Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Big Apple

If I can't live in NYC, then maybe a trip once a year (or at the very least, every other year) is in order? I've documented before how much NYC seems to speak to my cheesy as that sounds. And though at this stage of my life I'm happy and content to live where I do and where my children are thriving....there is a part of me that yearns for NYC. Silly? Maybe. But I sure do love that city.

So though we spent Julianne's birthday trip in the Big Apple just a year ago, when the theatre department at her high school put together a trip for this summer, Julianne jumped on board...and a few months later when she came home and announced that there were a few spots left, I jumped too. We spent 6 days in the city. Some things on our itinerary I'd seen and done before...but most I had not. It was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time...and left me with an even bigger bucket list of things to do/see next time. Because there will of course be a next time.

We took a red-eye flight on Monday night. I've decided that I hate red-eyes. But tired or no, we dropped our luggage off at the hotel and headed to Battery Park to hop a ferry so we could pay our respects to Lady Liberty. I was a little preoccupied at this point. This day just so happened to be the one where Rebekah was scheduled to fly out of Salt Lake City to London. And she was allowed to call her family from the airport. We get precious few phone calls...only Mothers Day and Christmas, so we certainly did not want to miss this one, despite being in NYC. I didn't dare put my cell phone in my purse or even in my back pocket for fear of missing the call...not hearing the ring or feeling the vibration. So I kept it in my hand. And then started worrying about the "what ifs." What if she called while we were in the underground subway? What if we had no service on Liberty Island? As the time creeped past when I thought she would likely call I started to worry that maybe we wouldn't be getting a call after all and started hoping that she would at least be able to talk to her dad.

But then suddenly while up in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, out on the little balcony....the phone rang. The service was indeed spotty and the call dropped a few times but both Julianne and I were able to get in some precious minutes talking to Rebekah and hearing her voice. I was thankful for sunglasses to hide my tears. Oh, how I miss my girl!!

Once I had that call done, I could finally turn my attention to the adventure at hand and focus more fully on Lady Liberty (I had never been up to the pedestal before) and Ellis Island which we skipped last year.

{These two girls with Julianne are Liz and Alyssa. You're going to see more of them as the trip report progresses. Julianne and I had the privilege of sharing a hotel room with them. And though I already knew both of them to a small degree seeing as they are friends of Julianne's and have been to our home before, I hugely enjoyed getting to know them better....kind, sweet, funny and good girls...both of them. I can see why Julianne adores spending time with them.}

After we made it back to mainland Manhattan, we walked over to the 9/11 Memorial...another place I had never visited. (Bucket list item for next time: the new museum.) I have vivid memories still of 9/11/01...where I was, how I felt, how it impacted me. So being at the memorial was very sobering....yet peaceful, hopeful and even sacred. Such a beautiful place with the newly finished One World Trade Center towering above at a symbolic height of 1,776 feet...standing as a witness of American resolve and pride. Because though we were humbled on that day 13 and 1/2 years ago, we were not beaten. And we will never forget.
{Two very famous streets. And this particular sign was fun to see because it plays a part in one of my favorite movies...."National Treasure."}

That evening, after an hour nap and another quick phone call with Rebekah (during her layover in Detroit) we hopped on the subway once again...this time for a very packed-like-sardines sort of ride to Yankee Stadium! Admittedly, I am not a baseball fan. Not that I couldn't fact I've often thought that if Bryan had been into any kind of sports, I could easily be drawn into that world, be it football, basketball or baseball. But he's not, so therefore I'm not. But I tell you what, there was something magical about being at the famed Yankee Stadium!

My Uncle Craig is a big baseball fan and was pretty excited when I told him that Julianne and I had tickets for the Yankees vs Nationals game. He said he'd watch on TV from home so as to be with us in spirit. We took a picture of the two of us and emailed it to him while we were there.

We bought ourselves some Yankees t-shirts, ate stadium hotdogs and declared ourselves official fans. We had amazing seats and the Yankees won! When the game ended they played Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York"...and I tell you what, I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. We were extremely tired by this point in the day, but boy...the game was certainly a highlight of the trip!

After a good nights rest we were ready to tackle Central Park and 5th Avenue the next morning. With an unlimited metro card for the subway and bus systems, we were set to go pretty much anywhere so we learned quickly to hop on and off with ease. I even saw a rat down on the tracks. Which delighted me rather than disgusted me. Weird I know, but it seemed like such a NYC thing, you know?

We came up at the Dakota Apartments on the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West on the Upper West Side. The Dakota is where John Lennon lived...and was murdered. Across the street is Central Park where they have created a Beatles memorial of sorts called Strawberry Fields (after the Beatles song, of course.)
Central Park is so huge that even though I have visited the park twice, the places we explored were parts I hadn't seen before.

Apparently a lot of people think this fountain is the one from the TV show "Friends" opening credits. It isn't...although it looks a lot like it. Seeing as "Friends" takes place in NYC, you can see why people think this is it. Alyssa, Liz, Savannah and Julianne decided to take a friends picture in front of it regardless, because why not?

Did you know the famous F.A.O. Schwarz on 5th Avenue is officially closing next month? Apparently the rent has risen too high and they have to shut their doors. This is the first time I'd been there so I have no idea why this makes me sad, but somehow it does. It was a pretty amazing store!

Our first Broadway show of the week (because you know, we were a theatre group after all so of course Broadway was going to be the main draw) was a matinee of the play "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime." I read the book many years ago and remember it being good...different but interesting. But it'd been so long that I couldn't remember much but the bare essentials of the plot. The show had just won best play, best director and best actor at the Tony Awards just a few days earlier so we were all pretty excited to see the show. It was not what I expected. Not that I really could've described what I expected, necessarily....but those expectations were completely exceeded and the experience had my brain spinning. For lack of any better words to describe it....the show was, well...simply stunning. It took a long time to process and wrap my mind around everything I had seen...the story, the acting, the character choices, the incredible set and everything it could do. It was truly one of the best things I have ever seen.

Later that evening we took a Circle Line Cruise up the East River and around New York Harbor. The sun was going down so we got some amazing views of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty from the water. Is it morbid if I say that one of my favorite parts was seeing where the Titanic would've docked? You know...if she hadn't hit an iceberg and sunk? What can I say...I'm a Titanic buff.

More NYC coming soon...

The City That Never Sleeps
"New York, New's a helluva town!'

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