Monday, September 24, 2007

Proving Tonio K Wrong

"yes and new york may be the new world
but she's still a filthy concrete bitch without a soul."
-Tonio K.

Picking up where we left off in our last entry. The wedding finished up. I packed up the laptop and instead of going on the party bus chose to ride in the car because Geoff wanted me to come with him.

Luckily Jess knew where I was, because everyone on the party bus was slightly confused as to where I had gone off to. I missed a moment on the bus that my mom related to me. As they were riding back, Ronnie's 4 year old nephew took off his shoes and dumped them out on the floor. He had about nine tons of sand in his shoes. His mother was aghast. But to be honest, I'm sure the bus company can handle a little sand. After all, any bus with a stripper pole in the back must get some funky stuff on the floor, so I'm sure it has seen a LOT worse.

I'm glad I was in the car, because I started to not feel well. And if I had been on the party bus with the way that woman was driving on the way TO the wedding, I doubt sand would have been the only thing on the floor.

Geoff had taken the front seat, so I was in the back... and as Doug was driving up the highway I really started to feel sick. I wasn't trashed drunk... to be honest, I had only 1 beer at the cocktail hour (had to drink one of Ronnie's favorites) and then 4 glasses of wine the entire evening... which for me is nothing.

Longtime readers know I'm a total wino.

The combination of being unbearably tired, somewhat buzzed, sitting in the back seat of the car... all started to converge upon me. We got back to the hotel, and I was dizzy and uncomfortable. I got in the shower to wash the 98 gallons of salon hair product out of my hair, and ended up throwing up. A lot. I got out of the shower and got into bed... it was about 10pm.

I woke up at 5am, and missed the entire wedding after party at the bar in the hotel... d'oh. Guess I can't hang like I used to back in the day, yo.

We all got ready to go to brunch, Geoff had a good swim at the hotel pool. Brunch was lovely and delicious and we all were tired, it was obvious. It was nice to see everyone and say goodbye. But we needed to hit the ground running. No relaxing Lazy Sunday for us!

We packed up and went to my sister's to use her computer to get a hotel room in the city for that night. We had to go to my sister's house because the stupid thing about the Sheraton we were staying at... they nickel and dime guests all the live long day.

Walking into the room there were two large bottles of Poland Spring water set up, waiting for the tired and thirsty... but if you open them they charge your room FOUR dollars. Four. For a bottle of water you can get at the gas station across the street for $1.19. I wanted to take a sharpie and write "What a Rip Off" across the label but restrained myself. Geoff wanted the water but we finally convinced him that a scoop of ice from the plastic container and tap water were FREE and he should do that instead. Internet access was fifty cents a page load in the business center. Surfing for a hotel deal on Orbitz would have cost us about seventy bucks when all was said and done at that rate. The connection to link up my laptop in the room on a fee basis... and the stupid fancy keyboard surf the web on your TV thing didn't work in our room, my parents' room or my aunt's room... and THAT was an extra charge...

So we went to Linda's and got hooked up with a hotel, and got to pet the dog. And say good bye again to Linda and Ronnie.

And then we were off to NYC to begin the second leg of our adventurous weekend.

1 NYCday1We drove straight in, as there is hardly any traffic at noon on a Sunday... perfect time to go.

We hit South Street Seaport and parked the car there, enjoying the view to the Brooklyn Bridge from where we were situated.

After walking around the seaport, we did some investigating about a ride on the ferry to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty. Since 9/11, no one has been allowed up inside the Statue of Liberty, and to be honest... why bother going to Liberty Island if you can't go upstairs into her crown? You can go into the base, but not up top. Doug and I figured that was kind of a rip off, to just go in there, stand in the base, probably be subjected to some sort of multimedia presentation and a LOT of invasive security measures... so we opted for a little hour long tour up the Hudson to about midtown, and down around Liberty, Ellis and Governor's Island on the Zephyr.

It was a really nice cruise, really fun, and we had great views of the Statue of Liberty and didn't have to stand and crane our necks upward to look at it.

40 NYCday1

I've never gone on a harbor cruise of Manhattan. Doug and I have talked about doing it several times. Last year when we were in the city we were going to do it but you had to buy tickets in advance and plan on BEING there... and when it comes to us, it isn't like we CAN'T commit to being there, it's just more like ... we might be doing something more fascinating and interesting and would hate to have to drop it and dash to get to the pier on time...

We got some really pretty views of the city from the water, and because it was afternoon and the light was favorable, the city was gorgeous... not a "filthy concrete bitch without a soul." It was a shining beacon... and very lovely to behold. I'd do it again, and recommend it to others. For sure.

47 NYCday1After the cruise, we walked up Fulton to the WTC site. St. Paul's was closed and locked, which disappointed me because it is my favorite thing about visiting that area, going inside the church that didn't fall when the towers went... the church that didn't lose a pane of glass.

St. Paul's is like Harry Potter to me. The Boy Who Lived... The Church That Withstood... The most horrible of horrors, and it survived.

We walked down to Trinity, and it too was closed... disappointingly. I would at least have liked to have walked the grounds, but that wasn't to be.

Over to the NYSE, where we took pictures of the kids acting like Power Mad Titans Of Industry and had a good laugh... Anna let us take a picture of her too, which was great... she seems to get our humor, and that's a blessing. I would hate to have someone with us who looked at us like we were ... freaks or something.

61 NYCday1We walked down to the historic district, and found ourselves once again at Ulysses, which at our visit last year I deemed to be the bar I'd hang out in if I lived in Manhattan. We ate out on the street and had the sweetest waitress ever... she was kind and funny and really liked Geoff.

Last year, Doug was disappointed that we had missed the Oyster festival by arriving to stay a week too late. This year, we were two weeks too early.

Next year, Douglas... Next year.

We enjoyed a great meal and a good rest. Afterwards, we walked back to where our car was parked to retrieve it, and drive up to Times Square. We were treated to Brooklyn glowing like it was on fire as the sun was setting across from the Seaport. Truly a nice afternoon spent goofing around Southern Manhattan...

We drove up the West Side Highway and cut across to our hotel. Doug had scored rooms at The Hampton Inn for $179 a night. Which, for Times Square, is more than pretty sweet. I was afraid the hotel would suck, but the place was stupendous... wonderful... fantastic! A block north and a block west of Times Square proper, it was the perfect location for us at the absolute best price. We unloaded our stuff and just as the sun had pretty much set, we made our way into Times Square. 74 NYCday1Doug had warned Anna that it was pretty much like nothing she'd ever seen in her entire life, and he was right. Our joke the entire time was "Jeesh. I feel the uncontrollable desire to buy M&Ms and see an ABC Television premier. Oh. After I buy an Elvis Reeses' Peanut Butter Cup."

The group of Germans and Americans from our school were in NYC on Friday and Saturday, so Anna had an itinerary of where the trip was going. We'd fulfilled the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero portion, and now we were in Times Square. Next, we needed to hit the Empire State Building.

We walked down the 13 or so blocks south and 2 blocks east it takes to get there. I was afraid we'd get there too late and be screwed... but we got there just in time, the only problem was we were behind a huge tour group from Canada and none of them spoke English. They were all confused about the security, and the security guys were getting really irritated with their lack of response or their total disregard for what they were being asked to do. I finally heard one of them say "Didn't these guys bring a freakin' translator with them to help out or do they just expect US to get it through their thick heads?"


Seriously, Canada? If your Francophones come down here, they are more than welcome. It's nice to have our friends from the north come check out our sites. But wouldya please send someone who speaks English down with them to be the go between, please?

I was pleased that the line was not very long, even with the confused Canadians. Only a 20 minute wait to get up. Last time we tried to go up there the line came down the escalators into the lobby. Screw that!

81 NYCday1It was about 9pm, and we got up onto the observation deck and Doug took Anna around and described all the little white twinkly lights. I think seeing it during the day is better if you want a scope of what you're actually looking at, but at night the sea of tiny lights is amazing to behold.

Geoff had pretty much had it, so we squished a penny for him in the squish a penny machine (and one for Anna) and headed out back to the hotel. We contemplated the five of us in a taxi, and opted against. We hoofed it back, with Geoff whining that he was tired and hungry. It was about 11:30pm at that point, so Doug ducked into a pizza joint across the street from the hotel and I got the kids upstairs and situated. There we were at midnight, chowing down on the best tasting meatball pizza I've ever had in my life.

I slept like the dead. Seriously, if a little kid hadn't been out in the hallway crying his heart out at 8am, I think I'd still be asleep there a week later. The room was so quiet, so comfortable, the everything was just right... I loved it and I'd stay there again.

Okay. Enough for this entry -- I'll stop here and pick up with day two in NYC later.

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