Thursday, November 3, 2016

The city that never sleeps

I really wanted to go on a trip with just Ryan and myself for our 10 year anniversary.  So we picked a place where we would have a bunch of things to do and see.  New York City! What a crazy place.  I had my Fitbit on most of the time and we estimated that we walked about 50 miles in 5 days!


SATURDAY
was travel day.  My grandma dropped us off at the L.A. airport early in the morning.  It was an almost 6-hour flight.  Then we had to wait for our shuttle, drive in stop-n-go traffic into Manhattan, where our shuttle driver missed our stop (we should have been the first to be dropped off) so we had to ride in the shuttle for almost 2 hours while all the others were dropped off before he could back track to our hotel, which he passed hours earlier.  Ryan and I were AMAZED at the amount of honking there was! We hadn't even left the airport parking lot and our driver was already honking.  I think people are addicted to honking over there or do it just out of habit.  Honk honk honk honk hoooooooonnk!  We finally reached the hotel around 8pm.  We dumped our luggage and headed out to find a pizza place for dinner before we crashed early for the day.

Our hotel was just near the Queensborro bridge that goes over the East River.  We started off on the 2nd floor but they offered to give us a free room upgrade and move to a higher flower two days into our stay.  So on the 3rd day we got this beautiful room on the 14th floor with a living room and bedroom and wrap around windows.  We had a view of the river from one side...


and the city on the other side


It is funny because the afternoon we moved up to our new room, Ryan went to take a shower and I was relaxing on the bed and I heard crickets! I'm thinking greeeeeaat, there is a cricket in our room and we are going to have to hear this sound all night.  So I told Ryan about it, and then I went to take my shower.  And when I came out he said Heidi, did you hear that? I said YES! that's the cricket I was telling you about.  He said ummmm no, that is a police officer down there in the street blowing his whistle and directing traffic. I died laughing! Good thing there wasn't really a cricket, and good thing I brought ear plugs!

SUNDAY

*I'm just going to save myself from writing the obvious for every day. We slept in. EVERY. DAY. It was glorious.  No one coming in our room asking if it was time to get up, telling us the sun was up, telling us they wet the bed, crying because they couldn't find their stuffed animal, screaming from a bad dream.  You get the picture.  We slept in EVERY MORNING after an UNINTERRUPTED nights sleep EVERY NIGHT.  Hands down the best part of the trip.

 We headed out late morning to catch the train to the METS baseball game.  This was a picture of us waiting for the train. It was our first time in an underground subway station.  59th street.  The Maps app on our phone was the ONLY way we had any clue what we were doing.  It laid out which trains would get us to our destination.  It was a super easy system to get the hang of.  The subway stations didn't stink like I thought they would, they were sometimes humid and muggy when it was raining.  Some of the tile work in the subway stations were amazing!  And during our week, I think we only missed our stop twice. Not bad for a couple of rookies.


 We made it to the CITI field for the Mets game.  I was COLD.  I wasn't prepared to be sitting in the shade with a significant wind chill.  The Mets won! and we can mark that stadium off the list. Been there.


We were there the day after a Marlin's player was killed in a boating accident.  The Mets did a nice moment of silence in tribute to him.


I bought a bag of sunflower seeds for $5.50.  Ryan flipped out on the price! Food was crazy expensive everywhere we went in New York. 


Once the game was over and we were back in Manhattan, we did some walking around, shopping (but not really shopping because we didn't buy anything) and then we stopped by the 7-11 a couple blocks from our hotel, to get some snacks to tie us over for the next day.


MONDAY

We toured the 9-11 memorial and saw the One World Trade building.  I wish we would have gone up to the viewing floor of the One World trade building.  Sadly, I didn't realize that was an option until we had left the area.

One World Trade
First Responder Fire Fighters at the two pools
 It was so emotional to be at the Memorial.  The events of that September day were laid out in such detail.  No one said a word.  Silence.  The amount of pain caused that day was evident, the feeling was overwhelming.  


I got in trouble for taking this picture of the ground zero cross (oops! luckily the security gaurd didn't make me delete it)


On that same day we went even further south to see the Statue of Liberty.  These painted globes were on display in Battery Park.


We took the ferry out to Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty Island.  It was windy, such a nice weather change from the dry heat we left back home.


The city behind us, taken on Liberty Island.

 Once we were back in Manhattan, we had dinner at a burger joint called Shake Shack located near time square.  The place was so packed we ended up sharing a table with two New yorkers and talked with them for over an hour while we ate.  They were two girls in their twenties starting new careers who lived north of central park.  They were so friendly and fun to talk to.

TUESDAY

We rented bikes and rode around central park.  I recognized so many things from seeing them in the movies and on tv shows.






We were riding by one of the baseball fields in the park and there happened to be a softball game going on.  A legit city league championship game with umpires officiating and everything.  One of the teams was made up of firefighters from the Hells Kitchen station.  We stayed and watched a few innings. The trash talk amongst them with their New York accents was hilarious.  The firefighters ended up losing.  I joked with Ryan, firefighters really must do nothing if they are playing softball at 1:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday!  Who is out saving lives?!?! :)


The day after we were in central park, it was on the news that Tom Hanks stopped during his run through the park to talk wiht a bride taking wedding day photos.  We missed him by one day! 


We went back to the hotel for a shower and some down time before we headed back out into the city for some more walking and walking and then some more walking.

We headed to the Empire State Building just after dark.  We were thinking the lights would be beautiful at night.  And they were, it just made for horrible pictures.  Also, the amount of money they charge for the Empire State Building is rediculous!! They charged more for us to go up 86 stories of that buidling than it cost us to view the 9-11 memorial.  I felt like it was a rip off and not worth it, but at least now we can say "we have been to the Empire State Builiding".  And I can say I will more than likely never do it again.




We had dinner at another burger place called Smash Burger.  It was delish. So delish that I took a picture of it.





Then we did some more walking.  We found ourselves roaming the streets of Time square around midnight.  You would never know it was in the middle of the night based on the amount of people there were! People EVERY WHERE!




September 11th tributes are everywhere in the city.  9/11 stickers, plaques, glass etchings.  That day is definitley on their minds constantly.  Here is a memorial plaque on the side of one of the fire stations.  Notice the cross sticker on the window behind Ryan, another 9/11 tribute.


We walked by a Nintendo store.  We had to take a picture of golden Mario for the boys.


We ended the night at Grand Central Station.  Which I recognized from the movies.  But it was so fun seeing it in person. With the beautiful tall ceilings and old pillars.  We caught the train from grand central to our hotel.  Doesn't that sentence sound like it comes from a true New yorker?!


WEDNESDAY

Probably the laziest morning of the week.  I think we slept in until noon. YAY! In all fairness we never switched over to New York time so we would stay up until like 2 in the morning which is 11 o'clock PM CA time, so noon is like 9:00 AM CA time. Still a lazy morning, I know.

Anyway, we took the train down to Brooklyn to find a pizza place Ryan had heard was delicious.  Julianna's Pizza.  There was a line out the door.  That is a tell tell sign of how good the food is.  And again, I took a picture of our meal.  Pizza with fresh mozeralla!!

  
I got a panaramic shot of the Brooklyn Bridge

 
 This was some old building in Brooklyn that I thought was beautiful. Especially with the brick street.


Then we hopped on the train to head all the way up north to the Bronx for a Yankee game.





They were playing the Red Sox.  We were cheering for the Red Sox to win but the Yankees pulled it off in the last inning with a walk off home run.  Pretty great way to end a ball game with a home team win even though we weren't cheering for the Yankees.
 


And I got a ball during batting practice.  I didn't really catch it.  I just waited for it to bounce off of a couple of seats before I snatched it up.

While we were in New York a Batallion Chief was killed in an explosion in the Bronx.  They paid tribute to him during the Yankee game. It was such sad news.  So a tribute in each othe baseball games we went to.  There was also celebrities at each of the games.  I only know because they were shown on the big screen.  Zac Efron at the Yankee game and Amy Schumer at the Mets game.


We didn't really eat at the stadium so again, we stopped by 7-11 on our way back to the hotel.  We were pretty grateful for that 7-11.  Kept us in our budget food wise.  Everything was so pricey, we could really only afford one large meal a day so 7-11 snacks were our go to.

 THURSDAY

We didn't  have anything major planned for Thursday.  After sleeping in we headed out to explore.  This time we went all the way west to the Hudson river.  We did a TON of walking.  That was also the morning that a train crashed in a terminal station in New Jersey.  The accident happend right there on the other side of the Hudson.

In this not so great picture of me, you can see a white dot above my right shoulder, that is a police boat patroling the area.  There were boats in the water where the crash happened, on that New Jersey side.


It was kind of rainy off and on.  The city kind of smelled during the rain but other than that, it was a much cleaner city than I expected.  I guess I pictured down town San Francisco which wreaks of urine. gross.  Anyway, I loved looking down at my nicely painted toes amongst the not so clean streets.  I don't get pedicures very often so getting one for the trip was a special treat worth documenting!


We killed some time before cathcing a show.  Ryan did not want to see a show but he did for me. 







Even if it meant I had to keep him awake by poking him every once in awhile.


We got to skype the kids after the show and then we headed to times square again. We had a drink at a restaurant, did some souvenier shopping (yes the souvenier stores are still open at midnight) and finally decided to call it a day around 2 AM because the next morning we couldn't sleep in.  BOO HOO!

Throughout the week we got updates from my mom and my sister and Stephen on how the kids were doing.  It took a lot of coordinating schedules to make sure the kids were taken care of, brought to soccer practice, church, school and that their homework was completed and turned in.  My mom sent me a picture of a side walk chalk drawing Vincent did.  It's a pink airplane with blue sky around it and pink hearts.  And he wrote "deer Heidi Ryan" The kids were so bummed they didnt get to go on the plane with us.  When we told them we were going to be gone for a week, Landen thought about it and he said "Hey mom, I think I'm going to miss you" with his little chin quivering. Man, I lost it. It was so hard saying good bye to them. And now we were almost headed home!
  


FRIDAY
travel day HOME!!!
My mom had made a chart for the boys to cross off each day during the week so they knew exactly when we were coming home.  We were finally on Friday. The last day.  
 

 After another long plane ride to L.A. and a drive home, we made it.  And we were welcomed with drawings and balloons and 4 happy boys! (And I think my mom, Holly and Stephen were equally happy they didn't have to watch the kids anymore!)


We missed these 4 sooooo much!


Thank you to the village who took care of our lives while we were gone.  We had a memorable trip!!  Happy 10 Years to my love Ryan.  Maybe we can go on another trip for our 20th.  We have 10 years to plan it!

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