Saturday, October 09, 2010

New York New York!

Well, for a girl who normally has words to describe everything, I am rather lost for words to describe New York City. What a city. Big, bold and breathtaking in terms of grandeur and expanse. There was so much to do and see, that I was overwhelmed at times by the sights, sounds, lights and action.
We spent the last two days of our trip to New York to visit our family and friends, in New York City, which is about a 6 hour drive from Canandaigua, NY. It is really amazing to see how different NYC is from where Zev grew up, in country upstate NY. Prior to flying to NYC, we spent the weekend in Ithaca, NY, not far from Zev's hometown of Canandaigua, NY, where we attended the homecoming/reunion weekend of Zev's alma mater, Ithaca College. We stayed with friends Mike and Deanna, who showed us their trademark exceptional hospitality.
Zev was able to catch up with some old friends at his (dare I say, 20th!?) college reunion. We were lucky to enjoy beautiful weather in weekend for the reunion weekend. We attended a cocktail/social event on Friday night and a football game and "Taste of Ithaca" dinner on Saturday night. Mike and Deanna cooked us awesome meals and really looked after us the entire weekend. We spent the last day in upstate NY with our family. It was nice to spend some quality time with everyone, especially Zev's grandma, Anna, who will be 97 this year. We also really enjoyed watching our sweet niece, Emily, during her weekly horse riding lesson.
Our first stop in NYC was Times Square. We caught the subway from our hotel in Upper West Side to Midtown Manhattan. Riding the subway (for those of you who have visited NYC) was an experience in itself.
My man can navigate us ANYWHERE. TomTom or not!
Zev was pretty excited to be in Times Square. 
 Because Starbucks in Germany does not sell them, we bought two Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks in Times Square. Zev even admitted that they were good. We sat right in the middle of Times Square and watched the world go by. We also had a late lunch at the infamous Stage Deli on Broadway.
Big, triple decker pastrami and corned beef sandwiches with fries. Our friends Mike and Deanna shared their recommendation for this restaurant with us. It's a good thing that they also recommended we share a sandwich, because as you can see, the portions were enormous!
After our Latte we went to see if we could catch a musical on Broadway. As a side note, I have to say that I was impressed at how various venues in NYC took care of military folks. Zev asked for a military discount at the West Side Story ticket booth and we got two second row tickets right in front of the stage in the "Orchestra" seats for the price of the cheapest "nose bleed" seats. And no one sat in front of us! Pretty cool, huh!? The musical was beautiful and very fitting for our stay in NY. It was also fitting that the lead male, playing the role of "Tony" was an Ithaca College graduate! After we bought our tickets, we went on walkabout and just explore more of Manhattan. We ventured out to Bryant Park, where the NY Fashion Week had been held last week, and then on to the New York Public Library which is a gorgeous building and has been featured in many movies.
The inner geek in me felt SO HAPPY in the library and Zev was gracious enough to entertain my excitement over various reading rooms and manuscript rooms. Did you know that an original copy of the Guthenberg Bible is open for display at the NY Public Library? After the library, we visited Grand Central Station and then headed out to watch West Side Story. The next day, we got up and caught the subway to South Street Seaport. We got off at the Wall Street subway stop and walked the length of Wall Street, which was of course heavily guarded and blocked off. It was cool to walk down this famous and important street, but the lack of greenery and nature felt a bit odd.
 The financial district, in fact most of Manhattan really is a concrete jungle. As an outdoors girl, I see why the parks throughout Manhattan, especially Central Park are so important! We walked down to South Street Seaport which is a pretty part of town. We then headed to the site of the World Trade Center, and saw the work underway for the new memorial site and shopping center.
 It is incredible to think that just nine short years ago, terrorists attacked these buildings and so many innocent people including rescue firefighters and other personnel lost their lives. I know that I remember where I was on September 11, 2001, and every New Yorker we spoke to had their story and recollections from that day. We saw some of the plans for the WTC site, and it will be exciting to visit the new site once it is finished. 
 After we visited the WTC site, we caught the subway uptown to the area of the United Nations building, to visit my uncle, Gustavo, who works in the hotel across from the UN building. Gustavo took us to the top of the tower where we had coffees and enjoyed the spectacular 360 degree views from the restaurant on the top!
Our next stop was back down to South Street Seaport, where we took a lively water taxi on the Hudson River including passed Staaten Island and the Staute of Liberty. 
I think seeing a city from the water is one of the best experiences. If you are ever in Sydney, be sure to take the ferry from Circular Quay to Many Beach. One of my favorite things to do in Sydney. And it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
My husband. He's gorgeous, I know.
After our water taxi tour, we walked to Chinatown for dinner and then on to Little Italy which was right next to Chinatown, for dessert! I had gelato and coffee and Zev had New York Cheesecake and coffee. The cheesecake had a great consistency and the gelato was good- the best gelato is still in Italy, especially Venice! It was really nice walking through these parts of New York and just imagining what the walls would say if they could talk! Zev appropriately hummed a Sinatra tune as we walked through Little Italy.He's good like that. Ha!
We finished off our eventful day at the Rockerfeller Center, where we did the Top of the Rock tour. This is a must do in NYC in my opinion. Uncle Gustavo recommended this tour as a great way to see the Empire State Building as well as an outstanding view of all of Manhattan. And another thing- Zev's military discount meant that we got two tickets for the price of one! The lights of Manhattan were impressive. It was a clear night too, so it seemed like the sky scrapers went on as far as the eye could see! And I thought Sydney was a big city...
That's Central Park in the middle. It really stands out at night, because of the relative lack of lighting.
I like this picture that Zev took. If you look closely, you can see the illumination from the top of the Empire State Building all the way into the sky.
Yes, I did think of that scene from Sleepless in Seattle when I saw the Empire State Building. I guess I was in a romantic state of mind...
The story behind the building of the Rockerfeller Building was very interesting as well. We also got to check out the ice-skating rink, where the beautiful Christmas tree is lit every year. Our journey back to our hotel room was made special by some jazz musicians playing in the subway. The things you see in New York City....
And because you are interested, I am posting the video that Zev took of the musicians playing....
On our last day in NYC we got up and went for a run through Central Park. We ran through the Mall, which has also been featured in many movies, and enjoyed being in nature again.
We then headed to the Museum of Natural History, and of course asked the security guards whether they had seen "Night at the Museum." Strangely enough, not all the guards thought that question was as funny as I did.
We are home now and as they say, there is no place like home. Zev and I stayed in our pj's until this afternoon and it was in one word: lovely. Sleep rests the body as well as the soul. He is downstairs making us some homemade pizza dough for our pizza night tonight. Pizza to go along with a Seinfeld marathon, to relieve the NYC experience.

I hope that you are all enjoying a lovely start to the fall (for the northern hemisphere and spring for the southern hemisphere!)

I would like to end this long blog post with a tribute to my beautiful grandmother, Lola (Dolores Christina), who passed away on Sunday, September 26, 2010, aged 86. She was a beautiful, loving and generous woman, whom I was named after (Fiona Christina). Our family in Australia are very close and I just want them to know that Zev and I love them all very much. Sending you guys big hugs and lots of love!
Fifi and Zev


Lindsey said...

great post!

Leslie said...

Looks like you had a great time in NYC! Love all the pics! I am so sorry about your grandmother! I am praying for you and your family!
Love you!

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