Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NYC Trip Day 3

Saturday morning started out pretty rainy. I headed out in the rain to the TKTS ticket booth to see if I could get us some discounted tickets to a matinee Broadway show while Derek worked out at the hotel. It was a very wet trip, but I was successful and scored us some tickets to see Mama Mia. I got back to the hotel and Derek and I spent a lazy morning just hanging out while it rained outside.

For lunch we hopped on the subway down to the West Village and got delicious bagels at the Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee shop, that came highly recommended to us by our friend Kari, and it did not disappoint.

After lunch we went to Mama Mia, which was fantastic.

We followed up the show with a little dinner at Carnegie deli. We shared a pastrami sandwich, onion rings and a cheesecake. The cheesecake was amaaaahzing, best cheesecake I ever had. Derek loved our meal so much that he took pictures of all of it.

Saturday night UK played Missouri, so we went to Jack Dempsey's to watch the game. The place was packed with UK fans. It felt like home away from home being surrounded by people wearing blue. We met a lot of great people, some from Kentucky and others with other connections to the Wildcats. Derek made friends with the owner who hooked us up with free t-shirts and drinks. The cats won in overtime and the place went crazy. We stayed late talking with our new friends, and since it wasn't too cold out we walked the 30 or so minutes back to the hotel and set our alarms for church in the morning.

Monday, March 18, 2013

NYC Trip - Day 2

After a successful first day in New York, we slept in a little Friday morning. One of my favorite things about vacation - sleeping in! Derek was disciplined and made use of the hotel work out facilities while I slept a little later.

We decided to start the morning by heading to Hoboken to go to Carlo's Bakery to get some delicious pastries for breakfast / mid-morning snack.

The place was packed, although we were able to at least get in the door, I've heard of people having to wait outside. We wondered if the bakery was really that good or if it was mostly hype because of the TV show. It was difficult to not come away with a small fortune worth of baked goods, but as you can see in the above photo, Derek talked to the guy working the door and got his recommendations, and we came out with a white mousse, a lobster tail, 2 cannolis and some chocolate chip cookies. Madeline, Buddy's sister, was working there, waiting on customers, and was really sweet.

Everything was amazing, and we decided that it was definitely worth the trip into Hoboken, and we will definitely be going back next time we're in NYC. Hoboken was also fun to walk around. It was a cute little city and felt completely different from NYC (in a good way).

After our incredibly healthy breakfast of pastries for Carlo's, and a little bit of walking around Hoboken, we took the ferry back to Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were closed for repairs because of hurricane Sandy, and we didn't want to pay for the tour if we weren't going to get to actually go visit the places themselves, so we figured that a ferry trip from Hoboken around the southern tip of Manhattan to Pier 11 would give us a view of both monuments, and we could go back and actually do the tours when they were both open.

The weather, clearly, was not amazing that day, but we saw the statue of Liberty, as well as Ellis Island, so for $14 instead of $50, I'd say the ferry was worth it. We got off the ferry at Pier 11, where we were able to see the Brooklyn bridge.

After we got off the ferry we walked down Wall Street to the World Trade Center Memorial.

We continued walking to the World Trade Center Memorial. Being there and seeing the footprints of the two towers was a very somber experience. I don't really have the words to describe it, so I'll just share pictures. 

After visiting the World Trade Center memorial we headed back to the hotel to relax a little and get cleaned up for dinner and our evening at the theater. We didn't really know what the dress code was for musicals, so we may have gotten a little too dressed up, but it was really fun and we didn't care. 

We had tickets Friday night to the Phantom of the Opera! I have loved the Phantom of the Opera probably since middle school. I've never seen the play, or even the movie, but I own the soundtrack and know all the words to the songs, so this was probably the thing I was most excited about during this trip. 

The show was amazing. I loved all of it, and Derek and I sang our entire conversation home to the various melodies of Phantom of the Opera. It was glorious. Yay for Day 2!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

NYC Trip - Day 1

And finally, here is a little recap of our New York trip from a couple of weekends ago. We packed a lot into the trip and took way too many pictures, so to keep from stressing myself out, I'll recap in multiple installments.

We flew in on a Thursday morning and arrived right around lunch time. We figured out how to take a New Jersey Transit train to Manhattan and arrived at Penn Station, where we bought our subway cards and navigated the way to our hotel. We stayed in midtown Manhattan at Lexington and 49th. Luckily our hotel was just a couple of blocks away from the subway station, so we were able to get there without having to haul our suitcases for miles and miles.

Once checked in, the next order of business was lunch. Derek wanted pizza and the concierge recommended a little restaurant right around the corner. It wasn't bad, but wasn't exactly what we had in mind for New York pizza. But at least we weren't starving anymore.

We had tickets to see Letterman that afternoon. On Thursdays they do 2 tapings of the show, one for Thursday night and one for Friday. We had tickets to see the Friday night taping. The process of reporting to the theater to get your tickets, then waiting an hour until you're supposed to go back, then waiting some more to get inside, was a little much, but once we were in the studio it was really cool, and seeing the show live was a lot of fun. Luke Wilson was the guest, and was actually really funny, and Imagine Dragons were the musical guest.

After the Letterman show we walked down a few blocks to Times Square. Times Square is quite the spectacle, and while it's cool to see, all of the people and traffic and everything is a little overwhelming to me. Plus, I'm not really sure what there is to do in Times Square besides eat and shop. And go to Broadway plays of course, but you need to have tickets for those, which luckily we did, just not for Thursday night.

We grabbed a quick dinner in Times Square and then hopped on the subway over to Serendipity to try their famous frozen hot chocolate.

We didn't quite realize how big it was going to be, so we also ordered an ice cream sundae. We had our hands full between the two, and while the frozen hot chocolate was good, we the sundae was both our favorite. Of course they also had really fun decor.

After Serendipity we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. And just to prove that it's not a myth, rats really do live in the subway tunnels. Awesome.

Overall, Day 1 was successful, although I could have gone without the rats in the subway (this was not the only time we saw them either) but other than that we had a pretty good time.

One thing I will note that stuck out to us almost immediately was the disparity in wealth. Also, as we ate our first dinner in Times Square in the midst of all of the lights and advertisements, it was crazy to think how much we are being sold that we can buy happiness. And it's not that we don't do this where we live also, but when you're surrounded by so much world class entertainment, it became evident how easy it is to just entertain ourselves to death, and again, how we are being sold that as another place to find true life. Just our initial thoughts, although those didn't stop us from enjoying the city and all it had to offer, just something to keep in mind, that all of those things in bright shiny lights are not where true life is found.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sweet Mary

Derek and I went to NYC a couple of weekends ago on a sweet little trip together. We had a wonderful time and I have lots of pictures to share, however when we got home we found out that Derek's grandma's health was rapidly declining and that she only had another 24-ish hours. So we worked for a few days last week, got unpacked and laundry done from our NYC trip and packed back up to head to Pennsylvania for the funeral.

Most of Derek's aunts, uncles and cousins live in PA, as do his brother and sister in law and our nephew. It was so good to be with family, but we wish it had been under happier circumstances. There really aren't words to describe the difficulty of saying goodbye to a mother and a grandmother. We are so thankful that Mary loved the Lord. I told Derek that I remember the last time we went to visit her we had to wait to see her because she was participating in a church group at her nursing home.

The priest at the funeral was right when he said that we are not sad about death, because we know that she is with Jesus and is no longer in pain, it is the separation here on earth that brings sorrow. Because we lived so far away, I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with Mary, but from the things that her children and grand children said about her, I know that was a wonderful woman who loved people well, and who loved God. She will be greatly missed, but we look forward to the day that we will see her again, where there will be no more sickness and no more pain.