire State Building and the World Trade Center Tribute in Light. But, thanks to the rain and low cloud cover, we wouldn't have been able to see much of anything. So we stayed in, ordered Chinese food, drank wine, and chatted. Late in the evening the clouds lifted enough that we were able to see the Tribute in Light from our apartment, as well as a little more of the skyline, so that was nice!

We didn't get a picture of the Tribute in Light, but my mom got this great shot of our skyline view at night.

On Saturday, the weather was a little better. At least, it didn't rain all day and when it did rain, it was mostly just gross drizzle, nothing unmanageable. We did our general Times Square/East Side tour, with a few minor tweaks. We started out in Times Square, including the M&M and Hershey stores. Then we made our way to 42nd Street where we stopped for lunch in Bryant Park then stopped inside the New York Public Library.

Mom and Aunt Debbie in Times Square

Inside the New York Public Library

We then made our way up Fifth Avenue, with stops at the American Girl Place, Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral (and Best Buy to have Aunt Debbie's camera battery charged!). We also stopped in to FAO Schwartz, where the ladies treated me to a lovely rendition of Chopsticks on the Big Piano.

With Mom at Rockefeller Center

Aunt Debbie and Mom on the Big Piano

From there, we walked over to Serendipity, a well-known dessert shop, to try their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate. Serendipity is also known for their Golden Opulence Sundae, which is the world's most expensive ice cream sundae, priced at $1,000! It is actually covered in edible 23k gold leaf. Wow. But, as these sorts of things have a tendency to do in New York, Serendipity had a very long wait for a table. By this point we were exhausted so we decided to forgo our Frozen Hot Chocolate. We headed back down to Best Buy to pick up Aunt Debbie's camera battery, stopping at Grand Central on the way. We then made our way home, although we did make a quick stop for some Crumbs cupcakes to eat after dinner!

For dinner we enjoyed some of Eric's homemade sauce and meatballs, plus salad, garlic bread and wine, then our absolutely delicious cupcakes! After dinner, Achilles put on a bit of a fashion show, and then we all played Rock Band. It was Aunt Debbie's first time, and she did a great job!

Aunt Debbie on the drums

Mom rockin' out on the guitar

On Sunday, Eric was running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Central Park. In fact, he organized a team from his office to run in it as well. So he got up early to run the race, and my mom, Achilles and I went along to cheer him on. The running was kind of a mess with all the walkers and runners being mixed in together, but he did a good job! Unfortunately, we missed him crossing the finish line. Oh well. Good job, Eric!

Eric and Achilles before the race

Running! (My mom got this pic. I was sleeping on the job, apparently, and nearly missed him running by!)

After the race, we stopped back at the apartment to pick up Aunt Debbie, then Mom, Aunt Debbie and I headed over to Times Square for a major highlight of the weekend: the Broadway on Broadway concert, which featured performances from every Broadway musical to promote the new Broadway season! It was great! Plus, the ending was fantastic. After a rousing rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" from the Rock of Ages cast, they had someone sing "New York, New York" and they dropped confetti and streamers on Times Square, just like they do on New Year's Eve! It was fantastic, especially since when Eric and I did New Year's Eve in Times Square, we were too far back to be under the confetti - so, now I have experienced it all! We had a great time just taking in the moment, then everyone enjoyed playing in the confetti once the performance was over.

Mom and Aunt Debbie at the concert

"Chicago" cast on the big screen (my mom got this pic too - her camera has a fantastic zoom.)

Here comes the confetti!

Aunt Debbie and me enjoying the grand finale

It's like New Year's Eve in September!

There was so much confetti on the ground afterward, you could make confetti angels, like this kid did!

Aunt Debbie and Mom enjoying the confetti

I loved this little guy just sitting there amongst all the fun. This will probably be the only time his parents let him just sit on the ground in Times Square (I hope so, anyway)!

VIDEO: Clips from "Broadway on Broadway," including songs from Wicked, Rent, West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, and the grand finale!

After the concert, we hopped on the subway down to Brooklyn, where Eric met up with us. He got in line for our favorite pizza, Grimaldi's, while we went to get our ice cream from the Ice Cream Factory. Both were absolutely delicious. The pizza was so good, we ordered a second one after we finished our first! Ice cream, pizza and wine is just a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. Then, of course, we walked back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

Aunt Debbie, Eric and Mom in line for Grimaldi's

Aunt Debbie and Eric walking across the bridge

I love this shot of the skyline my mom got as we walked across the bridge!

With my mom on the bridge

I had to put these two pictures together! We took the same picture of both daughters and mothers over the last two weekends.

When we got back to Manhattan, we hopped back on the subway up to Central Park. We wandered around the park for a bit, enjoying the lovely scenery. I always love walking around the park.

Acting out the statue at the SE corner of the Park (Aunt Debbie is the guy on the horse with a bird on his head)

Eric, me and Aunt Debbie in Central Park

After the park, we took the subway once again, this time to Rockefeller Center because we were geared up for some celebrity stalking. The MTV Video Music Awards were being held at Radio City Music Hall, and my mom was very excited about the possibility of seeing some celebrities. So, we braved the crowds to see what we could. I was very nervous our efforts would prove fruitless, but we actually did see some people! We saw Pink, Taylor Swift, and the lead singer of Cobra Starship (who I must admit, I am unfamiliar with, but this is what people told me) as they were preparing to make their entrances on the red carpet. I also saw Chet from Real World Brooklyn, and caught some far-off glimpses of Jennifer Lopez and Sway (an MTV reporter). So, successful!

Radio City all decked out for the VMAs

Pink, ready to make her entrance on a fire truck

Taylor Swift, getting out of her car to get on her horse-drawn carriage for her entrance

Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship, about to enter on a NY Sightseeing bus

Me with Chet from The Real World

Some very tired celebrity stalkers!

We were so exhausted by that point, so we went on home and watched the VMAs on TV. It was fun to see everything we had just seen in person! New York is just so cool.

The next morning, Mom and Aunt Debbie had an early flight to catch so I walked them to the subway at 5:15 a.m. and saw them off (note to future guests: let's try to avoid this 5:00 a.m. stuff, okay?). It was such a great visit! Thanks so much for coming, ladies! It was great having you!

Since we're on the topic of celebrity sightings, I'll just throw our sightings from yesterday here into this post! Yesterday I spent several hours stalking LeBron James, who was signing books at a Barnes and Noble near Eric's office. Unfortunately, I completely misjudged how early I would need to get there to get an autograph, and by the time I arrived at 11:00 a.m. (an hour and a half before the signing was to begin), they had already cut off the line! So, I joined the line of hopefuls (that's the people who were waiting despite being told there was no chance they would get an autograph) and waited and waited. I actually got very close to getting my autograph, but by that time, LeBron had to leave. So, no luck. Boo! I was so bummed. But, I did get to see him as he arrived and when he left at least! And when he left, Eric (who had joined me for his lunch break) was able to get really close pictures. Eric, you're my hero!

LeBron on his way out of Barnes and Noble

Also, Eric walked right by Mayor Bloomberg on his way home from work yesterday. He says he's very short. It seems our celebrity sightings always happen in clusters!

So, that was the last few days in the W. household. Now, if you can believe it, we actually do not have any visitors scheduled in the coming months. Unheard of! I have to say, as much as we do love having visitors, I am looking forward to having some time to just relax and hang out with Eric. I need a rest from my tour-giving profession - for a couple weeks at least!

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