Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Nibble of the Big Apple

Manhattan is one of many places that cannot be seen in one trip. We didn't even begin to scratch the surface in our four short days there. What we did do was get a taste of the Big Apple and began the list of things to do on the next trip. So here's the Reader's Digest version of our trip:

Thursday, November 9
In his many business trips, Derek has learned to use the self check-in kiosks at the airport and has found he's more often offered inexpensive upgrades. Flying to JFK was no exception. We were both able to upgrade to first class for the flight, which for a guy of 6'4" makes for a much more comfortable ride. Once in New York, I talked Derek into taking the SuperShuttle to the hotel instead of a cab. While it was cheaper, I think it ultimately cost us in precious time--not to mention it was a very crowded ride. We had to wait for over an hour for the shuttle to arrive and then spent about 90 minutes in traffic between the airport and Manhattan. Once in Manhattan, traffic was crazy (and our driver was crazier) & we had a million and one stops to make before ours. Four hours after landing, we were finally at the hotel. We rested for a bit before venturing to Times Square for a look at the lights and a bite to eat at Junior's.

Friday, November 10
We walked from our hotel at 32nd & Broadway all the way to Central Park. Once in Central Park, it's very easy to forget that you're in a big city. It's really a lovely place to spend a morning. We headed back in the direction of the hotel, grabbing lunch on the way. Then it was time to catch a ride for our guided tour of the city. Our guide actually worked for Frommer's, so he had an exceptional knowledge of the history of the city and its architecture. Our 5.5 hour tour included stops at all of the places you'd expect plus a ride on the Long Island Ferry with spectacular nighttime views of Manhattan and Lady Liberty. After our tour, we met my college friends Eric & LaNita for a night out in Brooklyn. It was quite an adventure getting there and through some pretty shady areas, but we did eventually make it and had a great time. I got to meet a childhood friend of LaNita's whose in New York "making it" on the vocal scene. We had a great time "talking shop."

Saturday, November 11
Today was a lazy day for us. We did some more walking in Times Square, touring the world's largest Macy's. Derek had a great time riding the escalators--well, they were old-fashioned, hand-carved escalators from the turn-of-the-century. We grabbed lunch and then went to see Spamalot on Broadway. Hilarious! If ever you have the chance to see it (it's coming to Dallas Summer Musicals this season!), you really should...assuming you like Monty Python. We then went back to the hotel to change for dinner and then rode the subway to Del Frisco's. By far the best steak I've ever eaten!

Sunday, November 12
Today we decided to go to the Empire State Building Observation Deck. Boo! Silly me, I heard the weather forecast on Saturday which called for rain on Sunday. It never dawned on me that that would mean cloud cover. Duh. So, there was absolutely no visibility on the observation deck. But we went up anyway. It was cold & windy but a neat place. I can only imagine what views you must get from up there. Afterward, we had breakfast and then caught the subway to Rockefeller Plaza where they were preparing the Christmas tree for decorating. We enjoyed shopping at Saks (who pays that much for stuff?!), amongst many other high-end stores in that area. Had lunch at Blue Fin because I hadn't gotten my fill of sushi. Then we met up with Eric & LaNita in their neighborhood--the Financial District. Got a better look at Ground Zero (just around the corner from their apartment) and then set off for Greenwich Village for Eric's terrific mini-tour. Had dinner at the world-famous Little Italy establishment called Lombardi's. By far the best pizza on the trip!

Monday, November 13
Time to bid adieu to the Big Apple. Got up early to catch the hotel's suggested shuttle. A much better return to the airport. It actually turned out to be a sightseeing shuttle, and to avoid traffic, we snaked around Manhattan and the boroughs to return to the airport getting little tidbits of info from our driver along the way. We got to JFK in plenty of time. Derek was disappointed that we couldn't upgrade on this flight. We later found out why. Apparently, several flights from the day before had been seriously delayed because of weather and all of Monday's outbound flights from LaGuardia had been cancelled and the passengers bussed to JFK. That meant a bigger plane--we flew home on a 777 instead of a 757. Anyway, that meant the plane was pretty full and the first class cabin was not available to we lowly in coach. But Derek did ultimately get a front-row seat in our section and had plenty of legroom.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip. We had great weather almost the entire time we were in Manhattan. And it was great to see old friends. We look forward to our next trip to the Big Apple!

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