Monday, April 4, 2016

New York, New York, Part 1.

Back in the fall, Mom and I started chatting about taking a trip somewhere. We'd looked at a brochure for a local college that hosts trips for anyone and had discussed doing a short trip in April to London. It sounded really fun because it was completely planned out, but ultimately we decided not to do it. This was my first {long} trip away from my boys and may have even been the longest I had been away from Eddie since we'd been married! We settled on New York for a variety of reasons. We have a few friends that we wanted to see there and we'd been before so we knew a lot about it and {sort of} knew what we wanted to see and do. Mom has been MANY times to New York with Sonny, but I had only been once in 2002. It was also easier to get to and a quicker trip. I had to figure out help with the boys for school for a few days so we wanted something that made everyone's lives easier. We didn't even decide to go until January so we threw it together at almost the last minute.

We flew out Saturday, March 5th, from Jacksonville, Florida around 11:30 AM. We wanted a late enough flight that we could drive down that morning and an early enough flight to still be able to do something later that evening in New York. We LOVED flying out of Jacksonville. I've flown out of that airport before, but y' is just SO much easier to get through than Atlanta. Wow. No crowds! Easy, peasy! 

The flight up was uneventful and we got into New York early! All suitcases accounted for, we headed outside to find our car that I had booked. Cars took some figuring out for this trip. Everyone has a different opinion on what car service, cab, etc. to take and we tried several different options. From LaGuardia to our hotel we used Carmel Limo. It was EASY to use. I booked the car through their website the night before called them when we landed and they found us right away. It took us about 20-25 minutes to get to our hotel.

We stayed at Hudson New York on West 58th Street. It was actually a GREAT location. We were about a block away from Columbus Circle and Central Park, eighteen blocks away from the Museum of Natural History, and seven blocks away from the Gershwin Theater. We walked to and from all of the touristy places. The main parts of the hotel were very modern. Our room was sort of sparsely decorated and it was small for other parts of the world, but Mom said it was a large NYC hotel room. We aren't sure whether our room was a handicapped room or not, but our bathroom was large and the shower seemed to be a handicapped shower. I thought the hotel was fine and we would stay here again. It seemed clean and well kept. Aside from the putrid green color that seemed to be their signature, it was great!

After we arrived and checked into our hotel, we took our first walk and went into the very corner of Central Park. After we'd wandered a bit we got onto the subway {!!!} and managed to take two different trains to Lib and Bobby's apartment at the other end of the island. Their new apartment is just a few blocks from the 9/11 Memorial. 

Because the subways are open 24/7, they use the weekends to do any work they need to do so the train station closest to their apartment was closed and we got off at the station before and did some walking. I was using my phone's GPS to locate their apartment and as we were nearing their street, my phone died! I tried to pull up my email that had her address on Mom's phone and MOM's phone died!!! I knew which street it was and thought that I knew which apartment building it was so we walked until we found that and went into that building to ask the doorman to call them. He called and the people in the apartment I told him said they didn't know us. HAHAHAHA! I asked him if I could just plug my phone in for a minute {Mom had a charger} and show him the address so that he could help us. We did that and a few minutes later we headed to the building next door to the one we were in. We called Lib's apartment, she happily let us in, and we all had a good laugh about it! We successfully navigated the subway but failed on foot!

We had the best time catching up with Lib and Bobby. Poor Bobby was a champ to put up with three ladies talking about people and places he knew nothing about. {He later declined to go to dinner with us...we wore him out!} They'd just moved into their new apartment the weekend before and we loved being their first guests to stop by and visit. Lib was thrilled with her kitchen and had a spread for us when we arrived. The whole thing was spacious for NYC living and seemed to be in a great area! Check out their view!

Later, the girls walked to Le District for dinner. Le District is a large market that also has restaurants inside of it. It's similar to the Eataly concept, but French. I had Steak Frites (flank steak, salad, and fries) and it was delicious. Mom and Lib both had soup and salad. It wasn't at all crowded when we were there and the food was great and the service was good as well! We enjoyed dinner, chatted a bit longer, and then headed out because Mom and I were exhausted. It was after 10PM so Lib suggested we try out Uber and we used her app to get a car. It picked us up in under 5 minutes! After a short drive back to our hotel, we fell into bed and slept soundly! We had a great first day! Total walking: 4.87 miles.

Day Two {Sunday, March 6th!} was all about Brooklyn. We slept in a little bit and then spent the morning getting more acquainted with the area around our hotel. We walked back to Central Park and looked around a bit more, too. We had to get BACK on the subway again on Sunday morning and ride it {I think we changed trains once} all the way out to Brooklyn. Again, we were successful! We arrived in Brooklyn a little early so we spent a little time waiting for Mary and Jeff and Jeff's service dog {Fred? Frank? Mom couldn't ever remember his name! It was actually Earl} to arrive. They met us and we walked down near the water and just wandered around until we found a place that looked promising for lunch. We found a place called Atrium Dumbo that I thought was so neat! It looked teensy from the outside but was large inside and they had an interior wall that was completely covered in plants. It was beautiful. They showed us the watering system behind the plants. We saw several more walls like this in NYC while we were there. So interesting how they treat the space that they have. We're so used to large areas and spacious living! I ordered the Croque Monsieur and it was delicious! Everyone else had big cobb salads. They looked good, too! We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the area near the Brooklyn Bridge and visiting. We'd never met Jeff before so it was fun to chat with him about his work. They're planning to try to move to Asheville after Mary graduates {she's in grad school at Columbia} and finishes up her time in NYC. They're both ready to be done! We decided New York would be a hard city to live in if you're not from there. Atlanta is completely different and that's what they're used to.

Mid-afternoon we headed back into the city and we rested for a little bit at our hotel before heading out for dinner. We found an Italian restaurant right across the street from us called  Masseria Dei Vini. I had Ravioli Di Angelina - homemade cheese ravioli with tomato sauce - and Mom had Triangoli Ai Gamberi E Carciofi - homemade ravioli with shrimp and artichoke in a light tomato sauce. It was VERY good. It came with a bread basket as well that we devoured while we waited. It was a beautiful restaurant - I felt under dressed in jeans and Uggs - and the waiters were definitely Italian. I would go back again! It was a bonus that it was directly across the street from our hotel!

{This was by 4:30. The New Yorkers WALK. I am struggling to get 10,000 steps a day if I don't consciously think about going out and exercising.}

{Much to Eddie's dismay, I have started a collection of these. First, Animal Kingdom. Now, New York. We LOVED the Starbucks-on-every-corner concept. Lol! We had our favorites!}

Our second day was slower-paced but still very lovely! We enjoyed it! It was nice to spend two days seeing a few things from our friends' perspectives! Total walking on Day 2: 4.79 miles. More soon!