Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Past Vacations #17: New York City 2005

DISCLAIMER :
My recollection of this vacation, specifically what happened, when, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, is vague at best. I am sure the Godson will find errors in this telling of the New York vacation story. Any corrections or additions can be made in the comments.

In 2005 we decided to visit the Godson in New York. In the early '90s I had visited Manhattan with a coworker. We were working at a contractor's facility on Long Island and took the train to grand central station and walked around seeing a lot of southern Manhattan. I always wanted to go back but never really had the opportunity. This changed after the Godson got a teaching position in the Bronx.

We flew out the week before Easter. We took a cab from JFK to the Godson's apartment in Spanish Harlem. The cabbie had little, if any, idea how to get there. We had to help him navigate. We were a little worried but we eventually made it. The Godson's apartment is perfect for the single guy. The place was new - he was the first occupant in that particular apartment.

On Sunday we all took the subway and went to the Cathedral for Mass. Later that day we went to the Tenement Museum. We bought a ticket to the museum tour and then went to a nearby coffee house where we bought snacks and something to drink while we waited for our tour. The tour takes you through a restored tenement building - an example of how Irish immigrants lived in the late 1800s.

On Monday the Godson had to go back to work so the wife and I, armed with the Godson's pocket subway map and directions, headed out on our own. We took the subway downtown. We returned to the Cathedral so the wife could peruse the gift shop. We visited the wife's favoritest place in the whole wide world - Tiffanys. Tiffanys was followed by Rockefeller Center (The ice rink is much smaller than I imagined), lunch, and a tour of NBC Studios.

After NBC we headed for the Empire State Building where we stood is a hellacious line. The view from the observation deck was pretty cool. The weather reduced the view a bit but it was still the highest I've ever been in a building. During my first trip I had an opportunity to go up in the World Trade Center but decided not to do it because of the lines. I regret that decision as I will never have the chance again.


On Tuesday the wife and I headed to Battery Park to catch a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. The weather was great that day and we had some great views of Lady Liberty. I wasn't sure what to expect and it turned out to be pretty cool.

After some lunch on Liberty Island we caught another ferry to Ellis Island where we toured. Thinking of how many people were processed there makes the head spin. An interesting place for those interested in history.

We returned to the Battery Park and made our way to Wall Street and ground zero. I had my picture taken by the bull and we both somberly looked at the remains of the World Trade Center. We than made our way back to the Godson's apartment.

On Wednesday, the Godson only had to work half a day. The wife and I slept in late and eventually made our way to the Bronx to visit the Godson's school. The school day ended at noon with the kids doing the Stations Of The Cross (It was just before Easter). The Godson then gave us a quick tour of the school before we got back on the Subway. On the ride a boy kept popping in our car and trying to shoot us with a potato gun. If he had done it one more time I would have grabbed the gun but he got away.

OK, Here is where the memory becomes murky. It's weird that I remember older vacations clearer than this one. Maybe it's because we were doing so much cool stuff and it all just blurred together. I remember what we did but not when we did it.

I think we went to a couple movies near times square on Wednesday. First we went to see Bride & Prejudice, a Bollywood movie that didn't do too much for me. I'm not really into musicals. The wife and Godson liked it though. The second movie was Gunner Palace. This was a documentary about soldiers in Iraq. I picked this one. I'm a sucker for a good documentary. This wasn't one. At least, this wasn't the time for one. I think a more upbeat movie would have set us in a better mood. My bad.

After the movie we went to an Irish Pub and played trivia. We kept yelling out the answers which was probably why we lost but we didn't suck either. We had some good food and drink and trivia-ed away the night before heading back to the apartment to crash.

On Thursday we went to a whole bunch of places. We started with lunch at a New York Deli followed by a walk through Central Park. We had plans to take a bicycle tour of the park but the weather wasn't cooperating. The weather during the week ranged from clear and cold to rainy to snow - one morning there was a few inches of snow on the apartment balcony. We had a delightful walk through the park before we made or way to Grand Central Station where we watched all the people. We then went to the Brooklyn Bridge and walked part of it.

We eventually decided to have a Steak dinner (Not sure what day ... blurry .... soooo blurry). The Godson checked around on-line and found a place that seemed promising. We headed out and when we got there we were really confused. The place looked more like a diner then a steak house. We asked the girl at the counter if they served steak. This turned out to be a challenge since she hardly spoke English. My guess is that she was Russian. She finally said that they did serve steak and we sat down and had some grub. It turned out to be OK but it was not what we expected.

I'm not sure about Friday. I think we rode the Staten Island Ferry. That's all we did - ride the ferry. Once we reached Staten Island, we got off then got back on and rode it back. Now we can say we've been on a New York Ferry.

The vacation was great, in spite off my chronologically challenge memory. The Godson was a gracious host and his is always welcome to visit our place (which he has done several times). Pictures are here.

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