New York City
The clocks in the room(ship cabin) were not set correctly this morning so we didn’t know if it was 5, 6 or 7:00. It was crazy. It’s a hot, clear day in New York. We had our breakfast from the buffet and are waiting on the portside of the ship for our color tag to be called. Leaving the ship was smooth – they have you get you luggage first then go through customs. We got a car to take us to Times Square, the Columbian lady driver was a little scary, I swore we’d be killed within the first six blocks of the ship! It was about a 30 minute drive, we were stuck in traffic for about ten minutes due to a tour bus fire. It was total sensory overload! Our hotel, The Casablanca, is very nice. The doorman and desk staff are so helpful. Our room was ready when we got there so we unzipped the suitcases then headed down to the desk to get a map. We went to the NYC library where we saw an original Benjamin Franklin letter, a second copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Guttenburg Bible. We looked into the 1910 Census books and found the Bress’ in Iowa and Moeller’s in Washington. We watched a reading of the Declaration of Independence by actors Mel Gibson, Whoopie Goldberg, Kathy Bates, Michael Douglas among others. We could have spent days in the library. We went into the Cassey-Maswell drug store (oldest drugstore in America, established in 1752), into the Waldorf Astoria, St Patrick’s Cathedral and had lunch at Rosy O’Grady’s. We went to the live web cam (in front of the Fridays restaurant) and waved to Jesse (our oldest son). We had dinner at Tony Maroni’s – a big seafood pasta meal. We were going to go to the Empire State Building but there was a security alert and they had to evacuate the entire building and closed the streets down.
NYC Day 2
We were up at 6:45 to get ready to get to the Statue of Liberty. We had a continental breakfast at the hotel first. The hotel offers a free continental breakfast, snacks throughout the day and a wine and cheese spread in the evenings. The cappuccino machine they have is wonderful! We are off to take our first subway ride, we hopped on and hopped right back off because we knew we were supposed to be in one of the first five cars and we didn’t know you could walk through the trains. So we waited three or four minutes for the next subway and hopped on it to go to South Ferry. It was easy! We got to the Circle Line ferry by going through Castle Clinton. There were lllooonnnggg lines before touring the Statue of Liberty monument. Jim and Danny checked our bag into a locker – used your fingerprint to lock and unlock it. The security was very tight at the monument – they air zap you. It was very informational and pretty awesome. Then we took the next ferry to Ellis Island. Ellis Island was amazing – so much information and the hall where the people coming to America actually sat – with the benches they actually sat on. Charles, a Parks Department employee talked to us for quite a while and specifically to Danny about how grateful he should be for the sacrifices his ancestors have made on his behalf. We could have spent a full day or more on Ellis Island.
After we left we followed our New York Street Map cards to Wall Street from Battery Park. We saw the Fraunces Tavern, the first paved street in NYC (Stone Street), Delmonica’s Restaurant and the New York Stock Exchange, there was so much security there – swat teams and police besides the guards outside the building. We stood on the steps where George Washington was sworn in as President. We went to the cemetery at the Trinity Church and then into the church – beautiful. We walked to the World Trade Center site. We went to the Burger King and went up to the second floor which had a great view of the site. We took the “1” back to 42nd Street. Suddenly there is a terrible storm – raining, thunder and lightening and a tornado. We went down to the second floor for the wine and cheese and Danny is becoming hooked on cappuccinos! We went out and walked down to Macy’s on Broadway. We found Madison Square Garden by accident and the WNBA All Star game was playing. We stopped and picked up a few slices of pizza to take back to the room for dinner.
NYC Day 3
Today we slept in and left the room around 9:00. We got on the ‘6’ subway going uptown to the Museum of Natural History. We got there a little early so we walked into Central Park. It really is an oasis in a big city. We walked to the Turtle Pond where we talked to a woman for about 20 minutes about the city. We saw the building where John McEnroe lives and Christopher Reeves used to live. We walked up to Belvedere Castle and went inside, the view was beautiful. The castle is used as the weather station for NYC. We walked through the Brambles, which is the best place in the U.S. for bird watching, to go to the Museum. The Museum….it’s beyond words the size and the majesty of it. There is a statue of Teddy Roosevelt on a horse on the front stoop. When you walk into the building there is a brontosaurus and velocoraptor greeting you – the height of them is amazing and the fact that they fit in this mammoth room shows how big the museum is. We took lost of pictures and looked at the Native American exhibit. After three plus hours in the museum we walked down the street to see the Dakota and across Central Park, past Strawberry Fields, the “Pond” and many statues. We walked up Fifth Avenue past the Purlitzer house and then down to Park Avenue where we admired the buildings, wondering who lived in them. We caught the subway on 47th and Lexington to Little Italy. China Town was too busy – too many vendors selling Rolex’s and dvd’s. Little Italy was charming. We had lunch at Paizano’s, which was established in 1910. It was VERY Italian. Jim had tortellini with white sauce, Danny had it with red sauce and I had the baked ziti. After lunch we walked through China Town, Danny bought a funny hat and I bought a fan. We stopped at a bakery to buy steamed buns to take back to the hotel. We had a small incident in the subway – Danny’s pass didn’t work so Jim was stuck on one side while we were on the other but we got it worked out and made it back to Times Square easily. Got back around 5:00 and after a short rest we took the subway to the Empire State Building. It’s a dramatic ride to the 80th floor where they walk you through a photo op before going up to the 86th floor for a breathtaking view of the city and the outskirts. We saw Yankee Stadium, Long Island, New Jersey, Times Square, Central Park….We stayed up there for a couple hours – watching the lights come on. It was beautiful. Afterwards we picked up KFC for Jim, took the Subway back to Times Square where Danny got smoked bbq brisket from Virgil’s and I got a Gyro and we picked up a Stomboli to share. We spent the night talking about our visit to the museum.
NYC Day 4
We got up at 5:45 and were out the door by 6:30 to get to the Today Show, stopped at Fox News first for a free gelato. After three hours standing in the same spot watching the taping of the show we went to the Soupman – Danny had the crab bisque and I had the jambalaya. We walked down Fifth Avenue, went into a very nice suit store and into the Disney Store where we met Minnie Mouse and Goofy. Back to the hotel to take a nap before heading back out to Times Square. We went to Steve and Barry’s and bought shirts and jeans, dropped them off at the hotel then went to see the Adam Sandler movie, Click at the AMC Theater on 42nd Street. After the movie we went to the Dallas BBQ – it was crazy busy – and very good.
NYC Day 5 – last day
We slept in until 7:00 then Jim and I went out to buy a bag to take our souvenirs home in. Came back to the hotel and finished packing before relaxing while we wait until it gets closer to check out time, noon. We had breakfast in the lobby then went to Madame Toussards Wax Museum, it was fun and the wax figures were very life like. We walked around looking for a cash machine, went to Midtown Comics then had a long, long lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. We went back to the hotel to rest until it was time to get a car to take us to the airport. Jim called for a car, which arrived in 10 minutes. We took one last sigh at having to leave our beautiful hotel. Arrived at the airport around 5:15 for our 7:50 flight, it was a smooth flight where we watched the sunset all the way home. We took a limo home from the Seattle airport.