I had three of my favorite ladies spend the weekend with me: my sister Heather, my cousin Molly, and my cousin Jacob's wife Zita (remember their awesome Hungarian wedding, and their American reception? Good times!). I think I effectively wore all of them out, which I believe is the sign of a good visit!
Heather arrived first via bus from Newark Airport on Friday afternoon. I met her at Port Authority, then we walked down to Penn Station to retrieve Zita, who took the train in from Boston. We went back to my apartment for some lunch, then went down to Battery Park for a bit. I had planned to take them to the Statue of Liberty, but by the time we got down there the ferries to Liberty and Ellis Islands had stopped running for the day. So, we spent some time exploring Battery Park then took the Staten Island Ferry for a quick roundtrip. The Staten Island Ferry is awesome because it takes you right past the Statue of Liberty, and it's FREE. So if you don't care about going to Liberty Island or Ellis Island, it's a much quicker, cost-effective way to get a good view of the Statue.
Heather and Zita showing off their matching umbrellas by a fountain in Battery Park!
Heather and Zita on the Staten Island Ferry
View of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry
On the ferry with Zita
After our ride on the ferry, we did a little walking for the normal "Downtown Tour": Wall Street, the Bull, the Stock Exchange, Federal Hall, Trinity Church, and Ground Zero. I like that tour because those are a lot of NY landmarks that you can hit within about 10 minutes, because they're all so close together!
After our sightseeing we went back to my apartment and ordered some pizza for dinner. Heather was also super excited about my collection of Disney movies so we watched Dumbo. Ha! We also made preparations for the rest of the night - we had tickets to see Sex and the City 2 at 11:30 p.m. and we decided to take some cosmopolitans to the theater with us. Hey, we just wanted to be in the Sex and the City spirit! So, Heather and I got those all ready to go.
Making cosmos in empty water bottles using a tinfoil funnel. We're classy like that.
Molly finally arrived that evening around 9:30 - she even got in a little early! We all went out to Port Authority to pick her up. We ended up cutting things pretty close with the movie, so Eric came over to Port Authority (after having a fancy dinner out with work people) and took Heather and Zita up to the theater to save seats while I took Molly back to my apartment to drop off her stuff and retrieve our "refreshments." Then it was movie time! I have to say, I was pretty disappointed in the movie. There were some funny parts, but mostly I was unimpressed. Bummer.
On Saturday we got up and got right down to wedding business! As you may recall, Molly is getting married this November in Mexico and I CAN'T WAIT. It's going to be awesome! Heather, Zita and I are all bridesmaids, so Molly decided to take advantage of having us all in one place to do a little bridesmaid dress shopping. And we were successful! Hooray! The dress has been picked and it will be beautiful.
After shopping we came right home to review our selection online. Achilles got in on the action.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing around the apartment, then at 5:30 we made our way out to Radio City Music Hall to do a little celebrity stalking. You see, Molly, Heather and I are BIG, GIANT fans of the show Glee. LOVE that show. And the Glee cast just happened to be doing five tour performances at Radio City this weekend. We tried desperately to get tickets, but for a variety of super frustrating reasons, we were unable to see the show. So, stalking was the next best thing.
Unfortunately, our stalking was pretty fruitless at first. We did see Naya Rivera ("Santana") go in to the building, and we also passed Rosie O'Donnell in a crosswalk on our way there, but that was it. We had plans to meet up with a bunch of Molly's friends who were also visiting NYC to go to Top of the Rock that evening, so shortly after 7:00 we gave up on our stalking quest and went to find Molly's friends.
Eric and me amongst the crowd
Zita and Molly practicing for a celebrity sighting that wouldn't come
We met up with the rest of our group and got in line for Top of the Rock tickets, and then we heard SCREAMING from where we had been stalking just minutes earlier. We just missed the action! Luckily, I have an incredible husband who dashed back to our stalking spot to see what was going on. And what was going on was that nearly the entire Glee cast (including Jonathan Groff, a/k/a "Jesse St. James," who I loooove) came out of Radio City to sign autographs and take pictures with the crowd! Eric got quite a few pictures, and we vowed to return the next day so we could ALL enjoy a good Glee cast sighting.
Eric's best pictures from that first night (click to enlarge): Chris Colfer ("Kurt"), Heather Morris ("Brittany"), and Jonathan Groff ("Jesse St. James")
While Eric was stalking on our behalf, the rest of the group went ahead inside Rockefeller Center. I went to find Eric (and caught sight of Jonathan Groff myself), then we headed in to join them.
Top of the Rock was beautiful, as always. The sky was a bit cloudy so that could have been better, but you really can't ever complain about that view. We timed it just right once again: we got up there just before sunset so we could see the view in daylight, then stayed until it was dark and all the lights came on. The Empire State Building was lit red, white and blue for Memorial Day, and it was just gorgeous.
Sunset at Top of the Rock
With Molly, Zita and Heather at Top of the Rock
The girls with the patriotic Empire State Building
Zita took this really beautiful picture of the city lights coming on! Isn't it spectacular?
Memorial Day Empire State Building
With my husband at Top of the Rock
After spending quite some time taking in the view from Top of the Rock, we gathered up our group (10 of us!) and went off in search of food. The thing I hate about that whole part of town is that it's so business-focused (rather than residential), which means most everything closes down in the evenings and on weekends. So, it can be hard to find somewhere to eat. We ended up in the food court of Grand Central for sandwiches, and to our delight, enormous beers for only $4.25.
Enjoying our Grand Central dinner and drinks
After our dinner, we hopped on the subway and went down to McSorley's Old Ale House. You may remember my post about McSorley's after my first time there with my friend Amanda. I just loved it there and thought it would be a great place to take this big group for drinks. As you may recall, it is the oldest Irish pub in Manhattan, and has quite a bit of character, from the historical artifacts covering every inch of wall space (such as an original "Wanted" poster for John Wilkes Booth), to the dust-covered chandelier over the bar (holding hanging wishbones left by soldiers who never returned from World War I), to the gruff Irish bartenders (anyone who calls me "lass" and brings me beer is a-okay in my book), to the very limited but delicious drink selection (light or dark ale are your only choices). It's a great place.
Every inch of McSorley's is covered with STUFF!
Original "Wanted" poster for John Wilkes Booth, "The Murderer of our late beloved President Abraham Lincoln"
Because there were so many of us and we were blocking the walkway, we were quickly seated at a table and the beer started flowing. We talked and laughed and had a great time!
Girls and beers
The whole group, including all of Molly's friends!
With Zita and Eric
Ah, fun times.
This picture of Molly, Zita and Heather pretty much sums up the kind of time we had.
After drinking our fill of McSorley's Ale, we bid farewell to Molly's friends and headed back to my neighborhood. Eric went on home while the girls and I went out for a final drink at a bar near my apartment, then it was time for bed!
Sunday we slept in a bit, then got ready and went out for breakfast at our local diner. Then we made the trip out to Coney Island for an afternoon of fun in the sun. We had a great time! We relaxed on the beach, ate delicious carnival food, and rode in the swinging cars of the Wonder Wheel. Good times!
Heather and Molly at Coney Island
The girls in front of Nathan's, sight of the famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Laying on the beach!
On the beach with Eric
The water was a little chilly. You might have guessed that from Eric's expression.
Molly and Heather feeling the water for the first time
Enjoying an afternoon snack: funnel cake for Molly, corn on the cob for Zita, and fried shrimp for Heather and me.
Ready to ride the Wonder Wheel, which was celebrating its 90th Birthday this weekend!
I was pretty nervous. We rode in the swinging cars that go flying all over the place as the Ferris wheel turns. Eric was laughing at me.
All of us on the Wonder Wheel!
VIDEO: Fun in a swinging car on the Wonder Wheel!
After the Wonder Wheel we decided to head back to Manhattan. We made it back just in time to stop back at Radio City for more Glee stalking! And once again, we were successful. We saw nearly the whole cast: Mark Salling ("Puck"), Kevin McHale ("Artie"), Cory Monteith ("Finn"), Dijon Talton ("Matt"), Amber Riley ("Mercedes"), Naya Rivera ("Santana"), Dianna Agron ("Quinn"), Jenna Ushkowitz ("Tina"), and Harry Shum, Jr. ("Mike," a/ka/ "Other Asian"). Chris Colfer and Heather Morris also came back out, but sadly, no Jonathan Groff. But still, what a successful stalking outing! Unfortunately, that night the fans were a bit more rabid and were pushing a bit so the cast didn't stay out there long. It was really pretty crazy. Heather decided she is not so much a fan of celebrity stalking. You really do have to be dedicated, patient, and not claustrophobic. It can get a little intense!
Crowds trying to get pictures of the Glee cast. There's Molly, Heather and me in the back.
Molly tried to help Heather get a better view! What a nice cousin.
This picture gives you an idea of how crazy it was. Do you see Chris Colfer in there? He's just surrounded by people hoping for an autograph or photo.
Heather is not enjoying this stalking business.
VIDEO: Cory Monteith signing autographs. See how crazy it was?
Side note: Cory Monteith is way cuter in person than on TV. He's also very, very tall.
Side note: Cory Monteith is way cuter in person than on TV. He's also very, very tall.
Second night Glee cast photos! (Click to enlarge)
TOP ROW: Mark Salling, Kevin McHale, Cory Monteith.
MIDDLE ROW: Dijon TaltonMonteith, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera.
BOTTOM ROW: Dianna Agron, Jenna Ushkowitz, Harry Shum Jr.
After our last round of stalking we began the walk home. Eric went on ahead of us to start making his delicious lasagna for dinner, and I took the girls through Times Square. This was Zita's first trip to NYC, and I just felt like she couldn't leave without seeing Times Square.
Zita, Molly and Heather snapping pictures in Times Square!
The girls in Times Square
We also made a quick stop on our way home in honor of Fleet Week! As you may know, Fleet Week takes place over Memorial Day every year, when a bunch of naval ships dock here and unleash their sailors onto Manhattan. We were treated to uniformed eye candy all weekend long, and on our way home a group of four sailors stopped us and asked if we wouldn't mind taking a photo with them. Of course, we are proud American girls, so who are we to turn down servicemen? Taking a photo seemed to be our patriotic duty, so we obliged.
You just gotta love Fleet Week.
When we got home we were BEAT. Just dead tired. Eric was a saint and prepared our whole dinner for us so we could put our feet up until it was time to eat. The dinner was delicious - lasagna, bread, salad and wine, with Crumbs cupcakes for dessert. Fabulous! We spent the rest of the night relaxing and looking through our pictures from the weekend.
These are four very tired girls.
Eric and his incredible lasagna
Monday we just relaxed around the apartment until people had to start leaving. At 12:45 p.m. I walked Zita to Crumbs to get some cupcakes to take home then dropped her off at the subway station. At 2:00 I walked Molly down to Port Authority, then went back and spent an hour with Heather before walking her to Port Authority at 4:00. Phew, exhausting! But really, I can't complain because both Heather and Molly's flights were delayed and they both got home quite a bit later than anticipated. Well really, Heather's flight was delayed, and Molly's was cancelled. Poor Molly ended up spending the night in New Jersey and flying out the next morning, only to face more delays. Flying really sucks sometimes.
All in all, I had a great time with the girls! The whole weekend was very fun. The icing on top for Eric was playing Bethpage Black on Monday, too, but that will come in a later post.
Of course, there are tons more pictures on my photo share site (I'll get them up this afternoon) and I did add all these celebrities we saw to my NYC Celeb Sighting page. So be sure to check those out!
Heather, Molly and Zita - thanks so much for coming! I had a wonderful time. Can't wait to see all of you again soon!