Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New York Day Three/Going Home 12/14/09

I don't remember what time we woke up this day, but we did get a pretty early start. Natashia had a 10:00am meeting at the culinary school, but we decided that we would go to Macy's to see Santa before she had to be there.

Macy's is HUGE! Towards the top floors, the escalators are still the original wooden steps from back when Macy's first opened in 1902 (although they have had metal treads added since then.)
The store was decorated really pretty, and Santa Land was awesome. To get there, we had to go up to the 8th floor, and then walk through a train car, complete with sound effects and vibrating floor!
Thankfully, we chose the perfect time to go as there was absolutely no line! We walked through a maze of Christmas trees and wintry scenes complete with ice skating penguins. We finally made it to Santa, and had our picture taken with him! When he asked me what my Christmas wish was, I told him I wished for health for my brother. :-)
We also found Mrs. Claus and took a picture with her. She was very cute!
After visiting Santa, we did a little browsing, and then stopped at McDonald's (one of many restaurants inside Macy's) for a quick breakfast before going our separate ways. Natashia went to her meeting, and I went south to Ground Zero. It was a pretty emotional experience, and very surreal to think that 9 years earlier, I had been at the top of one of the fallen towers. I walked around and took some pictures through the fences that surrounded what is now a huge construction site.
I also went right across the street to St. Paul's. It is an old chapel that has withstood many disasters, and now it is a memorial to the events, heroes, and victims of 9/11.
Nearby, there is also a little museum with more mementos from family members of victims, and also plans for the new World Trade Center and memorial that is being built. It will be quite impressive. A block away is St. Peter's, the oldest Catholic Church in New York City. Outside of it have been placed the famous cross-beams that stood in the wreckage of 9/11.
After about an hour and a half, I went to meet Natashia. We then headed over to Hoboken, New Jersey on the PATH train to go see Carlos' Bakery from the TV show, Cake Boss. We got a little bit of everything to taste, and ended up with enough to take home!
We also stopped at a little pizzeria and had a delicious lunch! So yummy! After lunch, we went back to Melissa's, I gathered all of my things, and was chauffeured to La Guardia Airport. When I checked in, I was told that my flight was delayed, and that there was a chance I would miss my connecting flight in Chicago. I decided to take that chance. I was ready to be home! My flight was delayed about an hour and a half, but I realized I was not the only one taking the connection out of Chicago to Louisville. With literally only a couple of minutes to spare, we all ran as a group to our next terminal. Thankfully, Southwest is a great airline and they waited for us all to board!! Everyone clapped when the last person got on the plane! I was so happy when I made it home! I spent the next day relaxing, doing laundry, and playing with my puppy! She was glad to have me home, too! Lol!
Overall, it was a fantastic trip! Paris was, by far, my absolute favorite city. I would go back there in a heartbeat, with someone or even by myself. I felt safe, welcomed, and at ease there. I could even see myself staying long-term. I enjoyed Rome as well,  and would like to go back for a couple days to see things more in-depth. However, I would not want to go there alone, and would be very careful with my belongings. I was glad we had a male escort for most of the day when we were there. The same with Barcelona. I was a bit sad that we were so tired and not able to see all we had wanted, but it gives me a good reason to go back!

New York Day Two 12/13/09

I woke up at 7:45am. Natashia was going to mass and brunch with Melissa, but I decided I would go by myself to Times Square and stand in line at the TKTS booth. I got there pretty early, and there wasn't even a line yet, so I decided to walk around Times Square. I enjoyed being on my own for a while. I did some souvenir shopping for my family, walked to and took pictures of the Late Show studio, and got a bagel for breakfast.
At about 9:30, I got in line at TKTS and talked on the phone with my mom while I waited. It started raining, but it was a soft, cleansing rain, so I didn't was actually kind of nice! I was towards the front of the line, so when it opened at 10:00am, I got through pretty quickly. I got two 10th row tickets for Irving Berlin's White Christmas for just under $100 each...didn't think it was that great of a deal, but I got them. After getting the tickets, I walked around some more, and then around 12:45, I decided to get some lunch before meeting Natashia for the show. I went to TGIFridays in Times Square and paid $26 for a turkey sandwich and a water. I figured it was worth it, thought, just for the experience of being right there in Times Square! A little before 2:00pm, I met Natashia in front of the Marquis theater, and we went in and got our seats for the show.
It was decent. There is still nothing that can even come close to matching the original Bing Crosby movie version. At the end, it started snowing over the audience as they were singing "White Christmas," and I did think that was pretty neat. Between the overcast sky and the short winter days, it was almost dark when we got out of the show between 4:30 and 5:00. But being in Times Square, you would never know it from all the lights!
It was still drizzling a bit, but we decided to take the metro to Rockefeller Center to see if we could get a better view of the tree. It was a lot less crowded, and I did get a few really good pictures. The tree is much prettier all lit up at night!
We were also there to catch the light show at Saks! The snowflakes on the side of the building blink in time to Christmas music. That was really fun to see!

Since it was so rainy, and we were kind of tired, we decided to go ahead and call it an early night around 6:00pm. We took the metro back to Melissa's, I took a shower and put on my cozy pj's, we ordered a couple salads for dinner, and watched some TV (White Christmas was on!). I'm sure we fell asleep relatively early that night.